Tag Archives: Physics and Engineering

My Professors Are Saints

28 Jan

As a Physics/Engineering major, I sometimes come across homework problems and parts of assignments that are over my head, even after reading the corresponding chapter in the book and rereading every detail I wrote down from class. The cool/difficult thing about engineering is that all the problems are applicational.  Every problem is different, and until I have trained my brain to think its way through a certain type of problem, there is no guarantee I will be able to solve it using an example from class or a previous problem.  There have been many times over my past 2 and a half years at this school when I have been completely stuck on an assignment.

What do I do when this happens?  I run into the open arms of my professors.  Not literally, since they are not all the hugging types, but they are always willing to assist me when I need them.  And if they are not in their offices, I hunt them down or post up outside their offices until they come back and then I don’t leave until I understand the information.  How annoying.  If I were them, I would start putting signs on my door like “Professor has moved to a different office” or “Not here, go away!”  My professors, on the other hand, are saints.  They have helped me think my way through difficult homework assignments an innumerable amount of times, and have uplifted me throughout my entire process of my understanding.

I would not survive this major without the constant willingness to help that is seen in all my professors.  My relationship with each and every one of them is extremely strong, and that is something that you can’t find at every university.  The professors at Washington and Lee are here to help students, and they make that very apparent.

Department Details: Engineering

27 Jan
Engineering students at W&L

Engineering students at W&L

The Engineering program is part of the Physics department. First and foremost, our graduates are broadly-educated individuals with a strong background in basic engineering science. Courses required for the engineering degrees at W&L are the same as core courses required for any engineering degree at larger, more traditional engineering schools: introductory physics, mathematics through differential equations, statics, dynamics, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, materials, solid mechanics and circuits. Additionally, W&L students satisfy their degree requirements through the selection of elective courses in chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology, mathematics and physics.

Students have the opportunity to participate in an independent research project where, under the direction of a faculty member, they undertake a particular engineering project involving reading, laboratory or field work and presentation of findings. The low faculty-to-student ratio at W&L makes possible these projects, which provide valuable experience for students who hope to continue studies in graduate school.

Our students who subsequently seek graduate engineering degrees at other institutions have found themselves well prepared and competitive with their peers. Recent graduates have attended graduate school in engineering at institutions such as Columbia, Duke, Georgia Tech, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, Rensselaer, Rutgers, Stanford, University of California at San Diego, University of Connecticut, University of Michigan, University of Virginia, University of Washington, and Virginia Tech.

Those students who go directly into technical or engineering employment have found the liberal arts aspect of their background an asset in finding an initial position. This broad background also enables direct entry into management or sales, where graduates are able to contribute quickly and significantly to their jobs. Oral and written communication skills, as well as familiarity with and appreciation for values beyond the confines of science and math, are important in the workplace. Engineering schools are now becoming aware of the need for a more liberal component of an engineering education. A strong liberal arts component has been a part of our engineering program for more than 100 years.

For more about the Engineering department, click here.

Tour Guide Spotlight: Emily Hudson ’14

30 Dec
Emily Hudson '14

Emily Hudson ’14

Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Major(s)/Minor(s): Physics/Engineering and Math

What clubs/activities are you involved in on campus? I was a member of the volleyball team, a Johnson scholar, an actress in school plays, and I’m in a sorority (Kappa Delta).

How are you involved in the Lexington community? I volunteer at local schools.

What are some of your other hobbies/interests? I love anything that has to do with the arts.  I am a model and an actress. I love volunteering, children, and dogs.

Favorite weekend activity? I love driving to Charlottesville on a random Friday night for dinner and I love hanging out and going out with friends.

Favorite thing about Lexington?  Everyone is so friendly, everything is in walking distance, and it is a very relaxing atmosphere.

What’s your favorite W&L memory? Midnight breakfast during exam week.  Everyone was stressed after studying for hours and hours, and tension was released when everyone stuffed their faces with delicious breakfast food in D-hall.

What’s the best encounter you’ve had with a faculty or staff member? Every time I come to the office hours of my Physics teacher, she always checks in on my life; she asks about my play, about volleyball, and about my life in general.  My teachers actually know what activities I am involved with on campus.  My teachers have even attended my volleyball games; they actually care about me as a person.


Tour Guide Spotlight: Lizzie Engel ’13

8 Dec

Lizzie Engel ’13

Hometown: Lexington, KY

Major(s)/Minor(s): Physics/Engineering and Spanish

What clubs/activities are you involved in on campus? Hillel, College Democrats, Pi Beta Phi, University Women’s Choir, Volunteer Venture Pre-Orientation Program

How are you involved in the Lexington community? I have volunteered for the Head Start Program at Waddell Elementary.

What are some of your other hobbies/interests? I enjoy cooking, baking and exploring the outskirts of Lexington.

Favorite weekend activity? Studying outside on the Colonnade when it’s nice out.

Favorite thing about Lexington? Everyone abides by the speaking tradition, not just those associated with W&L.  When I walk through town, every person I pass is so friendly and welcoming.

What’s your favorite W&L memory? This past summer, I visited some of my friends who were in Lexington for the summer, and we went to Panther Falls.  We ended up camping there and sleeping on a boulder with an INCREDIBLE view of the stars.

What’s the best encounter you’ve had with a faculty or staff member? This isn’t a specific encounter, but my academic advisor (Irina Mazilu in the physics department) is definitely one of the coolest people on this campus and whenever I get to see her it’s a good day.  She really takes the time to get to know all of her students.  I frequently go into her office just to chat about life, and she’s never too busy to take the time to talk to me about travel, science, or the latest news story.  She’s always so helpful with schoolwork, and I can tell that she really cares.