Engineering: A Lesson on Geeks, Physics and Multitasking


(Photo by Chris Samuels)

(Photo by Chris Samuels)
(Photo by Chris Samuels)

Typically, engineering students are stereotyped as geeks. But there is more to this stereotype than meets the eye.
According to the U’s Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis, there were more than 4,400 declared engineering undergraduate and graduate students in the fall of 2013 out of the U’s nearly 32,000 students.
Luke Berhold, an electrical engineering student, said a degree in engineering is one of the only undergraduate degrees that guarantees a high-paid salary job after graduation. Because of this, he also said engineers can sometimes seem arrogant.
Derek Moore, a chemical engineering student, said he is positive about the financial promises an engineering degree entails.
“I could be a math major,” Moore said, “but what do you do with that?”
Spencer Shiveley, an electrical engineering student, said there isn’t anything wrong with using the word geek to describe engineering students. He feels it’s more of a term of endearment.
“It’s not derogatory, because I am one,” Shiveley said.
Sergey Makitrin, also an electrical engineering student, said the term ‘geek’ is justified by the challenging courses engineering students take.
Christian Luciani, a junior in biomedical engineering, said non-engineering students have a much different college experience than engineering students.
“One of the most complex engineering problems is how non-engineering students walk and breathe at the same time,” Luciani said. “It’s a lot of multitasking.”
Bonnie Ogden, who has been an academic advisor at the U for mechanical engineering for eight years, said in order to understand engineering students, people should focus on the projects they work on rather than the classes they take.
Ogden said most engineering students fit the geek stereotype, an attribute necessary for their math and science requirements, but the College of Engineering also emphasizes fulfilment of other general education requirements like art and humanities.
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