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Diversity and inclusion

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Times Higher Education

Writing for Times Higher Ed, Prof. Carlo Ratti makes the case that in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action, big data and analytics could “help admissions officers quantitatively capture the kinds of disadvantages applicants face and the kinds of diversity they may represent.”

Forbes

Lynette Seow MBA ’23 co-founded Safe Space Singapore, a B2B2C platform aimed at strengthening “mental resilience by providing tele-therapy care and prevention education,” reports Matt Symonds for Forbes. “Ultimately, I figured that if I wanted to build a Safe Space for people to come to, I had to be one to the people I met,” shares Seow. “If improving mental health is my mission, and a disproportionate percentage of LGBTQ+ people experience mental health struggles, how could I ignore drawing attention to this cause even if it meant being a bit more public about my personal life?"

Al Jazeera

Chancellor Melissa Nobles discusses challenges facing higher education, touching on the importance of diversity, inclusion, and affordability in higher learning, as well as her research on race and politics. Nobles notes that MIT’s signature ability is “to foster excellence in fundamental research and education and then to use that research and education to help tackle the world’s toughest problems. Our success rests crucially on our people. We support, we welcome, and we collaborate with some of the best faculty and staff around the world. And, of course, we attract the best students.”

The Boston Globe

The MIT List Visual Arts Center is offering free admission on Juneteenth for visitors to view three exhibits, reports Abigail Lee for The Boston Globe. “In the exhibitions, New York-based Alison Nguyen explores the cultural effects of cinematic storytelling, Philadelphia-based Lex Brown combines social issues and satiristic humor, and Berlin-based Sung Tieu uses different spatial configurations to reflect political questions,” writes Lee.

Science

Sylvester James Gates Jr. ’73, PhD ’77 makes the case that “diverse learning environments expose students to a broader range of perspectives, enhance education, and inculcate creativity and innovative habits of mind. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) demand creativity—their research needs diverse thinking. This can be enhanced with equitable opportunities for all populations to participate in all institutions of higher education. My own life experience attests to this need.”

Axios

As part of an effort to address racism and discrimination, MIT researchers have developed a new VR role-playing project, dubbed “On the Plane,” writes Axios reporter Russell Contreras. "Our hope is that (players) move away from the experience with an understanding of how xenophobia and other forms of discrimination may play out in everyday life situations," explains CSAIL Research Scientist Caglar Yildirim.

The Washington Post

Prof. Anna Stansbury and her colleagues have found that economics PhD recipients are more likely to have a parent with a graduate degree, reports Andrew Van Dam for The Washington Post. “This study is one of the first to describe academia’s struggles with economic diversity, but its racial diversity issues have been well documented,” explains Van Dam. “They’re particularly pronounced in economics, which has fewer underrepresented minorities among its PhD graduates (about 6 percent) than any other major field.”

Nature

Principal Research Scientist Leo Anthony Celi co-authored a study that found “a lack of racial and gender diversity could be hindering the efforts of researchers working to improve the fairness of artificial intelligence (AI) tools in health care,” reports Carissa Wong for Nature.

Times Higher Education

President Sally Kornbluth discusses the importance of seeing more women in leadership positions, noting that universities that tap into the full range of human potential are the ones most likely to elevate the most important questions, and to bring the best minds and talents to answering them. Kornbluth notes that having more women in leadership is “exciting, both for the talent and perspective they bring, and because, as role models, they can help broaden the pool of who can imagine themselves in our classrooms and in our laboratories." 

Nature

Nature highlights the Rising Stars program at MIT, which “offers mentoring and support for researchers from historically marginalized or under-represented groups, as they move through their careers.” Nature notes that the program stems from Prof. Emerita Nancy Hopkins’ advocacy for gender equality in academic.

Boston Magazine

Nicole Obi MCP ’95, SM ’95, head of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, speaks with Boston Magazine reporter Jonathan Soroff about how Massachusetts can level the playing field for entrepreneurs. “We’re at this point of racial awakening, and a lot of people might not be comfortable with it, but they get it,” says Obi. “Being in this moment makes me really excited to be part of the solution and to create a more equitable future for Massachusetts.”

Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Joy Buolamwini PhD ’22 has been named one of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education’s Top Women for 2023 for her work in developing “more equitable and accountable technology.” Buolamwini “uncovered racial and gender bias in AI services from high profile companies such as Microsoft, IBM and Amazon. Now a sought-after international speaker, Buolamwini continues to advocate for algorithmic justice,” writes Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

ABC News

Prof. Emerita Nancy Hopkins speaks with ABC News about her work advocating for gender equality in academia and "The Exceptions: Nancy Hopkins, MIT, and the Fight for Women in Science,” a new book by Kate Zernike, a journalist who originally covered Hopkins’ efforts for The Boston Globe. Hopkins notes that when Zernike’s article was published, “this deluge happened. I mean, it was just overwhelming. And women were writing from all over the country and the world and saying, thank you. Thank you for telling the story. It's my story.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Amelia Hemphill spotlights the work of Alicia Chong Rodriguez SM ’17, SM ’18, and her startup Bloomer Tech, which is “dedicated to transforming women’s underwear into a healthcare device.” “Our big goal is to generate digital biomarkers,” says Chong Rodriguez. “Digital biomarkers work more like a video, so it will definitely allow a more personalized care from the physician to their patient.”