Is There a Grad Rat in Your Future?

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on March 20, 2013 · 0 comments

in Alumni Life, Events

Grad Rats include course and degree as well as symbols of campus life.

Grad Rats include course and degree as well as symbols of campus life.

Graduate students are demonstrating a new interest in buying their own Standard Technology Rings, the official name of the Institute’s iconic rings. While more than 90 percent of undergraduates traditionally buy Brass Rats, sales of its sibling, the Grad Rat, have only taken off in the past five years, says EECS graduate student Katia Shtyrkova, chair of the Graduate Student Council (GSC) Grad Rat committee. She knows because she tracked last year’s sales of 800 rings, a 20 percent boost from the previous year.

Why should graduate students and alumni consider buying a Grad Rat?

“MIT’s graduate ring program, the Grad Rat, is the most successful graduate ring program in the country and one of our community’s most unique and cherished traditions,” says Brian Spatocco, GSC president. A materials science and engineering PhD student, Spatocco bought his Grad Rat shortly after completing his qualifying exams last year.

“Owning a Grad Rat has significance in two major ways—first, for many students and alumni it is symbolic of their time at MIT, both the good times and the struggles. The Grad Rat also unites our students and alumni and is the link that brings our members together, no matter where they may be and no matter how long after they’ve graduated.”

The Grad Rat is also getting with the times. The design was unchanged for decades until the 2004 redesign. Now another new design is in the works and GSC would like alumni input. Fill out a survey to share your thoughts on design features for the ring to be unveiled next fall. The survey closes April 7; you can also email the committee.

What does the current Grad Rat look like? Go to the GSC website to view the design. The ring features degree, course symbol, graduation year, as well as   symbols of MIT life. Alumni can order a ring from any year, designating any degree.

Are Grad Rats useful outside MIT?

“Students’ networking and connections improve greatly from the ring exposure,” says Shtyrkova. “Professionals immediate know the origin of the ring, and the pride and hard work that came with it. MIT has a policy not to give honorary degrees. And as such, the only way to get the ring is to have attended MIT.”

Graduate students and alumni can order a ring during campus ring days, when they can get sized, see the details, and try on different metals. They can also order on Balfour’s online store and receive their rings two months later.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: