When Anantha Chandrakasan, the Joseph F. and Nancy P. Keithley Professor of Electrical Engineering, took the helm of MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) in 2011, he quickly set two big ideas into motion. One was to make the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) more appealing to EECS majors. The goal was to offer Course 6 undergraduates more research options within the department, as well as chances to work on longer-term, sustained projects.

The other was to form the Undergraduate Student Advisory Group in EECS (USAGE) to help him understand the student perspective. This group provided pivotal feedback that helped guide decisions about UROPs. Giving the students a stronger voice has transformed the department into more than a place where students come to learn about devices, signals, theory and systems: Course 6 is also a place where students become leaders.

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