Q&A with Yvonne Ng, Annual Giving and Donor Relations Officer

MITili Staff
Yvonne Template

Yvonne Ng began her career at MIT in 2007, working in communications, outreach, fundraising, and stewardship to support open learning initiatives and programs. A Boston local, she attended Boston Latin School before graduating from Bowdoin where she studied Anthropology and Spanish. Her current work as the Annual Giving and Donors Relations Officer allows her to connect with global philanthropists who are interested in helping make education more effective for all learners. 

Yvonne supports Open Learning’s efforts to continue to create open educational resources, advance best practices, conduct groundbreaking research, and engineer new platforms for the future of teaching and learning. You can learn more and contact the development team here

What initially drew you to working with OpenCourseWare, a ground-breaking platform that made MIT course materials available to the world - for free? 

I was inspired by OCW’s mission and how the program is a perfect blend of education, access, and technology. This is particularly poignant to me because I grew up in a time when college seemed to be more of an exception, libraries were the only places to access information, and the internet didn’t exist.

Then hearing from learners and educators all over the world about how using and sharing OCW changed their lives or the lives of their students was incredibly inspiring. This steady stream of positive feedback is great motivation to help secure funding and support for the program. It’s wonderful to be part of an effort that has such deep meaning for so many and serves many millions of people who simply want to learn.

How much of an impact does building a network of educators and philanthropists have on the success of the continued work at Open Learning? 

The supporters of Open Learning are marvelous! Whether they are alumni, friends, or the Institute, the impact of their support is felt every day. Their contributions allow us to continue to produce life and career altering courses and resources, while helping us experiment with and advance educational technologies or delve further into learning research that can change the trajectory of a child’s learning journey.

We’re grateful that they believe and trust in our work to improve education at MIT and everywhere.

What is one project you’re most proud to have been associated with in your time at Open Learning? 

An exciting thing about my job is having the opportunity to share the great accomplishments and milestones from Open Learning while getting to tap into the vast creativity and collaborative spirit of my colleagues. 

Quite a few years ago, a few OCW colleagues and I worked on special promotions of a resource called OCW Scholar courses. We brainstormed the idea of having a learner receive a special visit by an MIT faculty or staff person dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobe. The Jedi Master would be beamed holographically onto the learner’s desk and impart a wise quote. My other colleagues and I sang the outro song which was simply O-C-W. It was so much fun to film and produce those promotions.

What can the average person do to help continue MIT’s commitment to free and open education?   

Share! Sharing Open Learning courses, resources, stories, and impact can be one of the best things someone can do to help us continue to raise awareness of our open education efforts. Telling friends, colleagues, family members about our programs and amplifying our social media posts and promotions all make a difference in introducing more people to our work.

A donation to Open Learning would really help too!

What is your favorite thing about MIT?

My favorite thing about MIT is seeing the dedication and commitment of folks who really want to change the world in a positive and innovative way. Their passion is uplifting.