There’s really nothing else like it in many other engineering schools in the country,” the speaker said. Was he referring to the many excellent engineering and science programs at the Colorado School of Mines? No, he was referring to the McBride Honors Program, which held an informational session for potential applicants last Wednesday night.
|Josh Gin / Oredigger|
The evening began with the serving of a delicious Vietnamese cuisine. This formed a natural segue into a presentation by participants from last year’s McBride foreign area study in Vietnam. Two students presented a picture-filled powerpoint presentation explaining the adventure. The experience began with a course preparing the students with the Vietnamese culture, cuisine, and language and culminated with a three week trip to Vietnam during the summer of 2010. The students had a variety of experiences, including watching temple dancers, visiting the ConocoPhillips’ office in Ho Chi Minh City, working in an orphanage’s tea field for a few hours, and seeing ridiculous knock-off brand names. Student Lisa Truong said, “It taught me a lot… I really became more appreciative of the culture and the change and saw how forgiving as a nation they were.”
After the presentation of Vietnam, the focus shifted to a presentation on the other practicum option – a spring break trip to Washington, D.C., and accompanying course. The students recapped the highlights of their trip while showing numerous pictures. They were able to meet several members of Congress, including Colorado Congressmen Coffman and Perlmutter. These meetings enabled the students to learn a great deal about not only the members of Congress and their positions on issues but also the way Congress worked.
In a more unusual experience, the Washington, D.C., students visited the Saudi Arabian embassy. As one student said of the experience, “[It] was interesting… we got a chance to ask them some tough questions… it was so interesting to see how they think they are portraying their views.” And although the students had projects to accomplish during their stay, the trip was not encompassed by work. Their stay also included visits to various monuments along with visits to the Smithsonian Air and Space and American History museums.
Another component of the Washington, D.C., trip was finding an internship or research experience over the summer. One student shared about his research position in Norway and his study abroad semester in Australia on scholarship. He explained, “McBride will open doors for you. It can let you go so many places in this world. Because of McBride, I feel like I have an ace up my sleeve in everything I do or try.” He credited McBride with enabling him to win both his research position and scholarship.
The overall message of the session was summed up by one speaker, “You get out of it what you put into it. It is a great place to learn, grow, and experience things you would not otherwise be able to experience without McBride.”