We’re right around the 1/3 mark of the semester and classes are in full swing. 4 o’clocks begin next week, but I’ve already had two exams this past week. At this point in the semester, I’ve gotten used to the styles of each professor and understand what assignments and exams will be like. I’ll continuing grinding on, but I’d like to highlight what is being covered in each of my classes.
Thermodynamics: By far my toughest class this semester (and so far in college), thermo introduces principles to the field that are used to solve all types of problems. For the first few weeks, we were focused on open and closed systems, in addition to compression and expansion. There are many different correlations and equations that can be used based on the parameters of the system. For example, if there is no net change in heat (Q) the system is adiabatic and correlations can be used; also if studying a gas that is considered to behave ideally, ideal gas correlations can be employed. Currently, we are studying the Carnot engine and entropy. Entropy is just plain confusing, but basically refers to the randomness of a system. The Carnot engine operates on the reversible Carnot cycle, and serves as the basis for the most efficient heat engine.
ECE 83: This class is an introduction to electrical engineering principles. Now, you may ask yourself why a ChemE is taking an ECE class, it is required for my major and the ideas taught in the class can be applied to many applications. Professor Best teaches how to approach any problem like an engineer and I thoroughly enjoy his lectures. We have focused entirely on circuits up to this point. We have learned several analyzing techniques used to find out variables about the given circuit (eg. power, current,voltage)
Biology: We have covered an exorbitant amount of information in BIO and the first exam last week was rather difficult. We have talked about many aspects of cells, including proteins, organelles, and protein structure. Recently, we covered DNA replication and RNA replication. I find it extremely interesting how scientists discover what is happening at a molecular level, and how all biological pieces fit together. It truly is remarkable what is happening in our bodies every second. Check out the video of DNA replication.
Organic Chemistry II: Orgo 2 directly builds off Orgo 1 which I took in the fall. We have continued looking at reactions, mechanisms, and synthesis. I enjoy doing synthesis, which involves building a ‘roadmap’ to get from a product to a reactant. We have to use all types of reactions in order to create a path that logically and scientifically works.
Professional Development: Sophomore ChemE’s meet once a week for two hours for a seminar at Iacocca Hall. We discuss different topics involving careers and opportunities. We discussed internships and REU a few weeks back. Last week, someone from Career Services gave a presentation about writing resumes and cover letters. We also talked about research opportunities and graduate school.
Spring break is still a long three weeks away. Regardless, I am enjoying my current courseload and am anxiously awaiting upcoming exams. On top of homework and studying, I am in the process of applying for several REU and internships. It’s going to be a busy but important couple of weeks.