Archive for February, 2012

A Day in the Life of Dan Smith ’12

Hi everyone! I’m Dan Smith, Aeronautical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering dual degree student at Clarkson working on my final semester.

Today, I start by heading to Introduction to MATLAB at 8 AM, a class that I’m a TA for. Basically, I assist students in learning how to use MATLAB as well as doing behind-the-scenes items like grading. This is a great way for me to take on a mentoring role with freshmen students, which I find is a rewarding experience, and I make a little money along the way!

After this I head out to my senior design class. At the start of the semester, we were issued a Request For Proposal for a “personal jet”. The class of about 50 students was split in half, making this a competition of sorts. Each team was then split into 5 subgroups, each tasked with developing a different aspect of the aircraft. I am affiliated with the Performance group, which analyzes the forces that act on an aircraft (lift, drag, weight, and thrust) and how they affect things like climb rates, turn rates, ceilings, and even takeoff and landing distances. In today’s class, we are working with the whole team to brainstorm the configuration of the aircraft, that is, what the airplane will look like. After this is settled, one of our team members will draw a basic 3-D model of our concept airplane in a CAD program for us to review next class.

After some downtime to refuel and a change of clothes, it’s time for my favorite part of the day. In high school, I was peer pressured by some close friends into joining the Nordic ski team, and it’s been my pride and joy ever since. I’ve skied at Clarkson for 4 years now, and I’m really going to miss the team. But for now, I drive out to Higley Flow State Park, about 20 minutes away from campus, to go get in a quality workout before Regionals this weekend in Jericho, Vermont. Our team is the most competitive in our league, and the top 5 qualify to race at the prestigious Nationals series of races. Right now, it’s a tight race from 4th place on the team down to 12th place, and it’s been one of my goals since I was a freshman to earn one of those coveted Nationals slots.

Anyways, I plan on doing a two hour bout, and start off taking a couple pictures. Conditions haven’t been ideal this season, so I’m glad to actually be on snow today. Below, you can see a skier’s-eye view as well as a ski’s-eye view at the top of the main hill at Higley

After taking these couple of shots, I slide downhill a bit, trying to grab some of the natural beauty of the park, which is known as one of the best places to ski in northern New York and through the Northeast. Earlier this season I was even fortunate enough to catch a glimpse at the elusive bald eagle!

So with this shot taken, I go into my workout, so that I can achieve my goal. Later this evening I’ll do some homework due for classes later in the week with some good friends. This way, I can be productive but low-stress as well. After a quick snack, I’ll hit the sack so that I’m ready to do it all again tomorrow!


A Day in the Life of Joe Camilo ’13


I’m an Electrical Engineering major in my second semester Junior year. Today classes for me start at 11am and this usually means that I sleep in and wake up in time for a relaxing large breakfast and no pressure getting to class on time. However this Tuesday I wanted to finish up some thesis work so I could get it reviewed by Dr. Goss, the director of the honors program. He wanted to go over my Literature Review for my thesis proposal with me. I edited that, took a shower and then drove to class. My first class is Electromagnetic Fields and Waves with Dr. Cheng. We go over mostly new topics and have our homework handed back to us with some feedback.

My next class after a forty five minute break is Dr. Cheng’s Solar Cells class. But during break I find some friends from the class so that we can go over the homework which is due later today. I take Dr. Cheng’s classes because he knows a ton though in class he might not be perfectly clear however he is always willing to explain concepts and problems in his office. Solar Cells so far has been a lot of modern physics which contain hard concepts that means lots of time spent on the homework and in his office.

Directly after that class I go to my thesis mentor’s office so he can show me the toolbox we will be working with in MATLAB. MATLAB is a number crunching program used by lots of engineers, it works similar to a graphing calculator but is infinitely times more complicated and programmable. He shows me the toolbox and now I am able to start getting preliminary results for my thesis. My thesis is about speaker recognition on mobile devices, basically being able to speak a pass phrase and have your smartphone unlock.

From there I go home and eat, now it’s about four o’clock and I have some time now before Golden Knotes, the Clarkson a cappella group. I get some Statics done and then relax with an episode of Modern Family. I have a small dinner and then head over to Cheel for Golden Knotes at eight. I then go home and hang around with my roommate. I call my sister to see how her week is going and then head off to sleep.