Realizing Real World Implications as Engineers

My Favorite Course in General Engineering

Prajna Soni, Class of 2020 (middle), on a construction project course trip in Jordan.

Name: Prajna Soni
Country: India
Year: Class of 2020
Major: Mechanical engineering with a minor in computer science
Course: Engineering Ethics

Engineering Ethics is about learning and realizing the real world implications that we as engineers have in the world; understanding our responsibilities and duties to the community we live in.

Why This Course

This course is a foundation course for engineers, exposing us to the social and cultural backgrounds against which engineering and innovation takes place. I think it's necessary to realize that our work in the classroom and lab has real life implications. It is also required for engineering majors. 

A Typical Day in This Class

This course consisted of a one-week regional academic seminar, where we were immersed in a foreign culture, conducting ethnographic research and critically assessing applications and innovations through a volunteer project with Habitat for Humanity.

A typical day during the seminar consisted of a local breakfast, and a short ride to the site. On site, I learned about local construction practices, interacted with the community to better understand their culture, and worked as a construction volunteer with the community to enhance my ability to conduct ethnographic research.

After seven hours of work and a traditional lunch at a local family's house, I head back to my hotel to have a quick shower before continuing to work on my ethnographic research.

The seminar trip is an intensive yet rewarding trip where I learned about the host community through first-hand experience, highlighting the fact that engineering is not isolated from the social and cultural norms.

Prajna Soni, Class of 2020

What I Loved About The Class

My regional academic seminar was in Ajloun, Jordan. My favourite moments during the seminar were the tea breaks. The family we were working with would bring out Jordanian tea, falafels and khubis for everyone. The class  would try to learn Arabic words and pronounce them correctly, whilst the Arabic speakers in the team and family were lightly entertained by our efforts.

I loved that Professor Matt  Karau  was introducing engineering students to the bigger picture surrounding engineering, beyond calculations and simulations.

Tips on Navigating What Major or Course to Take

  1. Don't be afraid to explore in your first year, and take classes you want to even if they don't count towards anything. 
  2. Try to make sure you are learning things you want to learn, and not just satisfying requirements for a major.
  3. If you have never done computer science, I'll recommend taking Introduction to Computer Science or Discrete Math.
  4. Speak to professors or sit in on classes you find interesting, or know nothing about.

Why NYU Abu Dhabi

The level of access to resources and professors we have at NYUAD is hard to find. With spaces such as the Engineering Design Studio with 24/7 access, and equipment in the Advanced Manufacturing Lab and Wood Shop, you have the ability to learn, experiment and create your ideas.

Smaller classes and access to projects and opportunities also meant that I can build relationships with professors and participate in projects I could not have imagined doing otherwise.

NYUAD opens doors to unique opportunities that aren't found in larger, more traditional schools.