Category Archives: Academics

My freshman and I!

My life lately.

Hey all! It’s been two weeks since I’ve last blogged, and so much has happened. Let’s start with the not-so-fun: exams. The beginning of March is known for being the start of the first midterm period. I had two exams this past week. The first was in Intro to Prob, which despite having “intro” in the name, is a 400 level probability course. The exam was pretty tough! Luckily, the teacher has lots of extra credit opportunities, including a joke contest that I plan on dominating, so I think it will all work out. My other exam was Discrete Math, which is an 100 level math course. The course itself isn’t difficult to understand, but it gets tricky sometimes. We haven’t gotten it back yet, but cross your fingers for me!

Also in these two weeks, my Design Team traveled to Florida to a meeting with our sponsors. For the first part of the meeting, we were supposed to present to future sponsors to give them a taste of what design team was like. We were so excited, and one of my freshmen worked really hard to memorize a presentation. However, in a series of unfortunate events, our flight was delayed, and we missed that meeting in its entirety. It was disappointing, but we were able to give it to our advisors, who loved it, so it was still a great day. They always give us such great feedback, and it is nice to have real doctors who could see the impact of your device have faith in you.

My freshman and I!

My freshman and I!


My team also got to bond on the trip, and take terrible pictures of each other. Now, some of you may say that this is mean. However, it seems to be the way my team bonds, and who am I to stop that trend. After 18 hours together, no picture really turns out good any more, so we also didn’t really have a choice.

These are my last two weeks in a nutshell, and it should be obvious that they were very, VERY busy. While it can get overwhelming at times, and I may be a little sleep deprived right now, it is so incredibly worth it, and I just feel so lucky to go here.

DT team

naturally classy.

Hey everybody! How are you? :) It is officially my last semester as a Hopkins student. I know you’ve read every single blog since I started and are emotionally troubled by the fact that I am leaving college, but don’t worry. It’ll all be OK. (Deep breaths, baby. Deep breaths.)

So senior spring is probably the best semester since freshmen fall. While you still receive grades (lame), you also know where you are going, have friends, and are ridiculously cool, so there are serious advantages over freshmen year. Though there are certainly stressful aspects about senior spring, like, say, deciding your future (OMG), I don’t think I’ve enjoyed my time at Hopkins more. I have great friends and some great classes. Hey! Let’s talk about my classes!

1. BME Design Team Leader-Shocker! I didn’t quit my design team. That’d be a little awkward since I’m the leader. We just got new lab space, so things are really going to start getting busy. Being a DT leader has taken up more of my time than anything I have ever done, and while it stresses me out sometimes, it is so worth it. I’m a much stronger thinker, leader, and engineer because of it. Also, my team is adorable. So that helps. (See below <3 ).

DT team


2. Discrete Math- So I accidentally forgot to take the freshmen level Applied Math course that I need to finish my math major, so I’m awkwardly taking that now. My BMEFF, Divya, is in it, too, as well as JHU_Jordan and JHU_JackieC! The one major con is that it is literally in the farthest building possible from my apartment. Ugh. No rolling out of bed late and still making it to this class on time.

3. Intro to Prob-This is a hard class, so I wish I had saved it for a time that wasn’t this semester. My advisor teaches it, though, so hopefully that will help. I’m (stuck) with Divya again in this class, but out of all my classes at Hopkins, this is the one where I probably know the least amount of people. Not super reassuring, but maybe I’ll make new friends?

4. Location Photography-I’ve already gotten to take pictures of real mummies in this class, so it is obviously the best. Location photography is helping me learn how to use my camera, and I get to explore my university and city while I’m at it. Next week, my class is going to the aquarium, and I’m so excited to bring my camera there! This is the perfect class for my senior spring. I’m learning so much and actually enjoying it.


So those are my classes for my senior spring. Sounds great, right? I know. :P

My upperclassman creeping on my freshman. #normal

DT Freshies.

Hi everybody! My last couple of weeks have been crazy. Absolutely insane, actually. Between medical school interviews, all my midterms, a design team presentation, and attempting to find suitable times for sleeping, my life has been all over the place. In the midst of all this havoc, I had one extremely time consuming assignment that I actually quite enjoyed: picking the freshmen for my design team.

My freshman year, I was selected to be on a design team that focused on creating an improved guide catheter for endovascular neurosurgery. The project itself had so many intricate details to understand that it was hard for me to get a full grasp of the project at first. It challenged me in so many ways and opened my mind up to thinking like an engineer. That was the experience that made me know what engineering is outside of the definition in the dictionary.

Now as a leader, my eyes have been open to even more aspects of the project. Inter-group dynamics. The student-faculty relationships. Acquiring resources, lab space, etc. Design team has been running my life since the semester started, but my team has helped me the entire way just as I have helped them. Now, with picking the freshmen being the current task for the past two weeks, I am excited for the weeks to come.

My upperclassman creeping on my freshman. #normal

My upperclassman creeping on my freshman. #normal











Freshmen are an extremely valuable asset to all design teams because they are…well…uninhibited.Throughout our years of studies, we’ve had equations and facts and principals drilled into our mind. When we brainstorm, our prior knowledge helps us develop complex ideas, but it also acts as a constraint in some ways. As a freshman, I remember my teammates and I saying ridiculous things…and it either caused laughs or light bulbs. Possible win- win?  I think so.

Now my team is gifted with three wonderful freshmen to add to my four nutty upperclassmen, and I couldn’t be more excited. While I am sure that they will be as nutty as the goofballs I already have (myself included), it’ll be fun to get new perspectives on our project. I also am excited to share my wisdom about Hopkins BME with some youngin’s. Tanziyah was an upperclassmen on my design team freshmen year, and she has helped me throughout my four years. I’ve even talked to her this year about medical school! She really helped me through my undergraduate career, and I hope my upperclassmen and I can help these freshmen, too.

So there you have it, folks. My usual excitement about design team. See ya next time!

A tourniquet that my design team is studying.

My last fall classes in college.

The time has come. It’s senior year. I, Sydney, am officially in my last fall semester in college. Two weeks of classes have come and gone, and so far, so good. I have some pretty challenging classes this semester, but hopefully it’ll all end well, and at the end, I’ll be even more prepared for my future. Want to know what classes I’m taking? I knew you would. ;)

1. Systems Bioengineering III-From Genes to Organs: SBE 3, which is what it is called on the streets of Hopkins, is the last class in a series of requirements for biomedical engineering at Hopkins. It is hard to tell what this course is about right now; everything we are doing is sort of a review of old Laplace rules and such. Hopefully, it will be a fun class as it is the last class all the BMEs take together.

2. Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics: This class is known for being one of the hardest in the biomedical engineering curriculum, so it scares me a little right from the beginning. It has a lot of math, which is my strong suit, so I am excited about that. The professor seems really nice, too, and likes to tell funny stories sometimes. He told us on the first day about how he played a five-year-old chess champion once and made him cry. As long as I don’t end up like the five-year-old, I think it will be all good.

3. Tech Direction: Last semester, I took a class called Design for the Stage, where I was able to design a set for a play of my choosing. Tech Direction is another class in the theater department taught by the same professor, and I am really excited about it. This semester, we also get to pick a play to focus on, and the professor helped me pick one. He picked “The Butler Did It,” and it is hilarious. It looks like this class will be one for the record books.







4. Design Team Leader: My favorite class is Design Team, where I am leading a team of undergraduates on a project advised by two sponsors in Florida. We are working on finding a means to control junctional hemorrhage in the military. My team is a goofy bunch of kids, and we get along great. Even more importantly, we work hard, so I hope it will lead to a fruitful, fun year.

Senior year has just started, but it is already going by so fast. I am really proud of what I have accomplished so far during my three years, and I am hoping this year will serve as the culmination of a great set of years. This semester is a good start. :P


Say hello to your TAs and organizational skills.

You know what? College is hard. And being in a notoriously challenging major while maintaining a “pre-med” GPA is harder. BUT I’ve come up with lots of ways to deal with this. One way is staying extremely organized. I keep a calendar and a planner with all my assignments, to-do lists, and other things I need to get done. I have tons of notes organized on my iPad so I have them on the run. I leave post its everywhere. It’s a little nuts, but it makes things easier, I swear.

Another thing that has helped a lot is the Learning Den, which is free on campus tutoring. I go there every Sunday night to get help in my systems bioengineering course. All the workers there are actually students who have taken the class and gotten an A, so they know what it takes! This semester, I had Sindhoora, and she was really helpful! I’ve definitely gotten way more than my money’s worth…Because it’s free. (Hardy har har!) It’s great to have somewhere to go when you have questions on in class material and your TA office hours were earlier in the week.

Also, all classes either have professor office hours or TA office hours, too, and I have gone to a lot of them this semester. I was having a bit of trouble with figuring out how the circulatory system changes during exercise, so I went to my TA and she showed me how it changes with this simple diagram! My teacher said we can solve any cardiovascular diagnosis with this quadrant diagram, and my TAs showed me how. I know what happens when you hemorrhage, when your left heart fails, when your right heart fails, when you exercise, and more. It’s like getting an MD in 4 minutes instead of 4 years!

I kid, I kid, but it is something that I feel like will help me in medical school, and getting to know your TAs is a great way to make sure you know the material. Not to mention, it really makes college a lot more manageable.

This was my way of avoiding talking about finals in a finals blog like everyone else, but really, finals are on everyone’s mind. I literally went to all of my office hours during finals. Here’s to hoping it pays off!

Peace out, guys!


Meet my Professor: Dr. Miller!

So the big questions I always get about BME are as follows: How hard is it? Does everybody fail out? Are the professors scary and mean? Well, I know in past blogs I have tried to disprove the first two (two years into the program…and I’m still here smiling!). Now here I am, answering question number three: are the professors scary and mean?

Well, you lovely prospective students, the answer is no. To prove this, I thought I’d do something super special for you and interview one of my favorite professors, Dr. Michael Miller. He taught the Signals & Systems half of my Systems & Controls class, which has been my favorite class since coming to Hopkins. It was extremely challenging, but both professors in the class cared so much about their students’ understanding that the class was extremely rewarding.

So here is a peek into the mysterious life of a real-life college professor! Ready, set , go!

The first thing I asked him was what he wanted to be in elementary school. He said he never knew and he still doesn’t know; the main thing was that he followed his passions. He never thought that he “wanted to be X or wanted to be Y,” but he was talented in math at high school, and had an uncle who was an engineer, so he was sort of pulled in that direction. When he first went to college, he started as a math major, but he was pulled towards physics, and then finally to engineering. He “love[d] equations, but hate[d] labs,” so he implemented that into his studies. How did he do that?

Well, he found a role model that helped him find his way, and this role model was actually the one who led him to Hopkins. He ended up coming here for his graduate studies, where he found even more role models, which eventually led him to engineering in the body. For instance, he never thought about doing neuroscience, but he found a role model at Hopkins doing neuroengineering, and he found his way. At that point, he describes himself as an “undifferentiated stem cell,” just following what he loved.

So then I asked him how following what he loved led to him becoming a professor. He said that he simply loves his students, who he affectionately refers to as his friends. He loves teaching undergraduates, and finds joy in explaining all the complicated processes and finding the light in his students. He loves being able to make a contribution, whether it is through research or through teaching.

Next question? I asked if he were a Hopkins student, what would he want to take to fulfill his distribution requirements. As you may have read in a previous blog, Hopkins has no core requirements; you just need to take classes outside your major in order to fulfill distribution. The first course he said he’d take is Great Books at Hopkins. Why, you ask? Well, his wife, Elizabeth Patton, actually teaches it! He even met his wife at Hopkins! So naturally, this is the first class he’d take to fulfill his distribution. He’d also like to take art history classes because of how it crosses over with his research, which is all about shape and form and how it meets engineering. “I’m very interested in art, but from the analytical point of view,” he said. “Like when Picasso went through an era and exploded the canvas and forced us to realize there was something called “deep” in the meaning… Picasso did that to force us to realize that when we understand each other visually, we are not just looking at the dots on the surface.”

Next was what his favorite place on campus was, which ended up with him bringing out a piece of the marble from Gilman that he kept in his office. He described Gilman as what the Brody Learning Commons is today to our student body. When he was a graduate student, he would spend his time at the café and studying in the Hut. The faculty club also made his list of favorite spots, along with the fish pond, which is actually where he met his wife!

Now, do you prospective BME students want advice from a BME professor? He says to be a biomedical engineer, you need to have that analytical state of mind.  If you don’t like calculus and you don’t like computers, this may not be the major for you. “You need to follow your whims,” he said. They may not be the easiest choices, but they need to be great choices for you.  Now if you decide to do engineering at Hopkins, the advice he gives to succeed in his class is to understand everything he does in class and understand what you write down on the blackboard. “Half the questions of the test will be directly from what we do in class, just not so obvious.” Still, he happily admitted that he is not so sure if it is the best advice ever… he admits, “I never had to learn it from myself!”

Lastly, I wanted to prove to you all that professors are people, too! So here are a few of his favorite things:

His favorite thing ever? His 13 –year-old daughter. He eagerly pulled up a picture right on his cell-phone, and couldn’t stop smiling. I actually met his daughter at the class BBQ last year!

His favorite way to relax? Skiing! His daughter actually is a great skier and snowboarder, though Dr. Miller just prefers to ski. He also likes to hike, and when he can’t do those things on normal days, he’ll run.

His favorite restaurant in Baltimore? Roy’s in Inner Harbor. The Hopkins business school actually looks right at it, and the sushi there is apparently a great appetizer.

Favorite movies? Raiders of the Lost Ark. (“These are all going to be movies you haven’t heard of.”) and Ghostbusters. And he also likes the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Favorite Sports team? Anything from New York, of course!

So here is your inside scoop about a really cool Hopkins professor. He’s awesome, he’s accessible, and he truly cares about his students. I guess college professors aren’t as scary as they seem.

Peace out til next time! :)

JHU_Ian and his serenades can cheer me up!

The truth.

These past few weeks have been really…well…challenging, to say the least.  I have spent over 20 hours on certain homework assignments. I’ve taken tests that make me sick to my stomach to think about. I quickly watched my hours of sleep at night keep decreasing.  I’ve cried a little. And, in all honesty, I wondered if I was really cut out for Hopkins BME. Maybe I just accidentally fell into the pile of admits.

I’m going to be honest: Hopkins isn’t for the faint of heart. I don’t care how smart you were in high school; here, you’re going to have to try. And I mean try hard. I’m not saying this to scare you; by all means, if you are lucky enough to be accepted to Hopkins, you are smart and committed enough to handle it. In a school with an admissions rate as low as ours, the admissions peeps don’t have the flexibility to admit kids who aren’t up to Hopkins’ expectations. But know that going to Hopkins, or really any school of this caliber, is a commitment to your education like no other.

I’m tired. I’m tired because I stayed up real late last night doing homework for a class. A class that is, by all means, the most challenging and work intensive class I could’ve imagined.  But that’s the commitment you have to be willing to make to be here sometimes. You need to be able to keep trucking through it when you think you can’t do it. Hopkins professors know what we are capable of even when we ourselves don’t, so they push us. They push us a lot. And sometimes I hate it. And sometimes it overwhelms me. But at the end of the day, I’m glad, because I know that at the end of the day, I am a better scholar and person because of it.

Now, I’m really tired. Dreaming of nodding off right now rather than getting ready for class. But I feel like I have to tell y’all the light at the end of the tunnel: everyone else is just as overwhelmed as you are. Nobody can get question #2. You can bet your firstborn son that they have 3 midterms this week, too. The line isn’t that long at Starbucks for nothing. You aren’t in this alone.

And that is why I am still sane.  Personally, I have felt sad and mad and tired and overwhelmed sometimes when I lose sight of the situation, but I have never felt alone. Last night, I was up until 1:30 AM finishing my homework, but I stayed up later to try to help my friends just as the person who finished before me gave me pointers before she left. And just like my friend came over late in the night after she was done to teach me how to code in Matlab. On my last homework, we had to write down the name of every kid we worked with, and I wrote done well over a dozen names.  If I was in my room trying to do it all myself, I would fail. I would fail the class, and more importantly, I would fail myself if I didn’t embrace the atmosphere in Hopkins BME. This place is special. We all come together to in order to achieve our academic goals, and I couldn’t be prouder to be included in a community such as this.

So I guess this is what I’m trying to tell all you prospective students: this is a serious commitment you are making. You are committing yourself to four years of blood, sweat, tears, and differential equations. And if you plan on being BME and partying every single day of the week, this may not be the place for you. We have fun, but at the end of the day, we put our academic priorities first. So sometimes I miss the a-capella show I wanted to see. Or miss my favorite TV show. But it is all worth it in the end because at the end of the day, I know I am going to be able to achieve my goals because of what Hopkins BME has given me. Among the blood, sweat, tears and differential equations are also laughs that make your stomach hurt and hugs from friends who are there for you. I know I will look back on my four years and never regret “missing out” on some normal college experiences, because I was there for the important ones (if there’s a will, there’s a way) and for the ones I missed, I was in a room with a dozen other BMEs, supporting each other and making sure we all get through together. And that, I think, builds character!

JHU_Joseph pretending he has my homework! grumpy face!

JHU_Ian and his serenades can cheer me up!

BMEs for the win!

This is one for the ages. A battle of epic proportions. Bigger than David vs. Goliath. Bigger than the Montagues vs. the Capulets.  Bigger than Snooki vs. the pale, pickle-hating population of the Jersey Shore.

Ok, ok, we kid, we kid (well, maybe…). But JHU_Kate and I think we have a fantastic feud for you. Ready to enter the ring? You better grab an umbrella because blood may be shed in this fight! Don’t worry; the pre-meds will fix Kate and I up after the battle.

Anywho, you are about to enter the biggest war on the planet. BME vs. ChemBe. Oh my lordie.

Let’s get ready to slam down!

First, we will provide a brief background of our majors. You know, to make it a fair fight and such.

Sydney: BME all the wayyyy! (I am clearly not biased. At all.) So BME is a very vast study of engineering. Rather than specializing in one type of engineering, we learn everything from electrical engineering to mechanical engineering, and put it all together to improve biological life. We have four different tracks at Hopkins, all of which are the best things ever. You like math? There’s a track for that (computational). You like biomaterials and tissues? There’s a track for that (tissues and biomaterials). You like sensors and gizmos and gadgets galore? There’s a track for that (sensors and micro-instrumentation). You like systems biology  (sorry, I couldn’t find a way to make that cute-sy)? There’s a track for that, too. So basically, there is probably a track for you.

My BME group = loveeeee <3

Kate: I’ve got to disagree since I’m a ChemBE. My major is all about balance (and we all need that in our life) in chemical reactions. ChemBEs study a lot of science and math- and then apply it to take raw materials and make them into something completely new. In a sense, ChemBEs are like the artists of engineering; they study the techniques of how processes work and then use it to make awesome stuff. Maybe you’ll make the next wonder drug. Maybe you’ll find the renewable energy source. Or maybe you’ll make the next ice cream flavor (like during the first day of my first ever ChemBE class). ChemBE, with its breadth, allows you to work in many different fields.

Which team will throw the next right hook? Let’s see what schedule has you hooked!

Sydney: I love LOVE love my schedule. As a BME, you have a nice balance between math and science, and those just happen to be my two favorite things ever (next to chocolate and Glee, of course).  The first year is similar to a ChemBE schedule, but then things change (oh my!) and you go into your concentrations, aka exactly what you want to take! This can be anything from robotics, to computer-integrated surgery, to building a genome! Oh snap.  One thing that separates us from ChemBe is that it is much easier to touch a robot than a chemical (and way less dangerousssss), so a lot of our classes are more hands-on. For instance, right now I am in the class that is the pride of the BME department-Design Team! As a freshman, I got to be interviewed by upperclassmen then taken under the wing of one of them on the way to patenting a biomedical device. Exciting? Oh man. I think yes.

Kate: ChemBE takes a lot of science; you’ll take chemistry, physics, biochemistry, organic chemistry, cell biology, and then another advanced chemistry elective! ChemBE has a lot of required classes, but they’re super intense to say. Imagine saying “I’m off to Transport” (no pun intended). The ChemBE curriculum is a little more hard-science based than BME, but we don’t take any programming classes. There’s a bit of specialization in ChemBE, but most of your classes will be with the same 100 kids. BFFLS for life? I think so.

I know it's shocking, but I GUESS ChemBE's can have friends... who woulda thunk?

Who is making up your army’s front line? And are they strong? “Army strong”?

Sydney: BMES-Biomedical Engineering Society. The best front line out there.  The BMES group at Hopkins is really chill; it definitely allows for you to include many more clubs and activities in your schedule (because, you know, us BMEs are pretty diverse. Haha). However, BMES is on a national level. Because of this, you need to apply to be on BMES, so only the strongest survive! And the strongest of the strong get recognition for their accomplishments. We’re definitely strong. “Army Strong.”

Kate: ChemBEs have the AIChE (aka the American Institute for Chemical Engineering). We’re really active on campus (last week, they had a panel with ChemBEs from all different sectors to talk to us about opportunities). These events normally have catered food (yum!). We even had a game night with the faculty- putting on your poker face with the professors is required. There are a bunch of networking opportunities; we even hosted the national conference last year!

BME all the wayyyyyyyy ! ! !

So here’s our battle. Who won? Who knows. It’s you who decides when you apply.

Wanna hear more about Hopkins Engineering? Stay tuned for a surprise for all you lovely, ridiculously attractive prospective students.

Inter-esting Inter-session. :)

Hey everybody! Ready to hear about another really, really, ridiculously cool experience I’ve had at Hopkins? (I’m going to tell you anyways, so you might as well answer “yes” to that rhetorical question.)

One word: Intersession.

For all of you who don’t know, intersession is a three-week term in January that is completely optional. You can take up to three credits, and the classes are super fun. And better yet, there is no extra charge! Woohoo!

Intersession was probably the best three weeks I’ve had at Hopkins thus far. There is no pressure because all the classes are pass/fail, you have tons of free time to hang out with friends, and the classes are super-duper amazing. Want to hear about the classes I took? (Again, I’m going to answer anyways even if you don’t want to hear. Just smile and read on, you lovely prospective student.)

1.     Intro to Dramatic Writing: Film

Now I know what you’re thinking: a BME in a film writing class? Yes, this BME was in a film writing class, and it was awesome. My professor had a clear passion for film, and we watched clips galore! Every five minutes, he would tell us about a film was just HAD to watch; needless to say, I now have a list a couple hundred movies deep. Another cool thing about the class was that it was very collaborative, so we got to write together and have less pressure on our backs to turn out a masterpiece of a script.

2.     Intro to CAD

CAD stands for computer-aided design, and this was definitely my hardest intersession class. On the computer, we would make models of three-dimensional figures, and they were really cool to look at when it was all done. Though it was sort of tricky to do, I feel like this was my most rewarding class because utilizing CAD is a great skill to have, especially for an engineer. And since a lot of my friends were in the class, I can say the class was pretty enjoyable.

Steven was very proud of his wheel. :)

3.     B’more: The Water Taxi Diaries

This was my all-time favorite class. B’more is a one week program for freshman that allows you to explore your new home: Baltimore! Nearly every single day, there was a field trip to a close neighborhood, so I got to see sooooo much of Baltimore. From visionary art to frozen yogurt, I saw all the best sides of the city. Then at the end, everyone in the class collaborated to make a guidebook for Hopkins students. How cool is that??? On a side note, I also made some pretty cool friends in this class; it’s a great way to meet new people.

The cover of our travel guide.

So that basically sums up my month of January. Possibly the coolest January ever. I know that I plan on taking advantage of intersession my next three years, and I’m already excited for intersession 2012. :)

Peace Outttttt!

Back to Being a Prospective Student…

Today, I was a prospective student again. Nervously awaiting my fate. Trying to be extra polite just in case an admissions officer happened to walk near my tour. Getting ready to embark upon an engineering tour to see just how cool Johns Hopkins is.

Mason Hall: Home of the Prospective Students

Oh, except I’m already in, I spend so much time in admissions it no longer makes me nervous to be by Admissions_Daniel, and I already know how cool Hopkins is. So really, all I did was go on an engineering tour.

Why? Well, you lovely prospective students, I am in a new club. I, Sydney R., am an Engineering Ambassador! (Yes, it is as ridiculously amazing as it sounds.)

What do I do? As an Engineering Ambassador, I will give engineering tours and volunteer for the “Eat Lunch With An Engineer” program. Fun. Stuff.  So today, I had to learn the basics of touring by joining in on an engineering tour with the prospective students. I personally had never been on the engineering tour before, and I really REALLY wish I had. It made Hopkins that much more amazing. I learned some things today that I didn’t even know! For that reason, I feel I should tell y’all what I learned so you know just how awesome it is to go on an Engineering Tour. And maybe you’ll even sign up for one.

Hey look! It's JHU_Brian and Sarah Godwin, an Admissions Representative!

It started off with a little talk from a member of the Civil Engineering Department in one of my favorite rooms on campus (The chairs have fun Hopkins facts on the back. Did you know Einstein turned down a position to work at Hopkins because he didn’t believe he deserved the pay???). The speaker was Lian Shen, and he was absolutely fabulous. He was spunky and quirky (he even wore a blue jay blue construction-like helmet!), showing how personable our engineering faculty is, as well as being very informative about what our Civil Engineering facility has and how special it is, even though it is less well-known. For instance, there are only 60 undergrad Civil Engineering Majors, so by the third week of class, he knows them all! Also, did you know Robert A. Dalrymple, a faculty member of the department, was named one of the 15 people the president should listen to during the McCain-Obama election? Yea, the department is that cool.

After the talk, we went on a tour to see some of the labs. First was a mechanical engineering lab, and it was really eye-opening to see how well known the department is! I didn’t know that we have some of the highest numbers in undergrad patents in Mechanical Engineering! The materials science lab was interesting, too. The equipment they have is so high-tech!

My favorite had to be going to Hackerman Hall to see work on the da Vinci model (go BME!). If you don’t know, the da Vinci machine is a way to do surgery without the surgeon even touching the patient; it is all machine operated. In lots of cases, it is less invasive, making it a really epic advance in technology.  It is already sooo complicated and sooo incredible, but engineers are down there working hard to make it even more intricate! It really makes you wonder how much we will be able to do with technology in the future…

The da Vinci Surgical System (a.k.a. really REALLY cool!)

So that was my engineering tour. Exciting. Insightful. And so much more. Let me guess; now you want to go on one! Great idea! Next time, maybe I’ll even be your tour guide.

Peace out til next time!