Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What is Systems Engineering?

Systems engineering is a major that is often hard to describe.  There are many definitions of systems engineering—just ask a few systems majors and you will no doubt hear a different iteration—all of which include words like “optimization,” “efficiency,” “integration,” or some combination thereof.  Sure, these words can describe systems, but they are probably meaningless out of context.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why Penn?

Something that I find to be kind of cool is that my answer to the question “Why Penn?” as a senior in college is pretty different from the one I would have given when I decided to apply early decision as a senior in high school.  When I applied to Penn, I wrote in my essay that Penn fit my top priorities: “academic excellence, school spirit, manageable size, and a beautiful campus.” I also discussed the residential house programs and the wide array of student activities. While all of these are true representations of what Penn offers, they are not what I would use to answer the question “Why Penn?” today.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My PennApps experience

I have a fair amount of hackathon experience under my belt:  I’ve done HackNY, Hack n’ Jill, and now, 4 Pennapps.  This spring semester, Pennapps took place (a little strangely) on Valentine’s Day.  As a graduating senior in Digital Media Design, it was also the last Pennapps I could participate in.  So, I was willing to forgo any Valentine’s Day plans, but only if I worked seriously on an idea I really liked.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Why I love my major

I love my major, and I just came to that realization—four semesters into my college experience.  Before applying to college, I remember looking at the various types of engineering I could study at the range of schools to which I would apply.  Materials Science Engineering seemed like the perfect balance of math and chemistry (with absolutely no biology, fortunately for me).  And so, I applied to Penn as a declared Materials Science Engineering student.  Even with that designation, I had truly no clue what MSE was like when I entered my freshman year of college.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Computer Science Balance

When I first showed up at Penn Engineering as a Computer Science major, I was under the impression that I would have an edge over other students because I had taken the AP class in high school. None of the people I knew from my hometown had the first idea about what being a computer scientist really entailed or what exactly I was getting up to in my small class of ten back then. I thought this trend would carry over into college, and that I would spend the next four years again having to explain to people that I wasn’t building computers, I was programming them.