I am joining MIT Media Lab, a hotbed of creativity

So, very soon I will be forging a new chapter and joining the coolest workplace in the world.

I have been recently accepted as a graduate student in the Lifelong Kindergarten (LLK) group at the MIT Media Lab for Masters program in Media Arts and Sciences with a full Research Assistantship. During the course of this study, Philipp Schmidt, P2PU executive director will serve as my research advisor and Mitchel Resnick, LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research as my supervisor.

Two years back, while working on my Google Summer of Code project for GCompris (an educational software) with GNOME, I discovered that my true passion lies in learning sciences and technologies and software development that takes into consideration the need of elementary learners. Moreover, my undergraduate project work was related to the same field too. This was when my friend suggested me to apply to Lifelong Kindergarten group at the Media Lab. Getting into the lab became a distant dream for me then.

I applied for the Masters program last year i.e in December 2012. My happiness knew no limits when I received an email from Philipp expressing interest in my application and for scheduling an interview call to learn more about my work and interests. During the interview process, I got the opportunity to speak with Philipp, Mitchel, Natalie Rusk, Ricarose Roque and Sayamindu Dasgupta. It was truly one of the most enriching experiences I have ever had.

LLK develops new technologies to engage people in creative learning and envisions a world full of playfully creative people, who are constantly inventing new possibilities for themselves and their communities. Some of the group projects, that I admire the most are Scratch, Open Learning, Computer Clubhouse and LEGO WeDo. In the group, I will be working with Philipp on an open learning project which focuses on learning for everyone, by everyone. The Open Learning project builds online learning communities that work like the web: peer-to-peer, loosely joined and open. I aspire to work with the group on linking technology to learning objectives for driving a pedagogical change.

I would like to thank Marina Zhurakhinskaya, Bruno Coudoin, Prashanth Udupa and Prof Sanjay Prakash Ranga (who is no more in this world to hear this great news :( ) for being so supportive during the entire application process and making timely submission of recommendation letters. Also, this wouldn’t have been possible without the inspirational research and helpful advice of two of my closest friends Paras Kuhad and Vivek Anand.

Life will take on a new chapter in the upcoming weeks. I will be flying to Boston to embark on a 20-hour long flight. I have already left Bangalore, a place where I made my strongest friendships, lost few, grew mature and wiser. And finally, I will leave behind all I’ve known in India for a completely different lifestyle to renew myself as a student. It’s exciting, scary and overwhelming all in one, but I am ready. My goodbyes are in a queue. Looking forward to joining MIT as a graduate student, adding to the productive nature of research whilst enriching my knowledge.


Originally published at srishakatux.tumblr.com.