Olin’s Endowment: A Guide

Olin received its initial endowment of over $400 million from the F. W. Olin Foundation, and has since been using these funds to found and grow Olin- with a vision towards Olin as the recognized leader in the transformation of undergraduate education in America and throughout the world.

As part of its plan to attract top engineering students, Olin has offered the Olin Scholarship, an eight-semester merit scholarship, to all of its students since the college’s beginning. Until 2006, this scholarship included room, board, and full tuition; until 2011, Olin students received full tuition scholarships. The initial reduction in scholarship was planned; the more recent reduction was due to a sudden value reduction on endowment investments.

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Popping the Olin Bubble: February Edition

2/1 Susan G. Komen Foundation cuts funding to Planned Parenthood.
2/2 Empirical groundhog study shows that the US will have six more weeks of winter.
2/3 Susan G. Komen Foundation reverses its decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
2/4 Tunisia withdraws recognition of the Syrian government; Obama calls for Syrian President Assad to step down.
2/5 Mitt Romney wins Nevada caucuses.
2/6 The U.S. withdraws all diplomats from Syria, citing safety concerns. The U.N. estimates that over 7,500 people have died in Syria since the uprising began in January of last year.
2/7 Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi allowed to leave her hometown for the first time in 20 years to begin campaigning for Burma’s April elections.
2/8 Mashco-Piro tribe, an out-of-contact people living in Peru, raids an illegal logging site using bows and arrows.
2/9 Tibetan monk sets himself on fire in western China in protest of policies on Tibet.
2/10 Almost 40kg of cocaine found in diplomatic mails sent from Ecuador to Italy.
2/12 Hamza Kashgari, a Saudi blogger who insulted the Prophet Mohammed on Twitter, deported by Malaysian authorities back to Saudi Arabia,where he may be executed for blasphemy.
2/13 Bombs targeting Israeli diplomats placed in New Delhi and Tbilisi, Georgia. 2 injured.
Washington State legalizes gay marriage.
2/14 Three bombs accidentally set off in Bangkok. Four Iranians detained for questioning.
2/15 The Columbian Prosecutor’s Office reveals that two Columbian priests who were gunned down in Bogota last year had paid to be assassinated. Shortly before death, one of the priests had been diagnosed with AIDs.
2/16 Honduras confirms : 358 people were killed in a massive prison fire.
2/18 WHO decides that the research detailing how to mutate the H5N1 flu virus into a strain more deadly than anything that walks this earth will be kept secret until a full risk assessment takes place.
2/19 Somali leaders decide on basic structure for the country’s new parliament and government.
2/20 At least 30 people killed by a bombing in a Nigerian market.
2/21 NATO troops stationed in Afghanistan burn several copies of the Quran, sparking protests in which more than 30 civilians and two US military advisors have been killed.
Greece receives a 130 billion-euro bailout from the Eurozone.
2/22 Virginia governor Bob McDonnell blocks the passing of a bill which would require women wanting an abortion to undergo and fund a medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound.
2/23 The researchers of CERN discovered that the faster-than-the-speed-of light neutrinos were probably due to a loose cable.
War journalist Marie Colvin killed by (speculated) targeted shelling in Homs, Syria.
2/24 Average price of gas per gallon in California jumps 10 cents overnight, mainly in reaction to a fire at a refinery in Washington.
2/25 Nelson Mandela admitted to hospital with an abdominal complaint.
2/26 Fire at the Brazilian Antarctic research station kills two sailors.
2/27 One student killed and four injured in school shooting in Chardon, Ohio. (2 die next day)
2/28 18 Shiite males die after Taliban attack on passenger buses in Pakistan.

How to Succeed in Business

The careers of many successful individuals are represented in some regard by the following paradigm: Go to high school. Work hard in high school to get into a most respectable college. Work hard in college to land esteemed internships. Using well-built resume, land esteemed job or entrance into esteemed graduate school. If job, work. If graduate school, graduate, then work. This pattern succeeds in that with the proper inputs of ambition, work ethic, and luck, it outputs a well-rounded engineer with a respectable salary and a bright future.

This paradigm is deeply flawed. Students in this system waste their time always pushing towards future, socially mainstream goals rather than pursuing their own dreams. Striving for distant plans often requires us to meet others’ expectations rather than our own. Though often the path of least resistance, appeasing others produces unsatisfied individuals who make tangible sacrifices for little gain in areas they find meaningful.

I can’t criticize others without first acknowledging my own guilt. My high school branch of National Honor Society could have been named “Volunteer or your resume won’t look good enough to get into college”. I volunteered, and here I am, but the resume-building didn’t stop there.

Last summer, I was offered an internship position at an esteemed company. The only caveats were that I’d have to program computer graphics in a language nobody uses, and I’d have to turn down a position at a summer camp that I was excited about.

At the time, the decision was obvious: I worked for Westinghouse Electric, the largest technical employer in the United States.

Nobody would care if I worked at a summer camp for two years in a row, but if I had a manager that could say I was a respectable worker, I’d be worth something. I valued my resume and recommendations over my own interests, passions, and desires. This is fundamentally wrong. This flawed reasoning, and the realization that I never wanted to repeat it, is the most valuable bit of knowledge I’ve taken from my experience as an intern.
Searching for jobs this summer, I took an entirely different approach. I first pointed myself in a direction that excited me, then picked a subset that I thought had worth to society: the sustainable agriculture movement.

Next came the hard part, finding a job. Internships are most often sought through supply side economics, which play out as follows in students’ heads. “It’s time to find a job. Let me see what is available and apply to the most interesting options. I’ll accept the offer that excites me most.” At times, interests align and happy employees result. Alternatively, applicants will take an undesired position “because it is a job”, setting the stage for minimal satisfaction.

Finding work on a farm was fundamentally different. Because no farms came to me actively seeking help, and because there were no social expectations in this field of work, I had the freedom to find my ideal position.
It was far simpler to let someone come to me offering employment. However, working harder to find a job that excited me has been well worth the effort.

I will be working as a farmer in the mountains of Colorado this summer. I couldn’t be more thrilled, and I’d love to tell you about it.

And what’s more, I’d love to tell future employers of how my experiences give me insight that sets me apart from all other applicants.

Aligning my work with my passions seems to be the ultimate resume-builder for employment down the road after all. And even if I’m wrong, even if it doesn’t land me a dream job later on, I will have spent three months passionately working towards admirable goals in an exciting field.


I said Skydiving
hoping to start them talking
not a one blinked their
hands on steering wheels
and books, the littlest listless
in the backwards seat the leather car
seats ‘why don’t we
put on some’ Beethoven
electric fiddle anything guitar
too spaced sounds sift out
Let me at least be Daedalus
was left behind unuttered
already on our way forward
in space at least.

Choose Wisely: Embrace Fear

So you want to study away. You’re stoked, but where should you go? The world is full of choices, and it’s overwhelming. I’ll narrow the field for you: you should study away in a developing country.

First, be fearless. Think of all of the places you’ve been to or would want to go on vacation. Now, cross them all out.

Chances are, most of the “first world” is now off your list. When I chose my study away location, I circled the parts of the world that were so foreign that I would almost certainly never visit them on my own, and I chose from those countries.

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Thank You Jesus! Tro-Tro

The door of the 15-seater van nearly falls off as it scratches along its track. The Mate hangs out and yells,

A mass of bodies push into the Tro-Tro: Men in business suits, women in brightly colored swaths of cloth, a mechanic with half a transmission, kids in school uniforms. Before I, too, am swept into the van, I notice the bright yellow decal on the back window, “Thank you Jesus!” The door slams shuts.

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Take a Leave of Absence

In July, my internship in Mumbai wrapped up and I spent the next three and a half months touring India. By mid November, I was in Nepal. For Christmas, I joined my family in Peru, followed by a trek through Argentina, Chile, and Ecuador. At the time of writing, I am staying over in Olin while my visa for China processes, and by publishing time I’ll be in Shanghai to live, work and learn Mandarin.

Olin allows–no, encourages–its students to take time away from school. Your scholarship is valid for eight semesters in five years. That’s an implicit invitation that many students ignore, but that is a mistake. Taking a leave of absence makes you a better, more rounded person, makes you appreciate what you have here at Olin, and opens your eyes to a world of new experiences.

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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

The lights come up on a formless landscape; two men sit, one flipping coins into the air, the other catching them. So begins the Franklin W. Olin Players’ magnificent production of Tom Stoppard’s absurdist comedy, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Most of us are familiar with Shakespeare’s Hamlet – a tale of treachery and royal intrigue which examines such themes as suicide, misogyny, and tragic uncertainty – and many of us likely remember Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two peripheral characters who appear in three scenes, deliver a handful of lines, and are parenthetically killed off in the final act (oh yes, spoiler alert: at the end of Hamlet, EVERYONE DIES).

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Dr. Liu: March 2012

Wise Dr.,
I’m terribly unfortunate in the realm of dating. I’m irrevocably in love with my suitemate, but I don’t think he has any idea. He’s also dating a Wellesley chick, and I’m kind of in love with her too. What should I do?
-Confused in Canada

Dear Confused,
You should devise an elaborate scheme where you have one of your friends convince your suitemate that he is gay. He will break up with the Wellesley chick, who will find solace in your loving arms. Afterwards, your suitemate will realize that he is not in fact gay, feel dejected and forever alone, and also come seek sweet, sticky love in your room. You should also purchase a strap-on.
No, but really: this isn’t a serious question, is it? People don’t actually live in Canada, do they?

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