Meet MIT’s new fellows: Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown and politics wunderkind Michael Tubbs

By Claire Miller

MIT Media Lab announced its 2019 Directors Fellows on Friday, and they’re not the tech masterminds you might expect. 

Rather, the Media Lab is pulling in a diverse new group of people to add to its collection of innovators and leaders. Jaylen Brown, the 22-year-old Boston Celtics small forward, and Michael Tubbs, the 28-year-old mayor of Stockton, California, are two additions to the mighty. 

The Media Lab’s “anti-disciplinary” research community focuses on improving communication, pushing scientific boundaries, and harnessing technology to enhance the quality of life throughout the world. The new fellows in the program will work with the lab’s students and faculty to personally take on the kinds of problems that they want to fix. 

Brown has shown his propensity for innovation before. He was the third overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, which he entered into without an agent. Since then, he’s worked to reshape the way rookies enter the NBA, and has waded into the world of investing. 

Tubbs is another change maker. Not only is he Stockton’s first African-American mayor, he’s also the youngest mayor of a city with more than 100,000 residents in U.S. history. He drew national attention when he launched Stockton Scholars, which puts $20 million in scholarships with the goal of tripling the number of students from his city entering and graduating college.

The hoops player and mayor will join about 70 fellows, including a skateboarder, a sustainability specialist, and a poet, to list a few.

In a press release, Joi Ito, director of the Media Lab, said, “My intention was to bring a wide range of voices into the Media Lab that we might not otherwise hear because I firmly believe that technology and engineering alone cannot address the complexity of the challenges we face in today’s world.” 


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