Staff Editorial: Seminars offer opportunities for major based exposures

RPI offers many ways to learn outside of the classroom. Whether it is through additional interactions with professors outside of class, or the rare and elusive field trip, learning does exist beyond scheduled lecture times. One such method is via the seminar series hosted by various departments and groups on campus. These series often feature visiting professors or graduate students from RPI. Talking to these people after the presentations can be a great way to network and possibly even become involved in the research yourself, if it is RPI-based. Additionally, these talks and lectures are a great way to keep up on cutting-edge research that is being conducted at institutions outside of RPI. Other times, graduate students or professors will put on the presentation and talks. Some departments, such as the Cognitive Science and Biology departments, offer these seminars weekly while others, such as the Computer Science department, offer them on a more irregular schedule.

Attending these seminars is not only a great way to keep up to date on developments in your major or minor, but attending seminars outside of your field of study can expand your horizons and introduce you to things you may have not otherwise been exposed to. Many Poly staff members have found attending these talks to be a wonderful way to become engaged in higher education outside of the classroom and have enjoyed the exposure to new and interesting ideas. For example, the Computer Science department has hosted a talk on swarm robotics, while the Civil Engineering department presented a talk on Large Amplitude Oscillatory Flow by Dr. James Swan from the University of Delaware. These are both talks that yield opportunities to get involved.

If you are a freshman, we highly recommend heading to these talks. Not only will it be great way to dive into your major, but it may also help you find a subfield that you are interested in and want to focus your studies on. Additionally, they offer detailed insight that may be unavailable online.There is also oftentimes food served at these events, which is an incentive to attend. If you don’t know when your department holds seminars or are having trouble finding more information, talk to your advisor. They will be pleased to see you taking an interest in your major and will gladly help you.