The cycle begins anew
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
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.
orientation was held Monday, Sept. 8, 2003, with fall
classes beginning later that week.
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
"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 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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