Solving Real-World Problems with Bioengineering Major Edgardo Velazquez ’21

Edgardo Velazquez ’21 was not a ‘winter person’ when he enrolled at Syracuse as a first-year College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) student. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he had only seen snow twice before coming to campus and was admittedly apprehensive about the weather he would encounter in upstate New York.

Despite his initial trepidation, Edgardo, a senior Bioengineering major, is beyond happy he made the decision to attend Syracuse and relishes the hands-on opportunities he has engaged with during his undergraduate education. Read on to learn more about Edgardo’s dynamic Syracuse experience!

Edgardo '21 and Alina Zdebska invented the ADAM Hand Exerciser as part of the 2019 Invent@SU program.
Edgardo ’21 and Alina Zdebska invented the ADAM Hand Exerciser as part of the 2019 Invent@SU program.

Meet Edgardo Velazquez ’21
Caguas, PR

What attracted you to Syracuse University?
I knew I was interested in engineering and that Syracuse had a good reputation for such programs. I liked that the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) was small and personable – I wanted to get to know my professors and fellow students. I have been very impressed with the ECS community – when I walk through Link Hall, I know almost everyone and it’s great to be able to engage with faculty, staff and students in that way.

My older sister also attended Syracuse, so I was able to visit briefly when we first dropped her off at the beginning of her freshman year and liked what I saw. After I got a great financial aid package, it sealed the deal and I knew it was the place for me!

How did you choose your major?
I grew up loving science and math. I also knew I wanted a career where I could help people and make an impact, but I didn’t want to be a doctor. I figured I could combine all of these interests with engineering. When I entered my freshman year, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do – I was torn between Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering. Ultimately, I selected Bioengineering because it allowed me to better combine all of my interests.

My favorite ECS class has been the Senior Capstone course, which is taken for two semesters. In class we work together to tackle a real-life problem. My group is working to reimagine and improve hospital pagers. Nurses get over 300 alarms per day on their pagers from patients requiring assistance. Fatigue and desensitization to these alarms can become a problem, so my group is trying to introduce “alarm cycling” to help diminish desensitization and hopefully save lives. We hope that by changing tones and alarms every day, healthcare professionals will be better able to respond to their pagers and patients.

What are you involved in outside of the classroom?

Edgardo '21 and fellow Syracuse University SHPE members at the 2019 SHPE National Convention in Phoenix, AZ.
Edgardo ’21 and fellow Syracuse University SHPE members at the 2019 SHPE National Convention in Phoenix, AZ.

I am the treasurer of the Syracuse chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and was previously the fundraising director. SHPE is an amazing organization that offers opportunities for students to network with other professionals, attend regional and national conventions and gain leadership experience. The Syracuse chapter has also been involved in fundraising to provide local students with STEM opportunities. Last year, myself and several other students were able to earn funding to attend the SHPE conference in Phoenix, AZ and it was there that I was connected to an internship opportunity with Boston Scientific!

I’ve also taken part in some great opportunities at Syracuse like Invent@SU, which is an invention accelerator program where students design, prototype and pitch original device ideas (kind of like Shark Tank) and can even leave with patents for their products. My partner and I developed an ADAM Hand Exerciser for patients suffering from arthritis and other mobility issues. The program opened up so many doors – we met every day for a few weeks and learned how to design a product from the ground up. We pitched to various judges and presented in front of some really big names. My partner even connected to a co-op opportunity from that experience!

Have you had any jobs/internships during your time at Syracuse?

Edgardo '21 and fellow students during his Spring 2020 co-op experience at Boston Scientific (photo was taken pre-COVID-19).
Edgardo ’21 and fellow students during his Spring 2020 co-op experience at Boston Scientific (photo was taken pre-COVID-19).

Yes, I completed a co-op with Boston Scientific last spring semester for 6 months. I spent the first two months in Boston before COVID-19 hit, and was able to complete the rest of my experience virtually. I learned so much during this experience and applied a lot of what I’ve learned in my ECS classes. I worked on 3D modeling and prototyping for various products – unfortunately I can’t share too much because of the nondisclosure agreement I signed. I was excited to go to work every day and know I want to work in modeling in the future!

What advice would you give to students interested in engineering at Syracuse?
Get involved in Invent@SU! But also, try not to stress. Engineering can be a difficult field but it is doable. Find ways to make it fun and love what you do – complete your homework and study with friends. Above all, remember why you’re doing it – don’t just go into the field to make money but understand what you want to engineer or how you want to help people. That has made all the difference!

How are you spending your last semesters at Syracuse?
I would have been a graduating senior in spring 2021, but I chose to take time away for my co-op experience. This means I have some extra time and I am looking to study abroad, perhaps in Australia or Ireland!

Next semester I’m taking Senior Capstone and a few electives including the Anthropology of Biomechanics. I’ve actually been lucky to take several electives in anthropology and find it really interesting – I may even turn it in to a minor!

ECS Opportunities Propel Daniel Oluwalana’s ’21 Future Aerospace Goals

A plane crash in his native Nigeria influenced Daniel Oluwalana’ s ‘21 interest in aerospace engineering. Having never set foot on campus, Daniel took a leap of faith when deciding to attend Syracuse University and is very glad he did! Read on to learn more about Daniel’s academic and research experiences while pursuing his degree in Syracuse’s College of Engineering & Computer Science (ECS).

Meet Daniel Oluwalana ’21
Aerospace Engineering
Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Daniel '21 is president of the Syracuse chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).
Daniel ’21 is president of the Syracuse chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).

How did you choose Syracuse and Aerospace Engineering?
As a kid, I loved to discover what made things tick. I was always tinkering and loved studying science in school. Growing up in Nigeria, I remember the aftermath of the 2012 Dana Air Flight 992 plane crash. After learning the plane went down due in part to the aircraft’s engines failing, I decided I wanted to work on planes and do something to help my country and make flying safer by studying Aerospace Engineering.

My dad actually visited Syracuse without me and liked the University and the aerospace program within the College of Engineering and Computer Science. The rest was history – I was lucky to earn a merit scholarship and was soon headed to study here on campus!

What have been your favorite aspects of studying engineering at Syracuse?
My favorite classes have included Chemistry 106 and Thermodynamics. In addition, Syracuse is an R1 research university and I’m involved in two research labs, which have been great opportunities for me.

The first opportunity I gained through a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program during the summer after my freshman year. I worked with Professor Jeongmin Ahn in a combustion and energy research lab to research fuel efficiency for smart and hybrid engines. I’m also currently involved in a computational aerospace lab looking at optimizing software for propeller designs. You can actually watch me give a tour of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Wind Tunnel lab here!

I definitely recommend interested students to pursue research opportunities on campus. Ask your professors who teach or study in areas that interest you, and they can help you get connected to interesting projects!

What are you involved in outside of the classroom/laboratory?
I am president of the Syracuse chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. We hold meetings and workshops for Black engineering students on campus and work to connect them with alumni and companies for networking purposes. We also attend regional and national conferences!

I’m also an Academic Excellence Workshop facilitator on campus. I assist underclassmen with courses I’ve taken in the past including Calculus I, Mechanics of Solids, and Fluid Mechanics. It’s a great way to give back and is fun to help other students work through problems and gain a better understanding of the material.

For fun, I love to play piano and saxophone and of course, hang out with friends. I love to BBQ outside on a nice day!

Syracuse is one of three colleges/universities nationwide to have a Fidelity MOTUS 622i flight simulator on campus.
Syracuse is one of three colleges/universities nationwide to have a Fidelity MOTUS 622i flight simulator on campus.

What is your plan after graduating from Syracuse?
I’d like to pursue a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering with a concentration in thermal sciences. After that, I’d love to gain experience working in the aerospace industry and develop my skills in managing other people and budgets, among other things!

An Engineer Did That – Exploring Mechanical Engineering with Erin Beaudoin ’22

Growing up in a military family, Erin Beaudoin ’22 discovered her interest in engineering at a young age. A lover of math and science, Erin observed her father’s career as an engineer in the Air Force and knew she wanted to pursue a similar path.

Read on to learn more about how Erin made her way to Syracuse University and declared a major in Mechanical Engineering!

Meet Erin Beaudoin ’22, C/1st Lt, AFROTC
Mechanical Engineering
Bedford, NH

Erin '22 plays the alto sax in the Syracuse University Marching Band.
Erin ’22 plays the alto sax in the Syracuse University Marching Band.

What made you choose Syracuse?
Even though I knew I wanted to study engineering, Syracuse wasn’t always at the top of my list. I applied because my sister had researched Syracuse a few years earlier, and I knew it had a good reputation. It wasn’t until I toured campus during the spring of my senior year that I fell in love and knew this was the place I wanted to be! Walking around campus just felt like home – I really enjoyed the community feel I got and how happy everyone seemed to be. Everyone I talked to was very genuine.

How did you choose your major?
I knew that no matter what job I pursue in the future, I wanted to make a positive impact on others. Engineering gives me the tools to solve problems I didn’t even know existed and can give society the solutions to things we’ve been struggling with. I love knowing that if something was designed, an engineer had a hand in it.

When I applied to the College of Engineering and Computer Science, I was torn between majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering. Ultimately, I chose Mechanical because it will allow me to work across many different fields.

What are you involved in outside of the classroom?
I am an Air Force ROTC cadet. Since my dad was in the military, ROTC was always in the back of my mind. I decided to join ROTC at Syracuse after I committed to attending and it has been a great experience. ROTC has really helped me step out of my comfort zone. In high school, I really shied away from leadership but now I am much more comfortable taking charge. I have ROTC meetings three times per week, including drill and coursework.

I’m also in the Syracuse University Marching Band. I’ve played alto sax since 5th grade and participated in marching band in high school. At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to continue on in to college but decided to go for it! My fellow band members were the first friends I made at Syracuse, since we showed up a week early for rehearsals and band camp. I’ve found a really great community through marching band and it is a great stress reliever, too!

What are your favorite classes at Syracuse?
I loved PHY 211 – General Physics I. I was very surprised that I liked this class because I hated taking physics in high school. But in college, things actually made sense – everything seemed to click and I understood the material like I never did before. I also enjoyed MAE 284 – Introduction to CAD (Computer Design) with Professor Anderson!

This semester, I’m taking Engineering Analysis, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Laboratory, Data Analysis for Engineers, Fluid Mechanics, Introduction to Philosophy and Marching Band (which counts for a 1-credit course each semester).

C/1st Lt, AFROTC IMT Commander 535th AFROTC Cadet Group
Erin ’22 is a C/1st Lt of the 535th AFROTC Cadet Group at Syracuse!

What is your dream job?
Currently, I am planning to become a pilot in the Air Force. Once I leave the Air Force, whenever that may be, I would like to continue working in engineering – possibly with drones and UAV’s.

What advice would you give to students interested in ECS or computer science at Syracuse?
Take your first year seriously. It can feel natural to want to brush off introductory courses, but if you do well it is easier for you to keep doing well. Take advantage of all of the resources available to help you, as well – including free tutoring and review sessions and faculty office hours. Buckle down and make sure your first year is a good one!

10 Reasons Indigenous Students Should Consider Syracuse University

Are you looking for a college or university with a strong Indigenous community? Syracuse University is consistently recognized as an institution that leads the nation in Indigenous academic programs and student support services.

Read on to discover a few of the reasons why Admissions Counselor and Native American Liaison Tammy Bluewolf-Kennedy believes Syracuse might be a great fit for you!

Students celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day on campus.
Students celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day on campus.
  1. Syracuse University sits on Onondaga Nation ancestral homelands in the heart of Haudenosaunee territory with several Haudenosaunee communities nearby to provide support and ceremony.
  2. The University’s adoption of and commitment to the Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship, Honor Scholarship and Indigenous Pathways Grant help make a Syracuse education affordable for Indigenous students.
    The Haudenosaunee flag flies next to the Syracuse University flag on the Quad.
    The Haudenosaunee flag flies next to the Syracuse University flag on the Quad.
  3. The University community shows respect and value for its partnership with the Onondaga Nation through adoption of a Land Acknowledgement that is read before all major events and by flying the Haudenosaunee Confederacy flag on campus.
  4. Take part in Syracuse’s Native Student Program, which offers a home away from home for students and whose dedicated Indigenous faculty and staff, including Assistant Director of the Native Student Program, Office of Multicultural Affairs Regina Jones, are present to mentor and support you through your academic career.
  5. Syracuse officially recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Native Heritage Month with special events, speakers and presentations that celebrate Indigenous cultures and traditions.
  6. Students, no matter what they are studying, can pursue an academic minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies or a certificate in Iroquois Linguistics.
  7. Seeking counseling or group therapy? Request to work with an Indigenous counselor through Syracuse’s Barnes Center at the Arch, who provides culturally appropriate mental health support.
  8. Join a tight-knit community of Indigenous students who hail from across North and South America and pursue leadership experience through student groups like Indigenous Students at Syracuse (ISAS).
  9. Request to live in the Indigenous Living Learning Community (LLC) in Haven Hall and attend Indigenous festivals, campus lectures and social activities with fellow LLC students.
  10. Graduates become part of Syracuse’s Ongwehonwe Alumni Association, an ever-growing group of Indigenous Orange alumni!

10 Tips to Demonstrate Your Interest in Syracuse University

Many colleges and universities look at a student’s demonstrated interest, or the evidence they have taken steps to conduct research and connect with the institution, into account when reviewing applications.

Here at Syracuse University, the Admissions Committee does consider demonstrated interest during the application process, along with many other factors as part of our holistic review process! We believe that students who take the time to explore all that Syracuse has to offer better understand if the University will be a good fit for the undergraduate experience they are seeking. Read on to explore some of the ways you can demonstrate your interest in Syracuse, no matter where you live!

The Hall of Languages is home to Syracuse's College of Arts and Sciences.
The Hall of Languages is home to Syracuse’s College of Arts and Sciences.

  1. Attend a Virtual Information Session
    Register for and attend one (or more!) of our general or themed virtual information sessions to learn more about Syracuse. Not only will these sessions offer invaluable information about the University, but you’ll also be able to get any questions you have answered by an admissions counselor or current student.
  2. Take a Tour
    Schedule a visit and see Syracuse University’s campus firsthand! You’ll get to sit in on a 30-minute information session and then head out on a small-group walking tour. At the conclusion of your student-led tour, you can also meet with one of our 10 undergraduate schools and colleges.
    Can’t make it to Syracuse? We’ve made it easy for you to take a look at our buildings and grounds via our virtual tour!
  3. Register for a Virtual Interview
    Syracuse offers optional virtual interviews via Zoom for high school seniors and transfer students. An interview is a great way to personalize your application and ask questions of our admissions staff.
  4. Connect with your Admissions Counselor
    Our admissions counselors travel far and wide to spread the word about Syracuse University, so be sure to check to see if a virtual or in-person visit will be scheduled with your high school this year. We also welcome you to contact your admissions representative via email with any questions you might have!
  5. Ask Questions
    Asking questions is one of the best ways to figure out if Syracuse is a good fit for you. Chat in your questions during our virtual sessions or contact the Admissions Office to let us know how we can help!

    Students collaborate outside of the Schine Student Center.
    Students collaborate outside of the Schine Student Center.
  6. Research
    Engage with our website to learn more about our 10 undergraduate schools and colleges, 200+ majors, 100 minors, and 300+ student organizations!
  7. Engage with Programs of Interest
    Is there a school or college at Syracuse that interests you, or perhaps a particular dual program, major or minor? Connect with representatives from our schools and colleges through a virtual session, email, or a phone call! They are eager to learn more about you and discuss which programs might best suit your interests.
  8. Take Time with Your Application
    Spending adequate time preparing your application is a great way to convey your interest in Syracuse. Be sure you’ve researched our undergraduate programs and are making an informed decision when listing your first and second choice academic programs on the Common Application. You’ll also have a chance to tell us why you’re interested in Syracuse University through our short answer question and we’re eager to read what you have to say!
  9. Discuss Your Interest in Syracuse with your Teachers and Counselor
    Your teachers and counselor will submit letters of recommendation on your behalf, so it is always a good idea to let them know why you’re interested in Syracuse. Help them understand why you feel Syracuse is a good fit for you so they can advocate on your behalf!
  10. Apply On Time
    Whether you apply Early Decision or Regular Decision, ensuring that you submit your Common Application and supporting documents on time is a great way to convey your serious interest in Syracuse. After you submit your application, be sure to check your MySlice account to monitor for missing documents and read your emails from Syracuse to stay up to date!

A Day in the Life of Seth Reed ‘21

Seth Reed ’21 knew he’d found his major of choice when he started to research Chemical Engineering. His love of AP Chemistry and Project Lead the Way classes in high school and a strong interest in sustainability and the environment made the program a natural fit for his interests and goals.

As a senior in Syracuse’s College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS), Seth has also found ways to incorporate his interest in sports and music into his busy academic schedule. Learn how Seth manages to balance his many interests and discover what it’s like to be an ECS senior as Seth takes us through a typical weekday on campus!

Seth '21 has served as an Orientation Leader for new Syracuse students for the past three years. Photo courtesy of Seth Reed.
Seth ’21 has served as an Orientation Leader for new Syracuse students for the past three years. Photo courtesy of Seth Reed.

Meet Seth Reed ‘21
Schenectady, NY
Chemical Engineering

7:30 a.m.
I’m a fairly early riser, so I tend to wake up between 7 and 7:30. I like to catch up on homework or work out before starting my day. I live off campus with friends in the University neighborhood, so it’s easy to get a run in and grab breakfast before heading to class!

9:30 a.m.
My first class of the day is Chemical Reactor Design with Dr. Jesse Bond. In this class we utilize principles of fluid dynamics to study and create reactors.

I’ve designed my schedule so that I have a 9:30 a.m. class every morning. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I am in class most of the day, but Tuesdays and Thursdays are much lighter. This semester, in addition to Chemical Reactor Design, I’m also taking Heat and Mass Operations, Thermodynamics II, Chemical Engineering Lab II, Writing 307: Professional Writing and Beer and Wine Appreciation!

11:00 a.m.
When I’m not in class, I can often be found in the research lab in the basement of Link Hall (home of the College of Engineering and Computer Science).

Seth '21 is a member of a team on campus that is conducting research on lithium-ion batteries.
Seth ’21 is a member of a team on campus that is conducting research on lithium-ion batteries.

I’ve been lucky to have several research opportunities while at Syracuse, and right now I am working with Dr. Ian Hosein on a project that considers alternatives to rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. We are interested in learning if we can create a more sustainable and affordable alternative and recently had a paper published in the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry!

3:00 p.m.
Depending on the day, I may stop by and log a few hours in the Shaw Center, Syracuse’s hub for community engagement. At the Shaw Center I serve as a program coordinator for Engineering Ambassadors, an organization that works with local middle school students to promote interest in STEM fields.

Seth '21 is a member of the Men's Club Volleyball team. Photo courtesy of Seth Reed.
Seth ’21 is a member of the Men’s Club Volleyball team. Photo courtesy of Seth Reed.

I’ve also served as an Orientation Leader for the past three years in the Office of First-Year and Transfer Programs. This year I was the Head Orientation Leader for Becoming Orange, the week of programming we put on for new students as they move in and transition to campus!

6:00 p.m.
In the afternoons and evenings after class, I’m typically either at volleyball practice with Syracuse’s Men’s Club Volleyball Team, studying in the Noble Room in Hendricks Chapel, or hanging out with friends. I also like to play piano in my spare time and I even perform off campus at Abundant Life Christian Center.

Lately I’ve also been spending much of my evenings preparing my application for the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). I’m planning to pursue a Ph.D. in chemical or materials engineering after graduation!

Exploring Environment through Engineering with Cameron Edwards ‘21

Senior College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) student, Cameron Edwards ’21, didn’t always know she wanted to study Environmental Engineering, or that she’d end up with a minor in Food Studies. Read on to learn more about how Cameron was able to explore her interests and the environment as a student at Syracuse!

Senior Cameron Edwards ’21 poses with Otto in front of the Hall of Languages. Photo courtesy of Cameron Edwards.

Meet Cameron Edwards ’21
Ketchikan, Alaska
Environmental Engineering
Food Studies
Favorite Spot on Campus: 4th Floor of Link Hall

What made you choose to attend Syracuse?
I visited Syracuse during the spring break of my senior year of high school. During my visit I met with two Environmental Engineering professors and I was blown away that they took the time to really get to know me and my interests. One of those professors is my advisor and the other I’ve been doing research with since my first semester on campus!

The emphasis on collaboration in an engineering program was also really important to me as I didn’t want to feel as if I was competing with my peers. Being from Alaska, I had also really wanted a white winter which I’ve definitely gotten as well!

How did your interest in Environmental Engineering develop?
In high school I didn’t have a lot of exposure to what engineering was but knew I liked math, science, and being outdoors.

I actually applied to every other college except Syracuse as a Chemical Engineering major and planned on minoring in Environmental Engineering. Before starting my first semester on campus, I was planning to change my major to Chemical Engineering because of my interest in chemistry. I later learned there is a lot of chemistry involved in Environmental Engineering and I really liked the faculty so decided to stay put!

Cameron Edwards ’21 in the soil science laboratory on campus. Photo courtesy of Cameron Edwards.

My major is fairly small – there are about 20 students in my cohort (seniors). This has been really nice as we’re small enough to have a group chat with all of us so we can collaborate and we have small class sizes. I also have so much love for the faculty because they genuinely care about each of us, an example being when one of my professors sophomore year emailed me after the large earthquake in Alaska to ask if my family was okay.

You’re a Food Studies minor. How does that connect to your engineering interest?
I really like to cook and I started to become interested in where my food comes from, which has led to an interest in sustainable agriculture. Agriculture in its current state tends to do a lot of damage to the climate and the environment, which is something environmental engineers deal with, through things like agricultural runoff. However, agriculture is not really focused on in the environmental engineering curriculum. I chose to minor in food studies to learn a bit more about this area. I also have a personal interest in food injustice and food insecurity which the Food Studies program (housed in the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics) does a real good job of exploring.

What are you involved in outside of the classroom?
I’m in the Renee Crown Honors Program at Syracuse, which has some great perks including an honors residence learning community, access to special honors-specific courses and the ability to register for classes early. I’ve also taken two honors versions of general education courses: Chemistry 109 and Writing 209. I really enjoyed these because of their smaller class sizes where I felt much more comfortable asking questions.

I also work in a soil science laboratory with Professor Chris Johnson. We examine soil chemistry and weathering in a long-term ecological research forest in New Hampshire. The summer after my freshman year I stayed in Syracuse to continue my research. Part of the summer was spent away from Syracuse soil sampling in New Hampshire which was such an amazing experience. I was able to have extended one-on-one conversations with my research advisor, his lab manager, and the graduate student that helped us sample. It was also really great to experience Syracuse during the summertime and something I’d recommend to any student.

Cameron Edwards ’21 on a helicopter ride during her internship with the US Forest Service. Photo courtesy of Cameron Edwards.

This most recent summer I interned with the United States Forest Service Chugach National Forest in Anchorage, Alaska. I had known I wanted something in the public sector, so I applied through the federal government website USAJOBS. I got a lot of help from the career services putting together my resume because it was the first job I had ever applied for! Despite COVID-19 I was able to do a lot of fieldwork for the job, which included a helicopter ride to survey one of the radio communication sites and some hikes to see the trails and recreation sites for which I’m writing proposals.

What is your dream job?
I really enjoy the idea of working in the public sector as well as being outdoors, so I’m hoping to eventually be a forest engineer with the Forest Service. I really like helping increase the public’s experience in the outdoors through recreation because I’ve found that’s been one of the defining activities of my own life. I’d like to help as many people as I can experience what I have!

Cameron Edwards ’21 and her research team collecting data in New Hampshire. Photo courtesy of Cameron Edwards.

I feel very prepared for my post-graduate goals and find what I learn in class useful. During my internship this summer I did some job shadowing at a clean-up site where there had been some gasoline dumping. At the site they were doing soil and water sampling and I was able to use what I learned in my geotechnical and water resources classes to help me understand the site and the work that was being done there.

What do you do for fun?
I haven’t had a car on campus so one of my favorite ways of getting off campus is the programs that Orange After Dark and Recreation Services provides. Orange After Dark holds events for movie premieres, bowling, paint nights, and similar events for only $3 which includes transportation to and from the event as well as the event itself. Recreation Services puts on great outdoor programs like apple picking, white water rafting, and skiing also at a low rate which has been a super fun way for me and my friends to see more of Upstate New York!

Interconnected – How Matthew Gelinas ’21 Discovered His Passion for Cybersecurity

Senior Matthew Gelinas ’21 knew he wanted to major in Electrical Engineering in high school when he had the chance to tour Raytheon with a mentor and family friend. It took a bit longer, however, for Matthew to develop the secondary interests that are poised to connect him to his future career path.

Keep reading to find out how Matthew was able to explore his interests, career goals and hobbies as a student in the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) at Syracuse!

Matthew Gelinas '21 outside of Link Hall, home of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Photo courtesy of IEEE Syracuse.
Matthew Gelinas ’21 outside of Link Hall, home of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Photo courtesy of IEEE Syracuse.

Meet Matthew Gelinas ‘21
Hometown: South Hadley, MA
Electrical Engineering
Minor: Computer Science

How and why did you choose to attend Syracuse University?
I considered several colleges with engineering programs, including public and private institutions. In addition to the scholarships and financial aid I received at Syracuse, I loved that it was far enough away from my hometown in Massachusetts, but not too far. I also was looking for a large university with considerable resources and ways to get involved. Plus, I love the snow!

Tell us more about your interests in both Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
I came in as an Electrical Engineering major and later added on a minor in Computer Science. As an engineer, I want to be able to solve problems from multiple angles, so it was great to be able to add a secondary interest on to my undergraduate experience.

My interest in computer science, and ultimately, cybersecurity, really took off after taking a class with Professor Shiu-Kai Chin. I approached him after class about research opportunities and he got me involved in a research project the summer after my sophomore year.

How have you been able to apply what you’re learning in the classroom?

Matthew found his internship at the ECS Career Fair. Syracuse offers 11 career fairs throughout the academic year

Research has been a big part of my experience at Syracuse. Professor Chin and I worked on a soft system methodology project that examined interactions between humans and machines for an Air Force lab in Rome, NY.

This past summer, I also had the opportunity to intern with Hanscom Air Force Base. I met with an Air Force representative by chance at the ECS Career Fair during my junior year, and he called me afterward to offer me the internship opportunity. Although the experience ended up being mostly virtual due to COVID-19, I got to learn about all of the engineering and professional opportunities the Air Force has to offer, including the newly created Space Force and different weather systems they operate.

What is your dream job?
I definitely have a passion for cybersecurity, but I wouldn’t say I have a dream career path in mind just yet. I plan to keep saying yes to opportunities that come my way until I figure it out!

What are you involved outside of academics at Syracuse?

Matthew with his intramural soccer team after their championship game. Photo courtesy of Matthew Gelinas.

In addition to playing intramural soccer and pickup tennis and basketball, I’m currently serving as the Treasurer for IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. We put on various events for students interested in engineering and computer science, including resume review sessions and hackathons!

I also studied abroad in Strasbourg, France in the fall of my sophomore year, which I can’t recommend enough. I went there knowing zero French, but had a great experience taking classes and living with a wonderful host family. I was able to travel to Spain, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands during my trip, as well as play on the basketball team.

I was able to keep up with all of my scheduled classes while abroad, including engineering lab, which was taught in English. An elective class I took in Strasbourg focused on human rights and was taught by a lawyer from the European Court of Human Rights, which is located right over the border in Germany. At the end of the course we had the opportunity to go and watch one of the court cases live!

What classes are you taking this semester?

  • Image Processing
  • Cybersecurity: Access, Control and Trust
  • Introduction to Algorithms
  • Senior Design Lab

My classes this year are a mix of in-person and online instruction. Professor Jennifer Graham’s Senior Design Lab functions almost like Shark Tank – each group, made up of Electrical and Computer Engineering majors, is challenged to come up with a new design idea, build the product, and present it to a panel at the end of the semester.

What advice do you have for future ECS students?
My best advice is to talk to your professors – they are truly your best resource. In addition to being industry experts, they will help you select your classes, find job experiences and connect you to professionals doing the work you are interested in. Everyone I’ve encountered is fantastic and willing to help – I truly wouldn’t be where I am now without their guidance and advice.

How CuseHacks Founder Caitlin Sanders ’21 Designed Her Syracuse Experience

Finding your best-fit college or university can be a daunting task. Many students who embark on their college search process have a few criteria in mind (i.e. size, location, major) but struggle to decide which campus to make their home.

Caitlin Sanders ’21 was in that very boat four years ago as a high school senior. She knew she wanted to study computer science and was looking for a university with lots of school spirit. When she visited Syracuse for the second time she realized the University was where she wanted to spend her undergraduate career.

Caitlin Sanders '21 during a site visit to Google's headquarters. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Sanders.
Caitlin Sanders ’21 during a site visit to Google’s headquarters. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Sanders.

Meet Caitlin Sanders ‘21
Hometown: Webster, NY
Major: Computer Science

What made you want to attend Syracuse?
I grew up an hour away from Syracuse and loved going to the Dome for games as a kid. I took an official tour of campus, but it wasn’t until I got a scarf in the mail from the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) that I decided to do more research and attended an event for admitted students. There, I met with representatives from ECS and realized that Syracuse was the place I wanted to be.

How did you choose your major?
During my freshman year of high school, my geometry teacher encouraged all of his students to take his Intro to Computer Principles class. I took him up on the offer and loved it! After that, I continued to take all of the computer science classes my school offered, became co-president of the Coding Club, and started attending hackathons.

As a Computer Science major at Syracuse, I get to take classes like Social Media and Data Mining, which had everything I love rolled in to one: social media, Python, problem solving, and more. Nothing felt like homework – I thoroughly enjoyed my assignments for class.

I also feel very supported as an ECS student. Dr. Oh, the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department chair, helped me and a group of students bring the club we wanted on campus to life – CuseHacks – during my freshman year. I feel lucky Syracuse has these opportunities for me to pursue!

Caitlin is a founder of CuseHacks, Syracuse's first student-run hackathon. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Sanders.
Caitlin is a founder of CuseHacks, Syracuse’s first student-run hackathon. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Sanders.

So, what is Cuse Hacks?
A hackathon is a 24-hour event in which students come together in teams to create a project that solves a problem. There is free food, free t-shirts and “swag”, really cool prizes, as well as a bunch of companies there recruiting. I participated in a few hackathons during high school and when I got to Syracuse, I was excited to get involved in more. I was devastated to find out we didn’t have one on campus!

As a freshman, I partnered with four seniors also looking to start a hackathon. We planned and held the first CuseHacks in 2018 and there has been one every spring semester since! I am super excited to see the event continue to grow past my time here.

3 Caitlin is a member of Alpha Omega Epsilon, an academic Greek organization focused on STEM. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Sanders.
Caitlin is a member of Alpha Omega Epsilon, an academic Greek organization focused on STEM. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Sanders.

How has Syracuse helped you prepare for your future career?
My dream job since 7th grade has been to work at Google (I can’t believe anyone that watched “The Internship” when it came out felt otherwise). My dream career route, however, is staying in software engineering for a few years and trying many different things in order to have a breadth of technical knowledge and a variety of experience before pursuing a path in product management. I’ve had many opportunities to gain experience in the field throughout my time at Syracuse, including through internships at Lockheed Martin and Intuit. I’m also part of Alpha Omega Epsilon, a sorority for women passionate about STEM!

What does your senior year have in store and what advice do you have for students hoping to pursue a major in Computer Science?
I am not taking classes this fall because I had an excess of credits and want to graduate with my class in May. This semester, I will be contributing to open source and personal projects and preparing for my job search and interview process!

I recommend any students interested in computer science pursue hands-on experiences. The only way to learn and prepare for the industry is to participate in internships and projects along the way. Go to every career fair and hackathon you can, use LinkedIn and lean on your professors and mentors for help!

What do you do for fun on campus?
I love attending hackathons and going to concerts. Syracuse has a big concert each semester – Juice Jam in the fall and Mayfest in the spring! Since COVID-19 hit, I’m also enjoying spending time with my roommates, going on hikes, and of course I love social media – Twitter, Tik Tok, etc.!

My favorite spot on campus is the fourth floor of Link Hall (home to ECS) and the third floor lounge of the Life Sciences Building (but the best bathroom is definitely in the bottom floor of Bowne Halll!).

Fully Involved – Q&A with Civil Engineering major Ravyn Smith ‘21

A common misconception about college STEM majors is that they are so busy with required coursework that they don’t have time to get fully involved on campus. High school students interested in STEM sometimes worry about their ability to join a club, study abroad, or pursue internship and work experiences.

Ravyn Smith ’21, a civil engineering major and architecture minor is living proof you can do all of the above! Read on to learn about how she chose Syracuse and the many extracurricular experiences that have enriched her Syracuse STEM experience.

Ravyn Smith '21 and Otto! Photo courtesy of Ravyn Smith.
Ravyn Smith ’21 and Otto! Photo courtesy of Ravyn Smith.

Meet Ravyn Smith ‘21
Chesterfield, VA
Major: Civil Engineering
Minor: Architecture

How did you choose Syracuse?
I knew I was looking for a college with engineering and the ability to minor in architecture. I also wanted to study abroad and a school with a traditional campus feel. When I toured Syracuse, I fell in love with the campus and immediately felt like part of the community. Something about walking to campus from the College Place bus stop and seeing iconic Syracuse buildings like Hendricks Chapel and Carnegie Library on the quad made me feel like this was the definition of college and I wanted to be part of it.

Why civil engineering?
From an early age, I knew I wanted to create. I have always been fascinated with buildings and their different layouts, so when I discovered civil engineering, I knew it was the right fit for me. With more research, I realized how closely related civil engineering was to architecture and I decided I wanted to add an Architecture minor to broaden my building design knowledge.

The Civil Engineering program at Syracuse allows students to get a taste of every specialization within the field so we can learn and decide which aspects interest us the most. I knew from the beginning I wanted to focus on the structural engineering side of civil. After taking some classes in that subject, I could really tell that was the right fit for me. My dream job is to work as an architectural designer because I want to be able to bring people’s design visions to life.

What is your favorite class at Syracuse?
One of my all-time favorite classes was ECS 101 Introduction to Engineering and Computer Science – it is extremely hands-on and project based. Within the span of a semester, we got to build bridges, design a mall, and make a presentation on a chosen sector of civil engineering. My replica of the Golden Gate Bridge from freshman year is still on display in the department conference room!

Civil engineering students test the bridge they built as part of the ECS 101 end-of-semester competition.
Civil engineering students test the bridge they built as part of the ECS 101 end-of-semester competition.

Another one of my favorite classes was ITA 115 Beginning Italian 1. I took this class while studying abroad in Florence; my professor was an amazing Italian woman who shared her passion for Italian culture with us in the classroom. It made me fall in love with Italy!

This fall I am taking Transportation Engineering, Construction Engineering and Engineering Materials, a studio class for my minor – Architectural Drawing, and two fun electives, Professional Baking and Culinary Arts!

What are you involved in outside the classroom?
I’m a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Recently, I took the role of Vice President in the professional STEM sorority, Alpha Omega Epsilon, and I’m also the events coordinator for the Professional Fraternity Council. During Welcome Week, I serve as an orientation leader (OL)! Our job is to make sure new students transition successfully to the University and feel at home on campus. I also work with the Shaw Center as an Engineering Ambassadors intern. We take Syracuse STEM students into Syracuse City School District classrooms and teach engineering topics via hands-on activities.

This summer I am interning at the design firm Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt in Syracuse. I applied for this position through the University’s job portal, Handshake. Additionally, for Summer 2020, I also received a Syracuse SOURCE grant to participate in research with Dr. Sinead Mac Namara for the second edition of her book Collaborations in Architecture and Engineering.

How did you balance a full engineering course load while studying abroad?
In Spring 2019 I went to Italy to study at the Syracuse Abroad Center in Florence. I was able to take all the same classes for my major that students were taking on campus and even got to take a class for my minor. Syracuse really focuses on making the abroad experience achievable for every major and that doesn’t change for engineers. The best semester for us to go is spring of our sophomore year because of the alignment of classes. If a class looks like it might not be offered, however, there are advisors within each abroad program to help you jump through those hurdles.

I had an amazing time while in Italy. I got to travel to 5 different countries, learn a new language, and eat as much great Italian food as I could. A lot of my friends also went abroad that semester, so it was even more of a blast with them there. The abroad center even has its own trips around Italy that are included with the program fee!

What advice would you give to students interested in engineering at Syracuse?

View of Hendricks Chapel and the quad.
View of Hendricks Chapel and the quad.

Look at the requirements of each engineering major to see what best aligns with your interests and goals! Also, utilize any and all open house opportunities you can – the best way to see if Syracuse is the place for you is to visit, even if it is a virtual visit.

Syracuse really provides a space for full involvement. Though it might be a big school in terms of students, it has a small school feel where you can walk through campus and recognize at least 20 people. We have 300+ student organizations, and if you don’t find something for you, you can always start your own club – one of the people in my freshman dorm started the Curling Club!