The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 23.0°F | A Few Clouds and Breezy
Courtesy of Tina M. Stutzman
Article Tools

Looking to travel overseas this summer? Want an awesome summer internship — and all on MIT’s dime? Then MISTI, the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives, may be the thing for you.

Every summer, MISTI places over 500 MIT undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates in leading corporations, research institutes, and universities around the world. The first MISTI program, MISTI-Japan, was founded in 1981 out of a growing concern that while foreign nationals could be competitive in the American workplace — especially in science and technology fields — American students were not prepared to do the same abroad.

MISTI is free for MIT undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates. MISTI supports applied international studies by matching students to specific projects in an expanding list of country programs. MISTI currently has programs in 11 locations — Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and Africa.

While most universities offer study abroad programs, MISTI is not about “academic tourism,” but instead about immersing in a cultural and professional environment completely different from MIT. MISTI is unique in its focus on the match between the student and the internship. The Tech profiled eight MIT students who completed MISTI summer internships around the world at various times in their MIT career.

Minmin Yen ’11

Internship Completed: Summer 2010

Major: Biological Engineering

Program: MISTI-Italy, University of Cagliari

Minmin Yen ’11 worked in Professor Biancamaria Borli’s lab at the University of Cagliari optimizing and characterizing an epidermal drug delivery system.

“The reason I seek out opportunities to do research abroad is to understand the different approaches and mindsets of other researchers. In this collaborative effort, we can learn from each other and combine the best of both worlds in that we each bring different perspectives to the table when in a scientific discussion.”

Emily G. Conn ’11

Internship Completed: Summer 2010

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Program: MISTI-Japan, Waseda University

Emily G. Conn ’11 did a two-month internship at Takanishi Laboratory, a robotics lab, at Waseda University in Tokyo, building a fluffy toy robot to stimulate interest in technology for girls and integrating a prototype she built in the Advanced Toy Design class at MIT with a mobile-wheeled robot from the lab.

“On a technical level, I learned a lot about programming, and I never realized how difficult it was to integrate two different robotic systems into one. It was also a good chance for me to brush up on my design skill. … On a personal level, I enjoyed coming into contact with the Japanese students, some of whom were also seniors, but many of whom were doing their Masters, PhDs, etc. There was also a scattering of international students from countries like Poland, Germany, Korea, China, and Italy, and I definitely ended up with a mixed bag of friends.”

Colin J. Taylor ’10

Internship Completed: Summer 2010

Major: EECS

Program: MISTI-Japan, Alphana Technology Co.

Colin J. Taylor ’10 traveled to Japan last summer, working for Alphana Technology, a company that manufactures the motors that run hard drive disks.

“My experience taught me a lot: I had lived in Japan before, so knew a little about what it was like to live there, but I wanted to see what it was like to work there. It was my first internship, and I learned a lot about how a company works, and what things they value in engineers. It grew my interest in systems analysis.”

Hannah L. Farrow ’11

Internship Completed: Summer 2009

Major: Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Program: MISTI-China, MIT-China Education Technology Initiative (CETI)

Hannah L. Farrow ’11 travelled to China with three other MIT students to teach neuroscience, environmental research, and engineering to high school students through the MIT-China Education Technology Initiative (CETI).

“I could write pages and pages about this trip. The traveling and teaching in China were both incredible experiences. I think it was really good that we got two such incredibly different experiences in our two schools. In Xi’an I liked the canteen food and having ice cream everyday, but in Chengdu the school cook was amazing and we got to eat with the teachers and some of the students everyday.”

You C. Yoon ’13

Internship Completed: Summer 2010

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Program: MISTI-Israel, Solar Center at the Ben Gurion University of Sde Boker

You (Richard) C. Yoon ’13 worked at the Solar Center at the Ben Gurion University of Sde Boker in Israel.

“The solar center was far from having the state-of-the-art facilities, and it was built of numerous container houses, but this made me feel as if I was a pioneer or part of a covert research group. Also, being at the solar center made me feel like a real engineer. At the solar center, you had to find ways to utilize the resources provided to you, and you had to use your creativity to create and build new tools. This allowed me to think outside the box and developed my creativity and problem solving skills.”

Kirsten S. Hessler ’12

Internship Completed: Summer 2010

Major: Materials Science and Engineering

Program: MISTI-Germany, Max Planck Institute

Kirsten S. Hessler ’12 worked at the Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart, Germany last summer. Her research group focused on the chemistry of electroceramics and fullerenes.

“My MISTI-Germany experience opened my eyes to a world of collaboration and pushing limits. In group discussions, I learned to concisely answer questions by synthesizing everything I’ve learned during my time at MIT. In lab, I found that I know more than I thought. In the city, I easily overcame the slight language barrier with confidence and a smile and discovered that, in real life, genders and prepositions don’t matter much. By constantly exploring outside my comfort zone, I grew immensely from my MISTI experience.”

Isaac W. Lozada ’10

Internship Completed: Summer 2008, Summer 2009

Major: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Program: MISTI-India, Institute for Financial Management and Research and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS); MISTI-Mexico, National Institute of Ecology

Isaac W. Lozada ’10 took part in three MISTI programs. In the summer of 2008, Isaac worked with the Institute for Financial Management and Research in Chennai, India, doing research on the environmental impact of infrastructure projects. Isaac returned to India in the summer of 2009; this time he worked with an IT consulting company, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). At TCS he created a metrics database of resource and utility consumption in order to monitor consumption levels and company buildings across the country. After deciding that he would be staying at MIT for a fifth year, Isaac arranged to spend summer and fall 2010 working with the Istituto Nacional de Ecología (National Institute of Ecology) in Mexico City. He helped organize and was the Master of Ceremonies for a seminar and workshop on biodiversity and climate change, which was coordinated by other national organizations and the U.N. Climate Change Conference held in Cancún in December 2010.

“In sum, I am 200 percent indebted to the MIT MISTI program. The opportunities available to students are truly unique only to MIT and the program is among the main reasons for my gratitude to this institute. The MISTI directors do absolutely fantastic work finding internship opportunities, funding, etc., and I can not thank them enough for having given me three times over the opportunities of a lifetime for working, self-enrichment, and personal and professional growth. My MISTI experiences have contributed immeasurably to my personality, my perspectives on the world, philosophies on life, and constitute disproportionate shares of my memory.”

Tina M. Stutzman ’12

Internship Completed: Summer 2010

Major: Biological Engineering

Program: MISTI-Brazil, Federal University of Minas Gerais

Tina M. Stutzman ’12 worked at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, studying Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis, an animal pathogen.

“Professionally, I learned genomic and proteomic laboratory techniques as well as scientific writing. I also had the opportunity to collaborate on the chapter of a toxicology textbook. Something notable about the experience was that it was during the World Cup. Brazilians come together with more national pride than Americans could ever imagine to support their team. I was amazed at their capacity for unity and passion for their country. It was also a blast to cheer for Brazil!”