What we do

Biological Engineering Resources for Easing Friction and Stress is a departmental graduate student-driven program that provides confidential conflict coaching to the BE community.

What is confidential?
Any conversation you have with a Ref can be confidential. Refs won’t share any information without your permission (except in the unusual case of imminent risk of serious harm to self or others).

What is conflict?
Maybe you feel that you and your advisor aren’t seeing eye to eye. Maybe you’re frustrated with your roommate. Maybe you feel like things aren’t going right and you don’t know how to get them on track.

What is coaching?
We can hear what you have to say and help you work out strategies that will help get you where you want to go.

Our mission

Resources for Easing Friction and Stress for Biological Engineering (BE REFS) is a graduate student support network of trained BE graduate student mediators (Refs) who specifically support the BE community. Primary emphasis is on graduate student support, but Refs are also available to undergraduates, postdoctoral fellows, faculty or staff in BE. Refs act as confidential sounding boards with whom interaction is voluntary and confidential. Refs also refer visitors to other resources at MIT, aggregate data on visitor well-being, share this data with the department and advocate for improved well-being in the department. Our mission is to help our peers deal with difficult situations and increase student well-being in the department.

BE REFS aims to…

  • provide a graduate-student-driven, centralized, department-wide resource to help students cope with the stresses of graduate school and negotiate difficult situations, whether between students, between students and any other member of the department or MIT, or between students and people in their personal or private lives.
  • complement the BE Graduate Board in collecting anonymized information on areas of the graduate student experience that may be improved.
  • direct students to appropriate resources available to them at MIT.