Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pioneering Political Science Scholar appointed Dean of MIT School of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences

As shared by: Peter Dizikes | MIT News Office (Excerpts)
May 21, 2015

Political scientist Dr. Melissa Nobles has been named the new dean of MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS), effective July 1. She will succeed Dean Deborah Fitzgerald, who announced last fall that she would step down this June, having served since 2006.

Nobles, the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science and head of MIT’s Department of Political Science since 2013, is an accomplished scholar who has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1995. In addition to her role as department head, Nobles has served on a series of Institute-wide committees over the last decade.

“To tackle our global challenges — from water and food scarcity and climate change to digital learning, innovation, and human health — we need ambitious new answers from science and engineering. But because these challenges are rooted in culture, economics, and politics, meaningful solutions must reflect the wisdom of these domains, too,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif says. “Professor Nobles offers us a vision of the humanities, arts, and social sciences as the human stage on which our scientific and technical solutions have purpose and meaning. We are fortunate that she will bring to the deanship such an expansive worldview.”

Nobles says she believes research and teaching within SHASS are integral to all of MIT’s work.
“Upon being asked to serve as dean, I was thrilled and felt a great sense of honor and privilege to have the opportunity to lead such an important school at MIT,” Nobles says. “I think SHASS is so important because nearly all the rest of the endeavors at which the Institute so excels — science, engineering, business, and architecture — all exist within a social, political, cultural, and economic context, and that’s precisely where SHASS lives.”

She adds: “We have to be mindful of answering the question: To what ends are our technological and scientific endeavors being put? Many of the answers to those kinds of questions rest in the departments and courses in SHASS.”

Nobles joined the MIT faculty as an assistant professor in 1995 fresh from earning her PhD in political science at Yale. Since then she has distinguished herself as a scholar in MIT's best problem-solving tradition, living out her department's commitment to "rigor and relevance" through pioneering research on global questions of racial and ethnic politics and justice. She earned her first endowed chair, the Cecil and Ida Green Assistant Professor of Political Science, in 1997. She was promoted to associate professor of political science in 1999 and granted tenure in 2002. She became a full professor in 2009 and received her current endowed chair in 2010, before becoming department head.

In her two books, Shades of Citizenship: Race and the Census in Modern Politics and The Politics of Official Apologies, she draws illuminating comparisons across societies as disparate as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Brazil and the United States. This cross-cultural perspective also informs her teaching, where she takes particular pleasure in watching students from the US and other parts of the world open each other's minds to new points of view.

Nobles was selected from a field of candidates evaluated by a faculty search committee. The search committee, chaired by Evan Ziporyn, the Kenin Sahin Distinguished Professor in MIT’s music program, comprised faculty from 11 different departments and programs within SHASS.

In all, SHASS has 21 departments, programs, centers, and consortia and 172 full-time faculty members. Its professors have won four Nobel Prizes, seven MacArthur Fellowships, four Pulitzer Prizes, 38 Guggenheim Fellowships, and four John Bates Clark Medals, among other distinctions.

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Monumental Historical Celebration........ Dr. Paula T. Hammond

As shared from MIT News Office
July 13, 2015

Dr. Paula Hammond named head of Department of Chemical Engineering.
An MIT faculty member since 1995, Hammond succeeds Dr. Klavs Jensen as ChemE department head.

Paula T. Hammond, the David H. Koch Professor in Engineering, has been named the new head of the Department of Chemical Engineering (ChemE), effective July 13. She is the first woman and first person of color appointed to the post.

The announcement was made this morning in a special faculty meeting of the department. “We are fortunate to have someone with Professor Hammond’s vision and dedication to lead this distinguished department,” says Ian A. Waitz, dean of the School of Engineering. “She has a deep knowledge of the Institute and has led a remarkable career as a researcher and educator. Please join me in congratulating Paula on this appointment.”

Hammond succeeds Klavs Jensen, the Warren K. Lewis Professor of Chemical Engineering, who has been the department head in ChemE since 2007; Jensen will reengage full time with teaching and research in the department. “Klavs has been a superb colleague, and he has set a very high bar for leadership of a department,” Waitz noted.

Hammond is a core faculty member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and was a founding member of the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. She has collaborators in academic departments throughout the Institute, and has worked with clinicians and researchers at various Boston-area hospitals. Her research group focuses on biomaterials and drug delivery. Their research focuses on the self-assembly of polymeric nanomaterials; the core of her work is the use of electrostatics and other complementary interactions to generate functional materials with highly controlled architectures, including the development of new biomaterials and electrochemical energy devices. She and her former students and postdocs have started a range of biotech companies.

Hammond’s many awards and honors include the Alpha Chi Sigma Award for Chemical Engineering Research in 2014, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Charles M. A. Stine Award in Materials Engineering and Science in 2013, the Ovarian Cancer Research Program Teal Innovator Award in 2013, the Junior Bose Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2000, an NSF Career Award in 1997, and the MIT Karl Taylor Compton Prize in 1992 (in recognition of achievements in citizenship and devotion to the welfare of MIT). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a director of the Board of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and a fellow of the American Physical Society and American Institute of Biomedical and Biological Engineering, among other honors.

She has taught several classes over the past several years, including the 10.467 (Polymer Science Laboratory), 10.569 (Synthesis of Polymers), and 10.10 (Introduction to Chemical Engineering). Hammond previously served as executive officer of the department in 2008 through 2011. Hammond received her BS in chemical engineering from MIT in 1984, her MS from Georgia Tech in 1988, and earned her PhD from MIT in 1993.

Friday, July 10, 2015

MITES and William Ramsey

The Impact

As MITES celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2015, we look back upon the 40 years of students, mentors, accomplishments, and people who played significant roles in MITES successes. William "Bill" Ramsey, Class of 1951 – Course VI, was the executive director of Minority Introduction to Engineering from 1988 to his untimely death in 1995. Professor Emeritus of Aeronautics and Astronautics Leon Trilling, who worked with Ramsey through the MITES program, said, “He was a very wonderful human being and extremely skillful in understanding and thoughtful in dealing with the students that came to him.” The Tech, V114, I66, January 25, 1995

"Bill Ramsey did exceptional things for people and for MIT," said Provost Mark S. Wrighton. "I had the opportunity to interact with him in connection with our MITES program, and he was extraordinary: sensitive, yet firm; encouraging, yet realistic. Bill was a truly dedicated man and one who had earned an enjoyable old age."

The Legacy

The William Ramsey Endowed Fund is a fitting tribute to honor Bill's commitment to mentor and spur young people, particularly from underrepresented minority groups, to excellence and leadership in the technical domain. This endowed fund enables us to consistently deliver a quality program by mitigating annual fluctuations in contributions.

The 40th Anniversary

On Friday, July 17 and Saturday, July 18, the MITES 40th anniversary celebration begins. All people with any affiliation to the Office of Engineering Outreach Programs (OEOP) are invited to attend, including students, alumni of all programs, parents of all programs, the MIT community, local community members, donors, and others. More details about the MITES 40th Anniversary Kick-Off Weekend will be made available here.

Photo Credit: MIT OEOP
Excerpt from OEOP - Shawna Young, Executive Director