We in the Office of Admission start every info session with an eight minute video about Olin, which, if you haven't yet seen, you can find here. We've seen it so many times that many of the lines are permanently embedded in our memories.
The video starts out with Olin's own Rachel Boy, '15, and she says, "Everyone [at Olin] is really really cool... you talk to them and then you're like 'You built a jet engine last summer?! WOW!'" I remember the first time I saw the Admissions video (and second, and third), and I wondered about these students that I was going to be working with who were capable of such awesome feats. I, by contrast, spent my summers working at a hot dog stand (not to disparage it - it was a delicious summer job!).
Cut to Olin Expo this past Monday, where I was wandering around and checking out the student displays, and I see that one of our student workers, Maddie Perry, '15, has, in fact, designed a new optimal jet engine. I came back to the office and said to Emily Moscol, "It's TRUE! The jet engine thing is REAL!"
There have been two major events that have occurred in the past week that have me bursting with pride for this college. And while I'm always in awe of our students, faculty, and staff, and I'm proud as punch of the fact that I work at such a great school, these two events tipped the scales.
The first was Build Day, which happened two Fridays ago, and now stands out in my mind as one of the most fun and exciting community-building activities that I've ever taken part in. For one whole day, the entire campus came together to work on dozens of different projects. It was about improving our Olin community, taking pride in the school, and most of all, getting to know one another. It was the getting-to-know-each-other part that resonated the most with me. For six months, I've worked at this school alongside 343 awesome students and 39 killer faculty members, not to mention the phenomenal staff. Yet, this was one of the first times that I had the chance to get to know Olin-ers without any kind of agenda. There was no meeting to set up, no list of items to discuss, no formalities. It was just a chance to hang out with each other and have fun. I, along with two other Admission staff members, baked goodies in the West Hall kitchen with a bunch of Olin students (are you surprised that I aligned myself with a food-related task?), and then worked on origami sculptures. And it was just. the. best. At the end of the day, I was bursting with pride that I got to be a part of such a fantastic event. Build Day 2014!
The second was Olin Expo, which occurs every semester and is a remarkable chance for the students to exhibit their work to the rest of the Olin community, as well as numerous visitors. This was exciting because it reminded me how unique our curriculum is and how innovative our students are. The projects that the students were showing, from Maddie's re-imagined jet engine, to a wave illumination device, to a presentation in aerial silks and trapeze, were mind-bogglingly creative. They remind me that this school isn't just about engineering. Olin teaches a way of thinking that encourages students to step outside of the box on a daily basis and consider the connections that can be made across multiple disciplines. It's less of a curriculum and more of a new paradigm. And I get to be part of it.
So, Build Day and Expo put me in the perfect mindset as we count down the days to graduation. Thank you, Olin-ers, for making me proud.