Coming to fruition at the end of Season 3, The This Engineering Life Team is building a bank of advice from Duke Seniors! What follows is our compiled list of advice from seniors across all Pratt majors that may help you in your journey through Duke engineering 🙂

If you have any advice of your own, please submit it here!

Advice from our Seniors:

Alex Gourley

Major: BSE MechE, AB Chem with a concentration in Math
After Graduation: Graduate school at Carnegie Mellon in Additive Manufacturing

Alex's Advice

 I began in Trinity with a focus on Chem and as a student athlete, so I would tell myself to be open to change. Switching to engineering was probably my best decision in undergrad, and I am so thankful for the engineering community.

– Alex Gourley


Tracey Chen

Major: ME Major CS Minor
After Graduation:
MEM at Duke in Product Management

Tracey's Advice

Don’t listen to your high school teachers who say the average of college exams is 50%. Aim higher! You’ll do great as long as you try because the resources are abundant, people are truly willing to help, and you’re really smarter than you think!

– Tracey Chen



Major: Mechanical Engineering and Material Science
After Graduation: I will be pursuing a Master’s in Engineering

Anonymous's Advice

When I arrived at Duke I believed that all of my peers were much smarter than I was, I had a small amount of self-respect for myself because I thought that as a racial minority who comes from a low socioeconomic background that I did not belong, that I was worse than my peers. It took me until junior year to realize that I am smart, and that because of my background I am much better off than my peers, the adversity that you face in life makes you stronger than those who faced little to none.

I learned that time is the most valuable thing you possess, do not let others waste your time, this rule should apply with unnecessary meetings and friendships that are veiled in utility, take care to surround yourself with winners. When I say winners, I mean people who have struggled, who work hard, who are honest, who are driven, who are perceptive, who support you in success or in failure, who you are proud to associate with, these traits should be ones that everyone should possess and if you find these people you will pick some of these traits up.

During sophomore year, I struggled in classes, I felt that I worked hard but never got the grades that I felt I deserved, and I realized not to be so hard on myself. I had a hard time, but I put more weight on my success in the classroom, not on my personal happiness, which was the real detriment to that year. You need to strike a balance in your life between work and pleasure, do not sink all of your time into academia for perfect GPA, you will kick yourself once you realize that you should have enjoyed college, notice how when people talk about their time in college they seldom recount stories of attending lectures, however do not have too much fun because the purpose of attending college is to educate yourself.

Another, important piece of advice has to do with failing, do not be afraid of failing, most of us fail at one thing or another on a daily basis, but at Duke this is kept under wraps. I have always been open about my faults, but just as you do not attribute personal success to acts of chance, try not to attribute personal failure to things beyond your control, you control the path you travel not the other way around.

– Anonymous


Jamiee Williams

Major: Civil Engineering, S/M track; Certificate in Architectural Engineering
After Graduation: To try out my hand in an industry leadership/management position in ATL and to continue my education via online Masters program

Jamiee's Advice

Don’t stress too much about the future. Continue to work hard and the progress and results will come. Enjoy the journey and take things one step at a time.

– Jamiee Williams