Showcasing the talents of others is a talent in itself, one that the winners of this year's MIT Excellence Awards have in abundance.
Karl Reid, executive director of Special Programs for the School of Engineering, and the core team of the organizing committee of Artists Behind the Desk (ABD)--Minday Baughman, Mary Gallagher, Anne Hudson, Debra Kedian and Judith Leonard--have helped hundreds of individuals reach their scholastic and artistic potential. Reid, the ABD committee and 45 other MIT employees were honored for their service to the community in a ceremony March 2 in Kresge Auditorium.
President Susan Hockfield presented Reid and the ABD committee members with $2,000 checks and certificates marking their service in the "Creating Connections: Making a Difference in our Communities" category of the Excellence Awards. Altogether, 20 awards in five categories were presented to 14 teams and six individuals.
Reid is responsible for directing the Minority Introduction to Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Science (MITE2S) program, a six-week residential summer program for talented high school juniors.
"Karl and his team change students' paradigms in just six weeks to help them believe in their abilities and reach higher than they have ever imagined," said Lorelle Espinosa in her written recommendation of Reid. "Karl has touched many lives and has made the goal of higher education a reality to those who face the greatest challenges in this country. He is much more than a leader in the professional realm; he is also an amazing role model. He inspires young people on this campus, whether or not they attended one of his life-changing programs. Certainly, he is a model for our young African-American people."
Reid's office also runs MIT's Saturday Engineering Enrichment and Discovery (SEED) academy for local urban high school students and the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) academic enrichment program for middle school students. The three programs together reach hundreds of students annually, helping them to improve their academic performance and encouraging them to apply for admission to MIT.
In her recommendation to the Artist Behind the Desk organizing committee, Margaret Ann Gray said that while the membership of the committee fluctuates, this core team has been responsible for the comeback of ABD since 1999.
"Without the work of these five individuals, ABD may not exist and, if it did, most likely would not have the depth and breadth it does today. These five members have dedicated their efforts and volunteered uncounted personal hours for five consecutive years. Today, they continue in their original roles, persistently building, shaping, bending, filling in the holes and evolving with the Artists Behind the Desk program to support the arts at MIT," wrote Gray.
At last week's ceremony, Laura Avakian, vice president of Human Resources, emceed, Hockfield gave opening remarks, and Tom Magnanti, dean of engineering, gave the keynote speech.
"I never cease to be amazed by the simply superb quality of [MIT] and the remarkable people who make the Institute what it is: the students, faculty and especially the staff," said Magnanti. "MIT would be a mere shadow of itself without such dedicated and exceptional staff. Each one of our award recipients today has learned the secret of joy in work," said Magnanti.
The band BJ Magoon and driving sideways (featuring artist Brian Magoon of Audio Visual Services) performed during the buffet luncheon that followed in Kresge Lobby. Four ABD visual artists exhibited their work in the lobby as well--Mindy Baughman, Betty Bolivar, Judith Daniels and Heather Kaufman.
"People couldn't stop praising the band, and loved having the artwork as part of the event. It turned it into a real party," said Kande Culver, administrator of the MIT Rewards and Recognition Program and organizer of the event.