For student researchers, no pause for the pandemic

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - 15:00 in Psychology & Sociology

In mid-March, when the Covid-19 pandemic darkened MIT classrooms and labs, lights switched on for undergraduate research taking place remotely. Zooming in from time zones often distant from Cambridge, Massachusetts, many students were able to continue undergraduate research opportunities (UROPs) made possible by nuclear science and engineering faculty. Advancing projects begun during January independent activities period or the start of spring semester, students overcame significant obstacles to make their research experiences meaningful while working from home — whether that home was in a manicured U.S. suburban subdivision, a palm-lined street in the Middle East, or, in the case of Quynh T. Nguyen, surrounded by local rice fields in Vietnam. “It was tough returning to Dong Hoi City, because I thought that meant I was done with my UROP for the semester,” says the rising junior majoring in physics. Working with Assistant Professor Mingda Li, Nguyen had been investigating the thermal transport properties...

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