Student Profile: Tina Chen, Short Programs Student

Tina Chen
Associate Staff, MIT Lincoln Laboratory


What courses have you taken from Professional Education and why?

I’ve taken three Short Programs courses through MIT Professional Education: two radar courses and a machine learning course. I enjoyed the first radar course a lot and there were so many interesting topics available that I went back for more! In the future, I hope to be able to continue taking courses relevant to my career and interests.

Why did you choose MIT?

I had heard great things about Short Programs from coworkers – the courses are taught well and the format worked a lot better for my schedule than a more traditional semester-long course.

What would you say are the top three most valuable takeaways from your experience in taking these courses?

The condensed schedule of Short Programs was very helpful. Each day, the lecturers were able to constantly build upon what was taught in previous days and a lot of material was covered by the end of the week. Even if some topics were covered more briefly than others, it was still informative to see an introduction to more advanced topics and note areas to explore further. I also learned about interesting and fun research being conducted by the course and lab instructors, as well as other researchers at MIT. 

Additionally, I enjoyed meeting other program participants from all over the world through the courses. Everyone came in with a different background and perspective, and it was interesting to see how other people intended to apply the material we were learning. I also learned things about other universities, companies, industries, and countries from the other students during breaks and discussions.

Did what you learn in these courses help you in your career or help your organization?

The courses definitely broadened my basic knowledge base in these topics. For example, the hands-on lab component of the radar courses helped reinforce concepts from the lectures. MIT Lincoln Laboratory has such a rich history with radar technology that it is important to have an understanding of both the hardware and software pieces of a radar system. 

As someone with a background that falls on the software and algorithm development side, I appreciated the firsthand assembly of a basic radar as an introduction to radar hardware and system design. And in the machine learning course, all of the examples that were discussed highlighted the wide variety of parameters that could be adjusted to fit the specifics of your own application and strategies for getting the best results.

What would you say is the value of taking a professional development course in general?

Professional development courses are a great way to expand on a topic that you want to learn more about. Through the courses I’ve taken, I have learned quite a few very applicable concepts in a very organized fashion and in a fun setting.