A week on the west coast

Hi readers!

At the beginning of this month, Charlie Nolan and I were in the Bay Area visiting schools, conducting interviews, and hosting an enormous recruiting event. This was a great opportunity for me: I got to escape the looming New England winter for a week (experiencing Dia de Los Muertos in the Mission, watching the sunrise from Bernal Heights park the morning after daylight savings, and taking 1 down the sunny, then foggy, then sunny again coast to Santa Cruz). I got to stay with recently graduated friends, and use the company p-card to take them out to a nice dinner as a thank-you. But most importantly, I got to visit some of the top-ranked schools in the area, and get a sense of what it would be like to work there. After my year at Olin, I hope to move to the West Coast to teach high school science, so it was great to get this taste of what that will be like. 

20141101_180626.jpgSunset from Potrero Hill

But it was also an invaluable week for the admission office. We normally see families from all over the country coming in for campus visits. Boston has a high density of attractive institutions, so Olin is easy to roll into the mix. But not everyone can make that flight over, so we've targeted a few key locations where we can 'bring Olin to you'. The Bay Area is one such place. We receive a TON of applications from the Bay Area - more than anywhere else - and we actually enroll more students from the region than from all of Massachusetts! Without this visit, a huge portion of our applicants (some of whom are on the fence or would be perfect for Olin but don't realize it yet) might not try to take a shot at a spot. And we'd be missing out on, as Charlie is fond of stating, some remarkable candidates!

Normally, we give info-sessions to 1-10 families at a time. They consist of a video, then a conversation or a presentation, and they are followed by a tour of the college. Well, we had over 30 students and their families came to the main prospective student event, which took place in the reception hall of a hotel near the San Francisco airport. Instead of a physical tour, Charlie turned the floor over for a Q&A segment with 7 alumni who had volunteered to participate. Yiyang, Rachel, Andrew, Hannah, Rebecca, Jason, and Zachary (who graduated in '11, '11, '13, '13, '13, '14, and '14, respectively) shared their extremely varied perspectives on their time at Olin and the post-graduate experience. The crowd loved it, and asked some very insightful questions! Our grads represented the diversity and breadth of Olin in many ways - Men and Women; EC:E, M:E, and E:self-designed major; going to grad school vs. working in industry vs. working at an Olin-founded start-up; applicants from the next country and applicants from the other side of the world. 

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Photograph by Duncan Murdoch, Olin's 4th employee

Afterwards, a few more grads joined us for a drink and a bite in the hotel restaurant. Then Three grads from '06 - Etosha, Dylan, and Kate came to share their stories of Olin's early days. And Mark ('14) pulled up on his company's prototype electric motorcycle, and Charlie regaled us with stories from his motorcycle heyday. He even had a test-sit on the bike! It was a lovely reunion.  


Some seriously cool wheels

In the end, my favourite take-away from the evening was what Charlie took away: in his subsequent presentations and information sessions, I heard him quoting and referring to these grads, incorporating their stories into his well-practiced spiel. We're never finished with learning from one another, it seems! 

Afterwards, we traveled up and down the coast talking with many outstanding students from exciting schools. Then we interviewed a dozen more prospies for two full days over the weekend. I'm getting nervous about the coming application season - trying to choose a pool of Candidates out of the superlative applications we read this year is going to be harder than ever. Luckily, I know that things will work out in the end. The students who are the best fit for Olin will find their place here. And the rest will do incredible things wherever they end up. 

Best of luck to all our applicants!


P.S. Big thank you to Paul, David, Matt, Noah, and Janice, Tim and Jialia, and finally Andrew, Hannah, and Zach - I had a great time catching up with you all.

Getting On Track with Kaitlyn Keil, class of 2019

Greetings, Oliners! I am Kaitlyn Keil, and, as you may have guessed, one of the fortunate Gappies this year. And reading over these other posts... wow. I have some pretty fantastic company. So far my year has gone... well, not entirely according to plan, but it is starting to come together!

Thankfully, being away from school doesn't mean I'm not learning. I think I'd go mad if it did. First thing that I learned in these months free from full-time school? Don't ignore little things, because they can cripple you. Literally. Explanation: I had planned to learn how to backpack this summer and do a bunch of hiking, camping, and running. But, well, at the end of June I landed badly from a short jump. Montage of walking around San Francisco, bouncing around at work, and wondering why my foot hurt too much to go for more than a light walk, then, five weeks after my injury, sitting on the operating table, taking derivatives in my head to figure out how awake I was (it was the first thing that came to mind) as they put a tiny piece of bone back in place.

Yeah... for the next month, this lovely chair was my 24 hour throne as I slowly went stir-crazy, and it was another month yet before I was allowed to actually get around to normal life. So, honestly, it is a really great thing I wasn't headed off to Olin this year, as much as I would love to be there; going across country with a broken foot would have been a pain, literally and figuratively.

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Enough of the tale of captivity! Now that I am back on my feet, I've gotten down to what I had planned for this fall: namely, a couple of classes at my community college (C Programming Language and Creative Writing), an online Mandarin course, as much work as they'll schedule me for, plenty of writing, and life in general.

That may not sound like much, but so far, it's been incredible. Though I'm only just getting introduced to programming, I really enjoy it so far... even when I am grumbling as I try to find the place where I mixed up = = with =. I'm far from a master, of course, which just makes it all that much more fun. I'm also the only girl in the class. I like to think I'm representing us well.

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With Creative Writing, it's great (if strange) to be in the same class as my older sister, and it's giving me the kick I need to really sit down and get down the stories in my head. Hence my decision to take on NaNoWriMo as well. And so far? Off to a really good start! Though how I am supposed to finish this tale in 50,000 words is beyond me...


So at the moment, that's kinda taking over my brain, even when I'm out walking my dog. I've gotten a couple strange looks as I chat into my phone, recording whatever new idea just slammed into my mind.

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The Mandarin has been very interesting. I started this summer with Rosetta Stone, which helped keep me sane as I sat in the confines of an armchair, but, once my subscription there ran out, have since switched to Fluenz. Confession: learning languages isn't my strong point, which is a very large part of why I'm determined to master Mandarin, or at least get to the point I can say 'Wǒ shuō yìdiǎnr Hànyǔ' truthfully (it appears there are many ways to type this, even in Pinyin, so that is just the way I am currently learning to write it). So far, it has been a nice challenge!

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This all squeezes in between shifts at Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Lab, where I am a scoopervisor/cleaner/whatever needs to be done. I wasn't able to finagle a picture of me actually in uniform, but here is me and the place, with some of my coworkers doing what we do best: making people's day better. I love it to death, even on the closing shifts (the downside of being a morning person).

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Right, my wordiness is now wrapping up. The last note is my plans for the coming year and my well-wishes to all of you. This December, my family is going on a last big trip together, all the way to Italy! Then, skip a couple months, I am working on the details of a visit to China, where I will be taking intensive Mandarin lessons and helping out in a business that teaches Mandarin to foreigners and English to the Chinese. After that, hopefully I will finally get around to the backpacking and adventure stuff, as well as find some sort of course to rehash Calculus and Physics. I miss them.

Thanks for bearing through, best of luck to all, and see you in a few months!

The perks of being an admissions officer

The leaves are turning outside my window, the students are starting to consider their final projects, and my life is finally entering something like a routine. I've been almost two months in my new role at Olin, and I'm finally starting to feel like I'm settled in. 

Let's return to the early days, all the way, way back, in September. Back then, I didn't know how to log in to all of the different admisnistrative software and reporting systems that we use. I was filing paperwork, clearing out old junk that's probably three or four employees old by now, and wrapping my head around the notion of approaching faculty and staff as a fellow employee. 


Shh, they still don't know I was making things up as I went along!

Lately, I've picked up one of the weekly infosessions, and sometimes fill in for my coworkers. I answer applicant questions by email and over the phone, and I'm writing/editing/sharing training documents for admissions-related groups on- and off-campus. I'm going to meetings with Marketing & Communications, PGP, and DFAR to contribute my particular insights and opinions. I've made it into the big leagues!

Arpan Rau's gap year- Part 1: The internship

So far, my gap year has been super educational. I've learned how to make excellent coffee, take out the trash, curse at code when it doesn't work, and became the butt of every 'young person' joke around the office.

In other words, I'm an intern!

My original plan for my gap year was to get as much work experience as I possibly could. After shopping around for an engineering internship in my area, I managed to score one at a local firm called Industrial Measurement Systems (IMS) which was small enough to let me lead design on a product. My baby, the iETEK, is an automated version of IMS's flagship product, the ETEK. It's designed to ultrasonically measure the modulus vs. load curve of a car brakepads by compressing them while passing an ultrasonic signal through. The idea is that by measuring how squishy brakepads are, we can control quality and eliminate squealing brakes. 


The IMS iETEK. Designed, built, and programmed by interns.

Hello Internet!

  My name is Claire Kincaid, and I'm super excited to be joining the Olin Class of 2019! So far, my gap year has been a huge adventure in flexibility.  My family is USAF active duty and had received orders to Tokyo, Japan.  Needless to say, I thought that by now I'd be traveling through Asia, enjoying the sights and staving off culture shock. 

  But then calamity struck and we had a bit of a family medical emergency, and our orders were cancelled.   So, I was left for about a week with no plans whatsoever, keeping the house spotless and bashing my head against a wall.  But once I dragged myself out of my stupor, I was able to take advantage of some absolutely wonderful opportunities here in Colorado Springs, and I'm now living my gap year dream.


I have two jobs, both of which I love, and I own and operate a small business.  My business, "Claire's Creations" (still working on a better name) is a home based jewelry business where I design and fabricate original pieces using semiprecious stones and sterling silver.  I also cut and classify my own gems, determining their geological identity and retail value, so that I can then incorporate them into one of a kind designs.  

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