Friday, January 28, 2022

Bernard Loyd – An Engineer, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, and Humanitarian


Bernard Loyd  '85, PhD '89, MS '90

After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees from MIT in aeronautics and astronautics, he returned for a master’s degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management before moving into management consulting. “As a consultant at McKinsey and Company, I worked hard for my clients, as well as on numerous company-sponsored initiatives,” he says, “but after over a dozen years with the firm, I decided to focus on the challenges in my own backyard.”

Loyd is now founder and president of Urban Juncture, a social enterprise he started in 2003 to develop commercial real estate and related enterprises that concentrate on the needs of underserved communities in Chicago. With its Build Bronzeville project, he and his team have identified initiatives that build on local culture and community and encourage the development of small businesses, with the aim of a holistic and long-term community renaissance.

One of these, Bronzeville Cookin’, is an emerging dining destination celebrating the cuisines and cultures of the African diaspora (with one restaurant and an incubator space in operation so far). “Good food is the heart of any community, and from a business point of view, restaurants are labor intensive. That translates to local jobs,” says Loyd. Although the neighborhood is 15–20 minutes from downtown Chicago, Bronzeville has few large grocery stores stocked with abundant fresh produce. But each new restaurant moving into the area has access to a wide variety of seasonal produce from a rooftop farm and nearby community garden, as do residents during market day in Boxville—another of Urban Juncture’s initiatives.

Boxville is a neighborhood marketplace consisting of bright, colorful repurposed shipping containers where small businesses can ply their wares. A popular outdoor gathering place since 2017, it continues to bring locals together during the Covid-19 pandemic—albeit in an altered way: “Because of Covid, instead of our weekly Boxville market, where the objective was to pack in as many people as possible, we’ve moved to a socially distanced ‘Boxville Community Day’ where we share resources with neighbors, and we’ve instituted socially distanced ‘Boxville Fitness Saturdays,’” Loyd says.

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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Pioneering Women of MIT

 Dr. K’Andrea Bickerstaff

At age 12, K’Andrea Bickerstaff discovered that her grandfather’s unrealized goal had been “to attend MIT—the best school in the country.” Later that year, when Bickerstaff’s father got sick, “I asked my mom how I could help. She said, ‘Do well in school, so I dont have to worry.’ From then on, I got straight A's, and MIT was my long-shot dream.”

She earned an MIT bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1989; later she earned a master’s and PhD in computer engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

Now, Dr. Bickerstaff is founder and president of KenQuest LLC in Austin, TX - a consulting services firm specializing in intellectual property, research, and design and business and project management. The company’s network of technical experts, engineers, scientists, professors, and technology leaders -offers expertise and strategy to clients across the country.
* Dr. Bickerstaff is also is the Chair of BAMIT,  

Black Alumni(ae) of MIT (2020).


We are fostering an inclusive environment for shared learning.

We are a vibrant collective of diverse, creative, and mission-driven MIT alumni who are dedicated to empowering the next generation of diverse leaders and change agents. Our mission is to support the professional and personal development of the Black community at MIT - with a special focus on the recruitment, development and successful graduation of Black undergraduate and graduate students - and to amplify the voice of all Black alumni who are committed to leadership, innovation, and positive social transformation. We will never stop marching for justice.