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Mentorship Programs for Underrepresented Applicants Strive to Increase Graduate Diversity at MIT

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Graduate students from a range of departments and programs at MIT have launched application assistance programs targeting student applicants from underrepresented backgrounds. 

The Graduate Application Assistance Programs (GAAPs) are run by volunteer graduate students and recent alumni dedicated to increasing diversity in their programs. Last year, GAAP mentors reached out to as many as 1,000 MIT applicants from underrepresented backgrounds, applicants who identified as LGBTQ+, and those with non-traditional academic backgrounds. 

“Over the past two years, GAAPs have seen rapid growth, not only across graduate departments but also in the number of prospective students served,” notes Noelle Wakefield, assistant director of the MIT Summer Research Program and Diversity Initiatives in the Office of Graduate Education.

Applicants and their mentors work closely together through the fall semester to refine key application materials, such as personal and research statements, in order to improve the graduate school application experience and outcomes. As the application deadline approaches, GAAPs also offer webinars and other group interactions to help participants put the finishing touches on their application materials.

“GAAP programs are a great first step toward providing the mentorship necessary for students to feel empowered and confident about their graduate admissions journey — particularly those historically underrepresented in graduate education,” says Wakefield. 

The lack of diversity among graduate students has been a persistent problem at MIT and other institutions for many years. Of the 6,893 enrolled graduate students at MIT, only 946 are from underrepresented groups and only 2,578 are women, according to the MIT Registrar

“Promoting diversity and equity at MIT means supporting underrepresented individuals during the application process,” says Mason Ng, a GAAP organizer in physics. GAAP organizers are motivated to make sure that all underrepresented applicants have access to the resources they need during their application journey. “While we desire GAAP participants to join MIT, we want all participants to thrive and to be scientifically productive in a doctoral program, no matter where they end up,” Ng says.

Mentors in GAAP who are current doctoral students or recent alumni at MIT are given comprehensive training by experts from their respective departments. They are also coached by the School of Engineering Communication Lab and faculty members on their department’s Graduate Admissions Committee. 

“During my graduate school application, I was fortunate to receive feedback from several advisors and friends who had gone through the process,” says Viraat Goel, a GAAP organizer and mentor in biological engineering.  “This guidance was essential, and helped me express my research interests better.” 

After the application cycle was over, Goel’s mentee shared that they found it very valuable to hear about the department, get feedback on application materials, and generally discuss graduate school with a current graduate student. This experience is not unique. “The impact on prospective students is a real testament to the dedication of the student volunteers,” praises Wakefield.

GAAP programs are continually collecting data to understand their impacts and strategizing how best to improve outreach to underrepresented students. In addition, GAAP programs receive support from the Office of Graduate Education, School of Engineering Communication Lab, Institute Community & Equity Office, and General Counsel. 

“I think GAAP is a great resource for departments seeking to increase the number of underrepresented applicants,” says Michael Liu Happ, a GAAP organizer in brain and cognitive sciences. “Mentors not only help applicants express themselves in the best way possible, but also try to share the tacit practical knowledge involved in the application process.”

Eligible applicants can sign up for the GAAP programs of the departments to which they wish to apply.

Original Source: news.mit.edu

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Ham Radio Gets Brain Transplant

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Old radios didn’t have much in the way of smarts. But as digital synthesis became more common, radios often had as much digital electronics in them as RF circuits. The problem is that digital electronics get better and better every year, so what looked like high-tech one year is quaint the next. [IMSAI Guy] had an Icom IC-245 and decided to replace the digital electronics inside with — among other things — an Arduino.

He spends a good bit of the first part of the video that you can see below explaining what the design needs to do. An Arduino Nano fits and he uses a few additional parts to get shift registers, a 0-1V digital to analog converter, and an interface to an OLED display.

Unless you have this exact radio, you probably won’t be able to directly apply this project. Still, it is great to look over someone’s shoulder while they design something like this, especially when they explain their reasoning as they go.

The PCB, of course, has to be exactly the same size as the board it replaces, including mounting holes and interface connectors. It looks like he got it right the first time which isn’t always easy. Does it work? We don’t know by the end of the first video. You’ll have to watch the next one (also below) where he actually populates the PCB and tests everything out.

Source: hackaday.com

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Researchers Use Nanoparticles to Kill Dangerous Bacteria That Hide Inside Human Cells

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Researchers from the University of Southampton, working with colleagues at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), have developed a new technology based on nanoparticles…

The post Researchers Use Nanoparticles To Kill Dangerous Bacteria That Hide Inside Human Cells appeared first on SciTechDaily.

Source: scitechdaily.com

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The Unofficial Guide to (Avoiding) Electrocution

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If you’re reading this sentence, there’s a pretty good chance that you interact with electricity more than just as an end-user. You’re a hacker. You aren’t afraid of a few volts, and your projects may involve both DC and AC voltage. Depending on what you’re working on, you might even be dealing with several thousand volts. And it’s you who Big Clive made the video below the break for.

“Familiarity breeds contempt” as the old saying goes, and the more familiar we are with electronics, the more cavalier we may tend to get. If we allow ourselves to get too lax, we may be found working on live circuits, skimping on safety for the sake of convenience, or jokingly saying “safety third!” far too often as we tear into a hazardous situation without scoping it out first.

Who better to bring us down to earth than Big Clive. In this video, he explains how electricity has the potential to impede the beating of our hearts, the action of our lungs, and even break bones. You’ll find a candid discussion about what electric shock does to a person, how to avoid it, and how to help if someone near you suffers electric shock.

Of course, if safety isn’t your thing, then maybe you’re ready to Shake Hands With Danger.

Original Article: hackaday.com

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