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GBH

GBH reporter Megan Smith spotlights how the Educational Justice Institute at MIT, which offers learning programs to incarcerated individuals, was able to expand its reach through a new virtual platform that allows for real-time interaction, and provides an opportunity to bring together students from different facilities and local universities. “I really enjoy the humanity in the course because over a period of time you realize — it’s not about ‘inside’ students or ‘outside’ students, really,” said Mackenzie Kelley, a student in the program. “It’s just, we’re all human and we all make mistakes.”

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. 

Boston Globe

Rebekah Huang, a seven-year-old from Belmont who participated in a program sponsored by the Lemelson-MIT program aimed at teaching children about innovation, took second place for her age group at a global invention competition for her device that keeps chairs from tipping over, reports Diana Bravo for The Boston Globe. “You can buy special types of chairs that don’t tip over easily, but my suction holder string can be put around any chair you already have at home,” says Huang. “So my invention is much more convenient.”

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.”

Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Laura Krantz reports that edX will be transferred to the education technology company 2U, and proceeds from the transaction will be used by a nonprofit aimed at addressing education inequalities and reimagining the future of learning.

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Melissa Korn writes that 2U, an education technology company, will acquire edX for $800 million. The proceeds flow to a new nonprofit, led by MIT and Harvard, which will “focus on reducing inequalities in access to education. It will maintain the open-access course platform built by edX, research online and hybrid-learning models, and work to minimize the digital divide that still serves as a barrier for many younger students and adults,” writes Korn. 

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.”

The Boston Globe

President L. Rafael Reif has been named to the board of the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, reports Jon Chesto for The Boston Globe. “Reif is expected to focus in particular on the Partnership’s “Growing the Innovation Economy” committee, whose goals include enhancing science, math, and computer education in public schools in Massachusetts,” writes Chesto.

Inside Higher Ed

In an article for Inside Higher Ed, Joshua Kim writes that “Grasp: The Science Transforming How We Learn,” a book by Sanjay Sarma, MIT’s vice president for open learning, and research associate Luke Yoquinto is “an important contribution to the literature on learning science and higher education change.” Kim adds that “Grasp can provide the foundations of what learning science-informed teaching might look like, with some fantastic real-world examples of constructivist theory in pedagogical action.”

Diverse: Issues in Higher Ed

Cherish Taylor, a fifth-year PhD student at the University of Texas at Austin, speaks with Pearl Stewart of Diverse: Issues in Higher Ed about how the MIT Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES) program, “exposed me to the possibility of a career in academic research. Prior to my time at MITES, having a career in science meant serving as a medical professional or forensic analyst,” says Taylor. “I had no idea universities housed large research facilities that allowed scientists to answer questions about basic science (and) human disease.”

Education Week

Graduate student John Urschel speaks with Education Week reporter Kevin Bushweller about his work aimed at encouraging more students of color to pursue studies in the STEM fields, particularly math. “What really matters is resources, what really matters is how much a child is nurtured and fed things,” says Urschel. “This is just my opinion, but I would say that, by and large, if I had to choose between giving a child a little bit more innate math talent or a little bit more resources, I think, really, resources is what is a very good and bigger predictor [of future success].”