In Memory
Kaitlin Goldstein

We are all still mourning the tragic loss of Kaitlin Goldstein, who was one of our PhD candidates in the Building Technology Program in the Department of Architecture. Greatly saddened by the news of her death in India, we give our deepest condolences to her family and friends. For those that knew Kate, she was unfailingly generous in helping others both in the classroom and beyond the walls of MIT. Whether it was teaching a fellow classmate how to solve a differential equation or encouraging participation in conferences to solve energy issues in the U.S. and other countries, Kate was a positive and kind citizen of MIT and the world.

As an MIT Energy Fellow and Fellow of the Martin Family Society for Sustainability, Kate was a role model in her contributions and dedication to energy efficiency. She was a student member of the Energy Education Task Force and highly active in activities of the Campus Energy Task Force. She also took leading roles in the MIT ASHRAE Student Chapter, the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NSEA) and was particularly active in bringing women together as a member of the MIT Energy Club's Women in Energy community. We will continue to feel Kate’s presence across campus in all that she did to bring kindness to the everyday and awareness of the environmental issues of tomorrow.

We invite you to share your memories of Kate with others here. We also encourage you to participate in the ‘Kindness for Kate’ project where those inspired to commit an act of kindness on behalf of Kate can share it with her family, friends and members of the MIT community.


  • J. Meejin Yoon
  • Head, Department of Architecture


I can speak volumes of how Kate affected the countless lives she touched. She was set to change the world, I truly believe it. But instead, I will share a number of small memories with you to know not just how kind Kate was, but how amazingly talented she was.

I knew Kate as a colleague in the Building Technology program. The first time I saw her she was in her training clothes, stretching in the lab, waiting to meet someone to explain, oh I don't know, something thermo-dynamicy on the white board in our working space. I looked to my left and I was impressed. How can someone find time to workout with such dedication, and be a giving soul at the same time. Later I knew how a passionate runner and biker she was. Shortly, we became class mates in an HVAC class, and as soon as there was a team project we immediately paired up. At this point we became friends, and I have learned so much from Kate. She thought we were a good team, architect and engineer. We later received a scholarship together to become Passive House consultants from our program. It was an awesome hi-five moment when we both found out. Later, I became her TA in the daylighting class. She presented a completely different take on the subject mater, and she was soon off on her way, changing the world, a little bit away from BT. However, her emails to the BT group never stopped. Always forwarding an opportunity for us. She even gave my lab a connection to a project that was later published not just in scientific conferences and journals, but also in the news papers.

Kate did many things for me on a personal level, and I know she knows I appreciated it beyond what words can tell. She took care of my cat when my wife and I took a trip back to Egypt, she took me on a biking trip from my home to MIT through a scenic route, because the route I take is not as good, we were neighbors and we also ran into each other in the neighborhood frequently. She explained principals of thermal imaging to me, once in person and once on the phone, and that was the last phone call we had before her trip.

I can tell you many things about Kate, but you already know. So I will leave you with the a small story to make sure you know how amazing she was. Kate and I were modeling a building in a simulation tool called DesignBuilder. Now you should know that Kate used simulation, but not frequently. She was more numerical and she rather did things using her own hands. So when we were putting some input data in a field of surface convection, she said "I wonder ..." and she clicked and found her name in the simulation tool. She found an algorithm she developed in her Masters thesis available in the tool as an option (picture attached). We laughed, this is not something you find everyday in the computer software you used, and Kate is not the normal person you would meet on any given day. She was special, and I miss her.

I met Kate at the first MIT ASHRAE meeting I attended in the Fall of my first year at MIT, 2011. (I realized it wasn't the first time I'd seen her though. Within the first couple of days of arriving at MIT, I'd seen a girl pass through the lab wearing the brightest of running gear I think I'd ever seen.) The meeting was to come up with ideas for activities for the coming year. Aside from the officers, I think Kate had the most suggestions and input to the meeting; being willing to connect the group with her many industry contacts and offering a plethora of activity ideas. I spoke on only two occasions: First, to introduce myself, being new to the BT Lab and ASHRAE group and second, to volunteer to help with an event. So I didn't know if it was my connection to Penn State, which through a spider-web of research connections Kate was also connected, the connection to my adviser, who would become her adviser, or perhaps the look of anxiety I had on my face since arriving at MIT, that prompted Kate to catch up with me after the meeting. "Hey, we should grab lunch sometime soon."

It was at that lunch a couple days later, under the big tree with picnic tables outside of the Student Center Dunkin Donuts, that she first told me about her love for running and its importance in her life; for physical health, stress relief, and friendship making. I have in my head the number 100+ miles/week, which I think is crazy, but at the same time, I don't put it past Kate. Eventually, Kate would introduce me to the food trucks, dancing at ZuZu's, ski-ball/laser bowling downtown, and her fantastic cooking. We pinged each other about research and school, she TAed one of my classes, served with me as an officer for the very ASHRAE group through which we first connected, and eagerly participated on the BT Might Ducts Softball team this spring. I ran with her on occasion, one such time I remember a route that took us around cambridge; a guided tour, as Kate believed in talking while running. We went ice skating once and I remember her trying to skate like she ran, naturally. She went fast for sure, though not in the most controlled motion for skating. Don't think for a minute that she fell though.

Ultimately, she really helped me through my first year and was a good friend since. Kate's death came as a shock, and made me think hard about the time we had spent together and how that time impacted me. At MIT and in life, its easy to get caught up in school, research, work, and numerous other activities. It can make you forget about other important aspects of life, including personal relationships and experiences to be fostered and enjoyed. Recently, my roommate mentioned to me the importance of recognizing when you're in the good ol' days. I feel like Kate's goal in life was to make every day a good 'ol day, for herself and for everyone around her. Her commitment and passion for her work was amazing, but her caring personality and genuine good-will was truly unbelievable. Having experienced it first-hand, I am thankful for the time I spent with her and encourage everyone to follow the examples she set.

And so I've come to realize there's really only one reason Kate asked to grab lunch with me way back after that first ASHRAE meeting. That was just Kate's way.

I worked with Kate over the last year on the MIT Joules community of the Energy Club. Kate was a woman who got things done! In our first year of operation, she obtained most of the funding, used her connections to provide speakers, and was generally amazingly on top of things. Her passion and knowledge for energy efficiency and clean energy and life in general was unsurpassed. Her passing is not only a loss to those that knew her but to the world.

My colleagues and I got to know Kate as she was one of our volunteer tutors with the MIT English as a Second Language Program for Service Employees that I coordinate. The “students” in the program are custodians and grounds workers with the Facilities Department, many of whom have been in the U.S. for many years but have not had the time or opportunity to improve their English communication skills. Not only did Kate generously offer her time to tutor every week, she also volunteered at a 2 day computer workshop that we held.
Last week I spoke to Tommy Wong, the employee, she had tutored for a year. Although Tommy has been in the U.S. for at least 17 years, his speaking ability and comprehension were minimal when he started ESL tutoring. His English pronunciation was difficult to understand and he was extremely shy. With the help of tutoring Tommy is now a completely different person – outgoing, very talkative, and his pronunciation has improved immensely. Kate helped Tommy enormously in that endeavor.
Since Kate’s passing, I have learned that she was also involved in many other causes within and outside the MIT community. She did more in a few years than most people accomplish in a lifetime. She is deeply missed.
Nancy Kelly
ESL Program for Service Employees

When I first met Kate, I was intimidated by her. Her immediately obvious intelligence and her direct, no-nonsense style made me nervous. I felt like I wasn't good enough, not smart enough, to call myself her peer, and that I would have to prove myself to her to earn her respect. Kate was the kind to take the world by storm, she was talented enough to do it, and she rarely had patience for things that got in her way.

I teased Kate a lot about this later on because of how poorly this description fit with who she was, and because it turned out that mine wasn't an uncommon first impression. I think more so than anyone else I've met, once Kate decided that she liked you, she was firmly and solidly on your team, and she went to great lengths to make that known. "How does this keep happening!?" she once laughed to me, upset that some new acquaintance or another hadn’t immediately blossomed into a lifelong friendship.

I got less than two years as Kate's friend, which wasn't enough. But it did give me some time to learn a few valuable things from her. I think we got along well in part because our personalities differed so much. There is a lot that I admired about Kate, things she was so good at and that I was not.

Kate and I got to know each other by partnering on a class project, which, given my initial bout of intimidation, I was a bit nervous to agree to. Kate, of course, went above and beyond and taught herself some crazy new software program that no one else in the class would’ve known what to do with (I saw her do something like this a few times, actually). But my artistic skills weren’t up to snuff in a design-heavy class, so our final product was torn apart by the faculty rather publicly and brusquely. I just stood there embarrassed at the front of the class, but Kate snapped back and defended me. She was brave, she wouldn't be intimidated, and she refused to take anybody's crap. I admired the heck out of her for that.

This last year as Kate's roommate, I've found other reasons to admire her. I've never seen someone be more generous with their time—taking more than she could afford out of her packed schedule to find ways to offer help and comfort to whoever might appreciate it. Sometimes this meant formally mentoring young adults in need of support, or building an organization to create career opportunities for women in energy. Frequently it meant checking in with a friend that was going through rough times and lending a shoulder or a beer. Often it simply meant cooking too large of a meal for far too many people. Community was important to Kate, and she intentionally built it wherever she went. There aren’t enough people like that, and when you meet one they stand out. Kate stood out.

I think that I saw Kate at something near her best a weekend in March of last year. She'd invited me to join her on a panel at a NESEA conference, and the next day we presented at a case competition we'd been slaving some time to prepare for. Kate believed deeply in NESEA, and she always spoke of the organization's people as through they were her family. That day she brought some of her actual family to meet her adopted one, and she took a pause in the middle of her presentation to recognize her brother in the audience and to tell a room full of energy professionals how proud she was of him. The next day, we won our competition, and she walked across stage and gave me a big, long hug—a slight faux pas that I think drew dagger-eyes from other teams. Kate wasn't the type to let the important things be held up on protocol. She never missed an opportunity to let people know that she appreciated them.

Telling people that I appreciate them is another thing that I'm bad at, and I regret that I never took the time to tell Kate how much I respected and looked up to her while I had the opportunity. Knowing Kate made me a better person, and it's still hard to believe that we've lost her. She did so much—I had to teach myself to stop being surprised at just how many people Kate knew and how many different adventures she’d found herself in—but everything that she did, she did well, because she did it with everything she had. Kate is someone to aspire to be more like, and I’m thankful to have had the chance to realize that.

Its so sad to have lost such a great personality, so inspired by her works though am not an MITer but never the less its wonderful to read about this incredible woman. #Kaitlin we love u! Lets continue the great works she left behind, the unraveled puzzles.

Kate was a bad-ass. In the most positive sense of the word. She was a truly inspirational person, hard-working and will be very much missed. When I first heard about her loss, I could not deal with it, and I still cant. See, I was in the US for only a couple of months, when Kateinvited me over to her house in Providence to celebrate Thank Giving with her family. That was the kind of person Kate was. MIT lost an invaluable member of its community. And no matter how hard we try, we can never fill this gap. We can only make her spirit to never fade away. I miss you.