Mike Tarkanian teaches 3.042 (Materials Project Laboratory), the capstone design course in the DMSE curriculum. He also manages the Laboratory for Engineering Materials and the Merton C. Flemings Materials Processing Lab, with the help of the DMSE instructional staff. Work in these laboratories focuses on materials and metallurgical processing, manufacturing, prototyping, and design. Students are instructed in the theory and practice of casting, forging, machining, and welding. In 2022, Tarkanian became the associate director of the Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology, where he did his undergraduate and graduate research. In this role, Tarkanian began co-teaching 3.985 (Archaeological Science) and 3.094 (Materials in Human Experience).
Tarkanian has been at MIT almost continuously since he was 18 years old. In his few short breaks from the Institute, he worked in materials development at early 3D printing company Z Corporation, and in the polymer coatings and adhesives industry at Bostik. He earned a BS and an MS from DMSE and is registered in Massachusetts as a professional engineer in metallurgy. When he’s not working, Tarkanian is surprised and disoriented.