Announcing the 2017 STL-MISTI China Summer Fellows

After a rigorous application and interview process, the Samuel Tak Lee MIT Real Estate Entrepreneurship Lab (STL Lab) has selected six summer teaching fellows for the 2017 STL-MISTI China Summer Workshops.

"The STL lab is very excited to work with this strong cohort of teaching fellows on the syllabus, teaching, and program development," Zhengzhen Tan, assistant director for the lab, said. "With the diverse backgrounds of the teaching fellows, we will have a multi-disciplinary approach to the lab’s mission and curriculum."

The STL Lab has built a diverse and interdisciplinary team of entrepreneurs, engineers, planners, architects, and developers, each with a demonstrated interest in social responsibility, the built environment, and entrepreneurship. Summer fellows will spend five weeks in China, comprising two weeks at Chongqing University, two weeks at Qingdao University of Science and Technology, and one week at Qingdao Shiyan High School.

In preparation for the trip, each fellow will attend MISTI training sessions and a series of trainings hosted by the STL Lab.  They will learn about the Chinese real estate market, building a lesson plan, effective strategies to teach English language learners, how to integrate MOOCs and blended learning strategies into the classroom, and about the STL Lab’s educational real estate game, LivableCity.  In addition, they will meet with fellows from the 2016 workshop for a discussion about strategies, lessons learned, and how to build networks inside and beyond Chinese universities.

Meet our Summer Fellowship Team

Rachel Belanger. Rachel is a Master of City Planning (MCP) student at MIT with a concentration in city design and development who will graduate in June 2017. Through the MCP program, Rachel studies urban design, real estate finance and law, affordable housing development, district-scale energy modeling, and government finance—a broad set of skills she aims to use to bring transformative development projects to reality. She is currently working on a thesis project about the growth of co-working, business incubators, and makerspaces in Massachusetts as a way of exploring how her region’s industrial cities can promote innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Rachel came to MIT with a passion for transforming the built environment to advance quality of life, resource conservation, and resilience. In her undergraduate program in environmental studies at the University of Chicago, her thesis analyzed a conflict over water infrastructure development in Bolivia, and much of her coursework focused on ecological restoration and environmental justice in Chicago. Before coming to MIT, Rachel led business development and communications for the city design practice of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), a global multi-disciplinary design firm.

Sai Fang. After graduating from Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, Sai started his professional career in 2010 and has worked for two architectural design companies, Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (BIAD) and Zhubo Design. Before joining MIT, he worked as a senior architect. His team collaborated with several of China’s leading real estate development companies and completed five real estate projects in Beijing, including residential and commercial sites. Sai became a First Class Registered Architect of the People’s Republic of China in 2014.

At MIT, Sai focuses on further developing his understanding of real estate finance and how to use that knowledge to drive analysis and decision making. As a proud Samuel Tak Lee graduate fellow, he places particular emphasis on socially responsible real estate entrepreneurship and urban development by conducting independent research on affordable housing in China.

Rebecca Hui. Rebecca is the CEO of Roots Studio (www.rootsstudio.co), a social enterprise connecting rural artisans to U.S. markets through a prints and design licensing model. Rebecca envisions the “Rurban,” a future in which villagers strengthen skills and assets that they can use in their villages rather than having to migrate into cities. As craft is one such skill, Roots Studio seeks to financially support multiple lifetimes of artistic passion through digitization. Roots Studio is supported by Echoing Green, MIT Legatum Center, MIT IDEAS Global Challenge, the Girlboss Foundation, The Unreasonable Institute, Stanford-StartX, and Halcyon.

Before the Roots Studio initiative, Rebecca spent six years exploring India’s rural-to-urban transition, first following cows in her mapping project “Life Through the Perspective of a Cow.” This project evolved into a three-year study on city-animal conflict that she undertook as a Fulbright Scholar and National Geographic Young Explorer. Now as a master's candidate in city planning at MIT, Rebecca is working as a consultant to the Government of Maharashtra alongside the World Bank on strategic planning and modeling of rural water supply systems.

Grey McCune. Grey is an advocate and implementer of public-private partnerships that enable more equitable cities for the 21st century. As an MBA student at MIT Sloan School of Management, Grey focuses on creation, scaling, and regulation of knowledge economies in cities and states—issues he has worked on in Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Washington D.C., and Boston. After interning in U.S. foreign policy and in international development NGOs, Grey launched his career with Deloitte Consulting, serving in their Washington, D.C., Mexico City, and Munich offices from 2011 to 2015. His consulting focuses included growth strategy, government oversight of critical infrastructure, and talent development initiatives. While a consultant, he also partnered with several D.C.-based non-profits in the education industry, serving both as a volunteer and pro-bono consultant.

Currently, Grey is in his final year of MBA studies at MIT, where he is an active member of the Institute’s entrepreneurship and innovation program. He co-founded a home-sharing start up in 2016, which was then selected as a member of the inaugural cohort to MIT’s Design Accelerator (DesX.) During summer 2016, Grey worked in Fortaleza, Brazil, for the municipal government’s Foundation for Science, Technology, and Innovation (or CITINOVA in Portuguese). CITINOVA is an urban R&D lab where academic researchers, public servants, and private-sector actors collaborate to develop solutions that improve well-being for city residents. During his time at MIT, Grey has also served as a teaching assistant for five graduate-level courses on labor management, ethics, and strategic communication. He was named an Innovation Diplomat by MIT’s Innovation Initiative, and earned a Social Impact Fellowship and Public Service Fellowship from MIT for his work in 2016. He has addressed MIT Sloan’s executive board and was also a member of MIT’s 2017 delegation to the World Government Summit in Dubai, UAE.

Scott Middleton. Scott is a third-year Master of Science in Transportation and Master in City Planning dual-degree student at MIT. Originally from Plainville, Connecticut, Scott studied history and urban studies at Brown University, where he wrote his senior honors thesis on the impacts of deindustrialization in Southern New England. Before coming to MIT, Scott worked as a community planner at the USDOT’s Volpe Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His work at the DOT focused on a range of topics, including asset management, performance-based planning, environmental review, transit-oriented development, and transit operations. Scott’s current research interests include high-speed rail and the environmental impacts of passenger and freight transportation. He is currently teaching a course on project management and evaluation in MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Momo Sun. Momo is completing her Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in civil engineering at MIT, specializing in high performance structures. Before starting her M.Eng. degree, Momo worked at an engineering firm in Toronto for two years as a structural engineer on various buildings in Canada.  Her major projects included three light rail transit stations in Ottawa. In January 2017, Momo was selected for an MIT program to teach entrepreneurship in four high schools in Israel. She was the leader of a diverse team of four MIT students, where she developed a teaching curriculum with lectures and activities.

Momo was born in Tianjin and immigrated to Canada with her family. With an interest in entrepreneurship, teaching, and a passion for music, Momo launched her first small business at 15 years old as a piano teacher. By the age of 17, she expanded her teaching business to private lessons in math, physics, chemistry, biology, and English as a second language. She earned a Bachelor of Applied Science with Honors in civil engineering at University of Toronto, with a minor in engineering business. Momo took on many leadership roles throughout her time at University of Toronto, the most important of which was her role as president of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering in her senior year. She received seven awards during her time at University of Toronto, one of which was the prestigious Canadian Association of Women in Construction Award, granted to the top female student in engineering and construction in Canada.