MIT model explains how the brain can learn novel tasks while still remembering what it has already learned.
The freshmen will not be the only new faces in East Campus, Next House and Simmons Hall this fall. A new crop of housemasters will also be making their debut.
On East Campus, technical instructor Thomas Delaney of the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies and lecturer Kate Delaney, of the Program in Literature and the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, will come in as new housemasters, filling the spaces left by Julian K. Wheatley, a senior lecturer in Chinese, and his wife Marjorie Nolan-Wheatley.
For the Delaneys, the move to East Campus is an exciting one, but the two are no strangers to moving. For 25 years, both Delaneys served in the diplomatic services: Kate was a cultural attachÌ© and Thomas was a press attachÌ©. In their years of service, they lived with their daughters in countries all over the world, including Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Poland, the Netherlands, France and South Africa.
For Kate, coming back to Boston and working at MIT has been a natural next step in her career. "I have always been very involved with the university world in my work," she said.
The couple's work in the diplomatic services also prepared them for the kinds of hours they will keep as housemasters. "That was a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week job too," Kate said. "You have to be flexible and prepared for any eventuality."
Coming to East Campus will be a challenge, Kate said. "They (Wheatley and Nolan-Wheatley) really made the place so welcoming and attractive," said Kate, adding, "we are aware that we are stepping into some big shoes."
Still, Kate said, both she and her husband are looking forward to their new roles. "It is nice to go into a place where the people seem so happy," she said.
Across campus, there is a new face in Simmons Hall as well. Professor Jesus del Alamo of electrical engineering and computer science will take the post of associate housemaster of Simmons, replacing Associate Professor Muriel Medard of electrical engineering and computer science and John Simmons. Medard and Simmons will be housemasters in Next House.
"I expect to be immensely inspired by the caliber of our students," said del Alamo. "Housemasters have the opportunity to have a high impact on student life at MIT."
He will share responsibility for 340 undergraduates with the current housemaster, Professor of Toxicology and Chemistry John Essigmann and his wife, Ellen. "It will be a pleasure to work with them and it will be fun," del Alamo said.
Having taught for years, del Alamo is anxious to see another aspect of his students' lives -- the domestic one. "I am intrigued by the idea of seeing a side of MIT I know little about," he said.
The Delaneys moved into East Campus on Aug. 16 and del Alamo moved in on Aug. 14.