MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering has pledged to develop and implement actions that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in our students, faculty, and staff. As a community, we are committed to celebrating diversity and rejecting racism or prejudice in any form.
This page offers an overview of the various activities we are taking as a department to build a community that is actively anti-racist, works towards correcting systemic and institutional racism, and treats every individual with respect, dignity, kindness, and fairness. It will be updated as additional actions are implemented.
Introducing the MechE DEI Task Force
Associate Professor Asegun Henry serves as MIT MechE’s Faculty Diversity Chair. As Faculty Diversity Chair, Professor Henry will also lead our MechE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force
The MechE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force will be composed of faculty, staff, and students who will be asked to define our community values and develop a 5-year action plan to hold us accountable and ensure we are making progress. Formed in Summer 2020, the DEI Task Force includes the following members:
- Cullen Buie - Faculty
- Daniel Diaz – Undergraduate Student
- Stacy Godfreey-Igwe – Undergraduate Student
- Fiona Grant – Graduate Student
- Asegun Henry – Faculty (Chair)
- Vishnu Jayaprakash – Graduate Student
- Daniel Oropeza – Graduate Student
- Yadira Rivera – Staff
- Katey Stewart – Staff
- Dawn Wendell – Senior Lecturer
In addition to the DEI Task Force we have also enlisted the help of a Members at Large group composed of 22 additional MechE community members passionate about DEI, helping to keep us in check and to carryout larger tasks via targeted working groups.
MIT MechE is currently in the process of hiring a Community and Equity Officer. The Community and Equity Officer will be responsible for designing and implementing outreach activities to help attract a diverse population of students, faculty, and staff. They will also develop tools, resources, and a range of solutions that enhance diversity and inclusion within the department as well as protect and nurture the mental and physical well-being of each member of our community.
Operational Plan Overview
MIT MechE is proud to actively participate in a number of programs that engage with and provide opportunities to underrepresented minorities and women including:
Sloan-MIT University Center for Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM)
MechE is one of four MIT departments participating in the University Center for Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM). In 2015, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awarded a major grant to create a “University Center of Exemplary Mentoring” (UCEM) at MIT. This Sloan grant enables the center to focus on the recruitment, retention, and academic success of underrepresented minority doctoral students in four departments in the School of Engineering: Biological Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Mechanical Engineering. The grant was renewed for academic years 2018-2020.
The MIT UCEM carries out strategic and customized recruitment strategies tailored to the four participating departments, as well as a structured program that addresses key barriers to retention and educational success consisting of academic support, mentoring, and personal and professional development opportunities.
In addition to financially contributing to the grant, MIT MechE writes collaborative proposals to sustain the UCEM program, contributes to its activities, and makes presentations to the Sloan community.
MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP)
MIT MechE participates in the MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP) which seeks to promote the value of graduate education; to improve the research enterprise through increased diversity; and to prepare and recruit the best and brightest for graduate education at MIT.
MSRP began in 1986 as an institutional effort to address the issue of underrepresentation of African Americans, Mexican Americans, Native Americans, and Puerto Ricans in engineering and science in the United States. Today, this program’s goal is to increase the number of underrepresented minorities and underserved students in the research enterprise.
MIT MechE’s Graduate Office participates in CONVERGE. CONVERGE’s mission is to increase the presence of underrepresented and underserved students in MIT’s graduate programs. To achieve this goal, CONVERGE hosts a graduate school preview weekend on the MIT campus during the fall for select participants who will be strong applicants to MIT graduate programs.
Women’s Technology Program
Since 2006, MIT MechE has been one of two MIT departments that hosts the Women Technology Program (WTP) each summer. The WTP in ME is a four-week residential summer program in the MIT Dept. of Mechanical Engineering to introduce high school girls to the basic principles and ideas of mechanical engineering in the summer after 11th grade.
Rising Stars in Mechanical Engineering
The Rising Stars in Mechanical Engineering workshop is aimed at women graduate students and postdocs considering future careers in academia. MIT MechE hosted the inaugural Rising Stars event for Mechanical Engineering that took place in October 2018. At the event, 30 of the top junior academic women in Mechanical Engineering from around the US came together to gain career skills, connect with a cohort of peers, and engage with mentors.
Workshops alternate between being hosted by MIT MechE and the Mechanical Engineering Departments of Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.
Futures in Mechanical Engineering
Launched by MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering , the Futures in Mechanical Engineering program seeks to encourage, support, and inform students from underrepresented groups in STEM interested in pursuing a graduate degree in mechanical engineering. The program includes info sessions, webinars, and workshops targeting different underrepresented communities in STEM.
In November 2020, the program will host the first Futures in Mechanical Engineering workshop for undergraduate juniors and seniors who identify as women and are interested in pursuing an advanced mechanical engineering degree.
MIT Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are employee-led groups formed around common interests, common bonds, or similar backgrounds. ERG members create a positive work environment at MIT by actively contributing to the Institute's mission, values and efforts specific to inclusion, such as recruitment and retention. All of MIT's ERGs are open to any employee, and members of the MechE community are encouraged to participate in them.
- MIT Institute Community and Equity Office
- MIT Office of Minority Education
- MIT Institute Discrimination and Harassment Response Office (IDHR)
- Accessibility & Usability
- Disability and Access Services
- MIT Office of Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life Office (ORSEL)
- International Students Office
- Office of Multicultural Programs
- MIT SPXCE Intercultural Center (SPXCE)
- LBGTQ + Services
- First Generation Program, Office of the First Year
- Office of Graduate Education’s GradDiversity
- Omsbud Office
- Student Support Services
- MIT MyLife Services (for faculty, staff, postdocs, and families)