MIT Virtual ALC 2021 | One Community Together in Service
In partnership with MIT President Rafael Reif, the PKG Center was featured at the “One Community Together in Service” event during the annual Alumni Leadership Conference. The event demonstrated MIT’s commitment to integrating public service and social innovation into its academic and professional programs. In the words of President Reif:
“We believe that public service can be and should be as intense, meaningful, and intellectually rigorous as academic work. MIT alumni help convey this philosophy to our students: serving others is not an activity separate from academic and professional pursuits. It is a vital element of a wise, creative life. This institute-wide commitment not only benefits the individuals and communities we serve, it also generates fresh ideas and new connections.”
Former Alumni Association President, R. Erich Caufield SM ‘01, PhD ‘06 then announced the creation of the MIT Alumni Better World Service Initiative. This initiative will serve as a networking site, workspace, project aggregator and storytelling platform for alumni to share their public service work with each other across disciplines. Topics will range from climate and sustainability, health, STEM education, equity issues, and more. Learn more about this initiative through the Alumni Association.
Next, current PKG Center students Bhav Jain ’23, IDEAS 2021 finalist and Social Impact Intern; Amulya Aluru ’23, PKG CIFI Navajo Nation project participant; and Charlene Xia ’17, SM ’20, IDEAS 2021 grantee shared how they have participated in academically-aligned public service opportunities during their time at MIT. Watch the video below to hear more about their experiences:
Bhav Jain (‘23, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) shared about his experience doing a Social Impact Internship at Cambridge Health Alliance, where he was part of the pandemic response team and worked in partnership with the community to transition all of their services to an online system. This internship led Bhav to IDEAS, where he worked on implementing a mobile-based, SMS-messaging system that triages for COVID-19 symptoms in Uganda. Bhav and his team Compass were 2021 IDEAS finalists.
Amulya Aluru (‘23, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) spoke about her work with Navajo Nation as part of the Community-Informed Field Immersion (CIFI) program in partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The project Amulya worked on is called Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment (COPE), which implemented a contact-tracing and case management platform to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Navajo Nation.
Charlene Xia (‘17, SM ’20, Mechanical Engineering) has focused her work on sustainable seaweed aquaculture. With funding from the IDEAS Social Innovation Challenge, Charlene has developed a machine learning system that detects the spread of infection in seaweed crops and thus reduces livestock losses and promotes sustainable farming.