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An easy entry point

Scholvin may never have discovered his fascination with nature’s smallest building blocks if he hadn’t taken that fabrication class as a junior at MIT.He now co-teaches a junior and senior lab class for Course 6, completing the circle.However, he believes that exposure earlier in the undergraduate experience could influence the trajectories of additional students.

Eight newly minted MIT students had the opportunity to work hands-on in the lab as they learned how to fabricate and test silicon solar cells in a new first-year seminar that he and Donner Professor Jess del Alamo, his former PhD advisor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, taught in the fall of 2021.Scholvin says, “Our hope is that these seminars could give students an easy way to start contributing to research.

“Once you get trained, you can actually immediately make very important contributions, even as a first-year student.As they were pushed to first master and then improve the procedures required to complete their assignment, he observed the students’ enthusiasm grow.The first couple of times they enter it, it sure is scary.But at the end, they understand and feel very at ease because we keep repeating the same steps.

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