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Celebrating MIT's excellent staff

Fifteen individuals and four teams to be honored at 2010 MIT Excellence Awards

Don’t be alarmed if you leave this year’s Excellence Awards feeling a little green. It isn’t envy. It’s the newest award category — Greening MIT: protecting our planet.

Britton “Bryt” Bradley, an administrative assistant at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), will be the first to receive the new award, which recognizes those who help maintain and enhance MIT’s position as a leader in environmentally sustainable practices.

In total, 15 individuals and 4 teams will be honored March 3 at the 2010 MIT Excellence Awards, an annual ceremony to honor staff members who have made extraordinary efforts to fulfill the goals, values, and mission of the Institute.

“Bryt was a strong advocate for reuse and sustainability long before those activities became fashionable,” Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Seth Teller wrote in nominating Bradley for the award. “It’s hard to imagine anyone more conscientious — and more dedicated to greening MIT — than Bryt Bradley.”

According to Teller, Bradley stands out at CSAIL for her ceaseless efforts to convert the culture and make recycling second nature for everyone in the community. She breaks down and organizes shipping materials, tirelessly promotes sustainable practices, and reroutes materials away from the trash and into continued useful life, he said.

Greening MIT is one of six awards this year. The others are Fostering Diversity and Inclusion: maximizing MIT's strengths; Innovative Solutions: collaborating for results; Bringing Out the Best: everyday leadership throughout MIT; Serving the Client: providing consistent and exceptional service; and Unsung Hero: working behind the scenes.

One of the Unsung Hero awardees, Robbie Kuykendall, made a significant contribution to last year’s launch of the community gardens and spearheaded the redesign and planting of the Stata Center gardens. “If ever there was an MIT garden elf, it would have to be Robbie,” Anne Simunovic of the Department of Architecture wrote in her nomination. The whole community garden experiment faced a special challenge, she said, as gardeners found it difficult to supply enough water to rooftop plots with no water access. Then, Kuykendall came to the rescue. “Water barrels miraculously appeared and never went dry,” she said.

Innovative solutions were also found for myriad other problems last year — including some of the enormous challenges presented by the economic crisis. New federal reporting requirements threatened to swamp faculty members and administrators alike with data entry tasks, for example, until an interdepartmental team went into action.

The ARRA Reporting Implementation Team, named for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that specified the requirements, was formed to address this challenge in a systematic way — and the team members’ accomplishments earned them one of this year’s awards for Innovative Solutions. They designed, developed, tested and delivered My ARRA, a user-friendly online system that not only meets the federal requirements, but makes it easy for principle investigators to complete necessary reports.

“Their accomplishment is a model of interdepartmental cooperation and teamwork to solve a very tough but critical problem in a very short time, and to do it in a way that minimizes the work for faculty and staff,” Vice President for Research Claude Canizares wrote in supporting the team’s nomination. “The fact that we had 100 percent compliance within eight days of the closing of the quarter is outstanding.”

The team members are Stephen Dowdy, Amy Holden, Douglas Le Vie, Colleen Leslie, Sabari Nair, Jean Roberge, Susan St. Croix and Carol Wood.

The MIT Excellence Awards ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, in Kresge Auditorium. A reception will follow. All members of the MIT community are invited to attend.

For a complete listing of 2010 award recipients, visit

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