View a video of highlights from Family Weekend!
Photos from Family Weekend have been posted in a Picasa web album.
Picasa (from Google) allows you to download and/or order prints, if you desire,
from one of four vendors: Walgreens, Shutterfly, Snapfish or Photoworks.
Note: Harvey Mudd College has no role in the transactions.
Through classes, tours, panel discussions and conversations with other parents and family members, participants set out to uncover the origins of this pleasantness. Their inspection revealed some of what makes Mudd such a great place for their students.
A LOVE OF LEARNING
Academic tours for each of the departments—biology, engineering, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and humanities, social sciences, and the arts—were led by faculty members who shared the latest news and accomplishments in their areas. Parents attended classes on Differential Equations, General Chemistry, Introduction to Astrophysics, Materials Engineering, and Ecology and Environmental Biology, allowing them to sample the rigorous academic environment.
Computer science Professor Zach Dodds demonstrated to a group of amazed parents several robots built by students in his courses. One robot used an advanced visual system for judging distances and traversed the carpet, stopping inches from the feet of several parents. Another student-built robot sported a Lego body and multi-directional wheels that allowed it to move in any direction i(ncluding directly sideways) without turning its head—the ideal vehicle for tight parallel parking.
WORK HARD, PLAY HARD
Parents learned that the challenging course of study pursued by HMC's bright students is balanced by a strong network of support, encouragement and fun. Vice President and Dean of Students Maggie Browning described the many ways her staff in Institutional Diversity, Career Services and Registrar encourages and supports student engagement.
“Fun is part of what we do, but not all of what we do,” shared Browning, former master of Wilson College at Princeton University, who arrived at HMC in June 2009. "I tend to think of student affairs as the office that handles education that goes on outside the classroom and lab, so, the students are always learning here. It's a time of enormous change and development in their lives and every interaction can hold a lesson for them. It's our job to take advantage of those moments and make them as rich and educationally effective as we can."
Browning went on to describe her goal of expanding the civic engagement opportunities for students. Several of the activities currently underway include an on-campus math and science tutoring program serving local middle school and high school students; the Homework Hotline, which provides free math tutoring for local students in grades 6-12; the student group Mudders Making A Difference, which supports the community service activities of all five undergraduate colleges; and Science Bus.
Parents learned about these opportunities, and more—honor board, student government, residence proctors and mentors program, orientation—that are available to students outside of the classroom.
"What stands out about HMC on the student life side is the extent to which the college respects the students and gives them responsibility for how they handle their lives on campus,” said Browning. “This is an enormous gift, responsibility and great learning opportunity. Our role is to help students live up to that responsibility.”
Behind-the-scenes tours and demonstrations included a hands-on lesson of the printing presses used by Professor of Literature Jeff Groves in his teaching and research, a machine shop tour led by Manager Mike Wheeler, and a demonstration of the HMC American Gamelan by Professor of Music Bill Alves.
On Friday, parents were also treated to overviews of HMC summer research and the Clinic Program.
Professor of Engineering Patrick Little described the five programs that make up Clinic at HMC—Computer Science, Engineering, Physics, Mathematics and Global Clinic—and shared some of the team-based projects guided by faculty advisers that are helping Clinic sponsors solve real, technical problems. Projects this year and their sponsors include "Design of procedures to extract growth factors from expired human blood“ (Allogenesis); “Measuring on-chip capacitance” (Sun Microsystems); “Data links for deep drilling for geothermal energy” Systems (Sandia National Labs); “Characterizing the shipping environment for the Antarctic Plateau Interferometer” (Jet Propulsion Laboratory); and “Design and implementation of 3-D lighting for biologic specimens” (UVP).
Little described one project that was literally “out of this world.” A 2007 Engineering Clinic sponsored by The Aerospace Corporation led to the inclusion of camera boards on the deployment of two miniature satellites called picosats that took photographs of the Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-116) in December 2007. The names of the HMC students were etched into the space-borne devices. Little said this was one of a huge array of Clinic Projects that is "world-class cool."
Another area considered way cool by HMC students—and a key reason many choose to attend—is the college's research program, which is aligned to the college's mission. Research is built into the curriculum and is focused on the student who works in collaboration with faculty members, said Ran Libeskind-Hadas, professor of computer science and associate dean for diversity, research and experiential learning. "We've recognized what is important is that it provides deep disciplinary learning beyond what you can get in the traditional classroom," he said. Libeskind-Hadas shared undergraduate research highlights, including HMC's summer program and news about students whose summer project work has been published or won awards. Success with undergraduate research has resulted in HMC having the most alumni who have received National Science Foundation fellowships within the last 10 years.
INFORMATION, ADVICE AND REASSURANCE
In addition to receiving positive news from President Klawe about HMC's financial situation (good and holding steady), new core curriculum (still rigorous but now more flexible), new faculty (coming soon in engineering, physics and biology), and financial aid (more monies being made available), parents were treated to an exclusive look at the new teaching and learning building.
Vice President of College Advancement Marc Archambault described the purpose and plan for the 70,000-square-foot, sustainable building that is part of the college's vision to improve its infrastructure and resources that will support its commitment to excellence and community building. It will house classrooms, faculty offices, performance, meeting and display spaces, plus the offices of admission and financial aid and the president's office. He shared that the college is seeking a lead gift of between $20-$25 million (the building cost is estimated at $42 million) before breaking ground. The building, which will replace Thomas-Garrrett, is scheduled for completion by 2012. "It is a building that is capable of holding a lot of dreams," said Archambault.
Parents and families also heard from a panel of alumni/engineering majors—Eric Burkhart ’08, Tracy Fox ’07 and Jacques Favreau ’07—who described their HMC experiences and their lives after graduation. The three agreed that parents should encourage their students to utilize Mudd resources, as they each had benefited from their connections (Burkhart and Favreau work at separate jobs with fellow HMC alumni). Their advice to current students: "Be a sponge." "Breathe." "Keep in touch with other Mudders."
Parent volunteer and engineer Cindy Simoni P92 added her own perspective: "Tell your child to be patient," she said, referring to the rewards of life after Mudd. Her parent survival tips included, "Don't ask to see grades; Don't expect a call (they're very busy); Learn how to text; and Come back every year to Family Weekend."
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Parents quizzed HMC proctors about issues of residence life and learned that proctors place a high priority on helping freshmen adjust to the rigors of college. Panelists included David Berryrieser ’10 (South Dorm), Alex Randall ‘10 (Atwood) and Michael Ho ’10 (Case). Kathy Cotner P13 from Vancouver, Wash., asked what the proctors do to help freshmen keep a balance between academics and social life.
Randall explained, “Everyone comes here academically driven. We help by asking, ‘What made you the well-rounded student who was accepted to HMC? Was it music? Literature? Awesome passions?’ We find out what those passions are and then help them find a way to pursue them here, within the five Claremont Colleges. Sometimes students just don’t see the opportunities and need help to find them.”
A highlight of the weekend was an Egg Drop Competition, students vs parents. Organized by student group Dos Muchachos, teams conspired to create a device from provided materials—including Gummi Bears and drinking straws—that would allow a raw egg to survive a three-story drop. The results were humorous and creative. Read more.
During the afternoon tea on Saturday, President Maria Klawe mingled with students and their families and delivered a parting thank you, congratulations (to the winners of the egg-drop competition) and farewell. As parents prepared to say goodbye to each other and to their students, The Claremont Colleges’ a cappella group Midnight Echo gave an exuberant performance, a fitting conclusion to a delightful weekend.