This year we honor a graduate student who has made it his mission to lift up those around him: EECS doctoral candidate Arman Rezaee. For some, working toward a PhD at MIT is a full-time job. For Arman, excellence in the classroom and lab is only part of the equation.
A graduate resident tutor at iHouse, Arman exemplifies what we mean when we talk about community. iHouse is a living and learning residence that promotes international development, service, social justice and diversity. Fostering a sense of cohesion in a residence whose students come from all over the world can be a monumental challenge.
But Arman has not only been up to the task, he has embraced it.
As a nominator wrote, “With care, insight and timeless energy, Arman transformed the house into an active, focused and committed community of living-learning scholars. iHouse is now the MIT standard for a living-learning community.”
Arman is also a member of MIT REFS, which stands for Resources for Easing Friction and Stress. REFS are trained as peer mediators and serve as a first point of contact in dealing with stress and conflict, big or small. Arman has also helped organize an IAP class on gender equality. And he collaborated with MIT’s “It’s On Us” campaign to combat sexual assault on campus.
He is a mentor, a friend, an advocate and a sympathetic ear for so many students looking to find their place at MIT, far from home. Of course, that is what iHouse is all about.
His nominator wrote, “Under Arman’s watch, iHouse reinvented itself with a new constitution, deeply meaningful international development projects and a renewed sense of how to build a better world through individual and collective effort.”
We talk a lot on our campus about making a better world. Arman is helping us make a better MIT, too.