Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holiday Traditions Around the World

For eight days each November or December, Jews light a special candleholder called a menorah.  They do it to remember an ancient miracle in which one day's worth of oil burned for eight days in their temple. On Hanukkah, many Jews also eat special potato pancakes called latkes, sing songs, and spin a top called a dreidel to win chocolate coins, nuts, or raisins.

St. Lucia Day
To honor this third-century saint on December 13, many girls in Sweden dress up as "Lucia brides" in long white gowns with red sashes, and a wreath of burning candles on their heads. They wake up their families by singing songs and bringing them coffee and twisted saffron buns called "Lucia cats."

People celebrate this Christian holiday by going to church, giving gifts, and sharing the day with their families. In some parts of Europe, "star singers" go caroling — singing special Christmas songs— as they walk behind a huge star on a pole.

Kwanzaa, which means "First Fruits," is based on ancient African harvest festivals and celebrates ideals such as family life and unity. During this spiritual holiday, celebrated from December 26 to January 1, millions of African Americans dress in special clothes, decorate their homes with fruits and vegetables, and light a candleholder called a kinara.

New Year
In Ecuador, families dress a straw man in old clothes on December 31. The straw man represents the old year. The family members make a will for the straw man that lists all of their faults. At midnight, they burn the straw man, in hopes that their faults will disappear with him.

Chinese New Year
Many Chinese children dress in new clothes to celebrate Chinese New Year. People carry lanterns and join in a huge parade led by a silk dragon, the Chinese symbol of strength. According to legend, the dragon hibernates most of the year, so people throw firecrackers to keep the dragon awake.

More information regarding these holiday traditions and more can be found at: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/holidays-sampler-around-world

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Congratulations Graduating Seniors

Congratulations to all Penn State seniors who are graduating today. You did it!!
Today is one of the best days of your life.  Your name is called and you are walking across the stage to receive your Penn State Diploma which you have work so very hard for.  All the blood, sweat and tears have been worth it.  Cherish the day, celebrate with your friends and family. 

We are so very proud of all that you have accomplished during your time at Penn State and can't wait to see all the adventures your life brings you during this new time.  Always remember your time at Penn State with a smile...WE ARE!

The Office of Engineering Diversity would like to extend a special congratulations to Brianna Hammond, a student intern in our office.  We love you and will miss you.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Test Taking Tip

At the beginning of an exam write down important formulas, facts, definitions and/or keywords in the margin first so you won't worry about forgetting them.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Study Tips from Students!

Paco says:

I go over my homework and previous exams from the current semester. Many times exams from former semesters may have different content or content that is not necessarily covered during your semester. One way to find out what will be covered on the exam is by going to review sessions and asking either the Prof. or the TA.

If you have time also do the exams from previous semesters but don’t assume that the questions will resemble the makeup of your exam. Do them purely for practice.

***YOU NEED SLEEP TO LEARN! This is why studying for the exam the night before and pulling     all-nighters doesn't [usually] work. Sleep not only helps your cognitive function, attention span and general health (among other things) but is crucial for memory retention. REM sleep, the deepest sleep, is directly linked to memory retention and learning. This sleep usually occurs during the last 2 hours of sleep, if you cut your sleep short you will miss out on this sleep mode, and will consequently retain less of what you studied. The more sleep you get (at least 7.5hrs or more) the more new information you are able to retain, and thus the greater your capacity to learn will be. A study from Trent University showed that students with sleep deprivation on the 3rd night after learning something new displayed a 30% learning deficit. That means if you party on Friday after a rough week you will lose 30% of what you learned on Wednesday and Friday! If you stay out late on Saturday then what you learned on Thursday is also affected. Set yourself up for success and get your rest!

Avery says:

Surviving finals week really boils down to pacing. Even before the week starts you know how many finals you have and in most cases you can’t wait until the weekend before to start to prepare. First, understand that finals week is a marathon and not a sprint. Most people have between 3 and 5 finals which means you can’t go “all in” on any particular exam. I suggest waking up every day before 10am so that you get solid use out of your day. The worst trap is to think that because you don’t have classes that you can sleep in. In most cases you’ll plan to start at noon, but in reality you snooze until 1 or 2 and before you know it the sun has set and you haven’t really done anything. Waking up early means that you can do all of your studying and still eat well and get decent amounts of sleep.

Also don’t forget to take breaks! The brain has an internal clock that affects its ability to retain information. In the first hour you brain retains between 100% and 80% of the information you study, after the first hour it varies from 80% to 50% and after the 90 minute mark retention is essentially negligible. For this reason it is key to take a study break at least every 90 minutes to make sure your brain stays fresh.

Good luck!

 Brianna says:

 Finals is both my favorite and least favorite part of the year.  Here are my tips:

  • Wake up early! This will force you to get work done and allow you to get to bed at a reasonable time.
  •  Give yourself breaks- without them, studying is not nearly as productive as it can be.
  • Don't procrastinate! Start studying at least a few days before your exam (if not sooner) so that you can do your best on the final.
  • If you attend a Study-A-Thon, make sure you spend the time utilizing your resources and doing what you need to do.  A lot of times, people just end up socializing and studying is put in the background.  Don't let this happen!
  • TIME MANAGEMENT IS ESSENTIAL! Prioritize by your finals schedule.
  • Say "no".  If someone asks you to help plan, execute, or attend an event that interferes with your study or exam schedule, just tell them! This is not the time to see how much you can juggle at once.

Good luck, and come into 208 to say hello if you need a break!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Where to study?

When studying find a comfortable and quiet place with little distractions and good lighting.  Don't be so comfortable that you fall asleep!!

Click HERE for more helpful study tips.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MEP Night/ WEP Wednesday

Once a month seperate meetings are held for the Multicultural Engineering Program (MEP Nights) and the Women in Engineering Program (WEP Wednesdays)

During these meetings important topics are covered such as Internships and CO-OP, Late Drop Deadline and How to become a leader.  You will also get a chance to network with our office, your fellow engineering students and corporate representatives.

The final meetings for the 2012 Fall Semester are as follows:

12/5/12 WEP Wednesday, 5:30pm in Kunkle Lounge
12/13/12  MEP Night, 6:00pm in 220 Hammond Building
**Final exam survival kits will be distributed at each meeting**

There is always fun and free food included in all the meetings so keep an eye out for announcements on when the next meetings will be!

Here's a video that was made by Avery Williams, Aerospace Engineering, to advertise for the November 13th MEP Night on Late Drop Deadline.  Enjoy!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

MEP Alum Debunks Myths About Graduate School

Nate Curtis received his Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from Penn State in 2009 and now works for Northrop Grumman Corporation in Baltimore, MD.  On November 30, 2012 Nate spoke to a room full of Engineering Graduate students about the transition from Graduate School to Industry.  Below are a list of the myths that he discussed in his speech.

The Office of Engineering Diversity holds monthly Graduate Luncheons for all Multicultural Graduate Students.  Keep an eye on your email for the meetings during the Spring Semester!


MYTH: My advanced degree puts me in a position where I am too qualified to find a job.

TRUTH: The truth is your advanced degree makes you highly sought after by organizations looking for your particular set of skills. If you should decide to get a PhD in Astrophysics and then  try to find a job at Papa John’s, then ok, yeah I’d say you might be over qualified and it’d be hard to find a job/get paid a salary commensurate with your degree level.


MYTH: Once I get my PhD I’m set. Smooth sailing from here on out, Baby!

TRUTH: The truth is once you obtain your PhD you’ll probably work harder than you’ve ever worked before. The hardest problems that require the most time and energy are saved up for individuals with your skill set. People know that if you have the fortitude to get a PhD in engineering, then you have the stick-to-itiveness and focus required to tackle any challenge. Relax. They’re going to pay you for it too.


MYTH: I'm an Electrical Engineer. I’ve always been an Electrical Engineer. I’ll always only be an Electrical Engineer.
TRUTH: The truth is by the time your successful career in industry is over you’ll have worn so many hats you’ll probably feel like you got degrees in everything from Mechanical Engineering to International Business. The bottom line is in industry the goal is to make money. Companies make money by producing a product. Not by catering to employees preferences. No one cares if you only really want to do one thing the rest of your life. If that is the case then industry is probably not the best choice. You should expect to get a wide range of projects and opportunities to solve problems which in turn require a wide range of skill sets. Some you’ll have a base for already and some you won’t but will develop because you’re young, smart, quick, and adaptable. You make mom so proud! You’re like the hottest thing smokin!


MYTH: Once I get my job I’ll be able to spend as much time working on my projects as I want. Just like when I was in school doing research.

TRUTH: The truth is as a higher degreed employee you’ll likely have many projects to work on at once. Some with hard deadlines, some without. But like we already mentioned the goal is to make money. Money isn’t made by letting deadlines slip and overspending on projects. As such, you likely will not have nearly as much time as you would like to work on various aspects of different projects. You’ll have to act with a sense of urgency on everything that comes across your desk realizing that if you can get it done faster and more efficiently, it saves the company $$$. You will also likely be ranked on how well you can manage this. At my company we often talk about the 80% solution. This solution is good enough to meet requirements and we like it because we didn’t waste time and money trying to squeeze that last 20% out of the problem to perfect it. If you can navigate under this frame of thought, you will likely do well. So excited for you!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Time Management a Myth?!

No matter how organized we are, there are always only 24 hours in a day. Time doesn't change. All we can actually manage is ourselves and what we do with the time that we have.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Get to Know Our Staff

How well do you know the staff in the Office of Engineering Diversity?  Try to match the correct name and title which each person to find out! Comment with the answers.



E - Amy Freeman - Assistant Dean, Engineering Diversity
C - Cheryl Knobloch - Associate Director, Women in Engineering Program
A - Wayne  Gersie - Associate Director, Multicultural Engineering Program
D - Helen Edson - Administrative and Outreach Manager
B - Jamie Weaver - Administrative Support Assistant

*Answers were posted on 12/12/12*

Monday, December 3, 2012

Who are we?

The Office of Engineering Diversity is located in 208 Hammond Building on Penn State's University Park campus.  It is home to two seperate programs:

The Women in Engineering Program AND
The Multicultural Engineering Program

It is the mission of the office to assist any women or multicultural students in the pursuit of an engineering undergraduate and graduate degrees.  We accomplish this mission by providing numerous successful programs and building long lasting relationships with our students. 

If you are in the Hammond Building, which is a second home to many of our engineering students, please stop in and say hi!