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The cycle begins anew


A crispness was back in the air, the grass was newly mowed, and the halls were full of faculty back from vacation. All of campus was ready to receive the new crop of freshmen once again.

As per tradition, the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) had its own special welcome for the new engineering students.

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs Peter Bogucki emceed orientation events, subtly bubbling with excitement at all the new faces.

SEAS Dean Maria Klawe could not be present, but she sent a video message to welcome the new students.

klawe 2

Freshman orientation was held Monday, Sept. 8, 2003, with fall classes beginning later that week.

Photo by Frank Wojciechowski

"This is really different than high school," Dean Klawe said. "Remember to get help if you need it. Don't ever assume that you're the only one who's having trouble."

Yet, knowing that these freshmen would not be at Princeton if they were not already dedicated to their academics, she reminded them to take advantage of the University's excellent programs in performing and visual arts, athletics, and student government.

"You're here to experience everything Princeton has to offer," she said.

Representatives from all six academic departments introduced the freshmen to each field of study.

Professor Brian Kernighan opted against the hard sell when inviting students to the Department of Computer Science.

"Naturally, I would like to see you all in our department," he said, "but there's really no downside for you. No matter which department you pick here, it will be a good choice."

Professor Paul Prucnal outlined the Department of Electrical Engineering (EE). He explained that EE focuses on the four topics of devices, systems, computer engineering, and optics, and that these topics have implications in some of the newest, most exciting fields, namely nanotechnology and wireless systems.

Professor Jay Benziger of chemical engineering sketched out the research and applications of members in his department because he said it is "probably the least understood field of engineering."

He explained that chemical engineering has applications in petrochemicals, biotechnology, ceramics, electromaterials, air pollution monitoring, and more.

Professor Erik VanMarcke of civil and environmental engineering said that his department is especially attractive to people who have an interest in helping society. He also mentioned a new program in the department that focuses on combining engineering and the liberal arts.

Professor Michael Littman of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) appealed to the students' urge to wonder and play.

"The tools we have in our department are a lot of fun," he said.

He also swung around a 10-foot-long lightweight wing as an example of the sort of projects MAE students get to do.

Lastly, Assistant Professor Ronnie Sircar described the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering (ORFE). Operations research, he said, is a legacy of World War II, when huge logistic problems arose around airline scheduling and tracking supply trucks. He explained that most students who choose ORFE as their major are strong in mathematics, with an interest in economics and finance.

Representatives from some of the larger SEAS student organizations were also present and urged freshmen to attend the scheduled activity fair to learn more. Jameelah Muhammad '04 of the National Society of Black Engineers, Stacy Chen '05 of the Society of Women Engineers, Alejandra Barbosa '05 and Lucia Bonilla '06 of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and Miriam Okun '04 of the Engineering Council all spoke.

"As you can see there is lots of cool stuff to study here," Dean Bogucki said. "I'm sure you'll find yourself a congenial place to learn and explore."



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