So long MIT

 

Mens et Manus
Mens et Manus

This week marks the end of my time at MIT. When I leave on Friday, I will have been here for 10 years, 11 months, and 16 days. 4002 days. It is had to imagine that I have been here for this long. I remember showing up to Tang Hall and getting my room. Up in the corner of the 24th floor. Now, I have a PhD – 8 years in the making, three years of Post Doctoral work, and I met one of the most amazing people in the world, who agreed last year to spend the rest of her life with me.

Along the way, I have met some incredible people. Jarrett, who officiated our wedding and has been there every step of the way since our beginning. Kerry, who came with Lily and has been an amazing friend. Eric and Zary, fellow MITers whom I kind of brought together (at least that is the story I am telling). Charles, for those out there and realistic conversations on the pursuit of science and scientific thought. Peter, who I can always count on to get things done. Will, who has been a true and loyal friend for some long years now. John Essigmann, who has been a terrific mentor and friend to me. Joost, who always plied me with libations and conversation. And many, many more. Too many over the years to recount here.

Lily and I are leaving soon, and arriving later this month, at Masdar Institute a brand new graduate research institute in Abu Dhabi. I will be a Professor in the Chemical Engineering Department.I am excited about the opportunities ahead of me, but also mindful of the responsibility that comes with this opportunity. It will not be easy, but it will be very rewarding.

It is not a good bye, but a so long to MIT and Boston. We will be back soon.

An Anniversary to Remember

The Queen of Hearts
The Queen of Hearts

Three years ago at this moment I was sitting in a room in a hospital waiting.  Restlessly waiting, for the heart surgeon to stop by.  It was a beautiful cold and sunny day, just like today.  Christi was there.  She had flown in from New York City for a couple of days.  Mr. and Mrs. Burns were there. Mrs. Burns quietly reading, Mr. Burns checking his Blackberry, making sure every one was taken care of.  We were a bundle of nerves.

Lily had gone into surgery earlier that morning.  Open-heart surgery.  Not your normal lets change a valve or two surface scratching in your chest cavity brand of surgery you hear are so routinely done these days.  The doctor was going to stop her heart, cut into her heart, sow up a tiny little hole in the middle of her heart, and then close it all up in hopes to alleviate the cause of her recent stroke.

A little past 11 that morning, the doctor came in. He spoke with us and told us that the surgery had been a success. Just a short 8-10 minute operation. A routine task, for him, as he had developed this procedure. Lily would be in the ICU soon and we would be able to see her soon.

At half past noon, we were allowed to go see Lily. I still remember her laying there in the bed, with all those tubes in her. Later, as she awoke from the anesthesia, still groggy from the surgery and the pain drugs, she turned and smiled at me. I felt relief. The beginning of the road to recovery and physical healing for Lily and for us. The stroke that happened earlier that summer had been a life-changing incident. The open-heart surgery repaired that little hole, the culprit, of that devastating event. It did not stop us. We were moving on.

The last three years have been some of the best of my life. We still live with the aftermath of a stroke and open-heart surgery. This is now a part of our story. I am still amazed at her strength of will and at her courage. We were both lucky.  Living in Boston. Close to such great medical centers. An incredible support group of friends and family. But most of all, I am lucky for still having Lily in my life.  Thanks for all that you are and all you mean to me.  Besos.

If you want to know more about stroke and heart disease, please visit the American Heart Association web site. Please help stop the number 1 killer of moms, daughters, sisters, friends, and lovers in this country. Know the signs.

9th Annual Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival

MVFF
MVFF

This weekend is the 9th Annual Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival run by my friend Thomas Bena.  Every year Thomas crossed the globe selecting films for the annual film festival.  He began the project as a way to provide thought provoking, insightful, and powerful glimpses of human nature, at its best and its worst moments.  Thomas goes to great lengths to put together a weekend program that subtly carries the viewer from topic to topic, touching the most inner recesses of their lives.  He cares about creating a space in which he can make real contributions to his community’s cultural development.  Take a look at this years program schedule.

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Professor John M. Essigmann – Mentor and Friend – Wins MIT’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award

Professor John Essigmann was awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King Leadership Award tonight for his work over his tenure at MIT as an advocate for the minority community making students, faculty, and all other members of MIT feel welcome at MIT.  John is one of those people who you meet in life and are immediately comfortable with him.  I first met John when I was visiting MIT in the spring of 2000.  I had just been accepted to the Chemistry PhD program and was in Cambridge on the prospective student visiting weekend.  I sat at the dinner table with Professors John Essigmann and Cathy Drennan and had a great time at dinner.  John and Cathy made everyone feel comfortable and welcome to MIT.

The next time I met John was when I was a Teaching Assistant for 5.07, the Chemistry version of Biological Chemistry.  I got to know John and eventually asked him to be the chair of my Thesis Committee.  As time passed and I got to know John better, I realized what an amazing person he is.  He and Ellen, his wife, at Simmons Hall, a really cool undergraduate dormitory at MIT.  The things John does around MIT are just too numerous to list here.

John also works to educate students who suffer from economic necessity worldwide. He has worked as an educator in Thailand for over two decades, dedicating his time to teach students in Thailand on how to design and develop drug research programs that investigate and provide relief to diseases which affect  third world countries.

I can’t think of a better person to receive this prestigious award than John.  Kudos to you!

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