Phi Beta Kappa Students 2010

  1. Chris Cheng has found his passion in EECS is computer graphics. Read more below!
    Chris Cheng has found his passion in EECS is computer graphics. Read more below!
  2. Greg Durrett, originally from Ithaca, NY, majored in 6-3 and 18, and minored in 21M. Read more below!
    Greg Durrett, originally from Ithaca, NY, majored in 6-3 and 18, and minored in 21M. Read more below!
  3. Ylaine Gerardin, from State College, Pennsylvania is getting double degrees in Course 6-1 and Course 7. Read more below!
    Ylaine Gerardin, from State College, Pennsylvania is getting double degrees in Course 6-1 and Course 7. Read more below!
  4. Cai Gogwilt  I'm staying at MIT for an MEng with MTL, the Microsystems Technology Lab. Read more below!
    Cai Gogwilt I'm staying at MIT for an MEng with MTL, the Microsystems Technology Lab. Read more below!
  5. Praveen Subramani:  I’m passionate about using my engineering background to address some of the major challenges facing today’s cities. Read more below.
    Praveen Subramani: I’m passionate about using my engineering background to address some of the major challenges facing today’s cities. Read more below.
  6. Mason Tang: One of the EECS moments that really stands out in my mind was this past January when I competed in MASLAB with three friends from my floor. Read more below!
    Mason Tang: One of the EECS moments that really stands out in my mind was this past January when I competed in MASLAB with three friends from my floor. Read more below!
  7. Angela Yen: During this past Spring semester, I started to work on my M. Eng. with Prof. Manolis Kellis in the Computational Biology group in CSAIL.  Read more below!
    Angela Yen: During this past Spring semester, I started to work on my M. Eng. with Prof. Manolis Kellis in the Computational Biology group in CSAIL. Read more below!
  8. Yufei Zhao: Perhaps it was 6.046 that drew me to the EECS department. Read more below!
    Yufei Zhao: Perhaps it was 6.046 that drew me to the EECS department. Read more below!

The Department celebrates its latest crop of Phi Beta Kappa scholars!

The Xi Chapter (Massachusetts) of Phi Beta Kappa has voted to elect 80 students to membership in the Society (less than 10% of the graduating class) in recognition of their superlative academic achievement and the depth of their commitment to the objectives of a liberal arts and science education. Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest academic honorary society in this country, founded in 1776. It continues to honor the nation’s most outstanding undergraduate students for excellence in the liberal arts and sciences.

Read each student’s statement about his/her EECS experience below–also individually pictured in the slideshow above.

Congratulations as well to other EECS phi beta kappa winners: Wesley Brown, Wesley Graybill, Sonia Jin, Martyna Jozwiak, Yi Hong Kuo, Tony Liu, Rajeev Nayak, Qingchun Ren, Nevada Sanchez, Jongu Shin, Jason Trigg, Harley Zhang

Chris Cheng

“Out of many memorable EECS experiences that I have had, the one that will stand out the most was during 6.837, Computer Graphics, the class that kindled my area of focus for research and careers. The most memorable project is the physical animation project, which involved using physics and computer graphics techniques to simulate a piece of cloth. Being able to program cutting-edge 3D simulations fascinated me to the point where the project felt completely fun, and didn’t feel like work at all. For the first time I felt that I found my passion, and I understood more about what I wanted to pursue later in life.

For the summer after I graduate with a Bachelor’s degree, I’m going to Microsoft for a summer internship where I hope to gain more work experience and further my career as a computer scientist and software engineer. Afterwards, I’m continuing my education for one more year to pursue my Master’s of Engineering degree. After that, I hope to head out into industry where I can use my passion for computer graphics and software engineering to help develop cutting-edge technologies and give back to the community.”

Greg Durrett

Greg, originally from Ithaca, NY, is majoring in 6-3 and 18 minoring in 21M.

“EECS at MIT has been a wonderful major throughout my undergraduate career, and I have been singularly impressed by the breadth of courses offered and the quality of instruction in the department. However, above all, my most rewarding and memorable experience has been my UROP for the past year and a half with Una-May O’Reilly as part of the Evolutionary Design and Optimization Group. She has given me a great deal of independence in pursuing projects with her, so I have seen firsthand the struggles and triumphs of the research process, which continue to assure me that my decision to go to graduate school was the right one. The opportunity to participate in research like this was one of the main factors in my decision to attend MIT, and I can confidently say that I have never regretted that decision!

In the fall, I’ll be starting a PhD at UC Berkeley, to do research in machine learning.”

Ylaine Gerardin

Ylaine is from State College, Pennsylvania and getting double degrees in Course 6-1 and Course 7.

“I was certain I would be just a biology major until my UROP mentor, Professor Joel Voldman, encouraged me to take 6.003 fall of my junior year. Learning about feedback, control systems, and frequency domain analysis made me feel like I had been missing out on a fascinating way of looking at the world. I joined EECS last spring and haven’t looked back.

This fall, I’m staying in Boston and starting the Systems Biology graduate program at Harvard. I hope to be able to apply the mathematical methods developed for electrical engineering towards analyzing complex biological systems.”

Cai Gogwilt

“I’ve had many incredible EECS experiences. The lectures I’ve enjoyed the most have been with Prof. Demaine (6.046 and 6.851). The classes themselves I found extremely difficult, but learning to think like that was amazing. I would highly recommend that anyone with the slightest interest in websites take 6.470, though. The students who taught it in IAP 2010 were incredibly devoted and did a great job teaching the material. Working on the project for that class was difficult, time-consuming, exhausting, and intense, but the satisfaction of seeing the finished product was more than worth it.

I’m staying at MIT for an MEng with MTL, the Microsystems Technology Lab. My research will be in simulating nano-imprinting. I think it’s a great way to tie together what I’ve learned at MIT from electrical engineering, computer science, and physics. After graduating with an MEng, though, I’m not sure what to do next. I’m constantly in search of some place to tie together all of my passions. Aside from EECS, math, and physics, I love cello, cartooning, and reading. The only place I’ve found that lets me pursue all of them is MIT.”

Praveen Subramani

“I’m a senior year undergraduate student from San Diego, CA studying electrical engineering and urban design & planning here at MIT. Within electrical engineering, I’ve focused mainly on applied electromagnetics, analog circuit design, and am now moving more towards power electronics. My undergraduate years at MIT have been incredible – the range of unique opportunities to put science and technology into action is mind-blowing. The professors in EECS are always encouraging students to take their engineering skills out of the classroom and apply them to meaningful projects.

Some of my best experiences in the department have been through the HKN student tutoring program. As a sophomore, I took advantage of extra help from upperclassmen in intro EE courses and as a junior and senior, I’ve had a chance to teach other students while improving my own knowledge of core subjects. The program is very rewarding and we’re very lucky to have it sponsored by the department.

I’m passionate about using my engineering background to address some of the major challenge facing today’s cities, especially transportation and urban congestion. After spending the summer interning with the Mac Hardware Engineering team at Apple, I will be continuing as a Master’s student with the Smart Cities group at the MIT Media Lab. I’ll be focusing on developing the battery system and electric charging infrastructure for the City Car, a lightweight, two-passenger, foldable electric vehicle designed for use in dense urban environments. Working with the Smart Cities group will give me the opportunity to combine my EECS experience with urban planning and innovative product design, so I’m very excited to join the team next year.”

Mason Tang

“I’m currently a senior in VI-3 from Shrewsbury, MA. One of the EECS moments that really stands out in my mind was this past January when I competed in MASLAB with three friends from my floor at Burton-Conner. We spent countless hours working on the code and the robot, and there were sometimes moments when all of us were a little tired of being focused and productive. One night, we were joking around about pointless features to add to our robot. I made the bold assertion that I could make our robot update a Twitter feed as it scored points in under 20 minutes. A few third-party libraries and 20 minutes later, our robot was happily tweeting away as it drove around our dorm hallways.

I’ll be interning this summer at Google in Mountain View, CA and working on Calendar for Android, then returning in the fall for my MEng.”

Angela Yen

“When I first arrived at MIT, I was planning on majoring in something related to Bioengineering – first, I was Course 20, and then Course 10B. However, during my freshman Spring term, I decided to take 6.001 (the first Course 6 class in the old curriculum) out of curiosity. The projects in 6.001 were tough and extremely time-consuming, but they were also captivating – that semester, I would often find myself working on a 6.001 project that wasn’t due for another week, even if I had a 5.12 pset due the next day. The sense of pride and excitement I would get for each small triumph – fixing a bug, implementing another feature – was so addicting that I decided that I had to switch to Course 6 by the end of the semester, and I’ve never looked back. I am originally from State College, PA, and I am Course 6-3.

During this past Spring semester, I started to work on my M. Eng. with Prof. Manolis Kellis in the Computational Biology group in CSAIL. My focus is on epigenomics, the study of how gene activity and expression can be influenced by things other than the DNA sequence, such as histone modifications. Histones are the proteins that DNA wrap around so that they can be packaged tightly, like thread around a spool; histone modifications refer to changes to the tail of the histones that may affect how the nearby DNA is expressed. I am currently working on a collaborative project with UCSF Anatomy Prof. Stavros Lomvardas on how histone modifications may help explain how mice smell – that is, how histone modifications at olfactory receptor genes in mice are related to the unique pattern of olfactory receptor gene regulation. After I receive my M. Eng., I will probably pursue a Ph. D. in hopes of eventually becoming a professor.”

Yufei Zhao

“My favorite EECS course was 6.046, which also happened to be the first Course 6 class that I took (this was before 6.006 existed). Perhaps it was 6.046 that drew me to the EECS department. I particularly enjoyed the take-home midterm, which was full of challenging yet interesting problems and puzzles.

Next year I will be going to University of Cambridge on the Gates Scholarship to pursue a Master of Advanced Study in Mathematics. Afterwards, I plan to return to MIT to pursue a Ph.D. in Mathematics.”

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