Each summer, the M&T Program, the Wharton School, and Penn Engineering jointly host a for credit summer program for rising high school juniors and seniors called the Management and Technology Summer Institute (M&TSI). The program exposes students to a “mini M&T” experience over an intense three weeks. As part of the program, M&T undergrads serve as Residential Training Assistants (RTAs), living in the dorms with students, coaching them through assignments, attending field trips, and overall supporting their learning. RTA Jeffrey Zhou shared his M&TSI experience with us.
- Tell us about M&TSI. What does it provide for high school students?
M&TSI is a program that gives high school juniors and seniors a chance to essentially “try out” the M&T Program for three weeks in July. Held on Penn’s campus, it allows students to explore Penn and Philly. Students take classes taught by leading Penn faculty and successful entrepreneurs, go on site visits to different companies, and work in teams to create an innovative product to bring to market.
- What prompted you to apply to be an RTA?
I really enjoyed talking to prospective Penn and M&T students during my first year here at Penn. I liked providing them with advice and guiding them from my experiences. I also wanted to meet some of the potential “up-and-coming” students in the M&T program.
- What did you expect to get out of M&TSI?
I expected to meet really smart and interesting students and I was not disappointed! I also expected to have fun helping them figure out their path through senior year and into college. I felt I got this and more. I have made friends along the way and can’t wait to see some of them at Quaker Days and hopefully at Penn!
- Describe a typical M&TSI day.
A typical day at M&TSI starts with morning lecture with Professor Babin, which focuses more on the business side. This would sometimes feature a guest lecturer from Penn, whether it be a faculty member or alumni. Lunch follows and the students go to the engineering buildings to hear either Professor Deliwala or a speaker from the engineering side. Then, we all congregate in Detkin Lab and work on either labs or the projects.
There were days that varied far from this, including waking up at 3 am to visit Morgan Stanley and advertising/incubator firm R/GA in NYC! We also had evening and weekend trips visiting sites around Philly, going to the beach, and even hitting up Six Flags for a day.
- What sort of projects did the students create?
There were so many creative and interesting concepts! There was a mirror that displayed suggested clothing options on your body, earrings that played encouraging messages to fight depression, a camera that could detect illegal parkers in handicapped parking spots, a bike that warned the rider when there were obstacles behind them, and so many more. It was really inspiring and impressive to see how the students went from ideation to the complete product.
- Did you have a favorite moment from your experience?
One of my favorite memories was the last night. I was talking to a few students and just getting to know them. We talked about what they did in high school and what they enjoyed. I told them about my classes at Penn and what I liked to do. It was fun to just relax and help guide them through the potentially stressful time ahead of them.
In the end, you can’t really describe M&TSI. It’s one of those things you just have to experience to fully appreciate. I feel lucky to have been a part of it!
Jeffrey Zhou is a computer science major concentrating in management and finance. He is a member of the Class of 2020 and has a passion for eating interesting foods. His favorite thing about being an M&T is the network of brilliant people always pushing you to learn.