Category Archives: STEM Diversity

Tufts in Talloires: First week outside of “home”

This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program will blog their experiences from Tufts in Talloires, a six-week summer program that offers students a dynamic group of courses taught by Tufts faculty. Students enrolled in this program choose two courses from a selection of undergraduate offerings. In addition to coursework, a wide variety of optional outdoor activities, weekly hikes into the Alps, field trips, and organized events offer each student the opportunity to explore the unique Haute-Savoie region of France. 

The view from Hernan's host's flat, alongside Lake Annecy in Talloires, France.

The view from Hernan’s host’s flat, alongside Lake Annecy in Talloires, France.

By Hernan Gallegos

I had various amounts of emotions, both good and bad, rushing through my mind. I am not surprised since this was my first time traveling outside the country – overseas, to be exact. As an aspiring engineer, first-generation college student, and, most importantly, a young person of color, I was not aware of how I should have felt. Honestly, I was not expecting to be able to travel as far from my home city of Atlanta, Georgia, but this opportunity came to me. Thus, I began to travel outside the U.S. straight to my first destination, Turkey.

My first stop was amazing. My entire time there, I felt a different cultural atmosphere compared to Boston or Atlanta. This exposure was something that I did not know how to react to, so I just went along with this feeling of uncertainty. From walking along the stone streets of Turkey to taking the tram in Leipzig, Germany, I started to feel more at home. Which is a funny term to use since I was not native to neither of these locations. Once I reached Talloires, France, I felt like I returned “home.”

My first view of Talloires was Lake Annecy. Everyone who traveled here with me was in awe of its blue beauty and the nature surrounding it. By the time I start walking around, I met up with old and surprisingly new friends. I have had a snippet of what my courses will be like, my host’s way of living, and what France has to offer (so much cheese!!!). I am walking into a new, unknown world. As an aspiring, first-generation, person of color, engineer, I am ready to see what the next six weeks have in store for me.

Hernan Gallegos is a rising sophomore from Atlanta, Georgia, majoring in mechanical engineering.

Tufts in Talloires: To new perspectives

This summer, two students from the Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program will blog their experiences from Tufts in Talloires, a six-week summer program that offers students a dynamic group of courses taught by Tufts faculty in Talloires, France. Students enrolled in this program choose two courses from a selection of undergraduate offerings. In addition to coursework, a wide variety of optional outdoor activities, weekly hikes into the Alps, field trips, and organized events offer each student the opportunity to explore the unique Haute-Savoie region of France. 

Michelle 1 -  postBy Michelle Chan

“Je ne parle pas français.” Following the robot voice of Google Translate, I tried to learn a sentence, preparing to meet my host family who spoke no English. Even if I could pronounce anything correctly, nothing could have prevented the overwhelming first day at the dinner table in which I did not understand a single word of French.

I chose to study abroad through the Tufts in Talloires program precisely to experience this growth-promoting unfamiliarity. One advantage of studying abroad is that my peers are also adjusting to the new environment, so being bad at something suddenly becomes a little less embarrassing than usual. The old adage of “Everybody has to start somewhere” starts to feel realistically applicable. I glance around the dinner table at my French major roommate, my host parents, and the carton of grapefruit juice, feeling brave enough to give it a try, to say, “Pamplemousse.” Grapefruit. The official first word I learned in French.

My hopes for these six weeks extends past learning a language, but also includes gaining an understanding for French culture and taking unique classes contributing invaluable breadth to my engineering education.

One class I am particularly excited about is Global Health Crises, which the professor designed to be interdisciplinary in a way that causes students with a science background to complain about having too much policy, and those with a social science background to complain about having too much science. As a computer engineering major, which is frankly neither science nor policy, I find importance in learning these subjects to foster an understanding of the real world before tackling its problems.

Now is a good time to take a step back from technical work to develop new perspectives.

Michelle Chan is a rising sophomore from Eugene, Oregon, majoring in computer engineering.

Bootcamp Supports Future Engineering Leaders

In January, selected doctoral students participated in the Future Leaders of Engineering Teaching Fellows Boot Camp. The weeklong boot camp is part of a broader Tufts program supported by the National Science Foundation. These Engineering Teaching Fellows will become future leaders in our academic communities, promoting use of appropriate teaching pedagogies that create an inclusive classroom environment. Not only will they be excellent researchers in their chosen discipline area, they will also be excellent teachers that utilize learner-centered techniques to convey the excitement and potential of engineering to students.

01/13/2016 - Medford, Mass. - Participants in the Future Leaders of Engineering Teaching-Fellows Boot Camp, top row from left, associate professor Luisa Chiesa, graduate students Lisa Pinals, Meera Punjiya, Whitney Crooks, Jessica Swenson and Abbie Licht, and professors Karen Panetta and Tom Vandervelde, bottom row from left, graduate students Maggie Stevens, Annalise Blum, Anna Murray, Margaret Garcia and Nicole Pfiester Latham, pose for a photo at Halligan Hall on Jan. 13, 2016. (Kelvin Ma/Tufts University)

01/13/2016 – Medford, Mass. – Participants in the Future Leaders of Engineering Teaching-Fellows Boot Camp, top row from left, associate professor Luisa Chiesa, graduate students Lisa Pinals, Meera Punjiya, Whitney Crooks, Jessica Swenson and Abbie Licht, and professors Karen Panetta and Tom Vandervelde, bottom row from left, graduate students Maggie Stevens, Annalise Blum, Anna Murray, Margaret Garcia and Nicole Pfiester Latham, pose for a photo at Halligan Hall on Jan. 13, 2016. (Kelvin Ma/Tufts University)

Pennell and Lantagne Present at CNSF Exhibition

On May 7, Professor and Chair Kurt Pennell and Assistant Professor Daniele Lantagne attended the 20th annual Coalition for National Science Funding exhibition on “Investments in STEM Research and Education: Fueling American Innovation.” Pennell and Lantagne presented an exhibit on “Engineering Solutions for Clean Water.”

 

 

 

 

BEST Student Engages Girls in STEM

Student Anecia Richards presented a workshop on robots at the second annual Women’s Innovation Symposium in Engineering in Brooklyn’s Poly Prep Country Day School. Anecia Richards, a Poly alumna, electrical engineer, and student in Tufts’ Bridge to Engineering Success at Tufts (BEST) program, presented a workshop taught the high school students how to build and program a LEGO robot.

First reported in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 8, 2013.