Hi Everybody

I’m writing this to you on a lovely Southern California day! And by lovely I mean we’ve been hit by El Nino and it is lovely to be inside cozying up to my computer and some hot tea. It’s hard to believe January has blown by so quickly, it’s going to be President’s Day in the blink of an eye! (Gotta love a 3 day weekend)

As a little re-cap, my break went a little something like this. Fly home to Chicago; eat delicious Midwestern food; hang out with my wonderful parents and little sister; catch up friends from high school; watch boatloads of TV shows I missed out on last semester; and read some highly satisfying books. While I could enchant you with the details of all of those activities, I will only elaborate on one: the books. Before break a friend recommended I check out the book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, and boy was that a great recommendation. I had forgotten how great it can be to sit down and devour something in so short a time. I was so enthralled that I picked up a couple more books – an Agatha Christie mystery, the biography that inspired the play Hamilton, and I nabbed a number of Mitch Albom’s books off of my parent’s bookcase at home. To get to the point, I fell in love with reading again over break and I hope you guys find a book that gets you on the same train.

Life lessons from 'Tuesdays with Morrie' by Mitch Albom

Life lessons from ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ by Mitch Albom

Looking forward now. It’s second semester senior year! Which is awesome! But it’s also second semester senior year 🙁 Which is sad. But I’m excited!

As far as classes go I’ve got a much “lighter” load than I’ve ever had because I’m only taking 13 units of engineering classes, and a 2 unit voice lesson (woo singing). For Mechanical Engineering classes I have: AME 409, Senior Design, which sounds like it would be very similar to AME 441, Senior Projects, but actually focuses on a very specific project (designing your own car) and looks to be a really different take on engineering than I’ve seen in any other class; and AME 409, Vibrations, where we look at the dynamics behind small oscillations. Then to satisfy some technical elective requirements I’m taking on BUAD 301, Technical Entrepreneurship, where I will be working with my group to develop a business plan for a tech-company startup. And finally to satisfy a core elective I chose to take on ISE 440, “Work, Technology, and Organization” where I am required to help improve a business of some kind in the real world.

Cool story relating to ISE 440. My professor happened to have a connection with ‘Homeboy Industries’, a company that hires ex-con, former gang members, and helps them establish stability in their lives and that is the company my team has elected to study. They’ve received press for their philanthropic endeavor’s success rate. They measure this by looking at ‘recidivism’ rates, that is the rate at which ex-cons return to jail after going through their program. Nationally the rate is somewhere around 70% of convicted felons return to jail. Homeboy’s recidivism rate is below 30%… clearly something is working there. I’m particularly excited about this because our group has the potential to improve their company X%,  possibly allowing them to hire more employees! If you’re interested in the cause you can check out their website here.

Homeboy Industries

Homeboy Industries

Getting the low down on Homeboy Industries' bread making facility. feat. Providence

Getting the low down on Homeboy Industries’ bread making facility. feat. Providence

Well that’s all I have for now. Cheers, until next time!

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Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2016, Learn more on his profile here!