Miguel Ocampo (Quezon City, Philippines)
Stevens Institute of Technology
Current Position: MIT Energy Initiative (Research Engineer)
Research Interests: Alternative energy, specifically the conversion of biomass to liquid fuels
Interests outside of school/research:
- Locating the best eats in town
- Basketball, badminton, tennis, table tennis, soccer
- Reading (especially in Boston Common and along the Charles River)
How did you hear about the program? Why did you apply?
I wanted to know more about graduate school and broaden my network of peers and professors so I applied. Most of all, who would not want to miss the experience of exploring graduate school at MIT?
Interesting things you did at ACCESS and people you’ve met
- Looking for a place for a midnight snack along Main Street
- Watching President Obama wave from his car before his speech at Kresge Auditorium and watching his speech while having lunch with fellow ACCESS students
- Duck tour of Boston and the big splash in the Charles River
- Touring the labs
- Meeting Prof. Robert Langer – the resident rock star on campus J
Favorite part of the weekend and why?
My favorite part of the weekend was getting to present my research interests in front of my fellow ACCESS colleagues and professors. After surviving the 2 minute presentation, I let out a big sigh of relief and appreciated receiving positive comments, especially from the professors. It gave me a great boost in confidence, knowing that I can present myself and what I love and doing very well in an intimidating (well not really, more of engaging!) atmosphere.
Do you think you benefitted from the program – did it help you in any way? Why or why not?
After ACCESS, I felt like a different person. From the 3 days I spent at MIT, I learned to communicate better and be more confident in myself. Most importantly, I left with a basket full of knowledge about life in graduate school. I felt that I had the all the necessary tools to be a better candidate if I do decide to apply. All in all, this program removed the entire stigma about graduate school and gave me the tools to make an informed decision.
Prior to attending ACCESS, did you have plans to apply for graduate school? How did ACCESS impact your decision?
Before attending ACCESS, I really was set on working in industry but was still curious on what it’s like to be a graduate student. After the program, I felt that it was not quite the time for me to go for my PhD but I know, somewhere down the road, that I have to make that decision. Thankfully, I will have all of the knowledge from ACCESS!
Are you planning on applying to attending graduate school now? If so, where?
Right now, I have no plans of applying for graduate school. If I do decide to apply, I would definitely go for MIT since their chemical engineering department is starting up biomass conversion research – an area of deep interest to me. The University of Delaware is also another university that has strong ties to this research area.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
In 5 years’ time, I see myself working and growing in the alternative energy industry, whether it is in research or exploring the different policy routes required to get these technologies up and running in a commercial scale. In 10 years, I envision myself managing such technologies and hopefully trailblazing a path to a more sustainable earth.
Anything else you want to share?
I didn’t apply for graduate school after graduation last year, but I did get a position to work as a research engineer here at MIT! I get to do what I love (alternative energy research) and still experience grad-school level work, although using a different lens. All I could say is the research environment is a great place to be a quick thinker and hone your people skills. Whatever you end up doing in the future, it is always important to love what you learn and learn what you love!