iREFS (institute-wide Resources for Easing Friction & Stress)

Who are we?
We are graduate students formally trained & certified in conflict management skills. We operate just like departmental REFS (dREFS), but are not restricted to a single department or program.

What do we do?
Provide confidential, peer-to-peer support for all graduate students at the Institute. We also point students to other resources on campus.

Teach conflict management workshops upon request (email the co-chairs for further details)

Upcoming Events:

Virtual Movie Night:
iREFS is excited to host a movie night where Disney PIXAR ‘Soul’ will be screened. The movie night will be held on March 24th (Wednesday), at 7 PM. The first 40 to sign up will receive food reimbursement of up to $9. The others are welcome to join the movie night but would not be reimbursed for food purchases.

Register for the movie night here: . Zoom link will be sent to those who register for the event.
In case you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us at
Looking forward to seeing you all there! This event is funded by GSC.

Virtual Office Hours:
iREFS is excited to hold the virtual office hours every week of the Spring semester starting from February 24, 2021 (Wednesday)! Check out these events on iREFS event calendar for further details (Zoom link is provided in the calendar). 

Subscribe to our Mailing List:
You can subscribe to our mailing list to receive updates about our events!

iREFS Events Calendar:
You can look at the iREFS event calendar and add it to your personal calendars.

Want to follow iREFS on social media?
– Join our Facebook group today!
– Follow us on Instagram!

How do you meet with an iREFS?
– Sign up with the Google Form to ask for a meeting.
– Email to ask for a meeting.

Your request is seen by the iREFS co-chairs, who will forward your request to an iREFS member that best meets your preferences.
– Directly contact individual iREFS via their emails below.

iREFS co-chairs []

Srinivasa Pujari
Department: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Research Lab: Chung Lab
Research Interests: Microfluidics, Tissue Engineering, 3D printing
Program: PhD (4th year); Joined MIT in 2017
Hometown: Amadalavalasa, Andhra Pradesh, India
Hobbies: Badminton
Favorite Quote: “Everything will be okay in the end, if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” ~John Lennon.

Vyshnavi Vennelakanti
Department: Chemistry & Chemical Engineering (Courses 5 & 10)
Research Lab: Kulik Group
Research Interests: Computational modeling of noncovalent interactions in the context of metalloenzyme selectivity
Program: PhD (3rd year); Joined MIT in 2018
Hometown: Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India
Hobbies: Singing, reading novels, knitting, painting, archery, sudoku
Favorite Quote: “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” ~J.K. Rowling; “Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judegement.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien.

iREFS members []

Elizabeth Healey
Department: Health Sciences and Technology
Research Lab: Cohane Lab, Harvard Medical School
Research Interests: Machine learning, clinical decision making
Program: PhD (2nd year); Joined MIT in 2019
Hometown: Providence, Rhode Island
Hobbies: Running, baking, teaching my dog new tricks

Geet Kalra
Department: System Design and Management
Research Lab: Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan
Research Interests: ICS Cybersecurity
Program: Masters (2nd year); Joined MIT in 2019
Hometown: Faridabad, India
Hobbies: Walk around, travel, talk to people, have beer with friends, watch a movie

Nouran Soliman
Department: EECS (Course 6)
Research Lab: Haystack, CSAIL
Research Interests: Human-Computer Interaction
Program: PhD (2nd year); Joined MIT in 2019
Hometown: Alexandria, Egypt
Hobbies: Working out, yoga, body balancing, face-paint, digital painting, oil painting, dancing, photography, cooking
Favorite Quote: “Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You’re gonna love it.” ~Monica Geller, Friends; “The most important investment you can make is in yourself’’ ~Warren Buffett.

Raha Peyravi
Department: History, Anthropology, Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS)
Research Interests: Cryptocurrencies and other decentralized technologies (currently doing a remote fieldwork with Bitcoin traders, miners in Iran)
Program: PhD (2nd year); Joined MIT in 2019
Hometown: Tehran, Iran
Hobbies: Loves to swim, run, listen to music and try out new drinks
Favorite Quote: “Once you are willing, once you have the experience of being willing to stand outside the mainstream and you know that you’ll survive, and you know that you’ll find other people who are like minded, it opens you to other formations, and you are less willing to play the blackmail of normal life.”~Michael Warner

Shivam Handa
Department: EECS (Course 6)
Research Lab: CSAIL
Research Interests: Program Synthesis, Formal approach to Machine learning, Distributed Systems, Probabilistic programming
Program: PhD (5th year); Joined MIT in 2016
Hometown: New Delhi, India
Hobbies: Inline skating, poker (new at it), board Games (especially social deduction), studying random subjects (usually economics)
Favorite Quote: “If the compiler screams at you and you scream back you only really succeed at is scaring your wife” ~Gene Bransfield; “A fluke is one of the most common fish in the sea, so if you go fishing for a fluke, you just might catch one.” ~Kevin Malone, the Office; “What are we doing today brain? Same thing we do every day, Pinky. Try to finish our research paper! ” ~Meme based on the popular cartoon pinky and the brain.

Want to be an iREFS?

Contact the iREFS co-chairs to get involved!

The next conflict management training will occur during IAP.

Recommended Resources

Lost on how to even approach getting support at MIT? Check out our Graduate Support Resources Flowchart (with links to resources embedded)!

iREFS is collaborating with DSLx Life Learning to create conflict management micro-learning videos! Check out a few videos below:

Community Resources

Here are some more details about the various resources you can approach.

MIT Emergency Contacts:

  • Campus police/EMS: 617-253-1212 (on campus, 100)
  • Cambridge police: 617-349-3300
  • MIT Medical: 617-253-4481
  • Mental Health clinician-on-call: 617-253-4481
  • Dean-on-call: 617-253-1212
  • SafeRide on-demand services (6 PM – 2:30 AM): 617-253-2997
  • 24 hour emergency repair: 617-253-4948

Mental Health:

Institute Discrimination & Harassment Response (IDHR) Office:

Conflict Management:

Getting around:

Work/Life resources:



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