Upper-Class E-Team Members Advise Freshmen Engineers on Course Loads

December 1, 2006

First-year engineering majors got some valuable advice on their spring semester course loads from upper-class members of the student mentoring group known as E-Team on Nov. 7. Freshmen gathered over slices of pizza to hash out their schedules with student representatives of each of the four engineering departments in the Fitzpatrick Center atrium.

“Biomedical engineering is a difficult major,” said senior Toby Kraus, a member of the E-Team. “Your experience is so dependent on which classes you take. It can make all the difference in the world.”

“We’re here to answer questions that students might be afraid to ask faculty,” added Annie Foster, a senior mechanical engineering major and co-president of E-Team. “We want to be here as friends and fellow students.”

Foster said her motivation for acting as a resource for freshmen stemmed from her own difficulties making registration decisions as a first year, before E-Team’s inception three years ago.

“I didn’t have an E-teamer and it could be hard during registration,” she said. “I had so many questions specific to engineering and, in the freshman dorms, most people are not engineers.”

For Katherine Cho, a first-year BME major, the event offered the opportunity to socialize with fellow engineers, with the added bonus of free advice.

“I wasn’t sure if I should take BME 83, Intro to Biomaterials, now or not,” she said. “I figured I’d ask people here and see what they thought.”

Perhaps one of the biggest subjects of conversation for the evening centered on advance planning for study abroad. It’s a topic that co-president Foster, who participated in the Duke-in-France program, feels passionate about.

“Most engineers don’t initially think about study abroad, and if they do consider it, they often limit themselves to study in Australia or England,” she said.

Her own study abroad experience offers first years proof that travel to non-English speaking countries can be an option, despite hefty engineering course requirements, she said.