What is this project?

Portraits of Resilience is a photography and narrative series in which students, faculty and staff at MIT tell, in their own words, how they faced depression, trauma or other hardships, and emerged stronger and wiser from their experiences. The stories are lightly edited verbatim extracts from interview transcripts.

Who is involved?

The photography and interviews are by Daniel Jackson, a professor of computer science and photographer. Alice Zielinski and Tamar Weseley, cochairs of the Undergraduate Association’s Student Support & Wellness Committee, helped conceive the project, handle outreach to student groups, and provide ongoing advice. Kathleen Xu, Leon Lin and their team at The Tech are publishing the project in weekly installments. The project has also benefited from the professional guidance of Drs. Haleh Rokni and Evan Waldheter in Mental Health and Counseling.

What motivated us?

By sharing these stories, we hope to inspire strength and resilience in the community at MIT and beyond. These are people who, through their experiences, have gained profound insights into our human condition, how to meet adversity, and sometimes how to overcome it. Perhaps those experiencing similar hardships will find solace in these stories, and those who have experienced only lesser hardships will gain perspective and deeper understanding. Each story is deeply personal, and is recorded with respect and openness, and without preconceptions or conformity to an agenda. Our project does not advocate particular therapies or cultural remedies. On the other hand, some of the stories do reflect on our school, our environment and our culture, and may suggest ways in which we can build more enriching and supportive lives individually and together.

How can I participate?

If you’d like to tell your story, or find out more, just send us email.

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