Quinnton J. Harris

Graduate ’11
Mechanical Engineering

Quinnton received his degree in Mechanical Engineering (Course 2) in 2011.

Tell me about your first encounter with MIT’s OME Office?
I first encountered employees of the Office of Minority Education in the summer of 2006. I participated in MITES (Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science), a six-week summer enrichment program geared toward rising high school seniors, and met staff and previous OME Director Karl Reid. Once admitted to MIT the following the year, I became more acquainted with the OME’s presence on campus as well as its signature programming during my Campus Preview Weekend (CPW). As a result, I decided to participate in the Interphase program during the summer of 2007.

What were your initial impressions?
My initial impression of the OME came from my interaction with staff. The staff members were very personable, and previous Director Karl Reid made a genuine effort to connect with me. During CPW, I experienced a friendly, warm office environment that exuded a passionate and encouraging energy. I felt welcomed and as if I belonged there immediately.

Did those impressions change over time?
My impression of the OME has deepened, not necessarily changed, over time for several different reasons. After participating in several programs like MAP (Mentor Advocate Partnership), Laureates and Leaders, and TSR tutoring, and even working part-time as a student assistant, I have witnessed the impact of its programs, and the office’s effort to grow and re-purpose its endeavors.  

What programs did you take part in, and how were they helpful?
I participated in the Interphase program, MAP, Laureates and Leaders, and TSR tutoring sessions. I also frequently attended signature events like TGIF and IACME networking receptions. These programs provided support in all aspects of my MIT experience, including academic tutoring, career counseling, role-modeling/mentorship and even positive social stimulation.

What was your most memorable or valuable experience with OME?
My most memorable experience was when I was asked to design tribute displays for OME programs Interphase, Laureates and Leaders, and MAP in honor of MIT’s 150th Anniversary. The office valued my vision for the piece and granted me with complete creative control. The pieces were featured in the campus-wide open house on April 30, 2011.

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

What would you want others to know about OME?
I would like people to know that the OME is like a family. There are times when you are proud to be a part of the family, and times when you may not agree. And no matter much things change, your family will always be there to support you, love you, and guide you. The office and the staff reminds me of how much I needed family to survive MIT.