MIT senior, Margo Batie
Photo by ALLEGRA BOVERMA
MIT senior Margo Batie plays hard on the rugby field and works hard in the physics lab.
Studying both physics and nuclear science and engineering at MIT is no small challenge, but it’s just one of the activities that senior Margo Batie juggles. During her time at MIT, Batie has played on the varsity basketball team, led the women’s club rugby team, conducted research at two national laboratories, and helped strengthen minority support systems and outreach programs.
Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Batie was encouraged to pursue engineering by her father, an educator and entrepreneur. “He started an Internet service providing company, so I ran around with him and helped him fix computers when I was younger,” Batie remembers. On weekends in elementary school, she would practice typing and arithmetic, surprising her teacher and classmates when she sped through both in classroom exercises.
In high school, Batie excelled both on the field and in the classroom, playing three varsity sports and graduating second in her class. In spring of her senior year, Batie was leaning toward staying in California for college — before she visited MIT for a few days that April along with throngs of other prospective freshmen at Campus Preview Weekend (CPW).
“Four days later, at the end of CPW, I thought, ‘I’m coming here,’” Batie says. “It was just overwhelming how much the school had to offer, and I fell in love with the campus.”
Batie has excelled at MIT, but the transition wasn’t always easy. “Crenshaw High School was 60 percent black, 40 percent Hispanic,” she says, adding that MIT “was a culture shock, initially.”
MIT’s minority student groups helped ease her transition. Since her arrival, Batie has become involved with the National Society of Black Engineers and with the Black Students Union (BSU) as that group’s executive secretary.
“MIT’s diversity is actually, percentagewise, one of the highest of the upper-tier institutions in the U.S., but being a minority at MIT is a lot more difficult than people would think,” Batie says. “People need a support system. And one of the things people first see, and connect with each other over, is race and cultural background, so having something like the BSU that starts with that — but doesn’t end with it — is a really big deal.”
After she graduates, Batie hopes to pursue a PhD in nuclear engineering, taking her background in the more theoretical aspects of physics and applying it to a field that inspires her: nuclear power.
“Whatever I do, I want it to directly benefit people,” Batie says. “Being able to apply what I learned and then fuel a city — that’s awesome to me.”