Last Monday 25th of January we had the chance to have a virtual meeting with an MIT student.
Victor is in his second year in college and he’s enrolled in the MISTI program. This week, he has helped students in GEM learn from laboratory work through some practices. We had the opportunity to ask him some questions to get to know him a little better.
What do you know about Spain? What would you like to learn from our culture?
What I know the most about is food, as I had a Spanish friend in high school that told us about tortilla and other popular meals. I have never traveled there but I hopefully will soon, so I can learn their language and be in touch with their culture.
What’s your daily life as an MIT student?
I don’t move around much here at home in Minnesota because of the Covid restrictions. However, back on the campus, my daily schedule would look like getting up and getting ready for the day, attending my first class, and after that doing a break, that I used to do homework or study for tests. Then I’d probably eat lunch in a massive dining hall, in fact, most dorms at MIT campus have their own dining hall. I usually don’t have time to even eat breakfast and after a couple more classes to finish off the day, I might have an activity for the club to do. Afterward, I normally go to my dorm to finish some more work, take a break and go have dinner with some friends. After the meal, I go back to my room to study some more. The next day looks pretty much the same.
Why did you choose to study at MIT?
Because it’s a very inclusive college that welcomes students with all kinds of backgrounds, ideas, and aspirations. It is also an outstanding option for people who want to study the same as me, in my opinion.
Why do you want to study biological engineering?
I’m going to be majoring in biological engineering. I was always interested in it but wasn’t entirely sure what kind of engineering I wanted to get into because there are very different areas to choose from. Then, a few years back I had some medical problems that basically consisted of a disease that messed with the function of my heart. At the time I found out a lot about the different medical devices and medicines that were used in improving my health. This inspired me in using engineering to create medical solutions.
What are your future plans?
After college, I hope to get into a program that allows students to study or teach abroad. I hope to go to Spain and teach there. I also think it would be cool so I can research disease causes and other fields. Someday, I want to get into the industry but we’ll see.
What do you expect to achieve in the future?
I expect to keep doing my research because I think it’s something really cool that I am still very inexperienced in. After medical school I’m not too sure what I’m going to do, honestly, I just want to put my research and knowledge to use.
What initiatives have you and your school put into practice to help solve the global warming and climate change issues?
I myself haven’t taken part in initiatives related to the global warming problem. Anyways, MIT has seminars where students can come up and express their ideas. I know that this is a college that really wants to use ideas for a change technologically wise in keeping the planet safe. I know that they listen to the community of students and faculty. There are also research projects that professors do to reduce climate change.
How many girls are involved in your classes? Do you think anytime soon women will be as involved as men in the engineering, programming, and technological industry in general?
In the program that I’m in, that is allowing me to speak with you today, there aren’t any girls, but at the same time, there are only two other students involved. However, there’s a big organization that I’m a part of that allows students to work with others, where there definitely are girls. At Misti, I’d say there’s a pretty close split. I’d say it’s the same, as it’s quite equal to the number of boys and girls. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said with other colleges and universities in the US. There’s definitely more boys, especially in the tech area. That just shows how MIT looks for different perspectives. I would like to add that you can’t let that discourage you from doing what you enjoy, in fact, that should encourage you to get into it and be the person that shows representation and encourage people to follow behind you. Never let being the small percentage be the reason for losing an opportunity.
I feel like the field is definitely changing. I can only speak for America but compared to twenty years ago there are more women in the technology industry. I think change starts with encouraging yourself to not be afraid of applying and doing what you are interested in. Actually, MIT has the purpose of encouraging girls to nourish their passions, whether they are related to science or technology. One example is a club called “girls can code ”, which is basically where college students can teach middle school students how to code and encourage them to enter and apply to colleges that are technology-based and to not be discouraged for not feeling represented.
What tips would you give to someone that aspires to study in such a good college like MIT?
MIT is hard to get into, but there are strategies. One of them is to present yourself as a person and not like a robot. Many people think that schools like mine want someone that is perfect in every aspect. However, we need to show how we overcome challenges and deal with our weaknesses. To apply to MIT you have to write 5 essays with many different questions. When you write you must keep in mind that you’re trying to show them that you are a person with aspirations and dreams.
In the following video, Abril Dueñas, a 4th of ESO student from GEM, talks about her experience learning from an MIT student and the laboratory activities he prepared: