MIT Generation Global, sponsored by the MIT Center for International Studies (CIS), is an outreach program to public high schools. The program connects high school students with MIT undergraduate and graduate students who are passionate about solving global problems.
View the overview video:
This year’s MIT Generation Global theme was on global problems related to scarcity. The winning MIT students were guided by education experts (MIT faculty, k-12 curriculum expert, participating high school teacher) on how to translate their topic into a two-week problem-based curriculum for local high school students. The participating high school for this year's fellowship was Prospect Hill Academy, which is located in Central Sq., Cambridge.
Prospect Hill Academy was chosen as our partner high school because it fits our target demographic: PHA serves nearly 1100 students from diverse racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds, with 63% of the students coming from low-income families as defined by federal guidelines, and 87% coming from minority families. It is a local public high founded in 1996 as a tuition-free college preparatory charter school.
For MIT Generation Global’s pilot year, the selected participants included eleven Prospect Hill Academy high school students, one Prospect Hill Academy teacher, and two MIT students. The instructional team (two MIT students and the Prospect Hill Academy teacher) worked together in advance to prepare a two-week problem-solving course addressing healthcare scarcity using the recent Ebola crisis as a case study. The course was held on the MIT campus during summer 2015 and ran for two weeks from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each weekday.
The high school students selected to participate in the program received instruction from the MIT students and the PHA teacher, and the program’s content was enriched by lab tours and invited lecturers. After learning a basic understanding of various issues related to the Ebola crisis—such as communication, technology, education, governance, security, international health, and infrastructure--the high school students worked in groups based on specific interests to address possible solutions. This problem- solving approach, which is central to MIT’s educational mission, enabled the PHA students to engage meaningfully with the complex issues of prevention and mitigation of the Ebola crisis.
The program concluded with the PHA students presenting their ideas and solutions to a panel of experts, who gave advice on the methods of problem solving but were impressed by the remarkable progress the students made. The final presentation was a public event in which parents, teachers, and fellow students attended.
The final event underscored the value of the program, which the students uniformly endorsed. It was an unusual and exemplary learning experience for the PHA and MIT students, demonstrating how MIT can gainfully engage the community in constructive and durable ways.
View the full event video: