Polina Bakhteiarov

Graduate ’10
Urban Studies and Planning

Polina received a SB from MIT in 2010 in Planning (Course 11) and a second SB in Civil Engineering (Course 1) in 2011.

Tell me about your first encounter with MIT's OME Office?
The first time that I went into the OME was to meet with my freshman advisor, Dean Karina Vielma. I hadn't come to Campus Preview Weekend (CPW) or participated in Interphase, so I had only heard about the OME from my friends but had never had a reason to go in until my original academic advisor left halfway through freshman year. I was then assigned to Dean Vielma. Once Dean Vielma introduced us to the office, I felt very comfortable going in to speak with the different deans and administrators.

What were your initial impressions?
My initial impression of the OME was that it was a great place for students to come in and get support at their level. The office felt like a safe haven for students of color.

Did those impressions change over time?
After I became aware that other students did not feel as safe or comfortable in the office as I did, I became discouraged that the office was not serving its purpose.

What programs did you take part in, and how were they helpful?
I was an advisee under Dean Vielma during my freshman year; as a sophomore, I became her associate advisor. During freshman year, I also participated in Seminar XL for physics and took advantage of the Tutorial Services Room (TSR) to receive tutoring in calculus. I was active in the TGIFs while they were student-run. I was also a part of OMESAC as a representative for various student groups.

What was your most memorable or valuable experience with OME?
By far, all of my most memorable and valuable OME experiences were with Dean Vielma. She is truly an invaluable mentor who taught me so much in such a short period of time and left me feeling inspired and energized to conquer MIT.

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

What would you want others to know about OME?
The OME is there as a resource for you! The sole purpose of the office is to serve students and if students do not take advantage of the available resources in the OME, then they go to waste.