November 2007 Archives

Gay at Olin

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It has been a whirlwind month for me, starting with an amazing 7 day trip touring continental Europe where I got to explore the day and night life of Amsterdam, Rome, and Berlin (with Madrid and Lyon to follow this weekend!), followed by a week of hospitalisation, surgery, and another week of recovery while Ana '09, and my brother visited for my 21st birthday and Thanksgiving. I'm sure life is just as busy for the potential Olin '12 student reading this blog, what with the application deadline only 5 days away! Which leads me to the real topic of this post. It's ok to be gay at Olin.

Even though we're a 300 person school, we have a quite a few openly gay, lesbian, and transgendered students, not to mention their countless straight supporters. This support is represented quantitatively in the actions and support of Olin and Babson's gay-straight alliance, Open. Open is one of the largest clubs on campus by financial support, and puts on some of the most loved campus events to demonstrate and encourage support for the Olin-Babson queer community, including a labor day brunch, t-shirt screening, and an annual spring drag show. Of course I can't forget our openly queer faculty, as well as very active faculty GLBT supporters.

Personally I was worried about being gay at Olin before I got here, as there wasn't much published information, and I didn't feel comfortable yet to ask around. Thankfully, those fears subsidised as soon as I met some of the queer students during Candidates Weekend. I met some great people who were engineers first, and gay second. Despite its size, I wasn't going to be alone at Olin. I can't guarantee that you'll have the opportunity to meet queer Olin students before coming here, but take my word for it, if you come here, you'll be accepted by the community, and you might even find someone you like. That and, Boston's an awesome place to be gay. Myself, I've slowly met a great group of on and off-campus friends, I swim competitively with a gay USS masters swim team, and now that I'm 21, I can't wait to go out on the town occasionally.

Of course if none of this suits you, you can always use study away to have a different experience. I might suggest a large metropolitan area renowned for it's extremely large queer population and nightlife... ;)

Feel free to contact me if you want to know more.

Turkeyorking

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Turkeyorking: (n) the name given by Arash (Olin '11) to the adventure of going to New York City for a few days over Thanksgiving Break. See also Turkeyork (City).

I needed to offer this definition because that's what I did last weekend: I hopped on a bus to NYC for a weekend of complete and utter debauchery (okay, not really) before seeing my family for the Thanksgiving Holiday. I hadn't planned on going, but one day my friend came up to me and said "I heard you were going to NYC for Thanksgiving." I hadn't even though about it, but the seed was planted and so it happened. It was totally and completely amazing. However, this story is best told through pictures, so I'll just fill in the blanks on the very rare occurances where I forgot to break out the camera.

Things are getting crazy…

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So, it's the week before Thanksgiving, and things are starting to get a little insane. Deadlines start crashing in, and the stress starts mounting up as we all start realizing how little time is left before the end of the semester. Walking around campus, I can begin to see energy slowly starting to seep out of people, and others starting to get a second wind--though who knows how with as little sleep as some people seem to be running on!

For me, things are getting even crazier, as it gets closer and closer to conference time!

Post-grad plan? Check!

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Though its not completely official, I'm now one of the first of the class of 2008 to know what I'm doing after Olin. The professor I worked under this summer greatly encouraged me to apply to his department in terms that all but assured admission and a research assistantship. Since I really enjoyed the work I was doing, liked the lab environment, and believed in the value of the project being worked on, it's hard to say no.

However the gravity of the decision makes it hard to give a definite yes. This is a big commitment. It means another 5 or more years of my life in school, working on the same stuff. It also means living on a research assistantship while other Olin grads will be raking it in. Fortunately I'm in engineering - a field where they pay you to go to graduate school. But more importantly than the money is the opportunities granted by an advanced degree. If I want to do R&D or become a professor, two vocations I'm interested in, a Ph.D. is pretty important.

Getting this decision out of the way is a huge relief. Even though I was only a tiny way through the application process, job hunt, fellowship scramble, etc. I was already feeling a little tense. Its a really time-intensive process and even more so, its really brain-draining. It was incredibly difficult for me to concentrate on "here-and-now" things when my mind was across the country and a year from now. I would really advise undergraduates thinking about graduate school to start looking at whats out there as soon as you can.

With that all said, its time for me do a little catching up on school stuff. . .

SCOPE Learning

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Hey all!

Since the last time I blogged, alongside getting senior year and SCOPE off to a rolling start, I've also gotten myself knee deep in fellowship and grad school applications -- and let's say a few of those things are more fun than the others.

It's times like this that I'm so glad to have SCOPE for a chance of pace senior year, to break up the monotony of classes and the stress of figuring out what to do with the rest of our lives in a couple months!

SCOPE is, among other things, turning out to be a very valuable learning experience trying to coordinate a diverse team. For example, our team's working styles range from the very high-tech "can expect email response in under ten minutes" to the low-tech "organized exclusively on pen and paper." We realized very quickly that my favourite approaches to task management - digital task lists and project management software - would not work for our team. Since then we've implemented a more tangible solution - each person's tasks are represented by post-it notes in a designated section of our team room. This has been as effective as it is ridiculously simple for our team -- let's hope our good luck lasts!

Our SCOPE team has also been spending a lot of time out in manufacturing plants trying to get some hands on experience with the manufacturing contexts in which our sensor will be placed. One of the first places we toured was the Boston Brewing Company's R&D facility, conveniently located in Jamaica Plain, MA.

SCOPETeam at Sam Adams

My teammates, Hans, Helen and Eric on an interactive tour of the facility. Cool.

We also got a chance to visit the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory, again conveniently

I didn’t know Olin would make my arms stronger

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At Olin, all students must take a course in chemistry or materials science in order to graduate. After taking two years of chemistry in high school, I decided that I wanted to try something new. MatSci was something that I barely knew about, so I decided to take the opportunity to gain some breadth of knowledge.

This new knowledge isn't just stuff I get from a book, though- MatSci is one of our more project-based classes. Our project is basically an analysis of the grain structure and mechanical properties of different forged blades. In order to get the pieces to study, my team is in the process of learning the time-honored tradition of forging. I am of the opinion that you never feel more like an engineer than when you are hitting hot metal with a hammer. "Hot" in this case means roughly 1850 degrees F.

matsci3.jpg

(All photos credited to Alex Jones, '10)

FWOP

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Well, it's time. Time to, at long last, hear from the only person who hasn't posted yet.

That would be me. I'm Dan, and I'm a Freshman. This post (and probably my next post), I'll be writing about theatre opportunities at Olin (because theatre consumes my extracurricular life). Obviously, with Olin being so small, some may fear that certain extracurriculars may not have as much involvement or as many opportunities as they would like. However, for theatre, this fear is, fortunately, unfounded. Actually, Olin is (somewhat ironically) a wonderful place for me as an actor.

Let's start at the most obvious place: FWOP. The Franklin W. Olin Players, or FWOP, is the (entirely student-run) theatre club at Olin. It's responsible for two shows every year, with a few possible extras thrown in here and there (for example, there was a one-act performed after the two main plays last year). For two weekends every year, FWOP gets to borrow Babson's Sorenson Auditorium, which, as Ellen wrote last post, will be used for Into the Woods, our spring production. Our other production, the fall play, is held in Olin's Auditorium. This year, that show was Picasso at the Lapin Agile (aka PATLA). I played Elvis, who time-traveled to a bar in 1904 France and met Einstein and Picasso. Now that that show's over, my life will be dominated by Into the Woods; for those of you who know the show, I play Jack, so I'm really pumped!

Into the Woods

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This weekend we held auditions for Into the Woods here at Olin. It's a Sondheim musical centered around a blend of fairy tales, which all ended "happily ever after" in the first act, before turning darker in the second. It's rather humorous and a great show.

So, it took us...

-6 hours of auditions on Saturday

-9 hours of auditions on Sunday

-5 hours of deliberations to cast (and determine call backs)

It was a very intense weekend for the show- but the end result is definitely well worth it. We have a great cast, (in addition to the great crew we already had on board), and I think the show will go very well.

If you happen to be here for Candidates Weekends, or even just in the area, the show will be taking place at Sorensen (on Babson's campus) at 8pm on February 29th, March 1st, March 7th, and March 8th.

In addition to being on Babson's campus the show also contains Babson and Wellesley students. In fact, the cast is about half off campus, and half on campus.

We're have our read throughs on Tuesday and Thursday, so everything is getting off the ground fairly quickly.

Hope to see you all when the show goes up!

-Ellen

(PS- Also this week is the world-famous SERV auction. Students, faculty, and staff donate their talents and then people bid. Some of the highlights this year include a meeting in the board room, written lessons from Mel, and tons of yummy treats.)

New Camera Lens!

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I ordered myself a wide-angle lens online last week, and it arrived today! Excitement yay!

Vivian

Vivian, in the midst of buying tickets to Boston Ballet's "The Nutcracker" (hence the excited smile). Look how crazy the edges of the picture look!

Recent Assets

  • Central Park
  • Empire State Group Picture
  • St. Patrick's
  • Eating Dinner
  • This is 2010.
  • Staten Island Ferry
  • Ground Zero Cross
  • Fung Wah
  • dsc00957.JPG
  • broccoli

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