Where is the OME located and how do people contact us?
The MIT Office of Minority Education (OME) is in Building 4-107 on the MIT Campus located at 77 Massachusetts Ave, in Cambridge, MA, 02139. Our main phone line is 617.253.5010 and our fax is 617.253.9899. You may also email the office at omemit [at] mit.edu.
How to sign up for these programs? Deadlines?
The 2022 application deadlines for programs are as follows:
- Momentum 2022 – applications closed for 2022
- The Standard – apply by September 13
- MAP – apply by September 13
Can International students apply to OME programs?
Yes. While the OME’s mission and vision focuses on students from traditionally (domestic) underrepresented groups in STEM (AA, Latinx, and Native American/Alaskan Native/Pacific Islander), virtually all of our programs are open to and serve all MIT undergraduate students, including International students. Only one OME program (based on funding, structure, timing, and limited capacity) has a requirement that students who participate must be US Citizens and/or Permanent Residents. That program is Interphase EDGE.
Are you well-resourced to help all the students that come to the OME?
Yes. MIT has put a significant amount of resources into its diversity, equity, and inclusion programs, and into the OME in particular. For example, all of regular staff are full-time and on ‘hard’ or Institute funding. In addition, all of the OME’s well-established signature programs are funded through MIT’s General Institute Budget (GIB). That said we could always use more resources to expand our efforts in a way that garners more student interest. We only have one program with funding limitations that limit the number of students we can serve, and that is the aforementioned Interphase EDGE program which is limited to 70 students.
Are all students that apply for your programs accepted?
Most of the OME services are what we call open-access, i.e., anyone can participate. For those programs that are cohort-based: Interphase EDGE, The Standard, Mentor Advocate Partnership/E- Mentor Advocate Partnership, and Laureates and Leaders, there is an ideal number for participation and program efficacy. However, most of these programs do not turn students away who are motivated and have the capacity to fully-commit to the program requirements. Occasionally, all students may not be accepted to a program, e.g., Interphase EDGE or Momentum, due to program funding and capacity.
How do we measure program success?
The OME does extensive formative and summative evaluation and assessments of our signature programs. For some programs, we are assessing academic outcomes, while for others we are looking at student participation and satisfaction rates. We use a variety of tools including surveys, interviews, and focus groups to assess our programs. In addition, we have three advisory groups that give us regular feedback on our programs and services—the OME Student Advisory Council, the OME Faculty Advisory Committee, and the OME Industrial Advisory Council for Minority Education. Moreover, the MIT Office of Institutional Research administers a bi-annual OME survey to all students who identify as URM and/or who are subscribed to our OME listserv asking a wide-range of questions about student participation, satisfaction, needs, gaps, etc. All of this information and data inform the ongoing and always evolving programming of our office. Success looks different for each of our initiatives. Ultimately, we deem a program a success if students are participating in it and it is helping them achieve their intended goals.
Does OME offer advising to students not in an OME program?
Yes! Students are welcome to connect with OME Staff in an advising capacity as needed. The OME Staff has a wide range of expertise in the areas of mentoring, graduate school preparation, professional development, and academic success. Students can stop by the OME in person (4-107) or email a staff member directly for assistance.
Are there AK Native/American Indian resources?
MIT has a student run group called the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). AISES is a student-run group that works to promote Native culture and community at MIT. They meet regularly and attend the AISES National Conference every year. You can find out more about AISES at: http://mit.edu/aises/www/.
For student athletes, do you have any advice on balancing academics and sports?
Every sport is slightly different. The best thing to do is work with your coach and your academic advisor to come up with a schedule that accommodates your athletic and academic responsibility, while also allowing you to have a healthy, regular, sleeping and eating schedule, as well as time to relax and have fun!
How to manage academic stress?
MIT provides a number of student support services to help student manage stress, both academic and personal. In addition to MIT Medical’s Student Mental Health and Counseling Services, you may follow this link for additional resources to suggest to your child: https://medical.mit.edu/my-mit/parents/mental-health-resources
How can you help with time management?
When talking to students about time management, we recommend that students take the necessary steps to manage tasks and/or responsibilities in order to maximize their time. Important time management steps include building an effective schedule, determining your priorities, and maintaining healthy eating and sleeping habits. Please visit this link: https://uaap.mit.edu/tutoring-support/study-tips/time-management.
Can you talk about the Student Innovations Fund?
It provides small grants (average range is $100-$500) of seed-money to MIT undergraduate students for individual or group projects.
Projects must be “innovative” (it is a new idea not necessarily a recurring project) and also benefit the MIT student population; however, some projects also have broader impacts, e.g., Cambridge, Boston, globally, etc.
Interested students or groups can submit a request online.
The OME reviews funding requests and makes decisions based on project fit and available funds.
Funds may be used to support a project during the academic year, Independent Activities Period (IAP), or summer.
For Parents: How can I encourage my student to become a leader on campus?
First, you may want to share that MIT offers many opportunities for students to identify, develop and sharpen their leadership skills.
Second, you may want to talk to them about the types of leadership opportunities available on campus and encourage them to find one that they like based on their interests. Examples of leadership opportunities can include:
- Cultural and Professional Student Groups – OME Student Advisory Council (OMESAC)
- Gordon Engineering Leadership Program
- Office of the First Year – (Associate Advisors)
- Leadership Programs run by Division of Student Life o Dormitory Council (also known as DormCon) – run for a leadership position
- MIT Undergraduate Association
Third, you may want to remind your student that the above opportunities are available to them throughout their undergraduate years at MIT. This means they do not have to try to pile on leadership opportunities/experiences in any given year; it is best to pace them out and perhaps just focus on academics for their first year at MIT, as many of the above opportunities will still be available to them as sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
For Parents: How can I encourage my student to participate in these OME opportunities?
You may want to tell them that they can choose which opportunities to participate in based on their interests and goals:
- They do not have to participate in all opportunities
- They can focus on identifying one opportunity to participate in
- It’s a way to meet other students who have similar interests
Students who have participated in these opportunities have found that their participation made their MIT experience better by helping them feel more connected to campus life and more confident about their classes.
For Parents: How can my student get free food?
Please note that most OME events offer food. Therefore, if your students attend an OME event, they likely will get some free grub. In addition, students can sign up for this listserv and receive notices about free food: free-food [at] mit.edu. Here are two very helpful links to help students find free food at MIT:
How can you help students who have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)?
With so many engagement opportunities across MIT, it is difficult for students to avoid feeling some level of FOMO. However, it is beneficial to encourage students to focus on their passions but provide enough wiggle room to explore other options, while maintaining academic success and progress as the overarching goal. For example, if your student is passionate about theatre arts, they may join the Musical Theatre Guild or the Shakespeare Ensemble. However, they may also have a growing interest in connecting with an identity-based professional organization to meet other students in STEM. In those cases, students may decide to join an organization like the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) or the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). Once students explore these options over the course of a semester, they will be better equipped to prioritize and/or scale back extracurricular activities, evaluating the time commitment required for each and how the commitments to each affect their academics.
What about Students who think they have all the answers? What do we do with a student that is a yolo (you only live once) type of person? How can we help our student who says everything is “fine”?
We received three questions about how students access help, particularly students who might not immediately seek out our services or answers, students who “march to the beat of their own drum", or students who are always “fine”. Dean DiOnetta Jones Crayton, OME, and Dean David Randall, MIT Student Support and Wellbeing, agree wholeheartedly on the response below:
Our goal, MIT’s goal, is always to meet students where they are, and we think that a big part of the educational mission of the Institute is to teach students about how to cope with life. Education, of course, is not just about in the classroom learning. Some students come in thinking they have it all figured out. Others see college as the first opportunity to explore on their own without adult interference or constraints. Still others are very eager for support. By offering many different resources to students, in residence halls, from peer groups, and from offices like the OME and Student Support Services (S^3), our hope is that students form relationships with people who can help them in developing their minds, bodies, and a sense of purpose in the world. When, or if, your students call home and you get the hint that they could use support, encourage them to reach out early and often to resources on campus that they trust. The OME is a great place to start, as is Student Support Services, and the staff in the residence halls. We are all here for them.
Our goal, MIT’s goal, is always to meet students where they are, and we think that a big part of the educational mission of the Institute is to teach students about how to cope with life. Education, of course, is not just about in the classroom learning.