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The creative "Stata-o'-lantern" honors MIT's iconic Stata Center.
The creative "Stata-o'-lantern" honors MIT's iconic Stata Center.
Photo: Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine

MIT Linguistics has celebrated the Halloween season with an annual pumpkin carving party since 2010, the year that Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine PhD ’14 dazzled his fellow scholars with this Stata-o’-lantern. It was created in the likeness of Building 32, MIT's iconic Ray and Maria Stata Center, designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry and home to the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and more.

“I somehow had the idea of trying to carve the Stata Center,” says Erlewine, now an assistant professor of linguistics at the National University of Singapore. “Of course, this would require a deconstruction of the pumpkin form itself!”

Other notable designs over the years have included a Noam-o’-lantern in the likeness of Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky; a pumpkin sporting the Chinese character for language; and a carving of Professor Norvin Richards with his trademark Davis Square t-shirt.

“I entered the program in 2011 and I think the carving began spontaneously a year before me,” says Snejana Iovtcheva, current PhD student who has organized the annual event since 2013. “It became an MIT Linguistics tradition. We now have also candies, cookies, cakes, too! It is fun for all the students, but especially so for international students who are new to pumpkin carving.”

Submitted by: School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Communications | Photo by: Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine

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