CollegeAdvisor.com presents its majors series webinars on Engineering in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with college students and alumni. Our CollegeAdvisor panel will share their insider perspectives on how they chose their majors, how they applied successfully to colleges, and how they pursued their majors in college. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
Hi everyone. Welcome to the college advisor webinar on engineering. Just to orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with the presentation, then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar and in the public chat. You can download our slides in the handouts tab and you can start submitting questions in the Q and a.
Just to confirm we’ve had some technical issues, but can you hear me? Can everyone hear me?
Okay. So just going to go ahead and introduce you to our panelists. So I’m going to start with Catriona catcher. And would you like to introduce yourself? Yeah. Hi, I’m Katrina. I’m a current senior at brown. I’m majoring in materials engineering, and I am half Swedish, half Irish, hence my weirdly spelt name and yeah, I think that’s it.
Okay. And next Yeah. Hi everyone. I’m rich. I’m the senior at Stanford, studying management, science, and engineering, and also minoring in creative writing. And I, I was born in the states, but I did all my schooling in Bangalore India.
Great. So we’re gonna go through some basic questions and we’re gonna start with what led you to your major? So Katrina. So I guess all throughout high school, like I loved chemistry. I loved stem in general, like loved math as well. And so like drawing as I was applying to college.
Even though I did know, like I love like all the stem subjects. I still wasn’t super sure about what I wanted to major in. So I was between some form of engineering or just like pure chemistry. I, one point I also wanted to do economics. But then when I got to college, I started off like on the engineering track.
And because even though I love chemistry, I felt like I wanted something a little bit more applied instead of just super theoretical. And so like from the beginning, once I got to college, I knew I was going to do engineering, but I didn’t know what type of engineering I was going to do. And then in my sophomore year I took intro to material science.
And I loved it. It was like, definitely by that point, it had been my favorite engineering class I had taken. And then, yeah, that was it. And since then I’ve been doing materials and I think what I love about it is that it allows me to combine like all the different areas that I love. So like chemistry, math, and physics.
And then at the same time, like I’m especially interested in sustainability and within materials also just like within any engineering in general, there are so many opportunities to apply, like what you’ve learned within sustainability.
Awesome. And that I am a managed mental science and engineering major, which is a Stanford equivalent for industrial engineering. So it’s a pretty interesting major because it is very broad. It looks at computer science, economics, statistics, math. So in high school I was really interested in econ and I actually came to Stanford.
We’re thinking I’ll pursue something like econ policy. But I eventually took a couple of other classes in computer science. It’s two sticks. And I realized that there were so many ways that these subjects with these quantitative subjects could be applied to econ. And that, so I found mentioned science and engineering, the perfect major for me.
And from there, I started delving into my own track, which is finance and decision. And I really like it. I think that it’s a really great combination. It’s a mix of, you can learn data science in one class, you can learn about corporate financial management in another class.
It was very versatile. And I think that it does attract a very diverse group of students.
Thank you. So moving on, our next question is going to be, what extracurriculars did you do at home? Yeah. So at my school, and it’s always a high school in Sweden, there weren’t really that many opportunities to participate in extracurriculars. Cause it’s just not something that like you really do in Sweden.
But what I did participate in was young friends of the earth, which was just like an environmental organization model UN I’m sure most of, what model UN is fair, the hope, which was just a charity organization. And then I also played tennis that, so there’s there’s no like theme throughout all of them.
It was the ones I had the opportunity to participate in. But definitely I think that, that was like one thing that has actually helped me, the fact that they were so varied and in such different areas, I learned so many like different skills from. Awesome. And like Katrina, I did not go to high school in the states.
I went to high school in Bangalore, India. It was an IB school. And it’s interesting because in high school, most of my activities were not engineering related. As I mentioned before, I’m a creative writing minor, and I love anything to do with writing school, newspaper editorials. So that’s what I did.
I just pursued what I loved. And I started submitting a lot of my work and poems to different magazines online. And from there I started building out a little portfolio. And other than that, I enjoyed playing piano. So again it’s interesting to think about how, what you do in high school doesn’t necessarily need to dictate what you do in college and how I think that extracurriculars don’t always have to relate to what you want to major in.
And they should always just be something that you enjoy.
For each of you, what was your college application process like? Yeah. So as I said, I went to high school in Sweden. I did the IB. So it wasn’t like super common to apply to the us, but definitely a few people did it. There was a it was called education USA. So it was this like organization within my high school and their sole purpose was helping students apply to the us.
So I still had a lot of resources and somewhere to get all the information. But then actually my math teacher who was from the U S she became my mentor and really helped me throughout the entire process. And she was amazing. I definitely don’t think I would have gotten into brown without her.
So that’s just like a heads up. If you are able to find like a mentor or someone who you think can really help you through the process, like definitely take advantage of that. And as you said, this is like one of my things I’ve written, what I wish I had known. If you find this person like really take advantage of them and cause Sonos, I looked back and I think there were so many more questions I could have asked her.
Like I could have used her so much more, even though she was super helpful. But I think just being like a little bit more proactive instead of sometimes waiting for her to ask me questions to really just put myself out there and ask, even if you think it’s a stupid question, like there are no stupid questions.
Just go for it. Some other things I wish I had known or done, but just like looking into schools a little bit more. I think I so I ended up applying to 10 schools. Some of them I look back on now I look back at now and I’m like, why is it? I apply there. Now I know I just would not have been a good fit.
So I do definitely think, I wish I had looked into the schools a little bit more and just gone a little bit deeper than like pure academics or things that you can just like very easily find online. But instead, like one thing I think is really good at is to look at read it and like other message boards where things are from a student’s perspective.
I definitely think that’s very helpful. And yeah, I think those would be like my two main things to just take advantage of every single resource that you can.
Awesome. And I did, I had, I switched schools after 10th grade. So I did my ninth and 10th grade in a public school. And then I switched over to an IB school for my junior and senior years, because in India, those are typically the schools that are more well-versed in sending students to the United States.
So I guess when my, when I was applying, I luckily did have a lot of support. I, my school had a really great college counseling. And I think I really did take advantage of that. And something else that I did was I really built a couple of really close relationships with a few teachers.
So for me it was my math and my English teacher. Because at the end of the day, it’s better for for one or two teachers to really like you versus having an average relationship with all of them. So I think that it’s really important to cultivate some really genuine relationships with your teachers.
And similar to Katrina. I think that I didn’t really have the opportunity to visit schools in the U S just because I wasn’t living in the us. So I think that taking advantage of Reddit and other social networking platforms would have been hugely helpful and not just going by ranking alone.
And I think, I got lucky to get into a school that was really good fit for me. But I do think that there should have been I do think that my approach to call searching should have been more multi-phased.
That’s very, it’s interesting that both of you happen to, I’ve been applying from outside of the United States, but of course, all of the lessons that you learned, and this was my experience also find a college, a firm in the United States. Yeah, just preparing ahead and focusing on building relationships and doing your research.
So all very good stuff to keep in mind. Oh, sorry. For both of you, what extracurriculars you ultimately do in college or do you do now? Yeah. So beginning of my freshman year, I joined the sustainable food initiative which was just an organization focused around like food and sustainability.
Really. The main reason I joined it was because I love food. And then ultimately I became president of that. And that was from that there really my like passion for sustainability came from. And then that has definitely been like a guiding force, like throughout the rest of my college journey. And then other than that, I also founded and am now the co president of lean in, which is an organization about like women empowerment.
And really our goal is just to provide a space for women at brown to connect and support each other. I was also part of project access, which was, this is the. Wasn’t like a extracurricular at brown. This is like outside of brown, but they are a nonprofit organization that helps students applying to college.
So I was part of that for like almost four years almost my entire time in college. So I definitely have a lot of experience like helping students and it’s something I really enjoy doing. I’ve also been part of women in science and engineering, the materials, research society. So those ones I haven’t been as involved in, but just more like a member.
And they’ve been really nice ways to just get to know more people within like the engineering community. And then I’ve also like on and off then part of the club, cross country team. Awesome. And I didn’t really, I my freshmen and sophomore year as I was joining different clubs, trying to figure out what I was really interested in.
So at first I joined the Stanford daily. I joined a bunch of magazines and then in my sophomore year realized that I was really interested in finance. So I joined applied to, and eventually joined Stanford finance which is a club that is dedicated to helping students break into the financial services industry.
And my junior year I became a VP and my, as a senior, I’m not really on the board, but I do advise them time to time. And my junior year, I was the VP of operations for Stanford social entrepreneurship club. So I was responsible for running the internal operations and helping out with recruiting.
And other than that, I am a writing tutor at Stanford’s writing center. So I tutor maybe two to three times.
Awesome. Now we’re gonna move on to what the curriculum looks like in an engineering program. And obviously this varies a lot, but yeah. So what are the coming college classes that you do within an engineering? Yeah. So I can start with like your first year and sophomore year classes.
So at brown, even if you like come into brown being like, I want to do engineering your first two years, you just take general engineering requirements and then it’s not until the end of your sophomore year that you actually choose like what you want to specialize in. So the first few years it was very general math and trying out different types of engineering.
So in my first year I took introduction to engineering, which was just, it was like very basic mechanics just to give you like a taste of what engineering is. And then I also took calculus. Like both single and multi-variable calculus. I took chemistry like two semesters of chemistry since second semester was organic.
And then dynamics and vibrations, which was like a continuation of the introduction to engineering, just a lot more like mechanics and all that fun stuff. And then my freshman fall, I took state surveillance and history as an elective. Generally what I do is I take three engineering classes and then I’ll take one elective every semester.
And that I really love, like for the elective, just choosing something that’s completely different and it’s a nice break from a lot. Like problem sets a lot of math and like physics. And then my sophomore year I took applied math, both semesters. So that’s just taking like all the math. You’ve learned it in calculus and just applying it in different situations.
There’s a lot of like differential equations, if you know what that is. And then this was also the year I took material science. So that was just like an introduction to materials, which I ended up loving and then electricity and magnetism. So that kind of gives you an insight into what like electrical engineering is.
And then as my elective, I took micro economics one of my semesters, and that was like, I found that like really nice because I am really interested in economics. So it was just a nice opportunity to still be able to like, learn that and go into that while taking my engineering classes.
Great. And I can talk a little bit about my junior and senior year classes. My junior year classes, I was really getting into the engineering course. So matrix methods, which is like linear algebra with the machine learning focus organizational theory, which is a bit more qualitative.
And it’s about how organized stations actually make decisions. When it comes to strategy I took a buy-side investing class because my track is finance and that’s a field that I hope to go into in a class on optimization which is like an advanced math class plus program. And then my senior year, I took investment science, which is getting into equities and bonds.
But with the more mathematical feel operations management, which looks into kind of the nitty gritties of how organizations handle their supply chains I’m taking an applied stats class right now. And my last class will be next quarter. We’ll be of us to cast stick processes, which I personally don’t know a lot about yet.
I’m excited to learn about that soon.
All right. So next question is what has been your favorite class within your major. Yeah, I think my favorite class was a class called soft materials and it focused a lot on polymers and it really, it was one of the first like upper level materials classes that I took and it made me super interested in polymers.
It made me realize that was something I wanted to work with in the future. And yeah, I think that was really every pivotal class, like during my time at brown. And it was like the moment I knew what I wanted to work with. And I think it was also a time where I saw like my passion for sustainability and my passion for like different areas come together.
And I realized how I could combine that with my engineering degree. So yeah, I think that was my, your class and my favorite class so far has been In investment science class. I’ve always been really interested in investing and stock market, but this class really looked into the mathematics of it.
And what actually, for instance, makes a stock price go up or how do you price a bond? So it was just really fascinating to see the equations and the math behind it. And to realize that all of these, very topical subjects have some equations behind them.
Awesome. Yeah. Next question is what career options are available? What have you been what have you been thinking about what have your peers been thinking about. Yeah. I think like one of the great things with an engineering degree is that you can really do anything. Like you can do absolutely anything with it.
It’s a degree that like, it only opens doors. Like it does not shut off a single door and that’s something that really attracted me to it. So yeah, like you can go into industry. There’s so many different industries. I think another thing is that even if you’re doing materials engineering or chemical engineering, the industry that you go into doesn’t necessarily have to be related to that.
Because most most students who like study engineering, you will most likely do some type of like engineering core. And even if you don’t like all the skills you learned from engineering, you can apply them in so many different ways. So whatever, like T like engineering discipline, you choose definitely doesn’t limit you to that specific industry.
So for example, like the industry I’m interested in is bio materials. And then even in, within bio materials, there are so many different options. There’s like medical bio materials. And then there’s what I’m interested in, which is more like sustainable materials is in like bio plastics and different like textile materials.
And then another industry is like batteries and batteries is something like, it doesn’t matter if you’re like materials, chemical or like electrical engineering. There’s so many opportunities within that for everyone. There’s also yeah. Like process engineering, which is a little bit more, this can be quite like, hands-on still very much within the engineering space or it can be a little bit more hands-off and Lee’s starting to lean like slightly more towards like the,
yeah. And. I echo all of that. I think that an engineering degree is so versatile. And it really, again, it does not close any doors and that’s one reason I decided to pick engineering over econ. Econ is also a very rigorous major, but I just thought that the engineering core would give me the skills that I need to really tackle any industry.
I really set my mind to it. So I proceed, chose to go the finance path. Possible career paths are investment banking where she working at a hedge fund or an asset management. There are a lot of new applications of finance and blockchain. And a lot of my peers are also taking an operations track within my major, so that could, involve operations management at say a big place like Amazon or doing supply chain management.
And a lot of people also go onto consulting or other strategy roles at at big firms and startups. So I really think that with an engineering degree, your options are. Versatile and you can really pick whatever you want.
All right. So that is the end of our initial presentation segments. I hope that you found this information helpful. And do you remember that you can download these slides in the handouts tab to consult this information later? So we’re going to move on to the live Q and a, and I’ll read through your questions which you should go ahead and keep on submitting to the Q and A’s Hasbro is happy to have more, and I’m going to paste them into public chats so you can see them and read them out loud.
And you can direct your question to either of our specific panelists or to have both of them give an answer. One thing to keep in mind if you’re too. Isn’t letting you submit questions. I’ll just double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page.
So I’m going to take a look through the questions. We’ve got a few questions like this one. I’m going to start with the first one is physics a must for an engineering major leaning toward the mathematical and design side. And I just want to say about that question, that we’ve got a few questions about.
Just generally, like what if I’m interested in engineering, but I’m not necessarily interested in physics. What should I keep going?
I could say that I didn’t have to take physics because I had some physics credit from the IB. But that said, at least for my major if you didn’t like physics, you could take bio or chemistry to supplement the, to fulfill the science requirement. But of course my graduate engineering was more on the industrial side.
So maybe 50 now has a ton of different experience. Yeah. I’ve had a lot of physics it’s, I’ve never really taken like a pure physics class because at least at brown although like physics we’ve had to do has been very much like within the engineering space. So normally it will just, I think at other schools, it is quite common to have to take like one year of physics, but at brown.
Have those like the physics classes within the engineering department. So the whole time, like you’re learning, the physics is very applied. And then even the, so for example, like my intro to engineering, and then also the class I took second semester, freshman year, they were both very like physics heavy.
And then I have also found I would say like most of my classes I’ve taken within the engineering core do rely on some type of physics, and like a lot of different ways. So Physics in terms of like structures and like mechanics and physics in terms of like electricity and magnetism. And there’s some, there are definitely some parts of physics or some parts of physics.
I enjoy more than others. And there have been times where I, especially as a materials engineer, I’m like, why do I need to know this? But that’s something. And I think the reason for that at brown is because we do the first two years and we have such a like strong engineering core. And I know it’s not like that at some other schools, like some other schools, if you go in being like I want to do like biomedical engineering, you start on that track straight away and you’ll definitely have like less physics classes.
I do think it’s quite typical. You’d have to take one or two, but you definitely wouldn’t have to take as many as like I’ve had to take. So that’s something to look into. What if, like you don’t really want to be doing a lot of physics. Think about that. As you were deciding what schools to apply to and see, is it so that you have this core that you have to do at the beginning?
Or can you like start to specialize a lot earlier?
And Richard, do you have any thoughts on that specifically? You’re welcome to, but I can also, I have a question specifically for you as well that someone asks this person. Richard, can you share anything about mentoring, mentorship and the ease of getting research opportunities at Stanford?
Yeah. There are a ton of research opportunities at its core. Stanford really is a research focused school. So I think that, I personally didn’t have. As much engagement with the research department instead, I was working other part-time jobs on campus. For instance I was in investment analyst for one of the funds on campus.
So I did prefer to get a more hands-on experience, but in general, if at least at Stanford, if you will apply, if you have an idea, if you find a professor that you build a rapport with there are very, there’s no shortage of research opportunities. I think that the real key there, and I have a lot of friends who’ve done research all four years on campus.
And I think it’s their core. They just want curious people people who want to solve a problem and people who have the deponent of skills to actually solve it. So whether that’s coding or statistical analysis they want to make sure that you also have, both the curiosity, the passion and the ability but of course they don’t expect you to be like an expert in like statistical analysis, but they do expect you to be willing to learn.
Yeah. So here’s the, our next question is going to be, so along with the engineering related courses you took in your first years of college, did you have to take other required courses like history, English, et cetera? If so, what were they? Yeah, so at brown we have it’s called an open curriculum.
And what that means is that we don’t have any like general education requirements, which like some other schools do. So in my case, I did not have to take any other required courses. And that’s something that I personally loved because as an engineer, you have a lot of requirements. I have about twice as many requirements as like my friends who were doing like social sciences.
So it’s been really nice. The classes that I am able to take outside of engineering, I can choose them completely by myself. There aren’t don’t have any requirements. It’s not like I don’t have to do a certain number of English or like language classes. The only requirements I’ve had is that I need to take two.
I have two writing requirements. So I need to take two courses that are like designated writing courses. But those I have taken like some one of my writing classes was within the engineering department. Even if it’s like a writing class, it still doesn’t have to be like a social science or it doesn’t have to be English.
So I’ve had so much flexibility, like outside of engineering to take whatever I want and to really take classes that I’m interested in. And that’s something I have really valued and really enjoyed.
Yeah. I did have a language requirement to fulfill, so I took two quarters of Spanish and I did have two writing classes but we also have something called ways requirements. So for instance, engaging diversity, aesthetic inquiry, creative expression. In general you do have to take a lot of classes unrelated to your major to fulfill them.
But luckily, since I’m a creative writing minor, I was able to knock those out while just by taking my minor. But I think that at least for me coming in with some ID credit from math and physics did help me save up on some units. And it’s definitely very recommended. If you’re going to do an engineering major.
Yeah. So another thing that a lot of people have been asking about in different ways is about, how to find the specialty that you are most interested in excited about all this personnel. I know I want to study engineering. I just don’t know what specialty appeals most could look to get an overview of all the different flavors within the field.
And then just like more broadly, like how did you explore those options? Yeah, I think that at least my main point of advice is to use your freshmen and sophomore years to explore as much as possible. And by exploring me and talking to, other juniors, seniors, sophomores taking a range of classes and even trying to do internships that aren’t necessarily something that you thought you would have taken, taken on paid internship, if you’re interested in something that you weren’t initially sure about.
But there are so many fields, so there will be a lot of career events. It will be career fairs. They’re scary to go to as a freshmen, but I think that it’s always helpful to walk through them, see the different companies that are hiring, see which ones appeal to you. Look at research opportunities on campus.
It sounds like a lot because it is. And I personally didn’t really find my niche until my sophomore year. So I think that give yourself some time, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to pick the first opportunity that comes at you. And don’t be afraid to ask your peers for advice.
Yeah. I definitely agree with all of that. I say take your first two years to just explore different things because you probably will have to. Classes within different engineering disciplines. And if there’s a class that you really like, just explore that further, do some research within that area.
And again, yeah, I think just through a lot of research is really good. And also seeing if there are things that you do outside of your classes is like extracurriculars that you’re really interested in and seeing if you can. Combine them with engineering somehow, or cause like in my case I was really interested in sustainability and then I found a way to combine that with materials engineering and it did just feel like everything fit into place.
I would also say just don’t stress about it too much. I don’t know anyone who is still doing or still like now doing the engineering discipline that they originally wanted to do in freshman year. I think like every single person realized at some point they were like, oh, this is not for me, but actually this is for me.
And I think for most people it did just happen naturally. So I definitely would say don’t stress too much about it. Yeah. Related someone has asked I guess for engineering would you. Recommend or discourage pursuing a double major, especially I suppose a bit outside of the engineering field.
A double major can be a nightmare if you’re an engineering major, most of the double majors I’ve seen have been in the humanities. Combining history with sociology is more doable. But I personally never seen someone do a double major in engineering. Or if I have, it’s probably just once or twice, but I do recommend a minor.
I am doing a minor. And I think that if you’re really interested in like history or chemistry or any subject, maybe doing a minor in, it would give you more bang for your buck because you don’t only want to be taking classes all the time. You want to have enough time to, have a social life explore internship opportunities and just have some time for yourself.
So I think that double majoring, if one of your degree, if you’re, if one of your majors in engineering is probably. An amazing idea, but don’t ever be afraid of doing a minor. Yeah. I definitely agree with that. And because you do have so many requirements as an engineer, that first of all, yeah, you don’t want to like completely overwork yourself.
And it’s also really nice then for the free classes that you have that don’t have to be with an engineering to just try out different things, which is something like, if you’re, double-majoring all of those like free classes you have to then go towards that, like one subject. And I think it is.
It’s really nice. And college is really the only time you’re going to have the opportunity to just like, explore so many different areas. So I would definitely take advantage of that. But if there is like another area that you are super interested in you can take some courses within that and you can do like your own research outside of school, in that area.
So you can definitely don’t, it doesn’t have to be like, oh, if I don’t double major in this, in like engineering and this other like subject, I won’t be able to do it at all. There definitely will be so many opportunities to go further into that area. If it’s something that you’re really passionate about.
Yeah. Our next question it’s about after college, what are some common masters degrees or really a any type of graduate degrees that people pursue after graduate? Yeah, at Stanford, there’s a program called a co-term in which you can clip on a master’s degree at the end of your bachelor’s, but it only takes one year.
So your bachelor’s plus master’s is only a five-year program. I’m personally not doing that, but a lot of my friends who are studying management, science and engineering or computer science are doing a master’s degree because they want to specialize in something else. But I personally wanted to hop straight into industry.
And I do know that a lot of MSNE majors work for a couple of years and then ended up getting an MBA. I don’t believe I know too many MSD majors who go on to do PhDs. But if they do, they’ll probably do something in financial analytics or something really specialized.
Yeah. Everyone I know is they’re all doing like very different things now after graduation. I also am just like very excited to start working and like getting into industry and like taking a little bit of a break from school. So definitely a lot of people just start working straight away.
Other people do a masters. Yeah. Brown has a fifth year faster program. Where again, you can do, you can do a master’s in one year. Or people go to like other schools to do a master’s and that would normally be like still within, or at least like similar to the type of engineering that they were doing in there for their undergrad.
And some people will go on to do a PhD. And then other than that is, it’s also like really common, like no matter what engineering degree. Like working for a few years and then getting an MBA. I think that’s something that was like, definitely becoming super popular for every single type of engineer to eventually go to business school.
But I think as I said earlier, there’s so many possibilities within engineering and it really does. It just opens up so many doors
as you were in Katrina. A lot of a lot of people choose to go straight into jobs to get some more experience rather than going into master’s programs. One other question that has come up is what types of jobs do people seek directly out of college? I feel like there’s no single answer to that.
The people I know in my major, I’ve done such a wide range of things. Consulting is fairly common. So is going into investment banking or going into asset management which is like a hedge fund where you manage the money high net worth individuals. And another field is product management.
A lot of people from my major go into say a product management role at a startup or strategy role that a bigger company. A lot of people also go into software engineering. So I think that it’s such a wide range and. And I think that’s the beauty of an engineering degree is that it gives you so many different skills that you do have the Liberty to choose.
What’s most interesting to you without really pigeonholing you into something, but that’s an example. And I think that, I, when I was a freshmen, I’d barely heard of some of these firms that I talk about now. And when you’re a college, definitely take advantage of your career center, any career fairs and any opportunities to network as much as possible, but no one really expects a freshmen or high school student to know what they want to do right off the bat.
Yeah. Just to like quickly add onto that. Definitely don’t start stressing about that. Like right now you will have four years of college to figure out what you’re interested in. Like what you want to do. I think back to like, when I was in high school, I didn’t even know this field existed. So definitely just don’t stress about it.
There’s so many opportunities and yeah. Take advantage of all the different resources at your school. Yeah. The career center, any career fairs, but yeah don’t like stress about it. There are so many opportunities. And as I keep, I know, I keep saying there’s a lot, but like engineering really is the degree that will let you do like absolutely anything once you graduate.
Yeah. Thank you both for all of your answers so far, and thank you to all of our attendees for sending in questions. Do please keep them coming. We’re going to take just a quick interlude. Just to tell you a little bit about what we do at college advisor if you’re not familiar with us. Yeah.
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So the next question, which is very broad, but but really interesting is what kind of projects do you do academically as an engineering major. An example of some of the projects that I’ve done is I’ve done a couple of computer science projects. So these involve maybe coding a little graphics game or building a word generator or something, but these were fairly small, but right now I’m actually working on my senior project which is with a group of three others.
I can’t talk too much about it, but we’re it’s in the fields of venture capital. And just so you know, venture capital is the fields in which you invest into early stage startup companies with the hopes that you invest in that company, that kind of becomes the next Uber or the next Airbnb.
So we’re doing some statistical analysis on this field and how it’s evolved over the last many years.
Yeah, I’ve done so many different projects in so many different areas. I think my like intro to engineering class, that was really cool because once a week we had, I think it was like three hours. It might’ve been four of us. We were in this like design workshop, which is a workshop where there’s like woodworking tools, like drills, like all that kind of stuff.
We worked on, I think it was like three different projects throughout the semester. And then, so every week you’d be working on this project. Let me think of, I couldn’t even remember what we did. One was like, we had to design like a car that could go up this ramp when there was like wind blowing against the car.
That was really cool because it was You had to apply like so many different areas within engineering. So there is that one just like really quick thing we did. This was like their very first project. We had to make a toolbox that we would then be able to have throughout. Like every time we went to this workshop and what was really fun about that class was because it was everyone’s first, try, go at engineering.
So everyone was very much just like in the very early stages and like everyone was on a similar playing field, so that was really fun. And then since then I’ve done a lot of different things in like labs. I do a lot of different like experiments, especially like with materials, just testing, like different.
Like the mechanics of materials, just a lot of like material stuff, which is, it’s like really hard to pinpoint it to one thing. But then last semester I actually did my capstone project and we were like a group of three. And this are like capstone project. It can be something very like you can be in a lab, like doing stuff there, or it can be a little bit more like design focused.
So there definitely so many different possibilities. So my group did, was we designed and made a machine that would make nut milks, like almonds milk, or like cashew milk. And that was really cool because it was just like a very random thing. It was like one person in my group was like, yeah, I tried to make Allmand milk last week.
And it was really difficult. So then we were like, let’s make a machine that lets you make all the milk. And that was super fun because it was just very random and it was also nice because. It was a very like hands-on project. Like we were in this workshop, like actually building it. And it was quite a nice break from all my other projects or any other like coursework I’ve done where I’m in a lab.
So there are definitely so many opportunities to do different projects and so many different areas and using so many different skills.
I just a moment Molay retrieved the next question. Do you keep them coming in? Cause we’ve got a great collection of them from when you’ve registered as well, but we’d love to get new ones as well as they come up. Yeah. Related question that maybe is worth touching on what are the, this person instance?
What is the main learning cell for engineering majors? As in what did the classes look like? What types of assignments do you mostly get? And how do you balance that workload?
In engineering, a lot of, at least my branch of engineering, which is more industrial, we didn’t have, any lab work. I think most of my major is really just doing a lot of problem sets in math and statistics. Some classes have a good amount of coding, whether it’s in Java or C plus.
And others are pretty writing intensive especially because at least now writing skills are being valued so highly. So I would say that it’s a combination of these three. And I think that something that really helps me balance is just my creative writing minor because just having the ability to take a couple of Lite classes every now and then really balances the piece that heavy classes.
And one thing that I wouldn’t recommend is taking too many heavy engineering classes in one quarter or semester. It can get really hard. It can get demoralizing. So I think balancing the engineering with the classes you find more easy is really.
Yeah, my classes are the same. Most of them will have weekly problem sets and then most will have one or two projects or like lab reports out the semester. And then typically we’ll have two midterms and then a final so on thing that’s like kind of nice is they all have a very similar structure and it’s like the same every year.
So you can really get into a good routine of doing all these problem sets and like preparing for midterms and finals of on the other hand, it can get quite repetitive and sometimes it feels like a never, it’s like never ending work. It’s just as soon as you finish one problems that they post the next one, but yeah, there’s stuff there’s like definitely is a lot of work.
But with these like problem sets, they really help you learn the material. Which is really nice when come the midterm and the final, hopefully you already have learned the material. So then studying for those aren’t as bad.
So next question has come from a couple of people which is it possible to study engineering as a student athlete? Do you have any friends or peers who have had that experience? Yeah, I do. I have quite a few friends in my major who are student athletes. So it’s crazy to me how they balance an engineering degree with, 30 to 40 hours of practice every week.
But it happens, there are a lot of, quite a few athletes in computer science and in bio engineering. So again, it is completely doable. Yeah, no, I also know quite a few athletes doing engineering, so definitely it’s doable.
Okay. Just one other question that just came in is would you suggest majoring in physics or presumably another scientific and then getting a master’s in a more specific form of engineering, is that attract that also is practical? Yeah, I definitely think like that’s an option if you like really like physics and you want to major in physics and definitely do that.
I think physics is like a really good starting point for a lot of deer for every engineering discipline. So yeah, I would say go for that.
I would also say, I think I should just add in that if you do a major in physics, everyone will just assume that you’re crazy smart. And you will have kind of no issues getting a job in whatever field you’re really interested in. So I think that even if you’re not really applying your degree to a lot of places I think that just the intellectual value of having a physics bachelor’s is very high.
Yeah. Something that a few people sent in as well is as a field, which is still like very heavily and predominantly male, what is your experiences of was it like to be a female engineer in that field? Yeah. It’s there’s some classes where you can definitely tell that there are just like a lot of men in the room and not a lot of women.
But I do have to say overall, I’ve had a good experience. I think brown is like very supportive of women. Like very encouraging are I forgot like exactly what the number is, but I do know that our engineering department has like a higher percentage of female than the national average.
So that’s something that’s good. And definitely yeah, as I said before, I’m part of women in science and engineering. There’s also the society of women engineers. So there are a lot of like clubs and different like organizations to really support women. I think the one thing I really were where I like really notice it is that I don’t have a lot of female professors.
I think I’ve had two, maybe three within engineering. So that’s something like that’s a little bit like disheartening to see that there isn’t any like female representation when it comes to yeah. Professors. But then also somebody to take into consideration is that I think there are a lot more women doing engineering now and you just have to let like time catch up a bit.
So hopefully add 10, 15 years there are. Female professors in engineering, but I definitely have to say I’ve had a pretty good experience. It’s not, I don’t feel like I have ever, or anyone’s ever commented on me being like a woman in engineering. I would just say my advice would just be to like, be confident in yourself and the thing guys will just like, they raise their hands all the time.
Even if they’re not super sure what the answer is, or they don’t know the answer, they’ll just raise their hand versus like a woman who we feel like we need to know. We need to be like 100% sure that this is the answer to like to answer. But so I say just go for it. Like really just put yourself out there and don’t let anyone like question the fact that you’re a woman in stem.
Totally. I felt that’s so hard. I do think that women run the answer in their head like 10 minutes and then decide to raise their hand. But by then some other guys probably already answered the question for them. So it’s really important to again, speak up for yourself. And I think that engineering is incredibly male dominated, so is and so is finance.
So I think that again, joining clubs, like I joined Stanford women in finance. There are a lot of women focused clubs like Stanford women in business, society of women, engineers. And you can really find some support there. I think that it is common to sometimes feel alienated. If you’re in an office and then, they’re like the other women and then 30 men.
So I think that it’s important to stand up for yourself and the open to forming you friendships and. Yeah. It’s difficult. It really is, but I, my hope is also that in the coming years there will be more female representation. Yeah. Said oh, sorry, Papi. That’s an extra one. So I think actually here we go.
Okay. Here’s the question we just received a junior in high school, do something in the engineering field, but I don’t have any extracurriculars at the Portland passion. Will this hinder my chances of getting into a top tier college university? I think I can really speak to that because. Most of my extracurriculars in high school were related to creative writing.
And I had pretty much, I had actually applied for econ when I applied to Stanford and my second choice was creative writing. So in terms of econ, I got I spoke about how I really enjoyed my econ classes, but I feel like when it came to my extracurriculars, I couldn’t really find a lot of ways for me to differentiate myself using econ.
So I decided to just do what I wanted to do. And I think that at the end of the day, just showing them that you have. A couple of passions that you’re willing to keep working at is really huge. But yeah, again, I don’t think that you should worry too much. I think that if you if your academics are engineering enough related, if they’re heavy in math, physics other sciences, and if your grades are fine in those, or if you’re taking APS, I think that should really demonstrate your aptitude.
So again, it’s hard to get a lot of opportunities as a high school student in engineering, unless you have friends or family who work in labs or who work at these big companies. So definitely don’t pressure yourself too much. But I do think just a small piece of advice is if you’re interested in engineering, something that you can do is teach yourself coding, see if you can build something on your own, because that is something that you can have access to.
And that is scarily democratized. I think that would be my piece of advice for you.
Yeah, I was the same I didn’t really have any engineering extracurriculars on my application. I think the most important thing. And what they’re looking for in your application is just to see that, like you’re passionate about something or like you love learning and that doesn’t necessarily have to be engineering related.
But I think if you could just show your passion and like some other area, then that’s that’s all they want to see.
All right. Next question is a fun question which is shoot it. Doesn’t copy you correctly. Are there engineering? I’ll cover this in advance. Are there engineering job opportunities that would allow me to try. Oh, yeah, there will be. Yeah, there definitely are. There are, I have spoken to a lot of engineers and a lot of them do have opportunities to travel.
I don’t think that’s necessarily like engineering related. I think that depends more on like the company and obviously there are definitely so many companies where you have opportunities to travel and because that’s something I like, I’m really interested in, I do want to travel like with my work.
So I’ve just like when I’m looking at companies, that’s something I think about. And I think about are there any opportunities to travel? So definitely like engineering wouldn’t hold you back from that. It’s more about like the specific company. Yeah. And even the specific fields in a way, like for instance, a lot of people from my major go into consulting, which requires a ton of travel.
You’re practically traveling every other week. Whereas, finance or strategy don’t require as much travel. I think that looking into different possibly entering at companies that, have a global exposure or, that they have offices in other countries. And a lot of companies are also having these rotational programs where they let people intern in different countries.
So I think that again, very company specific, but I don’t think you should worry at all about engineering potentially holding you back. Yeah. Thank you both so much for giving your time and your thoughts that is the end of our Q and a. And thank you also to everyone who came and stayed for sending so many great questions, then I’m, displaying the information again about our panelists.
It keeps missing anything. You can find them both Katrina and rich on our website. And don’t forget that if you want to keep the slides that you can go to the handouts tab to download that. So that is the end of our webinar, a bit of really great time talking about engineering, and I hope this webinar was helpful to you and that you feel more prepared with your college applications and goals.
We have a brand new webinar series throughout February. We’re about halfway through about various specific majors which you can see on this calendar. And we encourage you to come back and to continue working with college advisor in the future. So thank you so much for coming tonight’s session and have a good night.