Souha El Mousadik is a Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate student in the Environmental Dynamics Lab in MIT’s Mechanical Engineering (MechE) Department. Souha has been with the CEE Communication Lab (CEECL) since May 2021, helping out with workshops, panels, and coaching students and postdocs in the department on various science communication topics.

What intrigues or inspires you as an MIT CEE Student?

As an MIT CEE doctoral student in Environmental Fluid Mechanics (EFM), I’ve had the privilege of being  involved in cutting edge science with brilliant collaborators and world-class experts to help generate understanding that underpins informed decision making for sustainable solutions. In my lab, we address questions pertaining to mining of the deep sea, an uncharted realm for EFM but one of profound importance to determining the environmental impact of mining resources from the deep ocean prior to any potential commercialization efforts. Last spring, this research endeavor brought me to a remote part of the Pacific Ocean, the Clarion–Clipperton Zone (CCZ), an extensive area of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Mexico. There, the seafloor, some 4,000 meters below the ocean surface, boasts one of the world’s largest untapped collections of rare-earth elements. This constitutes the first of its kind expedition to investigate, in-situ, the impact from deep-seabed mining trials involving a collector vehicle deployed at the seabed. Prior to this voyage, the last experiment conducted in the CCZ of similar magnitude occurred in the 1970s. Being a student at MIT provides remarkable possibilities to partake in unique once-in-a- lifetime experiments.

Tell us a little about your work in the CEE Comm Lab (CEECL). What have you been doing lately as a Fellow and peer-to-peer communication coach?

Since I joined the CEECL in Summer of 2021, in addition to the peer-to-peer coaching sessions, I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in organizing a number of activities. In Fall 2021, together with CEECL fellow Ignacio Arzuaga Garcia, we organized a panel discussion for incoming graduate students in the CEE department around topics pertaining to communicating in graduate school to empower new students to discover their communication style by hearing first hand experiences from senior graduate students who have led different experiences in MIT. The outcome of the panel was an article, co-authored with the panelists, published in Nature career advice. This past spring, I partnered with CEECL alum Matti Gralka, to deliver a workshop on turning research projects into publications. The workshop, although high level, covered the main aspects of structuring and transforming results into publishable journal articles. These two experiences have been immensely gratifying and encouraging towards future CEECL events.

Why did you decide to apply to become a CEECL Fellow? How has the experience been for you so far?

My experience thus far in CEECL, alongside the talented and passionate CEECL Fellows, has been a fulfilling and rewarding venture. Most Importantly, I am very appreciative of the enriching interactions during the CEECL peer-to-peer coaching sessions. Being a fervent supporter of peer-to-peer mutual learning models, I have personally learned plenty working with the rich CEE community, from undergraduate and graduate students to postdocs.  In addition to the insight into the fascinating research performed within the department, the peer-to-peer sessions are an opportunity for mutual learning. On the one hand, the client is provided with need-based targeted feedback, which hopefully can help with overcoming similar future communication challenges they might run into. On the other hand, the peer-to-peer session is also an opportunity for me as a CEECL Fellow to reflect on my own communication abilities and reflect on past (or ongoing) communication challenges that I had to face previously with an opportunity for re-examination.

What do you most enjoy about being a peer-to-peer communication mentor and Comm Lab Fellow, and why?

One of the most rewarding moments for me is when the client in the coaching session or the audience in the events we host shows clear positive engagement with my feedback and any input I provide. As a CEECL Fellow and a CEE colleague, I am happy to help in providing my peers a comfortable and relaxed space to confidently solve communication challenges and discover new ways to improve upon any aspect of communication of interest to them, whether that happens in the early bullet-list phase of writing or in the final stages of rehearsing an oral presentation.

You can connect with Souha through LinkedIn. You can also make a coaching appointment with Souha or any of the CEE Comm Lab Fellows using our online scheduler. Learn more about the CEE Comm Lab on our website.