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Minority summer programs plan first-ever get-together

A special MIT program, "Lift As We Climb," will bring together approximately 300 people--from pre-college youngsters through faculty members--to foster an interest in science, engineering and mathematics among African American, Latino and Native American students who have been underrepresented in these fields.

The event on Thursday, July 20, will mark the first time participants from six long-established summer programs at MIT and Lincoln Laboratory have met together. Program objectives are: to create an opportunity to explore and identify educational pathways in engineering and science; to build bridges and relationships that will serve as a foundation for educational and career planning via mentorship; to enhance interest in technical research through interaction and exposure to advanced graduate students and faculty; and to catalyze an environment that encourages advanced students to serve as role models.

A speaking program begins at 3:30pm in Rm 10-250.

MIT President Charles M. Vest will welcome the participants and Reginald Brothers II, a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering and computer science, will deliver the keynote address.

An "icebreaker" session and focus groups will follow, with a cookout later in the evening capping the day.

The ongoing, summer-long MIT programs from which the participants will come are:

Project Interphase, an academic enhancement program of the Office of Minority Education, is designed to assist underrepresented minority students admitted to the freshmen class to make the transition into MIT. The program enrolls one-third of the incoming African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American students in a curriculum of physics, calculus, writing and physical education.

Lincoln Laboratory Summer Minority Internship Program, for undergraduate students from schools other than MIT majoring in electrical engineering, computer science and physics, provides the opportunity to improve scientific and engineering skills through hands-on experience in fields such as communications systems, radar analysis, digital signal processing and solid state electronics.

MITES (Minority Introduction To Engineering and Science) introduces high school juniors to careers in engineering and science. Participants are selected from a nationwide pool of applicants who belong to one of the following underrepresented groups: American Indian, African American, Mexican American, Puerto Rican and other Hispanic.

The MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP) brings talented sophomores and juniors from around the country to MIT to work in research laboratories under the tutelage and guidance of experienced scientists and engineers. The students who participate in this program will be better prepared and motivated to seek PhD degrees.

The Educational Talent Search Program, a year-round, federally funded outreach program, assists 650 educationally and/or economically disadvantaged junior high and high school students from Cambridge and Somerville to continue their education beyond high school.

The MIT/Wellesley Upward Bound Program, a year-round, federally funded, joint institutional outreach program, assists 70 high school students from Cambridge who seek to continue their education beyond high school by attending college.

The focus groups that will be presented on July 20 and their locations are:

--MultiMedia Technology (Rm 3-133). The Middle Passage Project at MIT is a computerized, architectural animation of a proposed monument to stand in the Boston Harbor in tribute to the millions of African lives lost during the 260-year slave trade, from Africa to the Americans. This five-minute, simulated walk-through is a display of the monument's physical and emotional construct, as well as its proposed location and scale. The project has been recognized by Architectural Record as a model for architectural presentations using movement and time. Presenters will be Larry Sass, PhD candidate, and Greg Anderson, SM candidate in the Department of Architecture.

--Mechanical Design/Robotics (Pappalardo Laboratory, basement of Building 3). The MITES Design Contest takes place every summer after the students in the program have worked for three weeks to build machines that carry out a specific task. The machines will be on display, and observers will have the chance to see the machines in action, competing on the "playing field" used in the actual contest. In addition, a video of the competition and sketches prepared by the students during different stages of their design will be shown.

--Environmental Sciences and Engineering (Rm 4-163 or the Bush Room). The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 60,000 of 10 million known chemical compounds used in US commerce were introduced before laws were enacted to regulate them. Renewable sources account for only about one-tenth of US energy consumed. Only about a fifth of the nation's 6,000 municipal landfills have systems to prevent contamination of water supplies. The list of Superfund priority sites is expected to grow by about 100 hot spots a year. These issues raise serious questions about the way we live. Presenters will be LaCreis Kidd, a doctoral candidate, in the Division of Toxicology, Albert Essiam, a doctoral candidate in civil and environmental engineering, and Al Corbin Jr., of the Environmental Careers Organization.

--Telecommunications (Rm 10-250). PictureTel, a videoconferencing enterprise founded in 1984, uses a technology that industry analysts expect to become as common as the fax machine.

The convocation is sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School, the Office of Educational Opportunity Programs, the Office of Engineering Special Programs, the Lincoln Laboratory Office of Human Resources and the Office of Minority Education. These offices also operate the ongoing programs.

Margaret Daniels Tyler, acting associate dean of the MIT Graduate School, is coordinating Lift As We Climb activities. Others involved are Dean Leo Osgood, director of the Office of Minority Education; Paul Hezel of Lincoln Laboratory; Laura Robinson, director of special engineering programs in the School of Engineering; and Ronald Crichlow, director of educational opportunity programs in the Office of the Provost.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on July 19, 1995.

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