Olin's Majors: The Student POV

Hello! My name is Pauline and I’m a current sophomore majoring in Mechanical Engineering and concentrating on entrepreneurship and one of the main reasons I decided to come to Olin was the classes. 

When touring other universities I noticed how most first-year classes were lecture style, so students weren’t working hands-on with engineering tools until their junior year. Instead of waiting to work with circuits, I was able to dive into electrical wiring during my freshman-year classes at Olin. In our Fundamentals of Robotics course, I worked with LiDar and Infrared sensors to make a rover avoid obstacles outside autonomously. In ISIM (Introduction to Sensors Instrumentation and Measurement), I designed a pulse oximeter circuit to measure oxygen saturation. Currently, I am in Principles of Integrated Engineering where I 3D printed sensor mounts for a line-following autonomous robot.  

To show the range of Olin majors to be explored I went around and interviewed Oliner upperclassmen within the different majors. Read below about their varied academic journeys and the majors they’ve pursued.  

Mechanical Engineering Major:

Ethan is a junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering who talked about how they like the physicality of mechanical engineering work and its applicability to many industries. They said, “Being able to understand how the physical world works and applying mechanics and dynamics to create complex and interesting machines and structures piques my curiosity. It always blows my mind that you can do the math and physics, and if you do it right, you can predict how a system will work or fail before building it.”

Regarding the applicability of the major, Ethan explained how the principles of mechanical engineering establish the basics of supporting and moving materials which can be applied to build planes, trains, boats, cars, homes, 3D printers, and more. “This diversity of applications is appealing to me as I continue to figure out what industry I want to work in. I would definitely recommend mechanical engineering to someone who loves building things or has an interest in understanding how and why things in our world move (or don't)!” 

Ethan's favorite class has been Mechanics of Solids and Structures. MechSolids covers the principles of statics of structures and mechanics of materials. “It teaches the concepts of stress and strain as related to applied loads (axial, shear, torsion, bending) and to resulting deformation. It covers the principles of mechanics that can be applied to mechanical design through modeling, quantitative analysis, strain gauge measurements, and computational simulation” said Ethan. He notes how Olin teaches this degree differently by “bringing the application of these math and engineering principles into the classroom right away.” 

Engineering with Computing Concentration:

Ben Morris is a senior majoring in Engineering with a concentration in Computing. Ben says “I would absolutely recommend Engineering with a concentration in Computing to others!” Ben mentions how there is “a ton of room for exploration within the field with different elective classes… you get different options every year, so there are always interesting classes to take!” 

His favorite class has been Complexity Science where he learned advanced modeling techniques and implemented fascinating models.  “Olin's computing major is a lot more freeform than other CS programs. For one, it's important to remember that it is still an engineering degree at Olin - you'll take Design Nature, Introduction to Sensors Instrumentation and Measurement, Principles of Engineering, all the required engineering classes. But, it still frees you up to pursue it the way you want! I have a focus on software for robotics, and I have taken several robotics classes on top of my required E:C classes. Computing is also taught in a much more practical way than at other schools. There is theory, but a lot more exploration into how software works in industry, giving more job and research-ready experience than other CS programs I know of.” 

Engineering with a Self-Designed Concentration in Math:

Anthony C, is majoring in engineering with a concentration in math that is self-designed. He says “It's somewhat nice not having a determined set of courses you need to take, especially when there are so many topics in math that you can pursue." His favorite class is discrete math as he appreciates the way professor Sarah Spence Adams teaches. “Sarah is an awesome teacher and the class runs like a well-oiled machine -- it's quite impressive. It's talking about topics in math such as combinatorics and graph theory, which I think are super interesting. And no matter how daunting these topics seem, she teaches them in a fantastically understandable way.”

Olin teaches this major differently because math classes are focused on an applied education in engineering. Additionally, since Olin students can cross-register, you can take classes broader math classes at Wellesley and design Independent Student Research. 

 Does this sound interesting to you? You can learn about ALL the exciting and engaging majors Olin has to offer here

These are some pictures of my team working on our PIE (Principles of Integrated Engineering) project; we’re making a mechanical mirror mechanism which shifts tiles to show an image of a person standing in front of the display.

Multiple photos of Principles of Integrated Engineering Project