Four students win Sun MISTI summer internships abroad


Three undergraduates and a graduate student have been named the first recipients of the Anthony Sun MISTI Internships to be served in Italy, China, Japan and India this summer.

The MISTI (MIT International Science and Technology) program, a cornerstone of international education at the Institute, sponsors internships, cross-border research and regional collaborations in six countries--Japan, China, India, France, Germany and Italy. All interns are required to speak the language of the country they are visiting. About 170 students will participate in the program this summer.

The Sun interns were announced at the annual MISTI dinner last night (April 30) at the MIT Faculty Club. They are:

Christine M. Robson , a junior from Lincoln, R.I., majors in electrical engineering and computer science. She has been awarded an internship with Toshiba in Yokohama, Japan. She had a MISTI internship last summer at Sumitomo 3M and lived in Sagamihara, just west of Tokyo. As a high school student at Phillips Exeter Academy, she participated in a summer exchange program, living with a family in Yokohama and studying Japanese.

"The MIT Japan Program is one of the reasons I came to MIT," said Robson, who looks forward to living in a corporate dormitory and traveling with friends to Kyushu in August. "The opportunity to live and work with colleagues in your field who come from such different backgrounds is truly rewarding. The connections I have and will make, and the experience from living abroad are invaluable. I feel privileged to attend an institution that understands this."

Salvatore Scaturro , a sophomore from Lynbrook, N.Y., is a civil and environmental engineering major. Scaturro will participate in the China Educational Technology Initiative, joining two other MIT students on a tour of five high schools in areas of rural China. Last summer, he was a CETI intern at ZhongShan University in Guangzhou. Scaturro, who has studied Chinese at MIT for four semesters, expects ("perhaps I should say hopes") to improve his language skills while in China.

"The MISTI China program presented me with an opportunity in my freshman year that changed my life," he said. "I could never have imagined three years ago that I would be involved with China the way I am now. I can easily say that China will be an important part of my future."

Karen Thundiyil of Gonzales, Tex., a graduate student in urban studies and planning, will work with the Tata Steel Rural Development Society in Jamshedpur, India, this summer. She has visited the country several times with her family, which comes from Kerala. She hopes the experience will provide the basis for her master's thesis in city planning.

Thundiyil plans to try new foods, explore the country and acquire custom tailored clothes while in India. "I'm not looking forward to the heat or mosquitoes," she said.

Matthew W. Bilotti , a junior from North Scituate, R.I. majoring in electrical engineering and computer science, will be an intern for IBM in Vimercate, Italy, near Milan. Bilotti, whose family roots are in Italy, will be making his first visit to the country. He anticipates a challenging work experience and hopes to visit relatives.

The $2,500 internships are presented through the Anthony Sun (1973) Fund, established last fall. Sun, who holds the S.B. and S.M. in electrical engineering, is managing general partner of Venrock Associates, a venture capital firm in Menlo Park, Calif.

The Sun interns are required to establish a need for financial support, display enthusiasm for MISTI and help the program.

MISTI also announced the creation of the Sun MISTI Ambassador program for interns who return to MIT next semester. Modeled after the successful Burchard Scholars Program in the humanities, students will attend dinners with featured speakers on themes such as globalization, cross-cultural communication and the integration of an international perspective in the educational experience at MIT.

Keynote speaker at last night's dinner was Institute Professor Mario Molina, winner of the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1995. Molina's research on air pollution in Mexico City involves cross-border partnerships between MIT and Mexican scientists.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 1, 2002.

Topics: Global, Students

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