The always stunning view from Mt Cardigan - pictured are Mts. Moose, Holt's Ledge, Winslow Ledge, and Smarts
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A landscape view of the Glycofi Atrium at the Thayer School of Engineering.

The Thayer School of Engineering isn't a separate college from Dartmouth, but it's very much its own self-sufficient bubble tucked away on the west end of campus. It's a sprawling array of brick, glass, and metal buildings that seem to capture both the vintage and futuristic vibes of engineering (or maybe it's just me). Regardless, what's important is the fact that engineering here at Dartmouth is unique—and I'm just starting to realize how unique.

Engineering is treated as one discipline among many. In other words, Dartmouth turns engineering into an interdisciplinary field that students can engage with on an individual basis. The engineering major can be customized with many areas of study (technically any), including biology, public policy, chemistry, environmental science, and more. I'm tentatively considering modifying my engineering major with studio art! (Common for students interested in physical product design and architecture, see all options here.)

The major itself can be difficult to commit to right away, as there are many prerequisites, but Thayer does a great job advising on courses and providing alternatives. The Human-Centered Design minor, for example, is a popular option for non-majors still seeking a "design thinking" component to their degree.

Once you get to the actual engineering courses, then everything clicks. I still have prerequisites to complete, but I recently wrapped up ENGS 21 Introduction to Engineering. The class condenses the design, prototyping, and testing phases of creating a product or technology into the timespan of a 10-week term. It's all hands-on and project-based learning, which is time-consuming but completely rewarding. I've gained exposure to the range of fabrication services offered by the machine shop and gotten to know wonderful faculty who could help me during future projects (Read more about ENGS 21 in this post!).

A view of project cubbies stuffed with materials for engineering projects in couch lab, a prototyping space at Thayer.
Here are the project cubbies for ENGS 21 near the end of the term—everyone is finishing their final prototypes!

Ultimately, the nature of engineering at Dartmouth has allowed me to determine it's right for me. Between the people, courses, and the flexibility that the major provides, I couldn't ask for something more rewarding and intellectually stimulating. I'm excited to see where the major takes me—and how exactly I engineer my engineering!

(If you want to learn more about engineering at Dartmouth, I would start with this introductory video)

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