Visitors lined up to see the ZEM House during recent Open House event.
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At the Davidson College of Engineering, approximately 200 professors, staff and student volunteers laid out a warm-welcome mat to more than 1,300 visitors. According to Dean Belle Wei, “it was our best Open House ever – it’s an event that truly exemplifies our college spirit,” she says. Many student clubs also participated in the event, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), which won the most popular exhibit award.
New engineering students, admitted for fall 2011, enjoyed meeting faculty members and talking with students, touring engineering labs, and participating in various department exhibits and presentations by faculty and students. They found resources to help them understand admissions procedures and could attend workshops to learn about financial aid options. The annual BBQ lunch capped this year’s event with nearly 1,500 attending.
“In addition to showing prospective students what the college has to offer, we interviewed over 100 frosh and transfer applicants for our Silicon Valley Engineering Scholarship program,” says Emily Allen, associate dean. “Finding the top incoming students and providing support for them is a high priority and one of the highlights of this event.”
“Our Open House event is very important because it gives incoming students a good idea of what they’re getting themselves into,” remarks James Freeman, professor of electrical engineering. “The first two years in engineering course work are heavily loaded with math and science, so students have to get through a difficult curriculum before getting to the fun stuff. During this event, new students are able to preview what they have to look forward to when they see some of the work accomplished by our outstanding junior and senior students.
“Engineering has been compared to baseball,” adds Freeman. “The first year is like playing catch; the second year, like batting practice; and the third year, you’re ready to play the baseball game. Likewise, in engineering, you don’t get to design things in the first two years – the fun stuff comes later.”
Assistant Professor Juneseok Lee, civil and environmental engineering, finds the annual event an important first opportunity to meet new students and their families. He sums up the feelings of many faculty, “Everyone was really enthusiastic about the program,” he says. “I’m looking forward to seeing these new students again when we begin classes in the fall!”