As the newest interviewers for Frankly Speaking, we decided to team up for our first interview with new Dean of Student Life Rae-Anne Butera. Mike Maloney guided us professionally at times, and we had a fantastic time with Rae-Anne in her welcoming office.
Always fond of students and higher education, Rae-Anne was previously the Associate Dean of Students and Director of the First Year Experience at Smith College, where she made numerous contributions to improve student life. She believes in a continuum of learning that incorporates the entire college experience, both inside and outside the classroom. Rae-Anne is also currently pursuing a PhD in Higher Education from UMass Amherst.
In this email interview, Frankly Speaking asked Brett Rowley from the Foundry a few questions about the presence of the Foundry on campus and how students can get involved.
FRANKLY: What is the Foundry?
ROWLEY: The Foundry is Olin’s student-run entrepreneurship organization. It’s been around nearly as long as Olin, albeit in several different forms. “The Foundry” used to specifically refer to Edison House on Great Plains, which acted as an incubator and office space to student startups like Big Belly and the coffee guys. As it grew, it merged with another Olin entrepreneurship group and “the Foundry” became the name for both the building and the group. Now, since Edison house was re-appropriated for Marketing and External Relations office space, “the Foundry” largely refers to just the student group. We do have space in the Campus Center (on the 3rd floor, you’ll see our sign) that is available for students to use, but that space is not utilized as much as we’d like.
A Candid Conversation with Jialiya Huang about hardware development, working with co-founders, and what it feels like to get a company off the ground.
Jialiya Huang, class of 2013.5, founded Technical Machine with Tim Ryan, class of ‘13.5, and Jon McKay, class of ’13, this summer. The company launched Tessel, their first product on September 5th, and is both thrilled and innervated by all the interest the Tessel has received already on Hacker News, Hackaday, and Japanese Slashdot.
Full disclosure, I’m working for Technical Machine too– mostly on press and marketing at the moment. But it was still a great opportunity to speak with Jialiya at length about the future of hardware development and her personal goals in starting a company.
I accidentally scheduled Oscar’s interview for a holiday, but characteristically, he was already planning to be on campus. The bench under the window of his office was, as always, covered with functioning breadboarded circuits. He wore his usual easy grin and silk tie.
A native of both Spain and Puerto Rico, Oscar came, as he describes it, “home” to Boston in 1990. He earned his degrees at MIT, then came to Olin in 2005. At Olin, Oscar teaches Electrical Engineering, Design, and International Development.
A candid conversation with Lynn Stein about developing the semantic web, being one of Olin’s founding faculty members, and what it means to work with college students.
Olin’s professor of computer and cognitive science, Lynn Stein teaches Human Factors in Interface Design (HFID), Fundamentals of Computer Science (FOCS), and Artificial Intelligence (AI), among other classes. She has acclaim as a researcher, teacher, leader, and women’s advocate, and was one of Olin’s founding faculty members.
Editor’s note: This is the full-length version of the interview; the printed version was shortened to fit the space. Scroll down if you wish to read the condensed version.
Pito Salas had only been at Olin for two and a half weeks when I gave this interview, so his office was blank and bare. The only adornments were a “Lean Startup” concept board on top of a shelf and the “E=mc¬2” he scrawled on the board for the sake of the interview pictures.
Pito is new to Olin, but he is almost as new to teaching; his experience is primarily hands-on knowledge gained by working in (and founding) computer science-based start-ups. However, through a long-term determined effort, he has also branched out into the world of undergraduate education- first at his alma mater Brandeis University, and now here. He is currently teaching The Entrepreneurial Initiative (FBE) and the Entrepreneurship (E!) Capstone.
A candid conversation with Sally Phelps about her mission on campus, how she spends her free time, and the challenges of working with Olin students.
I met with Sally Phelps in her office in the lower floor of the library. As always, her schedule was tight, but as always, she was happy to meet with me and speak for a full hour– a clearly prioritized hour of uninterrupted conversation, despite the ringing of phones and the dinging of incoming emails.
Charlie Nolan was the fifth employee of Olin College and its founding Dean of Admission. Though he took three years off to help manage Admissions at Santa Clara University in California (2003-2006), he’s been an Oliner since 1999. He has been working in admissions for more than forty years, and holds a doctorate degree in higher education administration. Although he has worked at Boston College, Washington University, Babson, and other locations, he says his biggest challenge was coming to Olin and starting a school from scratch.
The published version, cut to save space, is on top. Scroll down past the break to read the full interview.
One wall of Manno’s spacious (by Olin standards) office is covered by a sprawling bookshelf, his own mechanical engineering library. Artfully arranged on the shelves are memorabilia: models of elephants, for Jumbo, the Tufts mascot, are gifts from former students. And right next to his computer, for easy viewing, a digital picture frame scrolls through photos of his family.
A candid conversation with Jon Adler about working in psychotherapy, sharing a passion for theater, and helping college students to make sense of who they are.
Every aspect of Jon’s office is intentional. It’s a welcoming space, carefully arranged not only to be a conversation space, but to help guide the themes of conversation. The Magritte on the wall, of an artist viewing an egg and painting a bird, he chose especially for this job. Other pieces are just for him; the sleeping stone swan was sculpted by his grandfather, and the painting by his grandmother makes him happy.