Why do I wish to be Vice-President of Academics? Because this is an area I strongly care about. All of us at MIT are here primarily because of our academic inclination. But academics is more than what we learn in the classroom and the research we do in our labs. It involves talking to friends and learning from each other, be it about courses, research, startups, or simply about grad life. Through events such as Insider’s guide to EECS, Thesis and RQE Panels, we aim to create a supportive environment for academics, where current students can learn from the experiences of their older peers. Through the Startup Panel, students get a chance to learn from alumni about the exciting world of startups. Through the GSA faculty dinners, students get an opportunity to closely interact with MIT professors, and also gain a first-hand account of faculty life.
In my role as VP of Academics, I shall continue the above events which have all been very successful. I would like to revamp the research support dinners, which have been moderate successes. Possibly, I may introduce “themed” research dinners catering to a particular research lab, and rotate the theme to cater to different groups. I would also try to hold Tech Talks next year, which did not go through this year due to a lack of interested companies. In addition, I would have more mixers to give students an opportunity to interact with other departments, as well as within the same department. As a specific event idea: I really enjoyed Prof. Gallager’s talk on “How to be a good researcher” as part of his recent Boole-Shannon lecture. I would like to invite him (or another senior professor) to give such a talk on behalf of the GSA.
As for my previous experience, I have been an Academic Chair for the GSA over the past year. My major work was organizing two key events viz. the Thesis Writing Panel in the Spring term, and the Startup Panel in the current term. Both events involved a fair bit of work, and turned out to be successful. I have also done organizational work as an undergrad, having been the convener of a Science Club. I believe that with my experience, I can guide my chairs to do their work efficiently. If elected, I will do my best to serve the GSA community.