Conducting research with faculty may be a given for current MIT undergraduates, but it was revolutionary when it was introduced at MIT 40 years ago. Today 85 percent of graduating seniors have participated in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). The concept permeates MIT life and has been widely adopted throughout the U.S.
A symposium and a UROP 40th Anniversary Website honors the event. Birthday tributes included a Technology Review story, “The Soul of MIT,” that notes that 45 MIT faculty members, former UROP students themselves, are now mentoring today’s undergraduates. “UROP is not just an experience,” says Edward Boyden ’99, MEng ’99, an assistant professor in the Program in Media Arts and Sciences. “It’s a way to have immediate impact on the lives of millions of people. I see UROP as the soul of MIT.”
Watch a short video about the late MIT Professor Margaret MacVicar ’64, ScD ’67, a legendary educator who founded UROP.
- 1987: Jennifer Wiseman ’87 discovers the Comet Wiseman-Skiff as a UROP student working with EAPS Professor Jim Elliot ’65, SM ’65, an active UROP mentor.
- 2000: In April, John M. Grunsfeld ’80, a former UROP student turned NASA astronaut, returns to discuss his space shuttle mission and presents UROP memorabilia he took into space.
- 2008: The PBS series Design Squad wins the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award. MIT community members, including several UROP students, helped develop this series.
For more, read profiles of six UROP students in the summer 2009 issue of Spectrum.