Who is OME

Ryan Bonaparte

Tell me about your first encounter with MIT’s OME Office?
My freshman year, as part of the academic advising component of Chocolate City, Dr. Karl Reid was our advisor. During that year, he transitioned from the MITES office, now the Office of Engineering Outreach Programs, to become the director of the OME. In meeting with him throughout the year, I became more acquainted with the OME and the staff. It quickly became a place to go to get advice, to relax in between classes, and to enjoy the company of other minorities on campus.

What were your initial impressions? Did those impressions change over time?
Initially I thought of the OME as just another office on campus with a focus on helping students of color. However, after spending increasing amounts of time there, I realized that unlike many other offices, the OME encouraged students to spend time there whether for working or for socializing. They reorganized the office to allow for a study lounge that became very useful for preparing for tests and presentations as well as just taking a quick nap after lunch.
What programs did you take part in, and how were they helpful?
I spent time at the OME mostly as a student hanging out after classes or to help with little things, but I later joined the Laureates and Leaders program to prepare myself to apply to graduate school. This was an important program for me, as I don't think I would have been nearly as prepared for applying to graduate school as I was. I was accepted to two of the schools and attended Columbia University the following academic year after I graduated from MIT. Additionally, I worked as an office assistant both as a student and afterward as an alumnus.

What was your most memorable or valuable experience with OME?
My most valuable experience was in talking to the staff about both the positive and negative experiences in my life. I can remember on two specific occasions when staff members helped me to get through extremely trying periods during my time at MIT. They dropped what they were doing to help a student in need and I will always appreciate that. This was in addition to all of the day-to-day help and guidance they provided.  

If you had to describe OME with one word, what would it be?
Community.

What would you want others to know about OME?
The OME is not just another office on campus, but rather it is a place for students to go and get help with every aspect in their hectic lives. Spending time there was a huge part of my MIT experience, both for the growth in character and for the relationships I built while I was there.