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Students Spend Summer Travelling, Volunteering

By Jeffrey Greenbaum


After a year of problem sets, papers, and exams, MIT student are not letting the rough job market stop them from escaping campus to work in unique jobs, acquire relevant career experience, or explore the world.

While many students will stay on campus for UROPs this summer, others are using the summer as a chance to work nonacademic jobs, volunteer, or travel.

Students go abroad for summer

Christopher J. Emig ’04 will travel to Ghana for five weeks through the MIT African Internet Technology Initiative, to teach high school students Java and web development. Emig said that he will be teaching all day and that his program will be intense, but he is looking forward to preparing his lesson plans and going abroad.

“I had wanted to study abroad for the year. I see this as a half way point,” Emig said.

Jenny Ta ’04 will also use her summer as chance to study abroad via the new Cambridge-MIT Institute UROP program. Tawill conduct research with a mechanical engineering professor at Cambridge University.

Ta said, “I had wanted to do the full year abroad, but I still wanted to go [to Cambridge] ... so I thought that this was a good compromise.”

Ta said that she had never been out of the country before, and she wanted to use this summer as a chance to explore different cultures.

Amy L. Meadows ’03 will go to Peru for a month to volunteer at a health clinic. Meadows will volunteer with 20 other people from different countries around the world and will live in a house with them outside of Lima.

Some spend summer traveling

In addition to working abroad, other MIT students will be using their summers to vacation abroad.

Daniel A. Loreto ’04 will spend most of his summer in Montreal and Venezuela.

“I like traveling,” Loreto said. “I’m going to Montreal to improve my French ... and to visit a friend.”

Before leaving Montreal, Loreto wants to go to Niagra Falls for a weekend.

Loreto, who is originally from Venezuela, will return there to visit aunts and cousins.

Likewise, Shane E. Cruz G, who will be graduating this summer, is “going to be traveling all over the country.”

Cruz wants to use this summer to “just relax.”

Another graduate, Rose G. Radin ’02 will go to Europe for a month with her sorority sister, Madeline M. Close ’02.

Students work less academic jobs

After spending school years and summers working in labs, many students are anticipating a summer without research. Many students are thus turning towards volunteerism as a chance have a fun summer.

Emig, who is anticipating his experience aboard, said that through the MIT-AITI, “I can volunteer and do a good thing.”

In addition to Emig and Meadows, Amelia E. Virostko ’03 received a Public Service Center Fellowship to teach middle school students.

Virostko will design a biochemistry class and a class on the poetry of music lyrics as well as arrange field trips and mentor for her group of 20 to 25 students.

“I wanted a nonresearch job for the summer,” Virostko said. “After working with “Let’s Get Ready,” I thought that it would be fun to work with kids.”

Kaitlin E. Lewis ’05 will be working at a summer camp as a camp counselor for eight weeks. Last summer, Lewis waited tables and said that she became bored with that job. “I really wanted to do something outdoors with kids,” Lewis said.

“I’m going to get lots of sleep, bum around, and not think about school work,” Lewis said.

Others explore careers

Many MIT students will use their summer as a chance to explore possible career paths.

Before going to Europe, Radin will work at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City in Boston for eight weeks.

Radin, who worked at ICIC during IAP, will continue her work there during the summer “because it’s giving me some insight into a future career path that I want to pursue, economic development.”

Likewise, a summer in Africa caught Emig’s attention because he is interested in going to the Peace Corps after MIT.

“I thought that this would be a good time to see what Africa is like,” Emig said.

Biology undergraduate Michelle C. Page ’04 is anticipating a summer at the University of California - Los Angelos. Page was accepted into UCLA’s undergraduate neuroengineering summer research program through which she will research Parkinson’s Disease.

“The research is meaningful to me because my dad has Parkinson’s disease,” Page said.

Page is looking forward to spending time with her brother, who is a graduate student at UCLA, and her two-year-old nephew.