Image credit Avolore. Used under CC BY 2.0

So You’re Starting Grad School…

  The new school year is rapidly approaching, or has perhaps already arrived for some. As one of the resident graduate students here at EngineerBlogs, I thought I’d offer some advice to anyone embarking on the quest that is the US doctoral degree. On my own blog, I’ve offered advice about questions to ask on visits. So now that you’ve matriculated, what’s next? Accept that everyone is going to have advice, and much of it may be completely irrelevant to your department and situation. Learning to parse large amounts of information to find something relevant is a critical skill in graduate school, so consider this practice. Make sure you have all of the requirements for candidacy/graduation written down in one place. What courses do you need to take? How are your qualifying exams structured? When are you expected to achieve candidacy? In the beginning, you’re still going to have courses, but you’ll want to […]

Peer pressure: the real reason engineers don't play well with others

Peer pressure: the real reason engineers don’t play well with others

Last week, I wrote about two engineering stereotypes – the thinker and the tinkerer.  When I was attempting to add a bit of data to the fluff, I came across an article in Science Daily about how engineering stereotypes drive counterproductive practices.  In particular, they encourage engineering students to engage in practices that are actually harmful in a career.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t applicable to last week’s piece, but I found it worth discussing nonetheless.  (If you’d like to read the original article, you can find it here.) The premise of the article is that engineering stereotypes are already prevalent in society and that students think about these when interacting with their coursework and classmates.  Specifically, “There’s a stereotype that engineers do things by themselves,” Leonardi says. “So when students are asked to work in teams, they think, am I going to be disadvantaged? When I go to the workplace am […]