1. 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 (omemit[at]mit[dot]edu).
2. 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 (African American/Black, 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/x EDGE.
3. 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/x program which is currently limited to 90 students total.
4. 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/x, 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/x) due to program funding and capacity.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Are there Native/Indigenous resources for MIT students?
MIT has a student-run group called the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). It also has a student organization called NAIA, the Native American Indigenous and Association. Both organizations work to promote Native culture and community at MIT. They meet regularly and attend regional and national conferences and events. There is also an indigenous People’s Center located in Bldg W31.
8. How to manage academic stress?
MIT provides a number of student support services to help students 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
9. 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 to learn more strategies: https://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/time_management/.
10. For Parents: How can my student get free food?
Please note that most OME events offer food. Therefore, if your student attends 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 is a helpful link to help students find free food at MIT: MIT Student Life: Money & Food Resources
11. 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.