Meet the 2019-20 MLK Visiting Professors and Scholars

By October 8, 2019 No Comments

Based in 1990, the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Visiting Professors and Students Program honors the lifestyles and legacy of Martin Luther King through expanding the presence of, and spotting the contributions of, underrepresented minority students at MIT. MLK Visiting Professors and Students improve their scholarship thru highbrow engagement with the MIT neighborhood and enrich the cultural, educational, {and professional} revel in of scholars. This system hosts between 4 and 8 students each and every yr with monetary and institutional toughen from the Workplace of the Provost and oversight from the Institute Neighborhood and Fairness Workplace. Six students are visiting MIT this educational yr as a part of this system.

Kasso Okoudjou is returning for a 2nd yr as an MLK Visiting Professor within the Division of Arithmetic. In the beginning from Benin, he moved to the USA in 1998 and earned a PhD in arithmetic from Georgia Tech. Okoudjou joins MIT from the College of Maryland Faculty Park, the place he’s a professor. His analysis pursuits come with carried out and natural harmonic research, particularly time-frequency and time-scale research; body idea; and research and differential equations on fractals. He’s all for broadening the participation of underrepresented minorities in (undergraduate) analysis within the mathematical sciences.

Matthew Schumaker joins MIT for any other yr within the Song and Theater Arts Segment throughout the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Schumaker won his doctorate in song composition from the College of California at Berkeley. At MIT, he teaches a brand new path, 21M.380 (Composing for Solo Tool and Are living Electronics), a hands-on song generation composition seminar combining instrumental writing with real-time laptop song. Moreover, The Radius Ensemble in Cambridge, Massachusetts has commissioned Schumaker to jot down a brand new piece of song that is helping translate into song the colourful, curved gestures and slashed markings within the summary landscapes of celebrated Ethiopian-born painter Julie Mehretu.

Jamie Macbeth is visiting from Smith Faculty, the place he’s an assistant professor in laptop science. He won his PhD in laptop science from College of California at Los Angeles. Even supposing that is his first yr as an MLK Visiting Student, he isn’t new to MIT, since he has been a visiting scientist since 2017. He’s hosted through the MIT Pc Science and Synthetic Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Macbeth’s analysis is excited about construction and learning clever computing methods that exhibit a human-like capacity for in-depth working out and manufacturing of herbal language, and thus can reach richer interactions with human customers. He’s particularly involved in construction methods that decompose the that means of language into advanced conceptual constructions that mirror people’ embodied cognition, reminiscence, imagery and data about social scenarios.


Ben McDonald has been a postdoc within the Division of Chemistry since 2018 and is now an MLK Visiting Student. McDonald won his PhD in artificial natural chemistry from Northwestern College. His analysis centered at the general synthesis of flavonolignan herbal merchandise and the improvement of reverse-polarity carbon-carbon bond forming reactions. As a member of the dep.’s Chemistry Alliance for Inclusion and Variety, he’s excited about advancing range, fairness and inclusion efforts. Probably the most projects he seeks to ascertain is a summer season analysis program, which recruits proficient long term scientists from underrepresented backgrounds.

Tina Opie is an affiliate professor within the Control Department at Babson Faculty. Opie acquired her PhD in control (with a focus in organizational habits) from New York College’s Stern College of Trade. As an MLK Visiting Student in MIT Sloan College of Control, at the side of get admission to to MIT’s Behavioral Analysis Lab, she is accomplishing analysis to increase the assemble of Shared Sisterhood. “Shared Sisterhood examines how high quality relationships (e.g., relationships characterised through consider, emotional vulnerability) between black, white, and Latinx ladies at paintings facilitate place of business inclusion and fairness.” Despite the fact that her paintings has a selected center of attention, other people of all genders and racioethnic backgrounds can also be “sisters” and will give a contribution to fostering a extra inclusive paintings setting. Opie established Opie Consulting Staff, a diversity-and-inclusion consultancy that contains Shared Sisterhood in developing inclusive places of work.  

Rhonda Williams, an MLK Visiting Professor hosted through the Division of Historical past, joins MIT from Vanderbilt College, the place she used to be lately appointed the John L. Seigenthaler Chair in American Historical past. She is the founding father of the Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve College. Her essay titled “Black Girls Who Teach for Justice and Put Their Time, Lives, and Spirits at the Line” used to be lately revealed in “Black Girls And Social Justice Schooling: Legacies and Courses” (2019, SUNY Press). On Oct. 25, Williams will ship a social justice-related performance-lecture known as “The Issues That Divide Us: Meditations” at MIT. In spring 2020, she’s going to facilitate a social justice workshop for college kids, college and body of workers.

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