A Chronicle of My Favorite Classes

collage with four photos, one for each course mentioned in the blog 1. within a ballet theater 2. project group members 3. 3D-printed devices 4. digital illustration of houses

I have spent the last several blogs talking about my beloved activities and experiences outside of academics that I have neglected to mention the most Yale thing we have: our classes! I want to highlight a few of my favorite classes and show how I have the opportunity to engage with my diverse academic interests while still being very much a STEM student. 

ENAS 118: Engineering Innovation & Design

I took this class my first year, and it holds a special place in my heart because it was the only class I could take in person during a semester where all classes were virtual because of COVID-19. This course functioned as my introduction to the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID), for which the course shares its name. This is Yale’s makerspace, and make things we did. The course was a crash course on every engineering discipline at Yale and it culminated in our learned skills, such as coding with Arduino and designing with 3D printing, going toward a final engineering project. With other classmates, we made a physical prototype solution to a real problem presented to the class by clients. My group’s project was a biomedical engineering issue, which influenced my eventual declaration of the major. I also make use of the 3D printers to this day. 

ENGL 434: Writing Dance

As Yale students, we are required to take a couple of courses that fall under varied distributional requirements such as writing, humanities, science, and social sciences. My academic interests aligned with many of the distributional requirements, and I was able to complete a lot of the remaining credits through my major. The only one that remained a challenge to complete was writing; truthfully, I was not looking forward to taking writing classes. I’m an engineering major for many reasons, but not having to write is one of them (ironic coming from my written blog post, I know). To make this less of a challenge, I sought an interesting writing course that would ideally not require many lengthy essays throughout the semester. Writing Dance caught my attention by its name alone, and the syllabus drew me in with the promise of many field trips. Our intimate class visited New York City several times to watch dance performances from every imaginable genre, to then eloquently capture the shows through prose. It was not enough to summarize the performance; we needed to express a critique or attribute a greater meaning to our writing and the dances alike. I am not a writer or a dancer, but this course taught me to appreciate both arts and to admire when they intersect. 

MENG 404: Medical Device Design

This is the one course so far that most closely aligns with my future goals, and in essence felt like ENAS 118 but more fine-tuned to my present-day interests. Medical Device Design explored medical device development from conceptualization to wide industry use including intellectual property, FDA/regulatory, clinical trials, current medical technologies and practices, etc. We had numerous guest speakers from the industry, as well as a visit to the Yale New Haven Hospital to look at biomedical engineering spaces within this space. MENG 404 was a balance of theoretical and technical practice to a rather specific interest. We had two projects throughout the semester: an implant failure analysis and redesign, and a device design challenge with mentors from Yale School of Medicine. I have always been a fan of project-based learning and found all the components of this course to align nicely with my career goals. 

ART S111: Visual Thinking

A virtual art course directly transformed my Yale career. I initially took this art class over the summer as an apt pairing to the math course I was also enrolled in. I do like art, but remained skeptical about how I would get to explore the arts over Zoom. Because of the online format, our professor emphasized online art platforms such as Illustrator and Photoshop, both of which I had no prior experience with. By the end of the course, I found myself on Illustrator in my free time and increasing my skill with the platform. This led to me designing logos for organizations and making digital art for friends and publications (both equally as meaningful). It was only because of this class that I submitted art to the Yale Scientific Magazine, which made me comfortable enough to later submit poetry to a different campus magazine, Broad Recognition. I did not have any intention of becoming involved with the publishing scene, but all the dots connect back to Visual Thinking