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RCC/MIT Associate Campus Partnership Program 

Outcome from a Tour of the MIT Media Lab and Dinner at the Stella Room 

October 30, 2013 


Program Participants from Roxbury Community College (RCC) 

Edited by: 
Jose A. Alicea, Ed. D. 

February 10, 2013 



RCC/MIT Associate Campus Partnership Program 

The following short writings by students, faculty and staff members from Roxbury Community College 
(RCC) result from a tour of the MIT Media Lab and dinner at the MIT Stella Room on October 30, 2013 
as part of the RCC/MIT Associate Campus Partnership Program, administered by MIT's Special Program 
in Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS), sponsored by the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program. 

To collaborate in a partnership program to benefit students, faculty, Fellows and scholars of RCC and 
MIT within the context of the city/regional planning disciplines. 

1. To expose RCC students to the international/global perspective within their RCC academic major 
through meaningful interactions with the SPURS/lnternational Fellows. 

• RCC's students gain insight into the work of the Fellows by participating in key lectures, 
field trips, and social engagements that would support their academic and career 
pursuits at RCC. 

2. To expose the Fellows to RCC students and to their diverse experiences as American, immigrant 
and international students within the American higher education system. 

• The Fellows participate in key classroom activities as guest speakers, offer college-wide 
lectures, as well as provide mentorship in RCC projects related to their field of study and 
professional expertise. The Fellows can utilize RCC students and faculty as resources 
when exploring themes related to American planning. 

3. To engender a collaborative educational environment that bridges the gap between community 
colleges and undergraduate/graduate institutions. 





Guest Writer 

Eric Moskowitz, 

The Boston Globe Magazine 

Contributing Writers - RCC Students 

Lloyd Bryan, Jr 
Shaoyu Chang 
Joseph Chevalier 
Amy Curran 
Chadress Desrosiers 
Alain D. Eugene 
Waller P. Finnagan III 
Bethlehem Ghidey 
Marquise Hart 
Shelby Lindsey-Vaughn 
Florise Luc 
Christian Sandoval 

Contributing Writers - RCC Faculty and Staff 

Jose A. Alicea, Ed. D. 
Randall Foote 
Nasreen Latif 
Nancy Teel, Ph. D. 


Jose A. Alicea, Ed. D. 
Milton Samuels, Ed. D. 
Phuong Tang 


Phuong Tang 


Jose A. Alicea, Ed. D. 

DUSP = MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning 
SPURS = DUSP's Special Program in Urban and Regional Studies 



10:27 A.M. 

Beyond what could be the most crowded bike rack I've ever seen, I find myself in front of the 
fabled MIT Media Lab. There are 26 research groups in this complex - which like a product of a 
Steve Jobs fever dream - each one centered on an innovative faculty member or senior research 
scientist and a handful of enterprising grad students. ... (T)he lab isn't open to the public. Turns 
out there's a downside to being considered a world class-temple of innovation: people can't help 
but wander in off the street. And sometimes they steal stuff - valuable, top-secret, mesmerizing 

10:52 A.M. 


The lab spaces, which deliberately bleed into one another to encourage collaboration, are passing 
by in a blur of Technicolor high tech. Near a display of cereal boxes and smart phone price 
scanners, I get to play with the I/O Brush, a beefy paintbrush equipped with camera and sensors. 
It lets children brush items in real life - an Elmo doll, say - and then apply their colors, patterns, 
and textures to a digital canvas. 

While I try not to break anything, (our guide) points out a screen that can be used for controlling 
a computer with gestures that grew out of its creator's advisory work on the movie Minority 
Report. Next to it, I see what looks like a foosball table left in the hands of Dr. Frankenstein, 
reengineered and encircled by wires and lights. 

Down the hall, we come upon a plush teddy bear concealing a sophisticated robot. Nurses have 
tested it for therapy and data collection. Want to tell whether a kid has fever? Just ask her to hug 
the bear (It's called a Huggable, of course). 

We reach the lab of. . .the composer of the robot opera Death and the Powers and an invention 
whose technology-assisted instruments have been used by Yo-Yo Ma, Peter Gabriel, and Prince. 
A grad student is putting the final stitches on a side project: a denim skirt with a huge built-in 
iPod speaker. 

Two doors down. . .another grad student is cramming for an afternoon presentation to National 
Science Foundation grant writers. The Calgary native is as animated talking about the everyday 
miracles in his Kendall world as in his own work (on 3-D printing), right down to the dorm 
washing machine that texts him when his load is done. "In Canada, it's completely different in 
terms of technology being integrated around us," (he) says. Somerville, too," I tell him. 

Excerpt from 

by Eric Moskowitz 

Boston Globe Magazine, Feb. 26, 2012 

Contributing Writers - RCC Students 

Lloyd Bryan, Jr. 

When I attended the MIT "Shrimp Dinner," my immediate response was, "Man, what I have to 
do to get here next summer?" Between the fellows, the programs, the professors and the 
relationships that members of RCC and MIT respectively are trying to expand, I can only show 
my gratitude for the invitation they extended to me personally. Also, a special thank you is due 
to Prof. Foote; without him this opportunity would've completely passed me by. 

Shaoyu Chang 

RCC/MIT Impressions and REfBctions 
November 20, 2013 

After moving to Boston almost one year ago, I came to the realization that living in Boston as a 
student is wonderful for access to world-class experts and researchers. I was especially 
impressed by the RCC/MIT SPURS Collaboration & Dinner event at MIT that I attended last 

When I signed up for this event, I expected an ordinary tour on the MIT campus. However, it 
turned out to be an extraordinary experience. Not only did we take a look inside the Media Lab, 
but we listened to graduate students and researchers presenting their recent projects. We had the 
opportunity to ask questions, and the presenters carefully answered our questions with clarity and 
sincerity. During group sessions, we were even able to interact with international scholars face- 
to-face. We were treated not just as students, but as competent intellectuals. 


As an international student, I appreciate the opportunity to have first-hand experience with one 
of the top institutions worldwide. And I realize that this kind of collaboration -between a 
community college and a top-tier higher education institution — is extremely rare. Therefore I am 
grateful for all faculty members and scholars who made this happen. I hope it will continue to 
inspire more RCC students in the future. 

Thank you 

Joseph Chevalier 

MIT Impressions 

Great opportunity to visit a world class institution, and 
get a chance to peek behind the curtains. To have 
shared that experience with the MIT fellows and the 
MIT faculty, you can't help but get excited about the 
future. Also, very lucky to have guidance from the 
Roxbury Community College faculty who make it their 
personal mission to expose as many students as 
possible to something that most people don't get to 

Roxbury Community college was supposed to be a 
quick stop in my academic career. When I made the 
decision to leave Worcester State University, my plan 
was to transfer to the University of Massachusetts- 
Boston. I was advised to head over to RCC for one 
semester so my transfer could run smoothly. 

I did not know how much of a hidden gem Roxbury 
Community College really was, and the impact this school may have on my future. I was 
pleasantly surprised to have met selfless professors who dedicate their time to make sure that 
students have a chance to experience the MIT fellowship program. In my opinion, this 
partnership between RCC and MIT is a once in a life time experience that gives specific insight 
and exposes you to global culture and politics that normally would be reserved for others, not 
urban students at an inner-city community college. I was amazed and grateful to have had the 
chance to sit, meet and talk to an array of professionals from around the world. Through the 
MIT fellows' presentation, I was able to grasp and get enhanced knowledge of global conflicts. 
It humanizes international events and policies, while broadening my global outlook. 

The Urban Economics class was an amazing class. For the final project, I was able to combine 
my class project, which was on Youth development, and my outside project; it incentivized me 
to do some much needed research. Through my research, I was able to get much needed 
information on the economics-side of creating a Youth development program, and some of the 
obstacles that may arise economically that may impact the Youth program. 

I am very lucky and satisfied with the direction my academic career has taken. I hope to keep in 
contact with the professors and use their energy, contacts, and knowledge to help build a bridge 
that may better serve these surrounding communities. 
Thank you for the experience. 


Amy Curran 

It was a leap of faith that led me to enroll in Professor Foote's Political Science class. My 
journey after high school was a stormy one. Following a loss that left me reeling, I found myself 
on a path of self-destruction. Having been stripped of everything, including my self-esteem, I 
ended up broken and homeless. On the rebound from this experience, I became dedicated to 
helping others who may have battled similar prejudice and social injustice, which plagued my 
life at that time. My openness in sharing this aspect of my life stems from the appreciation I feel 
for being included and welcome in such an amazing collaboration. I feel extremely grateful for 
the ingenuity of the dedicated staff involved and their realization of the importance of shared 
knowledge and understanding between RCC and MIT students. 

On the first day of class this fall, Professor Foote explained that we would have the opportunity 
to listen to "Fellows" from MIT who were in the 
States, dedicated to improving their respective 
countries. Students from all over the world came 
to give presentations to our class. We were able 
to learn about Kenya, Angola, El Salvador, 
Argentina, Pakistan, Turkey, Bahrain, Korea and 
China. What I learned from the collaboration 
with these students will stick with me forever. I 
was especially drawn to a student from Angola 
who spoke about the devastating Corruption in 
her country leading to unbearable poverty and 
injustice. Her plan to help the people in her 
country was inspirational. After her 
presentation, she was happy to give me her 
contact information so that we could speak in 
depth about her struggles. 

I met with this student the following week at 
MIT and I decided to do my research paper on 
her country. Her encouragement was comforting; 
however, after the meeting, I realized that she was more interested in 
talking about my life than she was her own. Surprisingly, we had much in common. I began to 
realize how important these relationships with the "Fellows" could be. 
Being invited to MIT for a dinner to discuss and celebrate the collaboration between the two 
schools was an honor. The campus was unreal to me. A sense of innovation seemed to permeate 
around me and I kept looking around for one of those flying bubble cars from The Jetsons. It was 
intimidating at first to be walking around such a renowned institution. I felt quite less than, until 
we actually got to listen to some presentations from some of these amazing students. It was 
obvious from their creations and ideas to change the world that these students were brilliant. 
What stuck out to me most however, was their integrity and willingness to let us into their 

The dinner was delicious; however I was so excited to hear what the speakers were saying, I 
can't quite remember what was served. The best part of the evening for me was when we were 
separated into small groups and were given a question to discuss. I was at my table with some of 
the fellows and faculty and we each got a chance to share our feelings on the issue. At that table 
and during that discussion, I began to realize what was most important: The condition of the 
human heart, occurred to me, to be the commonality between us. The love for humanity and 
positive change brought us together. Although from very different worlds, we learned that the 
greatest thing we had to share was our experience. 

I am grateful for Professor Foote and the passion he exudes for what he teaches. His 
encouragement and role in this program has provided me with both knowledge and the 
inspiration to move forward with a dream. To be involved in such an amazing experience is 
humbling, and I hope to continue to have additional opportunities and experiences through this 

However, about 20 years out of school, I have to say that I was more than a little intimidated. As 
we studied political and economic factors in other 
countries, we were told that Fellows from 
MIT and from these countries 
would be presenting in our 
classroom. Having the 
opportunity to collaborate 
with MIT students, Fellows 
and Faculty has inspired 
something in me I never 
knew I had. 

Professor Foote brought the 
Fellows in to speak to our 
class on many occasions. I felt 
humbled being able to listen to 
the Fellows from MIT talk 
about their countries and their 
goals; however, coming from 

quite different backgrounds, I began to feel like RCC students have something to offer MIT as 
well. I came to realize that the desire to make a positive change in the world was the common 
thread that wove us together ~ the desire to make a positive change in the world. 

Chadress Desrosiers 

Urban Economics 
December 19, 2013 
Reflection Paper Summary 

This semester in Urban Economics, I learned a great deal about the communities and how people 
and their surrounding area are affected by a number of factors. I have been living in a society in 
which I knew hardly nothing about. After taking this course, I can identify local government, 
government policies, economic growth and more about this field. Even though my career goal 


may not specifically be in 
community development, no 
matter what profession I decide to 
engage in, I will have to deal with 
the community. This was my first 
time taking a course and using an 
online application to post work; 
and it has prepared me for future 
classes in which professors may 
also use this method. At first, I 
thought it would be an 
inconvenience, but this is the best 
way to ensure that the work gets 
from the student to the professor. 

My favorite part of the course was visiting UMASS and M.I.T. This experience opened my eyes 
to the many goals I have, which I can actually connect together. The students and faculty at 
M.I.T have given me inspiration in order to make positive contributions to my community and 
the world. Knowing that people are as invested in others as I am, makes me continue on to my 
goal with a strong mindset. I am now moving on to UMASS myself and have networked with 
faculty there in order to get the best experience for my field. I thank you so much Professor Latif 
and your colleagues for expanding our potential here at Roxbury Community College. This is the 
best way for me to leave this school and I will always want to be a part of positive change here at 
RCC in the future. 

Alain D. Eugene 

MIT field-trip 

The MIT field-trip was interesting for me; the new technologies that they use are incredible. 
Their desire to research things that we deal with everyday was very cool. As a community 
college student, I liked the idea of friendship or partnership between MIT and RCC. I also liked 
the way we get together regardless of our level of education; we were on the same page and we 
had the same critical thinking on each subject. I had a lot of fun at MIT and I'm looking toward 
to coming back. 

Thank you!! 

Waller P. Finnagan III 
MIT to RCC: 

You have so much to offer- untapped talent, unlimited potential. 
What can we do together? 

RCC to MIT: 

You have so much to gain- unlimited resources, boundless imagination. 
We can do anything. 


Bethlehem Ghidey 

November 21, 2013 
MIT Reflection 

While at MIT, I was very impressed with advancements occurring within the school. In a world 
that fears global warming and its effects, MIT had conducted experiments that are trying to find 
ways to conserve energy. One of the experiments that stood out for me is the tracking of people's 
trash. Many people do not know where their trash is going, once the garbage truck comes and 
takes it away. Therefore, tracking devices were put on several types of trash to observe the use of 
energy to get the trash to its final destination. What I found surprising was that similar pieces of 
trash had different types of transportation even though they were going to the same place. The 
efficiency of one route over another is unclear; however, I still found the process very 

In the fast past society that we live in one does not think about the things that occur in our lives 
regularly. Even though it is something as small as trash, it is still a necessary part of daily living. 
So I ask: Do you know where your trash is going? 

Marquise Hart 

Urban Economics 

Throughout the course, we have covered a wide range of topics and spoken a lot about helping 
and changing our community. We have spoken about transportation and its policies; how they 
can be changed. We talked about health care and how some are receiving it and others not; how 
the state is making strides to improve it and is doing a decent job. We have also spoken about life 
issues in general, and how we go through it; what local government does for us and the help we 
all receive or lack thereof. All of these topics hit home; all of these topics affect our community; 
the issues of urban development, how it is great progress; but sometimes it is a cruel ploy to 
remove lower income citizens from their homes. These have been very enlightening for me 
personally, hearing the experiences of others, hearing from the people who have been at the 
bottom and had to scrape and fight tooth and nail just to get to where they are; and they still 
haven't fully reached where they want to be. 

I have gotten a lot of helpful information and made a few connections as well for the future; all 
these factors will help me greatly in the long run. As far as the presentations go, hearing from all 
the M.I.T speakers was actually very insightful for me; most of them where from another country 
and I found it fascinating to hear the outside perspective of the U.S. I am also fortunate to have 
learned about important matters other countries deal with, like Russia and Germany, when it 
comes to housing; Bhutan, when it comes to balancing happiness in the country and staying 
current with the rest of the world, while at the same time, preserving their culture; and countries 
like Brazil, when it comes to congestion and building your city to fit a certain transit system. All 
of these experiences and knowledge from this Urban Economics class will stay with me, without 
a doubt. 

The final and probably best experience for me was 
the M.I.T visit to listen to the work the SPURS 
program is doing. The partnership seems very 
genuine and so do all the people involved. I felt 
like the people at M.I.T honestly want us to come 
there after RCC and be the best we can. I 
personally enjoyed their Media Lab. Being a techno 
geek myself, I felt like a kid in a candy store with a 
sweet tooth. I swear that if I ever get accepted into 
M.I.T, that lab will be my second home. I just 
might move in and build a room myself. 

Overall, this entire class was an amazing 
experience for me and I assume for other people in 
my class. It has inspired me to reach for new 
heights and exceed my expectations; and I am 

determined to do just that. I highly recommend this class to anyone wno~wants t o ukc u. 
assure them that they will enjoy it, especially if Professor Latif is teaching it. 

Shelby Lindsey-Vaughn 

November 29, 2013 
My Impression 

I found the dinner at MIT to be informative and inspiring, not only because I was in a building 
surrounded by innovators and their ideas, but because it gave me an opportunity to hear the 
unique perspectives and visions of people of different generations coming together in hope of 
combining their 
philosophies in a 
productive way. The 
forum allowed me to get 
a small glimpse of what I 
hope the newly 
developed Community 
Development and Urban 
Planning program will 
look like in the future 
from the Associate level 
even to the Masters. 

When I came into the dinner at first, I 

thought those attending would just be talked at instead of being in dialogue with those who 
invited us and those who were guest speakers, like forums I was used to participating in prior; 
but that was not the impression I got at MIT. I believe it was well organized and a constructive 
way to gather a group of people with common interests/goals in one room to figure out how we 
can practically apply these ideas out in our communities that will benefit them. 


Florise Luc 

Life is all about connections, 
personal connections, business 
connections and Internet 
connections, just to name a few. 
The connection between MIT and 
RCC has contributed to my 
educational experience as well as 
personal growth. By interning at 
MIT during the summer of 2013, 1 
learned the importance of having 
alliances. It is my hope that the 
relationship and bond between both 
schools continues to develop 

Christian Sandoval 

I truly enjoyed attending the MIT dinner; I actually enjoyed it so much that this is my second 
year in a row coming to the dinner. I found the Media Lab very interesting; the projects they 
were working on were mind-blowing; and it's also very exciting to know that the projects they 
are working on will one day be used in the homes. Also, as a student studying to become an 
engineer, being in the Media Lab gave me more of an inspiration to study harder and hopefully 
one day to be given the chance to work alongside such amazing people with so much talent in the 
technology field. 


Contributing Writers - RCC Faculty and Staff 

Jose A. Alicea, Ed. D. 

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs 

Director, RCC/M IT Associate Campus Partnership Program 

In past iterations of Impressions & REfl3ctions, I've written mostly about the RCC/MIT 
partnership program and its development: What should we do? What components to include? 
And I've pushed for a real augmentation to the educational experience of our students. The 
WOW! Effect after the MIT visit still exhilarates me; RCC students seem to see real possibilities 
that truly challenge their ways of thinking and allows them to dream big. 

I've also written about the superb food and the variety on the menu, akin to a food critic. 
However, this visit was different: I had to deal with a medical emergency: One of my students 
looked awful at the dinner table; Tara (not her real name) turned purple and orange. She looked 
at me with startled eyes. What happened? "I'm allergic to eggs and didn't know that the noodles 
were egg noodles." Her blurred gaze told me to act quickly; I transformed into a combat medic — 
my persona for nearly twenty-years — triage, security, control of the space and enlistment of 
support, while engaging the patient. The team that I immediately formed included MIT personnel 
and RCC faculty; I barked out staccato orders: Call 911, overruled by in-house procedure. Call 
MIT security. "EMT on the way." MIT's Blue and Black on bike in the elevator and on the way. 
Triage, analyze, stabilize and transport —AMBULATORY MEDEVAC! 

We need an RCC faculty or staff member to go with Tara. Nasreen would you please 
accompany Tara and stay in communication with me through cell? "Yes I'll go." "Patient in 
transit to local hospital." 

Hello Tara how are you? "I'm feeling fine. That was really scary. I'll be back in school 
tomorrow; right now, I'll rest. Thank you for all the caring. I was in good hands. Thanks for 
checking on me." 

A grand learning experience for all! Tara will definitely be more careful eating American foods 
(in her country noodles have no eggs). A great learning opportunity for all — MIT and RCC will 
ask about food allergies and label all foods at future events. Now for the internal report. I'll 
consult with Nurse Ruth to document the event to see where we can improve our reaction. Deep 
breath. . .expect everything even the unexpected. I guess the food was good for most of us. 

Plan next semester's events: Stopping 1-95. Hey Ofer — contact Tunney Lee and — should we call 
Chuck Turner? Slow down; you move too fast; institutions just don't change as fast. We design, 
create, integrate and build lower structures, envisioning upper structures. Randall you move just 
as fast as Ofer; hold your horses. Design and write Community Development 101, edit, draft, 
meet, edit, argue, delete, expand, draft, negotiate. . .submit. Nasreen, you have another project to 
include? "Yes." Yet another responsibility? How much time and energy do you have? Let's 
meet; let's form this; let's institutionalize it, so it can sustain and last beyond us and our personal 
ties to DUSP, Bish, Nimfa and Ofer (MIT Partnership faculty and staff members). 

"Our students are worth it! I do it for them. If one RCC 
student dreams bigger, sees greater possibilities, engages in 
community building and civic participation, I'm happy." Well 
said Randall. "Look at this letter from Woody; this is why I d 
it." Frame it; it beats any diploma or certificate on anybody's 

Meditation and Yoga in the Latif Garden? I'm in! 

Randy Foote 

Professor of Political Science 
Impressions and Reflections: MIT Fall 2013 

This is a remarkable program. I could say a lot about the details 
and the vision and what we have done these past three years, but 
let me rather cut to the heart of the matter: our students. 

After the dinner I rode back to RCC on the bus with two of my students: One a Haitian 
immigrant who wants to gain skills to take back to Haiti; the other a woman who had been 
homeless and has now gotten her life together and wants to give back to her community. They 
are the kind of students who make teaching so rewarding. Both of them were in awe of what they 
had seen at MIT, but even more in awe of the doors they saw opening ahead of them. 
They saw a world before them that they had never imagined to be within their reach. They could 
take seminars at MIT, take an RCC course with MIT faculty, utilize the facilities, intern in the 
MSRP, perhaps go on to do graduate work at DUSP. They could not stop talking about how 
excited they were. Most of all, they both saw the opportunity to learn skills that they could take 
back to their communities. . .in Roxbury and in Haiti. They see the possibility of following the 
path from RCC to UMass to MIT DUSP. . .and they believe that it is actually possible. But 
whatever paths they take, they have had doors opened in their minds and hearts that will not be 
shut. Horizons broadened. Unimagined possibilities entertained. 

Both of these students have been working on research papers for my political science class, and 
they have connected with SPURS Fellows who spoke in my class. . .the Fellows have mentored 
them in their work, and have become friends. What was so clear throughout the evening (and 

since) is that there is no real separation between 
our community college students and the 
Fellows. . .they share the same passions and 
concerns; they teach each other and they share 
their experiences. Our students have much to 
learn, but the desire is there, and that is what 

This program can open doors. Our students have 
the passion to make the most of this opportunity. 
We have so much yet to do. 

My thanks to all MIT, RCC and our 



Nasreen Latif 

Professor of Social Science and Management 
RCC-MIT Collaboration Continues: Year Three 

(Includes MIT Media Lab, Senseable City Lab tour and presentation with dinner and activity). 

The projects and presentations by MIT researchers were exciting. I would like to have more time 
to spend with those researchers and their projects. 
Can we spend a day or a few hours in those labs to 
have a long lasting experience and/or impact our 
work as a faculty/student at RCC? 

In my Urban Economics and Economics classes, 
my MIT trip participants shared their experience 
with their classmates. That was a really rewarding 
experience for them - our energy and effort well 
spent for organizing this trip. The International 
Fellows' and RCC students' excitement always 
motivates me to do more with this collaboration and 

Spending quality time with our new President and Vice 
President with my students in a relaxed environment 
was a big treat for me! Unfortunately, I had to leave the 
MIT campus before our group activity to accompany 
one of our students to a local hospital; she had an 
allergic reaction. Thanks to our host for handling this 
incident efficiently. Next time, we will let our host know 
if we have anyone in our party allergic to certain foods. 

In the near future, I would like to observe MIT faculty and researchers in action to see the 
process and the environment, so that I can work on similar projects and ideas in my class at RCC 
with our students for our community. 

I am happy and proud to be a member of the collaboration design team! 

Nancy Teel, Ph. D. 

Dean of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies 
Memorable Night 

Our late-day visit to MIT met and exceeded all my expectations. Our visit to the Media Lab was 
truly fascinating. I so appreciated the young researchers who took time out to demonstrate their 
work to us. The talks over and after dinner engaged all the participants. I especially liked the 
long-term perspective evidenced in the planning of the MIT/SPURS program. I also enjoyed the 
small group discussion very much. And after the meeting concluded, the Red Sox won the 
World Series — how could one ask for more?