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Diversity and inclusion

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Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Daria Burke spotlights a course by senior lecturer Tara Swart that explores how to create sustainable change in the brain. “New experiences promote neuroplasticity,” says Swart. “Exposing yourself to different kinds of people, new languages, new kinds of food will promote plasticity in your brain because your brain is having to adapt to change.”

The Boston Globe

Shirley McBay, the former dean of student affairs at MIT who directed groundbreaking efforts that improved the future of students of color, has died at 86, reports Bryan Marquard for The Boston Globe. “She was very dedicated to ensuring that as more women and minorities came to MIT, they did well – that they could thrive,” said associate dean of engineering for diversity, equity and inclusion Daniel Hastings. “She, in that sense, had a national impact.”

NPR

NPR’s Ted Radio Hour spotlights the work of Alicia Chong Rodriguez SM ’17, SM ’18, who is trying to address the gaps that exist in women’s health data through a smart bra that can be used to acquire physiological data. Chong’s startup BloomerTech has “built medical-grade textile sensors that can adapt to multiple bra styles and sizes for continuous, reliable and repeatable data all around her torso and her heart.”

New York Times

Shirley McBay, the dean for student affairs at MIT in the 1980s and a leading advocate for diversity in science and math education, has died at age 86, reports Clay Risen for The New York Times. McBay “confronted the challenge of bringing more students from underrepresented minorities into science, technology, engineering and math, both at her university and in higher education broadly.”

GBH

Graduate student Olumakinde “Makinde” Ogunnaike and Josh Sariñana PhD ’11 join Boston Public Radio to discuss The Poetry of Science, an initiative that brought together artists and scientists of color to help translate complex scientific research through art and poetry. “Science is often a very difficult thing to penetrate,” says Sariñana. “I thought poetry would be a great way to translate the really abstract concepts into more of an emotional complexity of who the scientists actually are.”

Popular Science

Writing for Popular Science, Sarah Scoles spotlights DAILy (Developing AI Literacy) initiative, a project by MIT researchers and students aimed at teaching middle schoolers “the technical, creative, and ethical implications of AI, taking them from building PB&Js to totally redesigning YouTube’s recommendation algorithm.”

GBH

Senior Lecturer Renee Richardson Gosline joins GBH’s Basic Black program to discuss ways to increase diversity in STEAM fields, and how to lower barriers and encourage kids of color to pursue STEAM careers. 

WBUR

Erin Genia ‘19 a multidisciplinary artist, has been honored as one of The ARTery 25, which highlights artists of color in the Greater Boston area who stand out for the work they are making, reports WBUR. “Genia, a tribal member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of South Dakota, sees her artistic mission as one of many efforts to make up for the centuries of assimilation and cultural repression.”

Good Morning America

Graduate student Joy Buolamwini speaks with Good Morning America about her work uncovering bias in AI systems and how beauty data can marginalize people of color. “We can’t have social justice without algorithmic justice,” says Buolamwini.

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Greg Toppo spotlights alumna Laila Shabir ‘10, founder of Girls Make Games, a series of summer camps, workshops and game jams aimed at bringing together and empowering young women interested in video games. “The camp not only promotes a message of empowerment for girls, but one that encourages them to think differently about games,” writes Toppo. “Shabir urges campers to ‘think big’ about games and get to the essence of the games they love and why they love them.”

Fast Company

Prof. Dava Newman, director of the MIT Media Lab, speaks with Mark Wilson of Fast Company about her vision for the future of the Media Lab. “We’re going to be a diverse and equitable place, we have to have everyone at the table,” says Newman. “We do have these special talents. We can see solutions in envisioning things that are further out. We are built on literal media and data, so we don’t shy away from any technical challenges.”

Stat

Isabella Cueto, a Cuban American journalist who has worked as a newspaper and radio reporter in Florida, South Carolina, and California, has been named the first recipient of the Sharon Begley-STAT Science Reporting Fellowship, reports STAT. “Named in honor of Begley, an award-winning science writer for STAT who died in January from complications of lung cancer, the fellowship combines a paid reporting position at STAT with an educational component provided through the prestigious Knight Science Journalism program.”

The Guardian

Alumna Emily Calandrelli S.M. ’13 speaks with Guardian reporter Kieran Yates about the need for more diversity in the space sector. Calandrelli notes that the push for greater diversity and inclusion will lead to new ideas and innovations, saying: “I can’t remember feeling as excited about the future of the industry as right now.”

Chronicle of Higher Education

Chris Jones PhD ’16, S.M. ’03, former assistant dean for graduate education at MIT, speaks with Oyin Adedoyin of The Chronicle of Higher Education about his inspiration for running for governor in Arkansas, his time as a student at MIT and his work as part of a team that doubled minority enrollment for MIT’s graduate programs.

Forbes

Graduate student John Urschel speaks with Forbes contributor Talia Milgrom-Elcott about how his mother helped inspire his love of mathematics and the importance of representation. “It’s very hard to dream of being in a career if you can’t relate to anyone who’s actually in that field,” says Urschel. “One of my main goals in life as a mathematician is to increase representation of African American mathematicians.”