My Semester in Review

Four finals, three projects, two presentations, and one massive sleep deficit later: the fall 2018 semester is finally over. I’m sitting at the Ontario airport waiting to board my flight home and looking forward to the restful month ahead of me.

Although sophomore fall is reputably the most challenging, it’s been the one I’ve enjoyed the most so far. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights:


I arrived early to Mudd to lead an Orientation Adventure with my good friend John (check us out under Chasing Waterfalls!). We hiked to Sturtevant Falls, did a workshop at the Hive, adventured in the village, and completed a ropes course…. well sorta.

It must have been at least two hours before our session at the course was over when our group’s collective focus shifted. In classic Mudd fashion, we became deeply invested in playing mind teaser games instead of climbing the ropes (ie. Green Glass Door, the Stick Dance, Black Magic). Our course leader got a kick out of it and had more than a few tricks up his sleeve. I’m sure it wasn’t the average day at work for him, but I hope he had as much fun as we did.

Three photos of a Mudd freshman and a man who works at the ropes course. The photos show a progression of Shinn realizing the trick behind the game and laughing and walking away as he does.

Action shots of Shinn Taniya figuring out the trick behind one of the mind games our course leader showed us.

It was a great experience getting to know and welcome some of our newest Mudders on campus. Just a couple of weekends ago John and I grabbed dinner with most of our OA frosh at a restaurant we visited during our trip. Our faculty member, Prof Van Vleet, was even able to join us! It was awesome to catch up with them and hear about how their first semesters at Mudd are going. And the Thai food, that was also awesome.

Friends + Sunsets!

Coming to campus for orientation as a freshman is exciting for many reasons, but returning to campus every subsequent year is exciting because it means reunions with friends who live in other nooks of the country. I was definitely excited to reunite with my friends and we spent one of our first evenings back together atop a nearby mountain that has great sunset views to offer. It was the first Baldy trip of many this semester.

A selfie of three girls smiling in front of a range of mountains.

September sunset trip to Baldy (Left to Right: Andrea (me), Lucila, and Peyton)

Two photos side by side of a sunset over a mountain range with clouds and an orange glow.

Snapshots of some of the Mount Baldy sunsets I enjoyed this semester


And then of course, there was school… Here’s a screenshot of my weekly class calendar for this semester. I took care of Math 60 and 65 during summer math and so my only core courses were Electromagnetic Theory and Optics (AKA E&M or physics 51), Intro to Systems Engineering (AKA E79 or baby STEMs), and practicum for E79. Due to scheduling restrictions, I have one more core requirement to complete next semester, physics lab.

A screenshot of a Google Calendar with between 3-4 blocks on each day representing the classes I took this semester.

My weekly schedule for sophomore fall

This semester I took my first 80: E86 or Materials Engineering (80 = slang for engineering core courses at Mudd). I also chose to take CS60 or Principles of Computer Science at Mudd and a humanities course at Pomona, Social and Political Movements. This summed up to 15 units, which is about average for a semester at Mudd.


I participated in my first hackathon in September with friends Trevor and John. We traveled to MIT for the weekend, learned a lot, and slept little.

I also participated in the 5C hackathon hosted at Pomona in November with friends Danny, Kaleb, and Sam. I am proud to say that was the only time I have gone to sleep past 7am (SLEEP=IMPORTANT).

The left photo is of an auditorium at MIT the welcoming ceremony for the hackathon was held. The screen on stage reads "HackMIT 2018". The right photo is two college students working on computers in a classroom with a bunch of notes written on the chalkboard behind them.

Left: A photo of the welcoming ceremony at HackMIT 2018. Right: A photo of my friends Danny and Kaleb during the 5C Hackathon.


Living so close to LA has a lot of perks, but by far my favorite is the number of artists that come to perform within an hour of driving distance from Mudd. I took full advantage of the concert selection this semester and had an epic time.

Aside from many concerts here and there, this halloweekend I attended the Escape Psycho Circus music festival held in San Bernadino, a mere 30 minute drive from Mudd (without traffic of course). The list of artists we were able to see is too long to include but among my favorites were W&W, A-Trak b2b YehMe2, Alan Walker, and Snakehips.

The left photo is three students and two older men who are the DJs from that concert. The right photo is of the same three students at a circus-themed park where a music festival was held.

Left: My friends, Sam and Kaleb, and I hanging out with the duo Droeloe outside of the concert venue. Right: Sam, Kaleb, and I at Escape.

Other artists we saw in concert this semester include Kasbo, San Holo, Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Louis the Child, Manilla Killa, Hotel Garuga, DeVault, Taska Black, Slow Magic, and more.

Femgineer Things!

Over the summer I declared my major as engineering and came into the school year ready to live it up.

In September I attended a talk at Loyola Marymount University given by the president of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell. I went with a group of SWE members from Mudd and had the privilege of meeting the president of the Society of Women Engineers at the event.

In October I attended the Society of Women Engineers Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota (read about my experience). I bonded with a lot of awesome Mudders and even scored an internship for the upcoming summer.

Recently I went with a group of students from Mudd’s Amatuer Rocketry Club (MARC) on a tour of SpaceX in Hawthorne, CA. My group of 4 Mudders was led by 2 alums who work at SpaceX now. They both graduated in the class of 2013 and were apart of MARC when they were students.

It’s safe to say that my path towards becoming an engineer has been lit with friendly faces of people who have embarked on the journey before me. My education at Mudd has been complemented by many unique and exciting opportunities to immerse myself in the STEM field beyond the classroom.

The left photo is a flyer advertising a talk hosted at the Loyola Marymount University given by the President of SpaceX Gynne Shotwell with details for the event. The middle photo is a picture of a stage in an auditorium at the SWE conference. The right photo is 7 current Mudd students posing with 2 Mudd alumni who work at SpaceX in front of a rocket outside of the SpaceX facilities in Hawthorne.

Left: Flyer for the talk at LMU. Middle: The main auditorium hall at the SWE Conference in Minnesota. Right: Group photo of current Mudders + 2 Mudd alums who work at SpaceX after they gave us a tour of the facilities (Left: Chris Cotner, Right: Will Ferenc).


Here’s some photos of miscellaneous adventures from this semester. It’s been a wild ride and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m glad to be recharging over the break and know I’ll be excited to come back when the time approaches. Happy Holidays!

The left photo is of three Mudders in front of a grafitti wall. Middle photo is three people walking on the beach not facing the camera. The right photo is a girl with a PVC robot in front of a tank.

Left: Sam, Andrea (me), and Danny outside of a concert venue in LA. Middle: Huntington Beach trip with friends Sam, Anna Grace, and my friend who visited from home. Right: My practicum partner, Ginger and our lovely E79 robot in the tank room.

The left photo is of Louis the Child performing at a concert. The middle photo is Sam holding up a poster at a football game that reads "Heff+Traps Name a Better Duo". The right photo is Danny next to a white board in a Shan classroom.

Left: Photo of Louis the Child during their B&L after party show in LA. Middle: Sam holding a poster at the last football game of the regular season #SkoStags. Right: A random photo of Danny during one of the many late night study sessions in Shan.