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Nicole Stark named Black Achiever

Nicole V. Stark
Nicole V. Stark

Nicole V. Stark, director of the MIT Saturday Engineering, Enrichment and Discovery (SEED) Academy, has been selected as the 2006 winner of the YMCA Black Achiever Award at MIT. She is the 46th member of the MIT faculty and staff to receive this designation since the Institute began participating in the YMCA program in 1979.

Stark and more than 40 other award winners were honored in a ceremony Jan. 31 at the Copley Place Marriott in Boston. Dean Thomas L. Magnanti, Assistant Deans Donna Savicki and Sheila Kanode, and Associate Dean Karl W. Reid (a past MIT/YMCA Black Achiever) were among MIT faculty and staff members in attendance.

The Black Achievers program recognizes African-Americans in the Boston area and more than 100 other regions served by the YMCAs around the country. Recipients are nominated for their professional accomplishments and their commitment to community service for young people. As part of the program, recipients agree to spend at least 40 hours with youths in the Black Achievers Community Service programs.

Stark came to MIT in 2002 to direct the activities of the MIT SEED Academy. SEED provides traditionally underserved local high school students with a curriculum that strengthens their foundational math, science and communication skills; a challenging learning environment with high expectations; and access to positive role models.

"Nicole is a smart, talented, personable and accomplished professional with a personality that warms everyone she comes in contact with," said Kanode in her nominating letter. "She is especially effective in motivating young people."

Minority staff development

In other news related to minority staff development, five MIT staff members have been chosen to participate in the 2006 career development programs offered by The Partnership Inc., an organization whose mission is to strengthen the Boston area's capacity to attract, retain and develop talented professionals of color. Chancellor Phillip L. Clay is a member of the organization's board of directors.

Gabrielle McCauley, administrative assistant in the Office of Minority Education, will participate in the early career program. Christopher Jones, assistant dean in the Graduate Students Office; Bryan Nance, director of minority recruitment in the Admissions Office; Lorraine Ng, associate director in resource development; and Etaine Smith, human resources officer, will participate in the mid-career program.

MIT faculty and staff members have also helped to create Conexi��n, a new Boston-area program designed to help develop emerging Latino and Latina leaders in business, higher education and government.

Launched earlier this academic year at a ceremony at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Conexi��n seeks to provide professional development opportunities, executive coaching and academic instruction to highly accomplished early to mid-career Latino and Latina professionals.

Among the 11 participants in the program's inaugural class are Robert Martinez, staffing specialist in human resources and Armando Valenzuela, administrative assistant in the Office of the President. Among this year's faculty members are Professor Roberto M. Fernandez of the Sloan School and Mary P. Rowe, special assistant to the president and ombudsperson.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 1, 2006 (download PDF).

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