COVID-19 Heroes

MIT School of Science
Monday, June 1, 2020

This award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of staff members in the School whose efforts during the COVID-19 crisis have made the transition easier for their colleagues and work groups. And the EAPS team stepped up.

"When crisis hits, it is easy to panic. A more difficult option is to see what and who needs assistance, and providing that extra helping hand. In the School of Science, many staff members have donned capes that many do not even realize they have put on. But their peers have noticed," says Assistant Dean Heather Williams. "These heroes’ extraordinary efforts have helped make the transition during COVID-19 easier for their colleagues and work groups at MIT."

  • Laura Carter in Science by Jennifer Fentress and Sandi Miller for “[being] indispensable to the SoS [School of Science] communications effort through this crisis”;
  • Edgar Costa in Mathematics by Bjorn Poonen for “[creating] something that has transformed the way that researchers communicate”;
  • Cesar Duarte in Mathematics by Rosalee Zammuto for “exceptional organization and professionalism”;
  • Emma Dunn in Physics by Matthew Cubstead, Peter Fisher, Nergis Mavalvala, and Cathy Modica for “put[ing] enormous love and energy into keeping the Physics class of 2020 together”;
  • Mandy Duong in Whitehead Institute by v and David Sabatini for “commitment to the lab and the MIT community”;
  • Jennifer Fentress in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences by Allison Cocuzzo for “demonstrat[ing] everyday her pride in our community and what it means to take care of one another”;
  • Jennifer French in Mathematics by Michel Goemans and Semyon Dyatlov for “[helping] the entire department transition to online teaching”;
  • Michele Harris in Chemistry by Tyler Brezler, Michelle Contos, Troy Van Voorhis, and Shannon Wagner for “[being] the glue that holds our remote staff together”;
  • Kimeee Heatley in Physics by Matthew Cubsted, Nergis Mavalvala, and Cathy Modica for “[being] the backbone of the Physics Academic Programs Office”;
  • Ryan Higgins in Physics by Matthew Cubstead, Peter Fisher, and Erin McGrath for “immense work behind the curtain”;
  • Gerald Hughes in Brain and Cognitive Sciences by Will Lawson, Gayle Lutchen, and Kate White for “[going] above and beyond […] and [being] a calming presence”;
  • Meghan Jordan in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences by Taylor Perron for “support[ing] members of the EAPS community”;
  • Meredith Mahnke in Picower Institute for Memory and Learning by Earl Miller for “ris[ing] above the immediate demands of the job”;
  • Brandon Milardo in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences by Allison Cocuzzo and Meghan Jordan for “[being] behind the scenes doing a job that goes unnoticed […] with Brandon at the helm, nothing goes wrong”;
  • Cathy Modica in Physics by Peter Fisher for “manag[ing] the [transition to online teaching] very skillfully”;
  • Matthew Mondazzi in Mathematics by Rosalee Zammuto for “exceptional organization and professionalism”;
  • Scott Morley in Physics by Iain Stewart for “going well beyond the natural call of duty”;
  • Barbara Peskin in Mathematics by Michel Goemans, Theresa Cummings, Michele Gallarelli, and William Minicozzi for “[providing] constant help and guidance”;
  • David Roe in Mathematics by Bjorn Poonen for “[bringing] researchers worldwide together”;
  • Scott Wade, Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences by Andrew Babbin for “[being] a star in enabling [EAPS researchers] to execute the best possible research”;
  • Kerin Willis in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences by Tanja Bosak and Roger Summons for “[going] above and beyond to ensure that proposals are completed”;
  • Mary Ellen Wiltrout in Biology by Martin Adam, Stephen Bell, Eliezer Calo, Iain Cheeseman, Catherine Drennan, Alan Grossman, Rebecca Lamason, Graham Walker, and Matthew Vander Heiden for “leadership in helping the Biology Department and staff transition to remote teaching and learning”;
  • The headquarters team of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (Maggie Cedarstrom, Angela Ellis, Jennifer Fentress, Karen Fosher, Lauren Hinkel, Meghan Jordan, Natalie Liang, Brandon Milardo, Michael Richard, Scott Wade, Kerin Willis, David Wright) by Rob van der Hilst for “the collective spirit and effort that was needed to get through this as a community.”
  • Finally, a special thank you to the Dean’s Office 9:30AM crew consisting of Laura Carter, Annie Lee, Ting Ting Li, Kelly Murray, and Connie Winner. These five staff members have been crucial in working together to handle all of the new work associated with COVID-19, including managing access, planning virtual events, and supporting the myriad of other activities required by the sudden shift to working and learning remotely. 

 

These winners will receive monetary award to thank them for their efforts. "Teamwork is essential for ensuring the school runs as smoothly as possible given the unusual circumstances and appreciate everyone’s efforts to keep things moving forward," says Williams. "Despite physical distancing, it is amazing to see the MIT community uniting to support each other."

 

Story Image: Studying on Killian Court (Credit: Jake Belcher)