Rebecca Shepardson and Mahia Brown honored with 2024 Infinite Mile Awards

MIT’s School of Engineering recognizes extraordinary staff contributions to its mission.
Categories: Awards

Rebecca Shepardson and Mahia Brown have won the School of Engineering’s 2024 Infinite Mile Award, which honors staff members for their extraordinary contributions to MIT’s educational mission. 
At a ceremony in the Samberg Conference Center on June 25, Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the School of Engineering, commended 15 staffers from various departments, 12 recipients of the Infinite Mile Awards and three of the Ellen J. Mandigo Awards.
Both awards pay tribute to “the vital role that staff play across the school,” Chandrakasan said.
“Simply put, our staff’s contributions are invaluable,” Chandrakasan said, “from managing multimillion dollar budgets, supporting our faculty, overseeing complex programs, and fostering a warm, friendly environment for our students.”
The ceremony was the first in-person celebration of the awards since 2019, before the covid-19 pandemic lockdowns. As award winners collected their certificates, audience members waved handmade signs and made loud honks with noisemakers.
Shepardson, the undergraduate academic administrator for the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE), was recognized for outstanding service to MIT over her 25 years at the Institute.  
“Her colleagues unanimously agree that Becky’s contributions transcend the ordinary. One colleague describes her as one of the most dedicated, hardworking, outstanding, and best problem-solving staff members,” said Michele Harris, director of human resources for the School of Engineering, who presented the award. “Through Becky’s tireless efforts in mentoring, organizing events, and fostering community, she has created an environment where students feel supported, valued, and heard.”
Brown, who recently transitioned from financial coordinator in DMSE to a new role in the School of Science, was lauded for her “demonstrated intelligence, hard work and a collaborative spirit,” said Macall Zimmerman, assistant dean for finance and administration in the School of Engineering.
“Mahia has played a crucial role in maintaining continuity during a period of unprecedented staff turnover,” said Zimmerman. “Her proactive approach to resolving financial issues, retrieving relevant documentation, and fostering a collegial and welcoming team environment has been invaluable.”
Closing the ceremony, Chandrakasan urged the audience to give another round of applause for the award winners. “As loud as possible, now,” he said, prompting enthusiastic cheers and horn blasts. Then, as the noise subsided, he added with a laugh, “Loud, but not enough to get the police in here.”