Aaliyah Webster, a junior at Western Center Academy, completed a four-week program at the 2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Beaver Works Summer Institute (BWSI). Aaliyah was among 198 students from high schools throughout the nation to participate in the program.
BWSI was an opportunity for talented, high rising high school seniors to work on hands-on projects, partake in online courses and attend lectures presented by leading scientific researchers. Aaliyah was at MIT from July 9 to August 5, where she was able to live in the dorms, eat in the dining hall and experience the typical college life first hand. The program is hosted by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Beaver Works Center, a research center in Cambridge jointly chartered by MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the MIT School of Engineering, and the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
BWSI is designed to be a transformational learning experience. Students were placed into one of eight courses that involved project-based learning in an intensive team environment. Aaliya was placed in the RACECAR course which allowed her to program miniature self-driving cars, integrating sensors and collision avoidance logic to allow the cars to navigate complex racetracks. She was able to work with other students as they tested their software to recognize signs, follow a path, and avoid obstacles.
“This year, we had a fantastic group of students: talented, full of questions, very intelligent, and all with a passion for learning,” said Joel Grimm, the manager of Beaver Works. “I love to see the new ideas and solutions they use to complete their summer program on the final day. It was an exciting day of races and technology demonstrations. These students received a transformational experience that they will be sure to remember for many years to come.”
Aaliyah said the summer program opened her eyes to many things. While she is still leaning towards attending University of California, Berkeley, this experience has peaked her interest in attending MIT. She also said the program has solidified her desire to pursue a degree in computer science so she can become a software engineer.
Congratulations on being selected to attend the 2018 MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute, we know you represented Western Center Academy and the City of Hemet well!