Spokes is an MIT-based, non-profit, student-run initiative as part of an effort to rethink STEAM education. This year will be the 9th iteration of this program at MIT.
This summer, Spokes is sending a team of 8 MIT students on a cross-country bike ride starting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. and ending at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Over the course of 80 days, our team will bike over 4,000 miles and host Learning Festivals in small towns and correctional facilities. Our team is currently planning this year's route but you can take a look at the previous year's route in the meantime
WHO WE ARE
We are a team of 8 students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA. We all came to MIT to pursue our passions in math, science, art, design, and the humanities, but more importantly, we believe in sharing our knowledge with others to inspire future generations. Check out our biographies below to learn more about each one of us!
WHAT WE DO
We create curriculums that complement each host's curriculum inspired by MIT's hands-on approach to education. We teach these workshops to schools, libraries, and summer camps all across the United States. We establish strong connections with communities, students, and host families along the way. We document our experiences. We sweat (a lot). We become a family.
Oh yeah...and we bike the whole 4,000 miles.
We want to show that yes, engineers and scientists can be athletic too. We're breaking stereotypes. We're also stepping out of our comfort zones, physically and mentally. And...how many people can say they've biked across the United States of America?
WE NEED YOUR HELP.
We'd love to do what we do for free, but with a trip this big, we need the support of dedicated individuals like yourself. We're looking to crowdsource $15,000 to make this trip happen, on top of large corporate sponsorships. If you are a cycling advocate or enthusiast, please consider supporting our journey. If you connect with our mission and want to help us reach out to kids across America, please consider supporting us.
Meet the Team
MIT '23 | Computer science
Hi! I’m Jess! I graduated last year, studying computer science (6-3) with a minor in math (18). I’m currently doing my M.Eng. in computer science with PDOS, the parallel and distributed operating systems group, working on verification of cryptographic software. I grew up in New Jersey, which may be the butt of your jokes but it holds a special place in my heart. At MIT, I spent most of my free time chasing plastic with sMITe, the women’s ultimate frisbee team, which I also captained for 2.5 years. Outside of that, I enjoy snowboarding, cooking and exploring new restaurants in the area on my dear bike, Daphne (she’s purple). I wanted to do Spokes because it’s like nothing I’ve ever done before and I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to share my passion for STEM and explore this country on wheels!
MIT '24 | Aerospace engineering
Heya! I’m Sophia, a senior at MIT studying aerospace engineering (16-ENG). My goal is to become a capable systems engineer who can use her skills in any discipline — a few specialities I’m considering are self-assembling robotics, urban planning, and environmental engineering. I’m also an active proponent and participant of the Maker movement to democratize personal fabrication. I grew up in Alabama, New York, and Connecticut (though many would describe me as a New England elitist — I just love the fireworks of fall foliage). I love the outdoors (and nature documentaries). During the semester, you can often find me on walks and bike rides by the Charles. Outside of school, I cook and write. In fact, my retirement plan is to own an orchard with a cozy, seasonal restaurant on the property. On campus, my friends and I run a bi-monthly pop up restaurant called MINCE (@mitmince) where we create affordable coursed dining experiences for students. Two of my favorite authors are Kurt Vonnegut and Italo Calvino. I’m currently playing with a few absurdist novel ideas with a touch of magical realism. I’m so excited for what’s to come this summer. I’m looking forward to this marriage between friendship, travel, and teaching.
MIT '27 | Physics, Mathematics
Hi, I'm JD Hagood, a freshman at MIT from Clinton, MS. I currently plan to major in math (18) and physics (8) while keeping up my interest in electrical engineering. While it may look like I know what I'm doing by posing with a bike over my head, long distance cycling is completely new to me! I joined spokes to challenge myself with an adventure from coast to coast while sharing my passion for STEAM with the next generation of students. In my free time you can catch me soldering and 3D printing my next project in the New Vassar maker space, pulling my hair out troubleshooting the electrical system for the Solar Car team, or debating if math is discovered or invented in my dorm lounge. I am looking forward to biking across the country this summer with the 2024 Spokes team!
MIT '23 | Materials science & engineering, Art & design
Hi! I’m Rebecca, a senior from Los Angeles, CA. I’m double majoring in urban planning and materials science with a concentration in environmental studies (a mouthful, I know). I was scared of biking until I came to college (after crashing and burning too many times as a kid), but it’s one of my favorite activities now and I’m so excited to set off on the Spokes adventure! At MIT, I’ve spent my time bleeding brakes on the Solar Car team, learning how to not fear writing emails to MIT administrators through the Dormitory Council, and getting tackled in a padded room on the women’s rugby team. My favorite classes have been International Development (11.005) and any Spanish class (I’m hoping to work in Mexico after Spokes through MISTI). As an urban planning student, I’m super excited to experience so much of the USA’s diversity of place and people this summer through Spokes!
MIT ‘23 & 24 | Computation and Cognition
Hi, I’m Varsha! I am a Masters in Engineering student studying computer science and brain/cognitive science (6-9) at MIT, and also completed my B.S. in computer science and brain/cognitive science at MIT in 2023. I love learning about human behavior and decision-making, and my current research focuses on evaluating fairness in AI/machine learning models for healthcare. I’m originally from Southern California and I’m an avid traveler; I’ve had the privilege of being able to work/teach in so many cool countries like Kazakhstan, Italy, Wales, Netherlands, and Denmark through MIT! In my spare time, you can catch me wandering in cute bookstores hunting for the next good read, trying to improve my film photography skills, or doing anything outdoors like running or biking. I love crazy challenges and making students excited to learn, so I can’t wait to embark on this cross-country bike adventure with the Spokes team!
MIT 23 | Computer Science and Molecular Biology
Hi! I’m Amulya, a recent MIT grad (’23) in Computer Science and Molecular Biology (6-7). Currently, I am sticking around the Boston area and completing a Master’s at MIT studying sex differences in human height. I grew up in a suburb outside of Chicago, IL where I spent a lot of time learning how to ride a bike with no hands (hopefully I can refine this skill during Spokes!). At MIT, I have had the chance to both teach and explore the world through MISTI teaching experiences in Mexico and Italy. I discovered my love for the outdoors at MIT through trips to Acadia National Park and the White Mountains. I’m super excited to be able to combine my passions for education and outdoor adventures through Spokes. Outside of school, I also love dancing, reading, drinking good coffee, and spending time with my living group, WILG. A side quest I hope to achieve during Spokes is trying a new coffee shop in each city/state we stop in!
MIT 27 | Mathematics, AI and Decision Making
Hi, I’m Clelia :).
I’m a freshman studying Mathematics and A.I. & Decision-making (18 & 6-4 for the connoisseurs). I’m French and went to High School in Paris, but I’ve also lived in Hong Kong, Newton, MA , and New York. I love reading, anything mountain-related (hiking, skiing, rock climbing), and signing up for big adventures. Throughout my short time at MIT, I’ve been involved in the ESG learning community, MITOC, and have developed an unhealthy addiction to Dunkin’s Iced Latte. I’m really excited to cycle through America as I've never ventured further west than New Hampshire. Spokes is the ideal opportunity to combine my passion for teaching and physical challenges. Couldn't be happier to embark on this journey!