Annual UCLA Engineering Welcome Day Kicks Off Fall Quarter for New Students
UCLA Samueli School of Engineering hosted 850 new students attending the daylong Engineering Welcome Day.
More than 80% of this year’s 1,013 new students attended the daylong event, which took place at the Court of Sciences and included presentations, a scavenger hunt, student organization information booths and campus tours guided by engineering student ambassadors.
Engineering Welcome Day is organized by the school’s largest student-run organization, the Engineering Society at UCLA (ESUC). Emika Saito, a third-year bioengineering student and ESUC’s president, said the organization’s goal for the event is to make new students feel welcome by providing a means for them to meet their peers and learn about the opportunities and resources UCLA Samueli has to offer.
Saito opened this year’s event with a welcome speech before introducing Bruce Dunn, the interim dean of UCLA Samueli. Dunn congratulated the students on their admissions to UCLA and encouraged them to embrace their new roles as Bruins. He said the campus is uniquely positioned with diverse academic, professional and cultural opportunities, and invited students to collaborate with fellow Bruins from across the campus.
“This entire event has been a great way to see all the different engineering clubs and meet other people in engineering in general, and to get used to where we’ll be for the next four years,” said Nathan Choup, a first-year bioengineering student.
“In your classes, you’re going to be meeting students who are other engineers, other people in the sciences — and that’s fine, but through the dorms and other activities, you’re going to be meeting people who are in the performance arts, visual arts, humanities, social sciences and so forth,” Dunn said. “The ensemble of this gives the UCLA student body an incredible opportunity for interaction and finding out where you want to go with your careers.”
Among the other speakers were associate dean of academic and student affairs Richard Wesel; associate dean of equity, diversity and inclusion and faculty affairs Veronica Santos; UCLA Samueli Makerspace director Jacob Schmidt; Engineering Alumni Association Governing Board president Eddie Shek and vice president Calvin Cam; as well as representatives from the UCLA Career Center and other units.
Following the presentations, a scavenger hunt throughout South Campus was hosted by MentorSEAS, an undergraduate student-run organization that matches every incoming engineering student with a mentor from their major to help each student navigate their first year of college.
The newly admitted Bruins were then free to choose between partaking in an engineering school tour or attending the Engineering Exploration Fair, where 50 student organizations set up booths to meet and recruit prospective members. The organizations serve to support a variety of engineering student interests in the professional, cultural and social spheres.
One of the professional organizations at the fair was the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE), represented by its president and third-year biochemistry student Sunny Wu and internal vice president Fionna Lim, a third-year chemical engineering student. Wu said the organization welcomes all students interested in pharmaceutical careers. The club provides in-person career and research workshops, networking seminars and guest speaker forums to support its members and offer a sense of community.
Engineering Welcome Day attendees spoke of their enthusiasm for the abundance of information and opportunities presented throughout the day.
“This entire event has been a great way to see all the different engineering clubs and meet other people in engineering in general, and to get used to where we’ll be for the next four years,” said Nathan Choup, a first-year bioengineering student. “What stuck [out] to me was that all the speakers emphasized that ‘Yes, we want you to focus [on your study],’ but they kept emphasizing to also have a balance, which I liked. It’s not just the studying aspect, it’s everything else, too. That makes the college experience so unique.”
Other students also shared that they enjoyed the social aspects of the day, meeting fellow new students, organization leaders at the Exploration Fair and their MentorSEAS families.
Dannela Lagrimas contributed to this story.