CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) purchased a crib to put in his office to support one of his graduate students with an infant daughter.
Troy Littleton posted a photo of the travel crib on Twitter and said it was his “favorite new equipment” that he’s purchased for the research lab he runs at the university.
Littleton wrote that he bought the crib for his office so his student, Karen Cunningham, can bring her 9-month-old daughter to work when necessary.
“… and I get to play with her while her mom gets some work done,” he wrote. “Win-win!!”
Littleton’s heartwarming tweet went viral, garnering more than 117,000 likes as of Thursday.
In response to the attention, the professor said he wishes people would recognize that the “real hero here” is the graduate student who’s raising her little girl.
“She's amazing to do all she has to with her daughter and still keep up her thesis project research,” wrote Littleton in a Mother’s Day tweet responding to his first post. “Happy Mother’s Day to all – they deserve it!”
Cunningham told “Good Morning America” that the crib will be useful when she needs to run into the lab for errands and it could be a good backup plan if other childcare plans fall through. The mother said the baby’s father plays an active role in caring for the infant and there’s also childcare offered by MIT.
Littleton’s kind act has sparked a conversation about supporting mothers in the workforce and it highlighted the issue in high education. He told “GMA” that wasn’t his intention, but he’s glad that his gesture had that effect, “because we need to be solving these issues, both in academia and on a broader level as well.”
The professor’s kind gesture comes at a time when a record number of women are leaving the workforce to care for their children amid the pandemic.