Skip to main content
  1. Blog/

I Think I Donated to UROP

I won’t say I was exactly guilted, but after seeing a nice thank you YouTube video from my class scholarship recipient, I thought maybe I should actually donate. I didn’t see a class scholarship fund on the MIT alumni site, but there’s a page of other categories, and I was pleased to see an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) fund.

The UROP program was my favorite part of MIT, except possibly working on my bachelor’s thesis. But the thesis didn’t pay, and the fact that UROP positions are paying jobs was key. If I wasn’t on financial aid (an assumption of part-time income is part of the package), I would have joined Project Athena and been on the forefront of Unix, workstations, and local area networking.

So, instead, I spent my freshman year and summer as a word processor (meaning I typed on a word processor workstation transcribing from a professor’s voice recorder), Mac lab admin, technical press release writer, and rep at the MIT Microcomputer Center, which was run by a horrible person who didn’t pay me all summer and then got a recommendation for a cushy academic job elsewhere. This experience and other inefficiencies I saw in the campus bureacracy, by the way, is why I’ve been reluctant to donate all these years.

But anyway, I got a couple of UROP projects that spanned the rest of my undergrad years. I didn’t actually perform any research, but I wrote code that was used (a wire-frame display for computer vision research and a display for the semantic net generated by a natural language parser). And I did that work in the world famous MIT computer science and AI labs, soaked up the atmosphere, listening to and even talking to world famous researchers (although actually I talked to Marvin Minsky when he called the Micro Center to ask about a Mac).

However, after I submitted my donation, the resulting page said this: Image for post Image for post

And below that it also listed the UROP fund. So I’m really not sure where that money is going. Did I mention there are some inefficiencies in the campus bureaucracy?