April 2007 Archives

My first FIRST = photos galore! *UPDATED!*


As promised, a chronicle of my inagural FIRST experience. No, it doesn't have much directly to do with the admission process at Olin... but it was a recruitment trip and it was a lot of fun and I figure there's a fair number of you out there with at least a passing interest in robotics... ;-)

So the National FIRST Robotics Championship took place in Atlanta at the Georgia World Conference Center. Holy cow, is that complex big!

streetsign.jpg Atlanta welcomes FIRST (on every other lamppost downtown!)

gwcc1.jpg gwcc2.jpg Gorgeous weather and pretty grounds means lots of teams hanging around outside

exhibithall.jpg This is where I lived for 2 days - Scholarship Row, right outside the "pit" in Building C

pit1.jpg pit2.jpg

pit3.jpg I was honestly speechless when I first saw the Pit from above. I mean, that is an insane number of people and robots!

ash.jpg So here's my FIRST "home away from home" (with Ash '09 being goofy)

hoppers-walkers.jpg Thanks to Ash and Greg '10, Professor Ben Linder agreed to loan us a few Hoppers and Walkers for the Olin table. I'm all about Show-and-Tell!

hoppers-walkers2.jpg A closer look at our props... These Hoppers and Walkers were all designed and built by first-year Oliners in a first semester course called Design Nature.

nasa-scout.jpg While wandering around the Pit, Ash made me promise to take a picture of the NASA Scout (Science Crew Operations and Utility Testbed). Ash <3 NASA. Sidenote - taking photographs with safety goggles on is kind of hard.

gatorbotics1.jpg So I found Team 1700 - Gatorbotics - which one of our admitted students is a member of. Little did I know that I was in the presence of greatness...

explodingbacon.jpg So without a doubt, my favorite team - based on name only - was Exploding Bacon from Florida. Their cheer was "Oink, oink... BOOM!" I am still smiling as I write this post!

explodingbacon2.jpg Oh yeah, and they had a pretty sweet robot as well!

alpinerobotics1.jpg Then I found Team 159 - Alpine Robotics - and Nick '11 with his fellow teammates. They gave me a personal "tour" of their robot

nickheartrobots.jpg Nick <3 his robot... yes, he is kissing it!

alpinerobotics4.jpg Later in the day, Alpine Robotics got a visit from the famed Woodie Flowers (FIRST Executive Advisory Board Vice Chairman and National Advisor, Professor of MechE at MIT and Distinguished Partner at Olin College).

curiedivision.jpg The Curie Division. I spent most of Saturday afternoon watching matches here. At the same time, there were matches going on for the other divisions in the other three corners of the GA Dome - Newton, Archimedes and Galileo.

gadome.jpg For a visual reference... the Dome is *huge* and there are four matches going on in any given moment. The arena in the middle is for the Einstein Division (read: championship)

gatorbotics3.jpg The Gatorbotics robot in a fierce competition...

alpinerobotics3.jpg Alpine Robotics huddle before a match...

alpinerobotics2.jpg A shot of their robot in action on the big screen!

While waiting for the final awards and Championship rounds, I managed to get a shot of 3/5 of the Olin representation for the weekend:

oliners1.jpg Yes, mom, they are that goofy! Eric '07, Eric '07 and Ash pose for the camera (not pictured: Ellen '10 and Greg '10 - they were hanging out with their high school teams down in the pit and in the arena... more on that later)

oliners2.jpg They look so sweet and innocent here...

dk1.jpg Although it's not the best photo, here's FIRST Founder and President of DEKA Research & Development Corporation - and "inventor, entrepreneur, tireless advocate for science and technology" - Dean Kamen at the Awards Ceremony. He showed us a 30-second clip of a robotic prosthetic arm that his company has been working on for just one year. It was amazing! Afterwards, Eric (the one on the left from pics above) leaned over and said, "Now you see why I'll be working for DEKA?!" By the way, both Erics are on Olin's DEKA SCOPE team this year.

Back to the MIA Oliners, Greg and Ellen... here's a note from Greg - consider him a guest blogger for a moment:

Ellen and I were busy running around watching our high school FIRST teams and lending them a hand. Her team was eliminated in the Semi-Finals on the Curie field. My team won the Newton Division, then went on to win the entire event, defeating a four-time national champion in the finals. They're getting tons and tons of press coverage, which is pretty exciting for my brother, who is the student team leader. The whole CNN article about it is here (http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/04/14/robot.compete/index.html).

I figured it might be interesting to toss in the blog or something. It also brings the percentage of the freshman class that has ever won the FIRST Championship to over 2% (I love Olin and percentage statistics). We hope you had a fun time down there at your second FIRST event!


So that pretty much sums up my first FIRST! I met lots of amazing students (and their families) on Scholarship Row and I hope that all of you stay involved with FIRST... and stay in touch with Olin. :-D

Again, not one of my more timely posts but I couldn't help but share it with you, even if it was belated. Take care!


IM: OlinAdmission

Spring has sprung!

I can't believe it... Spring has finally sprung in Boston! So what if it'll be in the 50's again later this week?!? The past 3 days have been gorgeous and everyone has been trying to spend as much time as possible outside.

Example #1: ICB Lecture

So Profs John Geddes and Mark Somerville decided - rightfully so! - that ICB (Integrated Course Block) lecture should be held outside on Friday. Who needs a lecture hall when you've got "portable" white boards, a window and a dry-erase marker? (photos courtesy of Angela '09)



fromangela-icb4.jpg Yep, that's pretty much the Class of 2010.

fromangela-icb3.jpg I don't know why, but I just love the fact that Mark Somerville is writing on a window!

fromangela-geddesscooter.jpg John Geddes' very cool scooter.

fromangela-icb5.jpg I just had to put this in Angela took such a cool shot of Mark and his reflection...

Example #2: Chillin' on the Great Lawn

fromangela-pearld.jpg Pearl '07 enjoying a sunny Friday afternoon. (photo courtesy of Angela '09)

fromgarrett1.jpg First-years Garrett, Amy and Erik show off their, er, talent?!? (photo courtesy of Garrett's camera)

bryce2.jpg A totally amazing shot of Erik, Bryce and Garrett (photo courtesy of Garrett's camera)

Example #3: Senior Retreat

Well, no pics of the retreat but I must say that we couldn't have asked for a nicer day or location for the seniors to reflect on the past four years. I hope everyone enjoyed it! Even though I was only an honorary/temporary member of OSL (Office of Student Life) for the day, I thought it was a good balance of fun and relaxation and thought-provoking activities.

That's it for now. I must rest.

*I'd love to get some suggestions for future posts... y'all have been awfully quiet this year...


IM: OlinAdmission

A message from President Miller

(Due to my recent travel, I was unable to post this immediately. However I still wanted to share it with you, in part, because I simply cannot find the words to express my own thoughts.)

April 17, 2007

We are all shocked and saddened by the events at Virginia Tech. President Rick Miller sent the following to the Olin Community this evening:

To All Members of the Olin Community-

All of us have been deeply touched by the senseless killings at Virginia Tech. Our thoughts and prayers go out, in particular, to everyone who has been directly affected by this tragedy.

Yesterday's events remind us that a college campus is a special place where all kinds of people come together to live, learn, and work. Understandably, we expect to do so in a safe environment, which makes the tragedy at Virginia Tech even more shocking. We are fortunate that the Olin campus has been unusually safe. We have a strong record of vigilance in protecting our students and other members of our close community, and are committed to the highest levels of safety and security. Our small size and high-tech campus infrastructure allows for rapid communication in an emergency and, on an ongoing basis, we continue to review our campus security procedures.

The Council of Olin Representatives (CORe) plans to send a letter of sympathy and support to the student government at Virginia Tech. Olin students were invited to neighboring Babson College this afternoon for a vigil at the Glavin Chapel. And Olin students are planning a moment of silence tomorrow at 10 a.m., with candle lighting at the main staircase in the Campus Center.

The College has many resources available to those who might need support in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech tragedy. Resident Resources (R2s), the Student Life staff, off-campus mental health providers, and faculty advisers are available to students. The Employee Assistance Program provides similar services to faculty and staff.

Tragic events such as this can evoke strong feelings regarding seemingly unrelated issues in people's lives, so please be especially aware of and sensitive to reactions in the days ahead.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or thoughts you may have.

Richard K. Miller

Big week on campus, Part 2 (better late than never)

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So my eyes are STILL broken, but I shall forge on...

Now, where was I? Oh yes...

Last Thursday brought the Ignite Clean Energy (ICE) Competition. While I was in no way involved in the activities, it seemed pretty cool that we were able to host the semifinals at Olin AND we even had a participating team! The idea behind the ICE is to build the clean energy business cluster in Massachusetts (and regionally) by working with entrepreneurs to crystallize their business concepts and helping them produce a compelling ten-minute investor pitch. By getting entrepreneurs in front of investors and others in the sector, the ten finalists got some great exposure.

The highlight of the day for me, however, was Trivia Night - sponsored by the Class of 2007. It was emceed by Chris Morse (our Chemistry prof and resident QuizMaster) and scored by Adam "Joe" College '07 (who was banned from playing because he could beat every team there by himself!)

trivia11.JPG Professor Rebecca Christianson, David '07 and Jeff '07 chat prior to the evening's trivia smackdown.

There were about 10 teams, several of which included faculty and staff members.

carolkelley.jpg Apparently Carol Kelley, Assistant to the Dean of Student Life, didn't want me to take her picture.

trivia3.jpg Chris Morse distributes the answer sheets, while Alison Black, Assistant Dean of Student Life, discusses strategies(?!) with teammates Alison '07 and Tiana '08. And yes, they are wearing boas!

So my team, Four Eyez - Katherine '10, Ellen '10, Jon '08, Teresa Kelleher from the Admission Office and me - held our own through 5 rounds... despite being down one person for the first and last rounds! In between the question rounds, Lindsay '07 lead some fun games for extra prizes (most donated by Class of 2007 parents... yes, our parents rock too!). (more...)

Big week on campus, Part 1

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There's been a lot happening at Olin this week! Upon my return from a tiny trip home to Texas, I jumped right back into the thick of things... beginning with our largest information session EVER at Olin!

InfoSession This is a pic of our welcome board - it doesn't begin to illustrate how big the group was! But, alas, we forgot to get a picture of the auditorium... oops.

I don't have an exact headcount but my best guesstimation was about 60 people listened to my "song and dance" in the auditorium that day. Wow... we've come a long way since the days of 1-2 families chatting in our lobby!

Next was an Ecumenical Passover Sedar on Tuesday evening. The Sedar was open to the entire Olin community, so it was a really cool mix of people and faiths. For some of us, it was a great (comforting?) way to celebrate Passover when we're far away from family; for others, it was an opportunity to learn/try something new with a group of friends.

Sedar Our Ecumenical Sedar in the East Hall Lounge. Lots of people spent many hours (Bonnie '09, Ben '10, Karen '06 and Professor Lynn Stein to name a few) organizing and COOKING this delicious homemade meal for the Sedar. Photo courtesty of Yifan '10

Sadly, some folks had to jet off early to prepare for the next item on the agenda: ExpressO Black. As Ellen and Jessi mentioned in their blogs, it's an "uncensored" version of our variety show known more commonly known as simply ExpressO (some of you saw a sampling at Candidates' Weekend). Because of its racier/edgier content, this one's mainly for the current students but I was dying to check it out! So I hung out with some first-years in the mezzanine to get a birds-eye view. There were a variety of acts - some exactly what I would have expected (bawdy, raunchy, funny) but others were truly clever and amazing displays of talent, including a powerful monologue by Keoni '07.

Wednesday brought Big Conversations, a day when classes are cancelled and our community takes time to ponder the world beyond the "Olin bubble." Amy Smith, an inventor and instructor at MIT, was a terrific addition to Olin's Speaker Series on "What's Important?" Professor Smith is dedicated to developing technologies that optimize limited resources and solve seemingly intractable problems in developing countries; she and her students are making a difference in the lives of thousands of people all over the world with their inventions.

Big Conversations Amy Smith sharing one of her favorite quotes (and guiding principles of her life) with the Olin community during Big Conversations.

I must admit that it was a pretty amazing and inspirational presentation! Afterward we had several options including a series of short films, continued discussions over lunch (free and sponsored by our Office of Innovation and Research!) and a variety of activities related to appropriate technologies, social entrepreneurship and community service.

So, my eyes are broken and I must stop staring at this computer screen. Thursday and Friday (aka Part 2) will arrive soon...


IM: OlinAdmission

Coming soon to a blog near you....


Yes, dear readers, I will return with brand spankin' new entries soon. Life is still ridiculously busy in our office (it never ends!) but after a mini-vacation and a week full of cool stuff on campus, I'm back...........................


IM: OlinAdmission

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