Sunday, April 5, 2009

Exciting news!

I found out this past Friday that I'm going to be a GRT (Graduate Residence Tutor) for the upcoming academic year! I'll be living in a one-bedroom apartment in McCormick Hall.

It's a short walk to Kresage (where I have rehearsals for the MIT Symphony Orchestra) and the rest of campus. It is on Memorial Drive overlooking the river, and while my apartment won't have a river view, the penthouse certainly does:

Downtown Boston (the bridge is the Massachusetts Avenue Brige, and you can just barely see the sailboats coming from the MIT Boathouse)

It's obviously hard to see it now, but the slightly obtruse thing on the right is the Citgo Sign (near Fenway).

Fenway is in the center-ish of the picture.

You can kind of see the other tower in this picture (as well as the flower boxes! Apparently they have sat vacant for years, except for a box of wild chives that haven't been tended in a long time...I'm going to see if I can get some money to start an herb garden up there..mmm...)

There is a 360ยบ walkaround on both penthouses (McCormick has two towers) as well as a lounge and kitchen in the central portion of each penthouse.

Anywho, McCormick is named after the deceased husband of MIT Graduate in biology 1904 Katharine Dexter McCormick.
I can't get over how cool she is...born in 1875, she grew up as a wealthy socialite, and after her father and brother died in her teens (from a heart attack and spinal meningitis, respectively), she decided to study biology at MIT. She spent several years learning all of the prerequisites, finally entering MIT in 1899. She graduated in 1904, butting heads with the administration, who finally allowed women to stop wearing hats in lab (feathers are flammable, you know!). She married Stanley McCormick after she graduated (obviously, at her family's Swiss chateau). However, he succombed to schizophrenia and was hospitalized/institutionalized the rest of his life until he died in 1947. This lead Katharine to champion for better health care for those with mental illnesses, and she donated quite a lot of money to that cause over her lifetime. She was also a suffragette (as was her mother), and upon hearing a lecture by Margaret Sanger of the prospects of a female method of birth control, devoted much of her time to funding the development of the birth control pill, which was approved by the FDA in 1960.

Near the end of her life, she was still unhappy with the male:female ratio at MIT, and the inadequacy of housing for female students made her last effort fronting the cost of building an all-girls dormitory (30 million dollars in do the math).

"I believe, if we can get them properly housed, the best scientific education in our country will be open to them permanently. Then I can rest in peace."

She died three years later, and donated her entire estate to MIT (I believe the largest single donation in MIT's entire history....fairly impressive!).

I'm really excited to be living in a place that is associated with such a woman. I feel lucky to live in a building under the influence of such an amazing invisible cheerleader.

I'm not sure when I'm moving in, but my official duties begin August 16th...plenty of time to think of all sorts of fun things to do with my girls. (I have girls! how cool is that?)


Rick L said...

Congratulations! I know you've wanted this position; after reading your description, I think this sounds wonderful for you.
Do you need a fund to start the herb garden? If you start now, you could germinate everything yourself.
Imagine, make your own pesto; dry rosemary; bake with your own mint.

M. said...

Congratulations again! So do you think you might be in MN in early August? I will be on vacay the last two weeks in August, so that would be perfect! Keep me posted.

You are my fave... said...

Exciting news indeed. Boston looks lovely.

mieletcannelle said...

Very exciting girl - this will be great for you! Congrats.

Bridget said...

Now that I have my own apartment, it'll be even easier for guests to come visit! hint hint... :)

Also, if anyone has any genius ideas for study breaks, let me know! I'm thinking of doing a Monday Classic Movie Night (Rear Window, Casablanca, Singing in the Rain), as well as some sort of DIY dorm decor series once a month. But I'm definitely game for lots of ideas!

Me said...

Hello Bridget,
I know this post is from a while ago, but would love to give you all the information I have about the McC Penthouse flower boxes. I graduated last summer and did lots of 'gardening' work around McC over my time living there. I and my colleague planted all the bulbs in front of McC that should be in full bloom by now (around 2,000 in total) and we bought lots and lots of dirt to fill some of the boxes in the east penthouse. We only managed to fill the ones facing the river and a few on the side. One summer, we planted flowers in every box with dirt and offered them to students to plant anything they wanted and no one ever claimed one. The problem with growing most things up there is the wind, but we found that geraniums and sedums worked really well. Most of the west penthouse boxes already have dirt and they do have some green things that survive and come back each spring. I believe that some of the house maintenance people water them to keep them alive in the summer. My friend and I focused primarily on the east penthouse because it is where we hung out most often. I wish you the best of luck with the project. The house government would be the people to ask for money. We got money by proposing the two projects (bulbs out front and flower boxes) in a house meeting as the Environmental Chairs. If you have anymore questions, just email. I will be coming back to campus to start my MS next fall and could help with anything as I love McC and this was a project of mine in the past.
Warm Wishes.