Category Archives: Academic Development

Tinker Toys

As a busy engineering student, you probably don’t have all the time in the world to take on side projects–even though these types of projects can help you better grasp material and help you find your passion in the field (not to mention put you ahead of some other students in internship applications). Click through to find some small side projects you can tinker with in your dorm in your spare time, courtesy of Make: magazine. Even better, see if you can’t improve on some of the designs!

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De-constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism is a great way to learn and grow in your field–be it in the form of grades, performance reviews, or difficult conversations. Yes, it can be awkward and hard to swallow, but many times it’s something you need to hear. If you can learn to take it gracefully and implement it into your life, in the long run, it builds you up. Destructive criticism, however, tears you down. It’s “being critical of others in a demeaning, unconstructive way or seeking to control others’ behavior through intimidation.” Whether at school or in the workplace, it’s a terrible abuse of power. Inside Higher Ed has a great article on how to deal with it. If you can do it well, you may go far–or at least save your sanity. Read it here.

High School Calculus Not a Predictor of Success

Mathematics and engineering formula

Contrary to popular belief, learning calculus in high school does not predict whether or not a student will succeed in college calculus. “According to a study of more than 6,000 college freshmen at 133 colleges carried out by the Science Education Department of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, led by Sadler, the Frances W. Wright Senior Lecturer on Astronomy, and by Sonnert, a Research Associate. What’s more important,” they say, “is mastering the prerequisites, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry—that lead to calculus.” Read more.