LinkedIn: Erik J. Heels: MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology class of 1988.

I have lived in, studied at, worked for, and been associated with a bunch of places, schools, companies, and organization. This article is one in an ongoing series about my experiences, the people that I’ve met along the way, and how I’m using LinkedIn to reconnect with them, both directly via LinkedIn itself and indirectly by publishing their names in these articles.

So far, I have written about Cape Elizabeth High School (1980-1984) and Verio (1997-2001). In this article, I’ll attempt to sum up my time at MIT (1984-1988).

MIT – The ‘Tute – IHTFP

I attended MIT on an Air Force ROTC scholarship. The ROTC scholarship covered tuition and books, but not room and board. So every semester, I not only had the standard one liberal arts and four technical classes, I also had a sixth ROTC class and had to work. Needless to say, it was a busy schedule. The Air Force also awarded my scholarship in a particular major – electrical engineering. So I didn’t have a choice about what to study.

One of the non-EE courses that I took was MIT’s famous 2.70 mechanical engineering design competition taught by Woodie Flowers. The class has a name, but I don’t know what it is. All of MIT’s classes (and buildings for that matter) are know more by their numbers than by their names. The final project for this laboratory class was a head-to-head competition of machines designed to do a certain task. My year (1987) it was a tug-of-war. My design featured a spring loaded hinged arm mounted on a four-wheeled vehicle. My design was actually quite similar to the winning design. And although I did not win, my machine was selected to be put on display for a year in MIT’s mechanical engineering department. What was notable about my design was that I created my robot to look – and act – like a pouncing tiger, and I dressed up as a tiger myself (complete with face paint) for the competition.

The course is now called 2.007 (Design and Manufacturing) and the final project is a robotic competition (adding the word “robotic”).

One of my more enjoyable jobs at MIT was as a teaching assistant in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science for MIT’s famous 6.001 course, which is designed to teach students how to think about programming by learning the LISP programming language. My job involved helping students about recursion, iteration, query database construction, and higher level language abstractions.

MIT requires all undergraduates to complete a thesis. For my thesis, I again got to work with Woodie Flowers, this time in the Laboratory for Biomechanics and Human Rehabilitation. For my thesis (which, as I recently discovered, is available online at MIT’s libraries), I integrated a Macintosh personal computer with a microcomputer-controlled above-knee prosthesis and programmed in Lightspeed C and CP/M 80 assembly language. This was a fascinating project because I went from working with resistors on one side of the project to programming a graphical user interface on the the other side.

I also managed to find some time for extracurricular activities. Because, quite frankly, I needed to spend some time doing fun stuff instead of just working and studying all of the time. My activities included the MIT Seekers, MIT Logarhythms, and Next Act Theatre. My MIT graduating class was about 550 people, about four times the size of my high school graduating class. Many of my closest friends are people I met at MIT.


So here are a bunch of people that I hung out with at MIT, not all of them class of 1988. This list includes folks from the EE department, ROTC, my living group (Next House, mostly 3rd West), and extracirricullllar activities. The list is not perfect. I transcribed it from my yearbooks and might have made mistakes. Many of the women have married and changed names. And a couple of the ROTC folks were from other schools (Tufts, Harvard, Wellesley).

David E. Anderson, Christopher J. Andrews, Robert B.J. Bergevin, Graham Bilter, Matthew H. Birkholz, Brian C. Carty, Glenn Case, Hal Cohen, Christopher A. Cook, Joan M. Coyne, Neil D. Cudmore, Steve Daley, Deep Damle, Donald M. Davidoff, Dave Delone, Mark J. Dudziak, Maria A. Dulmage, Leslie Fan, James Forbush, Rick Franklin, Andrew I. Gray, Daniel J. Harasty, Julie A. Harrold, Erik J. Heels, Maria L. Hernandez, Mark D. Hickman, Susan Hughes, Kevin D. Hurst, David M. Kaffine, Stacy D. Katchman, Steven B. Leeb, Robert S. Lenoil, Theodore W. Leung, Scott Lichtman, Scott P. Lichtman, Dumpy Lin, David P. Lin, Karl Lindstrom, Lori Locascio, Bruce G. Lundie, Darrin Lyon, Hollie K. Mahaney, Laird Malamed, Ken Malsky, Lisa A. Martin, Art Mellor, Mike Mendyke, Christian Merkel, Tina Nelson, Sheila Neville, Michael J. Novin, Michael J. Parker, Edwin E. Pickens, Ernest N. Prabhakar, Scott Ramsay, John Reardon, Christopher B. Reed, Barbara J. Sannwald, Michael J. Saylor, Peter H. Schmidt, Jeff Schwefler, Bonnie Scurlock, Lauren E. Singer, Douglas S. Smith, Christopher Solan, Hartie A. Spence, Alan Steele, Kenneth S. Szajda, Albert L. Tervalon, Jonathan Tuttle, Kathy Vicksne, Karen Walsh, Jay Walsh, Jonathan S. Wolf, Mark A. Wolf, and Noel Zamot.

So if you’ve got a LinkedIn account and are interested in linking up, great. If not, that’s OK too.

View Erik J. Heels's profile on LinkedIn

2 Replies to “LinkedIn: Erik J. Heels: MIT”

  1. Since Facebook is also a thing, here are links to (possible) Facebook pages for various MIT folks:

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