Welcome to Episode 006 – Pratt: A Virtual Experience, where we discuss with a number of undergraduate students the effects of changes made to the way Pratt run that have started in the last few weeks. As distance learning, social distancing, and even stay-at-home orders are becoming the norms of daily life, we think it’s important to share that no-one is alone, and we’re all having to make changes to maintain as much of our normal lives as possible. The following interviews (all conducted from a social distance of course) aim to show you that, despite the changes to all of our worlds, we are still living This Engineering Life.


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In our second release during these times of COVID-19, the This Engineering Life Team feels it important that all of our listeners have a bank of productive things to do during their social distancing, so we compiled a list of our favorite Books, Videos, and Projects for you to enjoy!

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Episode Contributors

This weeks episode of This Engineering Life features four engineering undergrads, and a mechanical engineering professor, who share with us their experiences in this unprecedented distance learning situation:

Dr. Sophia Santillan – Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

As an engineering professor herself, Dr. Santillan is a unique resource who shares with us her insights and perspective on the shifting of Duke’s engineering classes to a completely virtual experience. As a professor, her interests are in engineering education, nonlinear systems, structural mechanics and numerical methods. She speaks in this episode on the changes shes had to make, and is still in the process of making, to tailor her class to the newfound needs and distance learning consideration of her students.

Max Sondland – Senior Mechanical Engineer

Max is a senior ME from Portland Oregon. Friends with Dimitrios, he’s decided to stay back in Durham instead of going home due to the virus. He speaks on his experience as an Engineer, finding it difficult to adapt to online learning, especially in the case of his final design project. He explains how everyone’s design projects are now difficult/impossible to physically complete, but that he’s slightly better off because he opted to remain in Durham.

Dimitrios Bailas – Senior Mechanical Engineer

A senior ME from Switzerland, and friends  with Max, Dimitrios has also opted to stay in Durham instead of returning home. He explains that it has been tricky to get into a routine, and that finding the balance between work and free time has been difficult. As a senior, he is also working on final design project, and share his thoughts about the new reality for this as well.

Brian Bosem – Junior BME/ECE

As a Junior double majoring in Biomedical and Electrical and Computer Engineering, Brian goes into detail about how his classes have changed now that in person lectures, groups, and learning isn’t possible. Being a part of Duke E-nable, he also expresses his disappointment that they no longer have access to Duke’s 3D printing resources to allow them to continue production of their unique parts.

Grant LoPresti – Sophomore ECE/CS

I must admit, as the Webmaster for This Engineering Life,  I’m writing this about myself. In this episode however, I speak from my perspective as a Sophomore ECE/CS student about how my classes have transitioned to virtual. I also share my thoughts on how I believe the university has handled this unique and unprecedented situation.

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Bonus Audio Clips:

Interviews with Max & Dimitrios:
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Interviews with Dr. Santillan & Brian:
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Interview with Grant LoPresti:
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Closing Outro & Comments:
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