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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].”

Smithsonian Magazine

Two high school students and their mentor, MIT postdoc Tansu Daylan, have discovered four new exoplanets located about 200 light years from Earth, reports Nora McGreevy for Smithsonian. The students were participating in the Student Research Mentoring Program, which pairs young astronomers with scientists at MIT and Harvard. “[The students] are so good at finding things that may skip your eyes, basically. It’s fun. And I really like the exchange of ideas,” Daylan adds. 

Mashable

Mashable spotlights how two high school students, who were part of Student Research Mentoring Program (SRMP) at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and MIT, have discovered four new exoplanets. “Both the students took guidance from mentor Tansu Daylan, a postdoc at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, and helped the students study and analyze data from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).” 

EdSurge

Vice President for Open Leaning Sanjay Sarma speaks with Jeffrey Young of EdSurge about how the brain works when understanding new concepts. "I question a lot of the structures and dogmas in education that are very closely held, but not necessarily based on science,” says Sarma. “And if we have the courage to reexamine these assumptions and reconstitute education, there's an incredible opportunity to change the game.”

Popular Mechanics

Graduate student David Berardo has demonstrated how science enthusiasts can measure the speed of light at home using a bar of chocolate and the microwave, reports Caroline Delbert for Popular Mechanics. After microwaving the chocolate for about 20 seconds, “what you’ll see is a specific pattern of melting that shows the wavelength of the microwaves that power your oven.”

The Boston Globe

State officials and MIT kicked off the 2020 virtual STEM week with a focus on the power of mentoring. The effort, reports Travis Anderson for The Boston Globe, is aimed at increasing interest in and awareness of STEM fields and career opportunities for all students. In opening remarks, Governor Charlie Baker noted that “Massachusetts is enormously lucky to have MIT among the constellation of amazing colleges and universities that are part of this Commonwealth.”

CNN

CNN reporter Christine Walker spotlights the MIT App Inventor 2020 virtual hackathon, which allowed aspiring coders from all over the world to create apps aimed at improving the global good. “There was a sense of helplessness that was settling down. And a big theme in our workplace is empowerment," says Selim Tezel, a curriculum developer for App Inventor. "We wanted to give them a context in which they could be creative and sort of get rid of that feeling of helplessness."

ESPN

Graduate student John Urschel speaks with Jamison Hensley of ESPN about his efforts aimed at empowering and encouraging more Black students to pursue careers in STEM fields. “Now more than ever, it’s really important that we highlight some of the diverse areas of mathematics that don’t typically get seen every day,” says Urschel.