A community event at the Media Lab. Photo credit: John Werner.

MAS Ambassadors Program: Reaching out to a more diverse pool of students

MIT Media Lab
Mar 31, 2016 · 8 min read

Caroline Jaffe

Yale University

Ariel Eckblaw (left) and Caroline Jaffe (right).

For me, the MAS program and the Media Lab are incredibly exciting in that they strike an unusual balance between academia and industry, and allow a tremendous amount of creative freedom.

Ariel Ekblaw, another first-year master’s student, and I went to Yale to speak about the MAS program. As recent Yale alums, we have maintained connections to several on-campus organizations. In particular, we were both involved with different groups for women in STEM, and were excited to share our MAS experience with these groups. I think many Yale graduates would be a great fit for the MAS program given the strong connection between work at the Lab and liberal arts education. However, it is not a particularly well-known program at Yale; part of our intent was to raise awareness and excitement about the opportunities at the Media Lab.


Laura Perovich

Bowdoin College

The Bowdoin College campus. Photo by Laura Perovich.

I had many great mentors and classmates along the way, but I also missed having female role models and collaborators.

I started my visit with lunch with Bowdoin’s Women in Computer Science group, advised by faculty member Dr. Laura Toma. There were about 10 students at the lunch — roughly an order of magnitude increase from the number of female computer science majors I remember from my time as an undergrad! Many of them had interesting double majors: computer science and English, computer science and religion. As a math and religion double major, I could certainly relate — and many Media Lab students have a similar range of interests built into our backgrounds.


Niaja Farve

University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and Morgan State University

Niaja Farve presenting on her research.

Most students were not aware of the MAS program and all of the spinoff companies and technologies that have come out of the Lab.

I found the experience encouraging, and think that these efforts could yield significant results for our community. It’s great to see the Media Lab identifying issues that exist and making the efforts to fix them. The biggest takeaway for me is that there are lots of students that don’t fit the typical mold and would love the chance to conduct research here. Unfortunately, many do not know it exists or where to begin to prepare themselves for applying. A small amount of time from individuals in MAS could drastically impact these students and make the Lab a more diverse and inclusive place.


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Ideas and goings-on from the Media Lab community. Learn more at www.media.mit.edu

MIT MEDIA LAB

News, ideas, and goings-on from the Media Lab community