Each year, the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) presents its new graduates — roughly 100 undergraduate and graduate students — with a bronze medallion of the MIT seal. These medallions are entirely prepared, cast, and finished by students in the DMSE Merton C. Flemings Materials Processing Laboratory using the lost-wax/investment casting process — the same process used by ancient civilizations, such as the Greeks, who are known for their elaborate bronze sculptures.
Every spring semester, the department hosts weekly workshop sessions where students and staff come together, to get their hands dirty and make medallions for that year's graduates. During each session, DMSE staff are on hand to guide the entire process from beginning to final product.
"I think it's a unifying thing that people really appreciate," says Jennifer Glerum, a graduating senior in the department. "When you recieve your medallion, even if you don't know specifically the people who went into doing that work, you know generally [it] was people you worked with, people you knew for all four years at MIT. ... That means something different than just a mass-produced medallion in a factory somewhere."
Submitted by: Melanie Gonick/MIT | Video by: Melanie Gonick/MIT | 3 min, 7 sec