The 2022 MLK Leadership Awards
Institute Community & Equity Office
Martin Luther King, Jr. showing the medallion received from New York City major Robert F. Wagner, Jr., 1964. Source: Library of Congress, New York World-Telegram & Sun Collection, Reproduction Number LC-USZ62-126558
The MIT MLK Jr. Leadership Awards are given annually to students, alumni, staff, groups and faculty who embody Dr. King’s commitment to community service, integrity, leadership, and creativity. This year's awardees spoke about what those values mean to them.
Nilma N. Dominique, Global Studies and Languages
"I believe that we all must make a conscious effort to constantly review our values and reflect on our choices and decisions, lest we automatically reproduce behaviors that we claim to be fighting against. As educators, we cannot and should not be mere observers or indifferent to the social reality in which we live. We have to act not only by critically verifying the facts, but also by intervening in an ethical manner."
Chiamaka Agbasi-Porter, Lincoln Laboratory
"Service to others is such an essential part of any community. Engaging people for a common cause creates a positive impact for the next generation. I am most excited when engaging with students and hearing their stories. I want students to leave our programs confident, knowing that there’s a community of people who are in their corner cheering them on."
Austin A. Ashe, Sloan School of Management
"Dr. King inspired millions throughout his life, and that is part of what makes his impact so important to this day. I’m reminded of the African proverb 'Each one. Teach One.' Many romanticize what it means to be a 'leader' and forget that without your community behind you, your impact is hollow. We have to reach back to each one and teach one about their own potential. Titles and roles expire, but legacies carry on."
Lina Ahmed, Chemical Engineering
“I wanted to make NOBCChE [the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers] a more culturally affirming mentorship and support group for our members. Being black is one thing, and being an engineer is another, but with the intersectionality of the two, being a Black Chemical Engineer is a whole unique experience on its own.”
Bianca Lepe, Biological Engineering
"I think bell hooks captures my feelings about leadership in her quote, “True resistance begins with people confronting pain...and wanting to do something to change it.” I hope to take action every day for equity and justice, and inspire others to do the same."