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R. Erich Caulfield SM ’01, PhD '06

MIT Corporation

MIT Corporation

 

R. Erich Caulfield SM ’01, PhD '06
MIT Corporation

Dr. Caulfield is currently serving his second term on the MIT Corporation where he is the chair of the Corporation Joint Advisory Committee on Institute-Wide Affairs and has been actively involved with several Corporation Visiting Committees and Institute advisory groups.  He is the founder and president of the Caulfield Consulting Group, a New Orleans based management consulting firm. 
Dr. Caulfield has worked in public policy at both local and federal government levels. He was the New Orleans Team Lead for the White House Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative. He was appointed by President Barack Obama as White House Fellow at the Domestic Policy Council. He served as Chief Policy Advisor to the Mayor and the Business Administrator of Newark, New Jersey.  At the beginning of his career, he was an associate at McKinsey & Company management consulting firm.

As a graduate student at MIT, Erich was elected President of the Graduate Student Council.  Dr. Caulfield is the recipient of the Karl Taylor Compton Prize, the MLK Leadership Award, and the Harold E. Lobdell '17 Distinguished Service Award for leadership, student contributions and alumni service. 

Dr. Caulfield earned his bachelor of science Phi Beta Kappa in physics and mathematics from Morehouse College, and his masters and PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT.

Interview highlights include:
•    A lot of who he is comes from growing up in South Louisiana.  He moved back four years ago to live and work in New Orleans.
•    His mother, Audrey Caulfield, is the single most influential person in his life. Her strength and compassion are the foundation of his values and inspiration.
•    Tells a story of accompanying his mother on her rounds as a visiting nurse when he was a teenager.  She was a single mom and times were tough.
•    Was lucky to have positive male mentors in his life including his scout master, the reverend at his church in high school, the chaplain at Morehouse College and Ike Colbert, the Dean of Graduate Students at MIT.
•    Another seminal influence was Dr. Diola Bagayoko, a physics professor at Southern University and that lead to Erich majoring in physics at Morehouse.
•    Talks about his undergraduate years at Morehouse and the supportive atmosphere there. 
•    Began studying the medical applications of electrical engineering at MIT in order to be of service and help people.
•    Talks about the transition to living in New England and adjusting to the culture of “Nerd Pride” at MIT.
•    Worked in a lab at MIT that focused on developing retinal implants.  He worked on developing the power supplies for the implants. 
•    He began getting involved graduate student organizations at MIT and eventually organized student orientation for the Graduate Student Council.  From this he developed his interest in politics and policy.
•    Worked at McKinsey to develop a new set of skills in business and general problem solving.  This lead to his positions in Newark and at the White House. 
•    Talks about moving back to Louisiana to work in New Orleans on the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative.
•    Ran for a seat in the Louisiana State Senate in 2015 and lost.
•    Working on the visiting committees while on the MIT Corporation. 
•    Reflections on the 100th anniversary of MIT in Cambridge.

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