Inspirational MIT president visits Oakland

February 27, 2009 7:14:02 PM PST
The Engineering Academy at Oakland's Tech high is gaining a reputation as one of the top schools in the nation. So much so, that students got a rare visit today from the president of MIT.

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You would think a rock star came to tour Oakland Tech on Friday. That's how some engineering students view Dr. Susan Hockfield, the first female president in the history of MIT.

"I was really excited that she was a woman and she was the President of MIT. It was just like wow I really could do that," Emiko Zumbro.

She rarely visits high schools. But Hockfield came to acknowledge the engineering academy's success and growing reputation.

"Basically to increase their enthusiasm knowing there are other people who know what they are up to and value it. I think it's an important message," said Dr. Hockfield.

Today, there are five Oakland tech students attending MIT. Others are hoping to follow in their footsteps.

"That's my first choice, so I really hope this has a positive effect on whether or not we get in. That would be really cool," said Adam Meckel.

"I'm hoping she took down our names and she's going to look up the files," said Jake Bishop-Moser.

Dr. Hockfield is seen as a role model for young women thinking of entering a field dominated by men.

Women in the United States are underrepresented in the fields of engineering and science, but according to President Hockfield's, at MIT 46 percent of undergraduate students are women.

But her main role was to encourage students to pursue a career in these fields in order to keep America competitive.

"An economy that is built on new ideas that lead to new businesses that lead to new industries it's this backbone of science, math and engineering that really is the key to our future," said Dr. Hockfield.

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