It was the annual Admitted Spartan Day at San Jose State University on a recent Saturday. Once again a lively spirit of celebration and excitement pervaded campus as thousands of prospective freshmen and transfer students swarmed the colleges and departments, and explored the booths and displays along the El Paseo de Cesar E. Chavez. They appeared eager to get acquainted with SJSU – their new college home beginning fall semester.
At the same time, the welcome mat was out at the Davidson College of Engineering for its annual Open House event, which attracted approximately 600 newly admitted students and their families, totaling more than 1,500 guests. More than 200 volunteers assisted visitors who had come to partake of a plethora of activities. Guests received information on engineering majors, met faculty, and talked to current students. They sat in on presentations from each of the eight academic departments, examined student projects, and checked out a number of lab demonstrations. They were also able to investigate scholarship and financial aid options. The icing on the cake was the annual barbecue luncheon for guests, hosted by CoE in the Engineering Courtyard.
An enthusiastic response
“It was wonderful to see such a huge turnout of prospective engineering students along with their families,” says Emily Allen, associate dean. “Many visitors expressed how impressed they were with the helpful attitudes and pride they heard in all of their conversations with faculty, staff and students. CoE was abuzz with excited students thinking about a future at SJSU,” she says.
Jenny Monsen, a scholarship recipient and sophomore in industrial and systems engineering, who led college tours and answered questions, was pleased to be a part of the event. “I enjoyed representing my college and showing the newcomers what a great place SJSU really is,” she says. “It made me feel proud to be a student here.”
Monsen liked the Open House event because “it allowed students to get a feel for the college and talk with people who actually go to school here, rather than just reading about it. They get to experience the campus environment before coming to the university.”
Sophomore and mechanical engineering major Sean Draper agrees, and adds, “The event also gives our current students and faculty members an opportunity to showcase all the great work they've been doing.”
Like Monsen, Draper, an Engineering Leadership Pathways Scholarship recipient, volunteered to lead college tours, and also assisted at the luncheon. “Our guests were impressed by our small class sizes, advanced programs, and the numerous opportunities for outside involvement via clubs, honors societies, and such,” he observes.
“The event was a rewarding experience for me,” continues Draper. “I got to meet several potential students and answer their questions. In fact, some of their questions spurred me to do some further research of my own, and I learned from that.”
Helping students succeed
A popular stop on the tour was room 344, home of the Engineering Student Success Center (ESSC). At ESSC, students got a sense of the wealth of college resources to help them acclimate to engineering and the college environment – including mentoring, advising, tutoring and career coaching.
Says Jared Tuberty, executive director, engineering student success programs, “If a student is unsure where to go for assistance, the ESSC is a great place to start.”
During Open House, a new summer program, EXCEED (Excellence in Your Engineering Education), was unveiled by ESSC. Slated for launch in August, the 10-day, full-time residential program is specifically designed for incoming first-year students, helping them hit the ground running in preparation for college success. This innovative program is supported by grants from Agilent Technologies, Xilinx, KLA Tencor, Cisco and Aruba Networks.
Visitors to ESSC were also introduced to CoE’s diversity programs. For instance, the MESA Engineering Program provides services and support for underrepresented and first-generation college students, and connects them to clubs and organizations supporting diversity.
“It’s important for students to know what is available to help ease their transition to college as well as contribute to their continued success all the way through graduation,” adds Tuberty. “ When students get involved in various programs and activities, they typically feel a close and personal connection to CoE and the university at large, which enhances their academic experience.”
Sanela Latic, student program coordinator, who led the committee that planned the Open House, adds, “We always look forward to this event, when we can warmly welcome prospective students and get them off to a good start in their college experience. It’s an ideal way for them to start their engineering journey.”