Neil Gaikwad, a doctoral student in the Space Enabled research group, has received the 2019 Karl Taylor Compton Prize, the highest awards presented by MIT to students and student organizations.
The Compton Prizes are given in memory of Dr. Karl Taylor Compton, MIT's president from 1930 to 1949, and chairman of the MIT Corporation from 1949 to 1954. Compton was head of President Roosevelt’s Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II, overseeing the development of radar in MIT’s Radiation Lab. He received the highest civilian honor of the U.S. Army, the Medal for Merit, for helping to shorten the war. Compton’s strong leadership transformed the Institute into one of the world’s leading research universities. Compton was noted throughout his life for his uncompromising integrity and for setting high goals and achieving them. The Karl Taylor Compton Prize honors this legacy.
The Compton Prizes are the highest awards presented by the Institute to students and student organizations in recognition of excellent achievements in citizenship and devotion to the welfare of MIT. They reflect outstanding contributions to the MIT community as a whole, sustained over a significant number of years. Neil Gaikwad is celebrated for his leadership, valued mentorship, advocacy and involvement in the arts at MIT, and demonstrated commitment to the advancement of diversity, inclusion, and wellbeing of MIT community. His leadership and an institute-wide initiative have helped numerous MIT students navigate student life and learning opportunities through number of pathways including the UROP program and has helped foster research connections between undergraduate and graduate students.
Neil specializes in human-centered machine learning and social computing for sustainability. He works with Professor Danielle Wood, the director of the Space Enabled research group. His current research focuses on the economic and social sustainability of markets under weak institutional enforcements and global food systems. He is developing human-centered machine learning for decoding the impact of social and the Earth’s physical processes on global food security and supply chain. Drawing upon this understanding, he is designing precision agriculture markets to enhance food security by helping marginalized farmers mitigate the impact of meteorological disasters and market breakdowns.
Neil is also a MIT arts scholar and a co-chair of the Committee on the Scholarly Interactions at MIT. With a lifelong passion for research, teaching, and arts, he continues to advance the equity, diversity, inclusion, and wellbeing of the community. He received the Compton Prize at the annual MIT Awards Convocation, which honors students, faculty, staff and community members who have made outstanding contributions to the shared life of the Institute.