I don’t know if there’s such thing as a typical day, as they’re always changing. Even regularly scheduled events get moved around and rescheduled, or canceled outright, so you never really know what to expect. The past couple of semesters have also been completely different and unpredictable thanks to the pandemic. This semester I happen to be on campus, after spending the previous two and a half semesters online. As a sophomore, it also happens to be the first time I get to witness spring on campus.
As a biomedical engineering major here at Cornell, like many others, I was looking for a way to gain experience outside of my coursework. There are over 10 research labs just in the BME department alone, with each one specializing in a different angle in biomedical research: bone biomechanics, genetic engineering, medical imaging, and many more. I was accepted into a position at the Butcher lab, which focuses on studying the effects of mechanical forces on cardiovascular diseases. My main project within the lab is to make improvements to our 3D bioprinting technology. 3D bioprinting is one of the hot topics in cellular tissue engineering, allowing the printing of complex structures for studying diseases, devices, and someday even living prosthetics.
Semester at Sea: Canals and the Atlantic
In Fall 2019, I made the best decision of my life and joined Semester at Sea (SAS), a study abroad voyage of discovery. In my time there, I visited the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Morocco, Ghana, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. We would have classes while sailing at sea and then dock at a port for 3-6 days. In that time, we did not have classes and could go anywhere in the country as long as we made it back on the ship before it set sail.
Cornell Baja Racing: my favorite aspect of being a student at Cornell!
Cornell Baja Racing is my favorite aspect of being a student at Cornell. Baja Racing is a club where students with many different skills and backgrounds come together to build an ATV! Our car can climb hills, go fast, pull serious weight, and go anywhere off-road. During the school year, we build the car by dividing into different sub-teams. Each sub-team is responsible for designing and constructing different aspects of the car, and everything is combined at the end in order to complete the car. The car is then raced against other schools at our three annual competitions in the spring!
Cornell Racing: Cornell Engineer’s oldest Project Team!
My name is Andrew and I am a Junior chemical engineering major at Cornell. I am a part of many student activities, including club sports and Greek life, but I wanted to share my experience on Cornell Racing, the school’s oldest Engineering Project Team. Cornell Racing, or more affectionately known as “Car Team,” designs, builds, and races a formula-style race car every year. We have members from many different majors both in and out of the engineering school, so with a strong interest in race cars, engineering, or working on a project, we’re sure you’d be able to find a home within the team. Though we primarily recruit from prospective Mechanical and Electrical Engineers now that we run a 420V powertrain, we’re committed to finding the best new members from any discipline.
When the weather is warm in Ithaca, I make sure to always be outside, taking advantage of the gorgeous nature surrounding campus. When I was a freshman, I was overwhelmed with the physical size of Cornell. Everyday I was discovering new places to see, new buildings to study in, or new places to eat at. It was not until the beginning of my sophomore year that I discovered what is now my favorite spot on campus, the arboretum.
Coming from California, the most common question I would get from my friends at home focused on the contrast in weather patterns: “why would you go across the country to a place with worse weather when you can stay in the ever-pleasant California Sunshine?”. It was never a question I took seriously, as I naively assumed that an Ithaca winter couldn’t be that challenging even for me. In fact, I even took some excitement in my first snowstorm, as well as my first snow day the following morning, during the end of the first semester of my Freshman year. Although my college experience has been more than a little modified by the COVID-19 pandemic, I have still been able to experience the better part of two Ithaca winters.
CU Solar Boat: gathering the skills and the experience needed to bring alternative energy into the mainstream and fuel a more sustainable future.
While the link between engineering and positive world change can often get lost in a flurry of detailed formulations and carefully crafted diagrams, nowhere is this connection clearer than in the landscape of project teams housed under Cornell’s College of Engineering. My experience with CU Solar Boat, for example, has been instrumental in helping to strengthen this tie between our curriculum and our role in revolutionizing the future. We are an undergraduate project team working to design and construct a single-occupant, solar-powered vessel that will carry the Cornell spirit to the intercollegiate Solar Splash Competition. While our objective is speed, what we learn along the way is vastly more important — we are gathering the skills and the experience needed to bring alternative energy into the mainstream and fuel a more sustainable future. As the youngest and smallest project team on campus, CUSB is unique in that every member can remain incredibly involved in each aspect of the production process. Our team is composed of five engineering sub-teams — drivetrain and steering, hull, solar, system controls, and business — that each specialize in actualizing one facet of our boat’s design. More seasoned teammates serve as guides for younger members as they acquire technical expertise that surpasses what is learned in a lecture hall. From working with CAD software to soldering solar cells or machining anti-ventilation plates, the emphasis on hands-on discovery is an essential component of the project team advantage.
Study Abroad: Madrid, Spain – Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M)
My weekends in Spain were spent travelling to different cities within the country, improving my Spanish, and exploring the incredible city of Madrid! My other favorite city was Valencia, where all the old people wore colorful walking suits and hats for their Sunday strolls. I travelled to Valencia alone for a single weekend but met so many friends in the hostel where I stayed, and some at the beach too! I also saw the Mediterranean ocean for the first time!
Despite being a Cornell Engineering student who does not like to sit and do work for long periods of time, my day is usually still quite productive.
On a typical weekday, I spend the morning and early afternoon attending my online classes. After those are over, I usually make a sandwich or some other quick food for lunch and enjoy eating while watching an episode of Arrested Development. Once I’m finished eating, I work on some assignments for my classes. I like to get my assignments done a few days in advance of when they are due, which is why I tend to work on them earlier in the day.