MIT’s departments, labs, and centers celebrate the holidays

Amid closing exams and year-end analysis crunches, that is additionally the time of yr when many within the MIT group take time to have some enjoyable and categorical gratitude for the people who make their work doable. Every year throughout the Institute, group members collect for vacation events and socializing in a extra relaxed atmosphere than the lab or classroom.

Throughout MIT’s 5 colleges and the Schwarzman Faculty of Computing, most departments, labs, and facilities have festivities of some kind, from gatherings of Sloanies to vacation events within the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Science. Beneath we’ve highlighted only a few of the extra distinctive traditions that some teams must mark the tip of a busy semester.

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Division of Structure

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Forward of the semester’s closing evaluation, the Division of Structure shocked its first-year graduate college students with a hands-on problem to rethink the design of a gingerbread home, offering everybody with sweet-smelling homes and the instruments to deconstruct them.

“We’re giving them some alternatives to destress,” Affiliate Professor William O’Brien Jr. stated, noting the division did one thing related with a pumpkin carving contest in October. “Being someplace new throughout the semester, issues can get traumatic.”

The problem made for a chaotic scene in room 7-432 as instructing assistants, fellows, instructors, and college students obtained their arms soiled — and sticky — within the quest to create a extra inclusive gingerbread construction.

“It’s superior to have a non-hierarchical social setting, whereas ordinarily college students are presenting and we’re giving suggestions,” O’Brien Jr. stated.

The scholars agreed.

“It’s spectacularly enjoyable,” stated graduate pupil Mateo Fernandez, who’s new to the USA and had by no means seen a gingerbread home earlier than. “It’s a pleasant aid from the whole lot we’re normally doing. It additionally helps us get to know one another outdoors of the intense tutorial atmosphere, and helps us study to work collectively.”

Division of Chemical Engineering

Two students are holding up signs in front of an auditorium of students. Behind them is a screen with projected image of football players.

College students rally the viewers throughout this yr’s chemical engineering pupil skits, that are a part of the division’s annual vacation celebration.

Picture: Courtesy of MIT’s Dept. of Chemical Engineering

For so long as anybody can bear in mind, the chemical engineering division’s vacation celebration has begun with elaborate skits by college students, college, and typically workers, that humorously depict college members, programs, and present occasions.

Institute Professor and division head Paula Hammond describes them as “drama ensembles of types, typically with a number of acts — and plenty of inside jokes.”

“We use the skits as an opportunity to lampoon ourselves,” says Hammond, who participated as a pupil within the division within the Eighties. “College will get lampooned greater than anybody, however that’s the spirit of the entire thing.”

Through the years the skits have moved extra to video format, however the one fixed is an outline of school, typically by college students with becoming outfits and spot-on impressions. Hammond says the coed skits are all the time higher than the college skits.

“College students who spend a complete semester watching a school member know precisely how they write erratically on the chalkboard, or ramble off into tales from the outdated days, or get overexcited about an integral,” Hammond says.

Hammond says college members take into account it an honor to be roasted by college students, and remembers one college member upset after not getting riffed on sufficient within the annual custom. She additionally says it’s a good way for college students to inform their tales and construct empathy.

“It’s enjoyable to chuckle and wink at college members and share the coed perspective,” Hammond says. “What makes you chuckle is the on a regular basis, uncommon little issues about all of us that make us human. It acknowledges that the college aren’t superpowers. They’re common individuals with their very own little flaws. That’s comforting.”

Division of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

Three ornaments are pictured: a globe ornament, a sunflower ornament of Professor Robert van der Hilst and an ornament with an illustration of the EAPS building.

The successful ornaments within the EAPS decoration adorning competitors. The center sunflower decoration options Professor and division head Robert van der Hilst.

Picture: Courtesy of MIT EAPS

In one other longstanding custom, annually the Division of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science has a celebration in early December the place college, workers, and college students get collectively and create their very own ornaments to hold on a division tree. This yr’s occasion doubled as an ice cream social.

Members of the division admire the tree for every week, and everyone votes on their favourite decoration on the ensuing vacation celebration. The three prime winners get a prize.

“It brings everybody collectively,” says administrative assistant Madelyn Musick, who purchased paint, glitter, and different festive decorations for this yr’s occasion. “It provides everybody a break from their analysis to do one thing enjoyable that’s enjoyable however that additionally encourages creativity.”

Surendranath Lab

2 people cut cookie dough and lay out crescent-shaped cookies on a cookie sheet.

Graduate college students within the lab of affiliate professor of chemistry Yogesh Surendranath work on the vacation cookies they gave to workers members and others that make their work doable all yr.

Picture: Courtesy of the Surendranath Group

Researchers within the lab of affiliate professor of chemistry Yogesh Surendranath are used to mixing components and catalyzing reactions. However across the holidays, they direct their skills to a extra tasty type of chemical processing.

Every year, graduate college students and postdocs collect to make cookies and different baked items for the workers members that make their work doable.

The vacations additionally occur to be the time when first-year graduate college students be part of the lab, so it doubles as a enjoyable technique to get to know their fellow researchers outdoors of the lab setting.

“We spend a variety of time right here. It’s not only a regular 9-5 job, and so it’s all the time good to have a superb relationship outdoors of labor,” graduate pupil Bryan Yuk-Wah Tang says. “It’s one thing I actually respect about our lab.”

This yr, the occasion came about at a pupil’s home and culminated in a vacation celebration the place the scholars distributed the products together with playing cards expressing thanks.

“It’s a superb alternative to thank everyone who works arduous and goes out of their technique to help us,” Tang says. “Loads of workers members at MIT go above and past. It’s nice to have this group, and we love to point out our appreciation for that.”

Professor Laurie Boyer’s Lab

9 people, including Laurie Boyer, smile for a group photo, with 3 pixelated-style artworks in background.

Members of the lab of Laurie Boyer, a professor of biology and organic engineering, posed for an image throughout their vacation gathering at a brand new minigolf venue within the Seaport District.

Picture: Courtesy of the Boyer Lab

Laurie Boyer, a professor of biology and organic engineering, took her lab group — graduate college students, analysis workers, and undergraduates — to a brand new minigolf venue within the Seaport District to mark the tip of the semester. The group additionally obtained dinner collectively and explored an out of doors market close by. Highlights included a number of unbelievable hole-in-ones (nobody within the group thought-about themselves minigolf specialists earlier than the outing) and a few much-needed scorching chocolate on the outside market.

“I feel it builds group,” says Catherine Della Santina, a PhD pupil in Boyer’s lab. “We see one another on daily basis, however we largely speak about science. As a substitute, we talked about stuff just like the summer season camps we went to rising up, which you won’t point out while you’re inoculating cells or doing protocol prep. You get to know individuals higher.”

Della Santina additionally stated the outing offered a year-end refresher.

“It will get individuals excited to come back again after the break,” she says.


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