And that's a wrap!

Since I'm not sure if I'll be able to blog again, I wanted to take this chance to write one last post. So here it goes!

Just over a week ago was commencement (click to see some great 15 words).

That's right, dear readers. I, along with the rest of 2014, graduated. Crazy, right?

I think the scariest part is that it hasn't sunk in. I still feel like I will be returning in the fall, surrounded by my best friends.

I wanted to take this chance to list out some of the things I think Olin has helped me discover:

Build Day!

Dear Reader,

Imagine, if you will: Finals are approaching, steadily, on the horizon.  Classes have just ended, and a meager three days are left before the oncoming mass of due dates.  And what will Olin students be doing?

Now, "finishing projects" or "making posters" are perfectly reasonable guesses, but this is Olin we're talking about.

We decided last year that three days between the end of classes and the start of finals is much too much, and decided to do something special with one of them.  And thus, Build Day was born.

What is "Build Day," you ask?


(See more @BuildOlin.)

Build Day is the day when the whole Olin community (students, faculty, staff, administration--everyone) gets together and says, "We love this place.  But we want to make it better."  Some really awesome projects happened, and there was planting, discussing, and baking galore.  The Dining Hall even got into it, having Build Your Own Pizza, Hamburgers, Tacos, and Cupcakes for lunch.  It was an incredible event to be a part of, and I can't wait for Build Day 2015.  (Well actually I can, because I can't even think about being halfway to graduation.  Which leads me to...)

Congrats to Olin's Class of 2018!

You've all worked really hard to make it here, and Nagy's blog the a few days ago was 100% true.  So relax!  I have a feeling you made the right choice.  You'll be here this fall...

See ya real soon!

Michael, c/o '17

Artisan's Asylum Field Trip!

Hey you! So how's your life been?  Mine's been stressful like usual, but so many interesting things have happened in the last few weeks I don't even know what I want to write about. I guess I'll focus on my "field trip" to Artisan's Asylum, a Makerspace in Cambridge.

This trip was actually part of the Hydraulic and Pneumatics Seminar I registered for.  Seminars are new courses this year and Gui is teaching this specific one(unfortunately he's not teaching next year). For the last few weeks we have been learning about hydraulics and we took a field trip so we could play with some of the things in hydraulic systems.

Working with hydraulics for the first time was as terrifying as we had been warned that they had a high capacity to hurt someone if not assembled correctly. It was also really cool and frustrating at times since the direction things were pointing when they were "screwed in" mattered and we had to make sure that the systems were bled and that there was enough oil in all of the hose. Suffice to say everyone's hands were oily by the end of it, which made using tools an added challenge.

The big moment was when we let it run and nothing leaked or blew up. The cylinders all worked and everything actuated like it was supposed to.

Here are some pictures. Feel free to laugh at the absurdity of our system that was so tangled it looked like a spider! :p1.JPGp2.JPGp3.JPGp4.jpgp5.jpgp6.JPG

I'm so glad I took this seminar as it has taught me a lot about a field I knew nothing about. It has made me more comfortable working with slightly atypical systems that have different circuits and components. And of course going on field trips to do hands-on engineering is always exciting!

~Juanita Desouza

P.S Remember last post when I talked about ice skating? I finally found a gif of the really cool move from my favorite skater. As far as my progress is going, I've been learning waltz jumps, toe loops, and a Salchow. I can also finally do backwards crossovers!skating2.gif


Get Pumped! Enjoy the next few months.

I'd like to start this post by congratulating all the graduating seniors for reaching the final deadline of all college apps. For the non-seniors out there, today (May 1st) marks the nationwide deadline for committing to a college. There's no more worrying about which essays need to be written and which forms need to be submitted. I remember when this day came around, exactly one year ago, I couldn't help but feel bittersweet about the moment.

When I put in my deposit to attend Olin College, I wanted nothing more than to celebrate. It was at that moment that it dawned on me that the next four years of my life were figured out. For all of high school, it was always preparing for the next step and trying to get ahead of the game. When will I be taking the SAT or ACT? Are my grades good enough? Will my counselor approve my list of colleges? Did I submit all my forms? When I finally put in my deposit, I felt relieved of that burden and I could live in the moment. I could finally enjoy the next few months, without trying to preempt the next step. It was very comforting to know exactly where I would be for the next four years and not have to worry about what comes next.

Exactly one year ago, as a senior, I felt like it would be the last time in my life where I would have absolutely no major obligations. Once I passed my classes, there was nothing left to do except enjoy what I had. I remember cherishing the few months that I'd be living with my parents and the last time my group of friends would be together. This was a really special time. I encourage all of you to take a moment, and consider how unique an opportunity you have before September when you move in. This is the last time in your life where you will have this same kind of transition. Take this time to celebrate who you are and what you've accomplished with your friends and family. Soak it all up, but remember to look ahead.

No matter how many things are ending (high school, friendships, relationships, etc), there is so much to look forward too. Get pumped! For you all who are attending Olin next year, get ready for the time of your life.


Build Day

On the Olin side of things, as our year comes to an end, projects are finishing up and the work load is at an all-time peak (which is saying a lot given how much work Olin gives its students). I've been busy building a mechanical hand, modeling a human powered helicopter, writing MatLab code to filter images (smoothing filter and edge detection), and building circuits to make a polygraph machine. Yet, in the midst of all this work, tomorrow the Olin Community will join together to celebrate the second annual Olin Build Day. This is a day where students, faculty, and staff all get together to celebrate the community that is a tight family here at Olin. There will be many projects happening around the school which will all help improve identifieds needs and build a stronger bond between students and administration. A few of the activities include "Cooking with Faculty," "Decorating the Stairwells in the Academic Center", and "Developing the Olin Curriculum." Things like this are what make Olin special, and why I'm really enjoying my time here. I feel like I have the space and resources to keep developing the school and improve it in ways that benefit me as a student, and the experience of all the other students at Olin as well.

Shameless Promotion

Hey, you there! You should join the Olin Human Powered Vehicles team! (abbreviated HPV, but remember friends, "vehicles not viruses")

HPV is one of the many project teams on Olin's campus, amongst such others as Sailbot, Baja, REVO, and Aero. We build bikes. Well, bikes, trikes, name it. Last weekend, we took five days off to drive to Florida for the ASME HPVC East competition at UCF in Orlando. (The driving took up almost 3.5 out of the 5 days - Massachusetts and Florida aren't that close.)

We raced the vehicle we'd been designing and building since the beginning of the semester: Cheryl, a recumbent, fully faired tricyle (Fairing is the aerodynamic structure around the trike to reduce drag).


We competed in events such as the women's and men's drag races (short speed sprints) and a 2.5 hour endurance race of laps around a course with obstacles, as well as a design and design innovation presentation. Cheryl and Olin did incredibly well: of the 36 teams in attendance, we took third in design, third in women's drag, fourth in men's drag, and third overall, as well as winning the team spirit award. We won that final award for the perseverence and dedication the team showed even when things got tough. In the final half hour of the endurance race, the bolt holding the rear axle of our trike sheared in half when we went over a speed bump, and the vehicle was out of commission. Not to be put out of the race, Kari picked up the bike to run the laps for the remainder of the race. And the rest of Olin's team, in an amazing display of camraderie and and Olin spirit, race with her along the sidelines cheering her on. Five other teams had broken bikes, but from what I saw, none had the rest of the team running with them until they saw us.


P1050136.JPGBonding with four of the five teams who ran their vehicles around the course. (Wisconsin, Missouri S&T, Olin, Toronto)

Reasons why you, as a prospie or future student, should join HPV:

1. Building bikes! I'm not even a MechE and I love it. It's a great way to get fun engineering experience outside of classes.  Designing and machining is a great thing to know how to do no matter what your major is.

2. Learning how to build bikes! Maybe you read that first point and thought "Wow, I don't know how to build a bike; I can't possibly join this team." Fear not, the coolest part is that it's entirely a learning experience, and a fun one at that. I had no idea how to build a bike a year ago. This spring, I was on a subteam composed entirely of freshmen to design and build our ski/skate attachments that let the trike ride on snow and ice.

3. Making friends in other classes. Because trust me, once you spend 40 hours in a car with people, you get to know them pretty well.

4. Olin is a unique gender-balanced engineering school, and our HPV team has an uncommon 2:1 F/M ratio.  One of the requirements of racing is having a female rider in the endurance and drag races, and some other schools don't have that, so they "borrow" female riders from teams like Olin.  I think we had a total of four women on our team biking on another bike.  It's fun because it gives an opportunity to bike the course and see what another team designed.


5. Obviously, going to Florida is pretty exciting. Transitioning from 50 degree heat to 85 degrees sure was nice.

6. Fun!


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Recent Comments

  • Mel (Olin '07): I so wish I could be there to see the read more
  • Kevin Tostado: What time are the performances? As an alum in the read more
  • Brittany L. Strachota: Looks like a huge success! Keep it up. :) read more
  • Kimly Do: also also, an electric water kettle is not really necessary, read more
  • Brittany L. Strachota: We shall see. Though, 150 is an awful lot of read more
  • Chris Fitzhugh: That being said, I have a desktop and immensely value read more
  • Brittany L. Strachota: I want cookies! Also, don't forget, kids, you WILL be read more
  • Noam Rubin: Hey 2015, I'd also recommend bringing a couple cups, bowls, read more
  • Jordyn Burger: Yep! Congrats, Brendan's gonna give you cookies! [I'll let him read more
  • CSF: Is the title from The Jeffersons? read more