The BioTECH Quarterly
BE Celebrates the Newly Launched Major
By Joao Paulo Mattos '08, Features Editor
On Tuesday, April 26, 2005, students, faculty, staff, and alumni gathered in the Bush Room to celebrate the launch of the new Biological Engineering (BE) Major this year, along with the 10th anniversary of the Biomedical Engineering (BME) Minor and the (BE)-BME Society.
Of course, this was plenty reason to celebrate: the BE SB is the first new Course to have been established at MIT in the last three decades; the BME Minor is the first interdepartmental minor to exist and flourish here; (BE)-BMES is a vibrant student organization on campus that has grown tremendously over the past 10 years.
The event began at 5 pm, with Professor Linda Griffith opening the ceremony with a brief history of the bioengineering landscape at MIT. The Institute was at first reluctant to support an interdepartmental minor, she said, but the success of BME Minor today has set a precedence for such educational initiatives in the future.
Griffith also talked about the BE Major, saying that over the years MIT has become more and more interested in the link between biology and engineering. Echoing this message, Professor Douglas Lauffenburger, Director of the BE Division, spoke of the motivation for pioneering a new biology-based engineering discipline and led a toast to the kick-off of the Celebration.
During Griffith’s speech and in later conversations, she emphasized the important role that students have played in the development of the BME Minor and the BE Major.
“The students are the real bioengineers,” she said. Having mentored (BE)-BMES in the past 10 years as Senior Faculty Advisor, she expressed her heartfelt appreciation for the work carried out by this student society and its key members, including previous president Alexis DeSieno ’05 and founding members Charles Morton ’97 and Melissa Kemp ’97. .
“I’m always amazed by their initiative,” she said.
The students are just as grateful towards the faculty. Morton, who was a sophomore when the BME Minor was first created in 1995, has returned to MIT for its graduate program in BE. He explained that he decided to enroll at MIT because he knew he’d be working with the great professors, such as Griffith, Lauffenburger, and Professor Peter Dedon.
Likewise, Kemp was proud to come back and see how much (BE)-BMES had grown, remembering how small it had been when it first started. Ten years ago they had little manpower, but she remembers and appreciates how helpful and resourceful the faculty had always been.
DeSieno also shared her enthusiasm, having experienced (BE)-BMES during its earlier, more fledgling stages. Since she joined the Society in 2002, the group’s mailing list has grown from 100 to over 900 members, which include both undergraduate and graduate students. .
Our special thanks go to Jennifer Fang ’05, Suzette Clinton, Dan Darling, and Catherine Greene for organizing this event and transforming the place with balloons, slideshows, Hors D’Oeuvres, cake, and champaign. With the demonstrated energy and synergy of students, faculty, staff, and alumni in this bioengineering community, we look forward to what new developments we may be celebrating 10 years from now. .
Among the festivities was a cake adorned with BE labels and the (BE)-BMES banner.
Engineering Society of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All
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