MISTI is launching a new program in Ukraine in Fall 2022

MISTI is launching a new program in Ukraine in Fall 2022

MIT Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI), MIT’s hub for global experiences, is launching a new MIT-Ukraine program this Fall to facilitate student and faculty connections between the institute and Ukraine.

“Russia’s war against Ukraine has created a host of problems for this country that the MIT-Ukraine program will be ideally positioned to help address through virtual internships with the help of MIT faculty,” explained Professor Elizabeth Wood, Faculty Director of the MISTI Eurasia Program, which MIT-Ukraine will be a part of in its initial phase.

The problems Ukraine is facing encompass almost all the disciplines of engineering and science taught at MIT. “With almost 8 million internally displaced persons, Ukraine has a housing problem of absolutely dizzying proportions.  They will need modular housing that can be quickly assembled, perhaps using recycled materials -- a problem that might be solved by faculty and students in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning who work on sustainable materials,” Wood added. 

Ukraine will also need new sources of heating and energy that will liberate them from dependence on Russian sources -- a problem that Mechanical Engineering faculty and students, as well as the MIT Energy Club could help to address. Bridges, roads and transport will all need rapid rebuilding under adverse conditions. Robots could be designed specifically for mine removal or finding wounded survivors under rubble. 

<<Related: MIT students, faculty, and staff gather to discuss the war in Ukraine>>

Logistically-minded students associated with MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics could put their minds to designing problems of exporting Ukrainian grain and electricity given the breaks in previous supply chain mechanisms undermined by the war. Cybersecurity students could work with Lviv National University, the IT hub for Ukraine. 

Students who love to work with high schoolers can teach STEM to Ukrainian kids and help them stay on top of their academic subjects even if they are taking refuge in basements and bomb shelters. Finally, “those who like research and social media can help Ukrainians counter the ongoing flood of Russian disinformation and propaganda, including supplying Wikipedia pages on the war to supplement the ones the Russian government is constantly trying to take down,” Wood pointed out.

While internships through MIT-Ukraine will have to be remote before the end of the war, they nonetheless may have major impact for both the students involved and for the country in this crisis situation.

Ultimately, the MIT-Ukraine program will serve as a clearinghouse to bring together hosts in Ukraine, interested MIT faculty working in needed fields, and students seeking real world applications of their academic studies. 

MISTI has opened a search for a part-time coordinator to help develop the MIT-Ukraine program. For more information, please see the job description here. Interested applicants are invited to send their resume and cover letter to mit-ukraine at by Aug. 31, 2022.

Photo credit: Douglas Hook / MassLive