BETTEZ | Let’s Reconsider Our ENGRIs

If you spend enough time on the engineering quad, you’ll eventually hear some variation of this: “I was going to do [insert some engineering major], but then I took the ENGRI for it and it was awful.” The Introduction to Engineering classes, or ENGRIs (pronounced by sounding out each letter), that all engineering freshmen are required to take to explore a major are good for one thing: elimination. They come from a well-meaning place from the engineering administrators, who are aware that the rigid scheduling locks us securely into our majors before we can get a good sense of what they’ll be like. They attempt to let us explore majors we’re considering more before we fully commit to the years-long process of knocking out our flowcharts of requirements one by one. But the fact that we’re only supposed to take one of these classes can lead to some unfortunate consequences. It means that those fairly certain about their major, and those who like or feel neutral enough about their ENGRI, often end up choosing it because they’ve never known anything about the other majors.

BETTEZ | A 50/50 Gender Ratio Isn’t the End of the Story

Cornell’s College of Engineering has more than a few crowning jewels to stake its pride and reputation on — like its extensive set of project teams, its cutting-edge research with world-renowned professors and, of course, the fact that 53 percent of its incoming class is now female. In fact, the college’s website lists the latter number first, even before the fact that the college hosts one of the top 10 undergraduate engineering programs in the country. But why care so much? Why even bother working so hard to get that even male-female ratio in a male-dominated field? The reason — as anyone in engineering admissions can recite by heart — is to make it so that anyone, regardless of who they are, feels welcome, as though who they are and what they look like isn’t an obstacle to be overcome in their success there.