MIT senior teaches intro to nuclear science in Armenia

MIT senior teaches intro to nuclear science in Armenia

Senior Zoe Fisher (Nuclear Engineering ’22) taught introduction to nuclear science and engineering, thermodynamics, and materials science of life to university-level students in Yerevan, Armenia.

In January 2022, Zoe was one of four MISTI Eurasia Global Teaching Labs (GTL) students hosted by the American University of Armenia (AUA). “This GTL program took the form of a multiple STEM-oriented lecture series taught at AUA and open to anyone in the AUA community (mostly college students, but some high schoolers and faculty attended, too). Many lectures were also live-streamed, and each was taught daily for one to three weeks,” Zoe explains.

She remembers that working with university-level students was difficult at first. “I was lecturing college students and making the complete lesson plan myself, both of which I had never done before. I did not at all feel prepared the first day or two, but by the end, I was quite confident in myself and my peers,” she says.

Having participated in two other GTLs in Italy and Germany, Zoe admits she loves learning about different cultures. “In Armenia, everything was very last minute (which I really appreciated because I enjoy rolling with the punches) and also very welcoming and caring.” Her favorite parts of the country were exploring Yerevan, the capital, and the mountains. “Both were phenomenal experiences I don’t think I would have ever had without this program. I would also absolutely go back to Armenia,” she admits.

When asked about her advice to future GTL students in Armenia, Zoe replied: “Introduce yourself to everyone! People seem a little bit more closed off (I’ve learned it is a fundamentally American thing to smile at strangers on the street), but everyone is so friendly. Ask for recommendations, for favorite foods and for cool activities to do, and if people want to go with you when you try them, and you won’t be disappointed. Also, don’t be afraid of last-minute plans—the best things I did were spur of the moment. Honestly, this all goes for life, too.”

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Photo: Zoe Fisher (second from right) with other MIT students and MIT Professor Areg Danagoulian in Armenia in January 2022. Credit: Areg Danagoulian.