School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

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Happy New Year! I can’t believe 2012 is already here. It is unbelievable how time flies, and it definitely doesn’t feel like I’ve been at Harvard for two and a half years already. I told you all I would keep you updated on how my planning for the spring semester is going, and it looks like I’ve decided on only one course so far: “Engineering Sciences 123: Introduction to Fluid Mechanics and Transport Processes.” Okay…so from the title alone, this class isn’t exactly one that I’ve been dying to take since declaring my concentration (major) as Biomedical Engineering. It sounds like there is going to be a lot of physics and applied math involved. I love the latter, but can’t say the same about physics. While I’m not a physics person by any means, I’m open-minded, and this is indeed a concentration requirement.

As far as the other courses in my schedule go, there are a bunch I am looking at.

  • “Computer Science 51: Introduction to Computer Science II”
  • “Government 1093: Ethics, Biotechnology, and the Future of Human Nature”
  • “Societies of the World 24: Global Health Challenges: Complexities of Evidence-Based Policy”
  • “Engineering Sciences 91r: Supervised Reading and Research”
  • “Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality 1266: Gender and Sports”

OFF ON A TANGENT: You’ll notice that I’m considering many courses that don’t have to do with engineering. When I applied to Harvard, I indicated on my application that I intended to pursue engineering and stuck with it. No one actually declares a concentration until his or her sophomore fall. However, applying as an engineer, I was conscious of the fact that Harvard isn’t a traditional engineering school, but that’s what was really attractive to me. I liked the idea of being a “Renaissance Engineer” because I have many eclectic interests. Sure, I love math and science and those are the two subjects I focused on in high school. But I have a great appreciation for English literature (Shakespeare’s King Lear, anyone??), ethnic studies, technology, and global health, to name a few. I knew that Harvard would be able to offer me opportunities in engineering in the context of a liberal arts education, which set it apart from many other, solely technical universities that I was considering.

There are actually several other courses I’m looking at, but these really stood out to me. Selecting courses is extremely difficult, because there are thousands to choose from, and only so much time in one semester. On top of deciding between which subjects I’m most interested in, finalizing my schedule also comes down to logistics, including requirements, class meetings, exam dates, etc. In addition, I haven’t spoken to any friends about classes yet. At least one person usually ends up finding a gem that I didn’t. With so many courses, it’s easy to overlook many of them, let alone one. It usually all ends up working out some way or another, though. When it’s shopping week (check out Jeanie’s post if you aren’t familiar) towards the end of the month, I’ll post a screenshot of my final shopping schedule–I’m sure it’ll look crazy hectic with all of the aforementioned courses and then some. New semester, new courses, new year…I’m really looking forward to 2012 and new challenges, ups, downs, and memories in general!

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Simple advice, right? I thought about it, though, and it’s true. Well, at least I think so. This was something Mark Zuckerberg (or, “Zuck,” as his colleagues called him) said when he came to visit campus on Monday, November 7. The Office of Career Services (OCS) and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) sponsored the event, entitled “Facebook Q&A,” with Mark, as well as two of his colleagues, including Vice President of Engineering Mike Schroepfer. The talk was capped at 200 students, who all had to apply by submitting a resume to the OCS website. I couldn’t have been more excited when I opened my email and read: “Congratulations! You have been accepted to attend the Facebook Q&A session with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and VP of Engineering Mike Schroepfer.”

We were all encouraged to submit questions days beforehand, which were then compiled by the moderator, my CS50 professor David Malan. Mark said he didn’t start Facebook for money (today, his personal wealth amounts to $17.5 billion), nor did he think the website would become what it is today. He said his impetus for Facebook was simply because he thought it was cool. Despite reading about Mark being an unpleasant person in interviews, I found him to be a laid back guy. Who knows? He very well might be unfriendly in day-to-day life. However, he seemed affable and gave candid responses to everything Professor Malan asked him.

I left Farkas Hall inspired. It was 6:30 PM, and my face must have been beaming as I walked out because a reporter from the local news on NBC decided to pull me aside. Not that I didn’t enjoy the event, but I’m pretty sure I looked so happy because I was looking forward to dinner. Regardless, she was one of the most enthusiastic human beings I’ve encountered in my lifetime, and she asked me some questions about the event. My mom was especially excited that I would have my 5 seconds of fame on the local news.

It’s surreal to think about how Mark Zuckerberg was just one of us. I don’t want to put him on this giant pedestal because yes, I guess he is just like anyone else. He wears plain, (what appears to be) Hanes t-shirts (one of my favorite things) and your everyday athletic sneakers. See Mark looking like a typical human being below.

Mark Zuckerberg Visits Harvard

Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard for "Facebook Q&A"

But…what he’s accomplished is actually amazing. Today, Forbes Magazine cites him as the #9 Most Powerful Person in the World at the age of 27. It’s interesting to think that someone I walk by on any given day could very well be the next Mark. I think that’s pretty special. It’s one of the reasons why I love meeting new people here because everyone is so passionate and driven that you never know who will end up where. I feel just as fortunate as I do excited to be able to say I went to school with all of these people.


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