Undergraduate Blog

Taylor's got all your local and online options for buying and selling textbooks and more.

Spare change

June 13, 2016 -   Amazon can be a good place for selling books other than textbooks.There are numerous opportunities online and around Champaign-Urbana to make or get back a little cash. Consider trying some of these instead of buying everything new or throwing used stuff away.   Commonly used websites like Craigslist and Reddit are great ways to sell locally.
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Taylor does the searching for you and finds some interesting hidden gems across campus.


June 9, 2016 -   Analog clock in MEL lab.The campus is full of little details and secrets, many of which beg the question, “Why?”  See how many of these you’re familiar with.    In one of the labs in MEL, there is a large analog clock behind a glass panel.  MEL also has the homebuilt puzzle case, although it’s currently incognito.
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Looking for inspiration or hoping to solve a problem? Taylor suggests keeping your eyes and mind open to any possible solution.

The most unlikely places

May 31, 2016 -   Missiles were kept in underground silos during the Cold War. WD-40 was created to prevent the weapons from rusting.As engineering students, it’s pretty much a given that we should be able to come up with our own ideas.    All the problem solving we do in class serves to make us better at knowing how to find good solutions.
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Taylor wraps up 2015-2016 with a reminder of all the great (and not so great) things that happened this year.

School's out for...

May 15, 2016 -   Cantaloupe in the Ike carved like a jack-o-lantern for Halloween.Good job everyone on making it through another school year!  I’d like to briefly address our graduating seniors.     Congratulations, all of you.
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Taylor's got some tips for beating the upcoming summer heat.

Surviving summer heat (if summer heat ever comes)

May 9, 2016 -   A dog tries to beat the heat by laying on an ice bed.Whether you’re staying on campus over the summer or going somewhere else hot for a few months, here are some tips for getting through the heat (especially useful if you don’t have air conditioning).  Most of these have assumed that you have access to a fridge. Make your own popsicles using fruit juice and a mold.
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Learn everything you wanted to know about taking the GRE.

Introducing the GRE

May 5, 2016 -   The GRE focuses on testing your logic and reasoning skills.The GRE (“Graduate Record Examinations”) is the most common test required for admission to grad school.  It focuses on testing your logic and reasoning skills as well as your ability to construct an argument and some basic math skills.     You are given a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the GRE.
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In the April edition of her blog series, Taylor shares original photos she captures from around campus.

Views of MechSE: April gallery

April 28, 2016 - Outside Altgeld Hall on a rainy day. Sunlight shines through a flowering dogwood across the street from the main Quad.
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Taylor reminds us of the most pressing issues in grammar.

Between the three of us, its not rocket science

April 20, 2016 - To address some very common grammar mistakes, here is a simple (and hopefully useful) list.  Did you catch the two errors in the title?   Its vs. It’s This may seem self-explanatory, but it comes up all the time.  “It’s” is a shorter way of saying “it is.”  “Its” is possessive.  It’s a nice day.
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Taylor brings the truth on several well-known misconceptions in engineering and physics.

Lethal pennies and other misconceptions

April 12, 2016 -   Here is a list of some common misconceptions in STEM subjects and their explanations.     Physics:
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In a second edition this month of her blog series, Views of MechSE, Taylor shares original photos she captures from around campus.

Views of MechSE: Farewell to March

March 30, 2016 - Looking at the Illini Union from the front of Foellinger Auditorium on a warm day in early March. A view of Jupiter, resembling a distant star, outside the Beckman Institute.
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You've learned about sound waves thanks to Taylor. Now she takes it one step further with music theory.


March 28, 2016 -   Pitches with similar frequencies create an interference pattern that makes alternates between loud and soft volume, making a beating sound.Now that you’ve read about how sound waves work, here’s a follow-up looking at sound waves working in harmony (or dissonance), or in other words, basic music theory.    For whatever scale (the specified set of musical notes ordered by pitch)
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Taylor explains how different media affect the movement of sound waves.

Faking the sound of bells

March 6, 2016 -   When Jill speaks on the other side of the doorway, Jack can hear what she says because of the way the sound waves spread out as they travel.If you remember from physics, sound waves are longitudinal waves, meaning that the displacement of the medium is in the same direction as the motion of the wave. In other words, the sound carried by the wave moves in the direction that the wave travels.
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In this March edition of her blog series, Views of MechSE, Taylor shares original photos she captures from around campus.

Views of MechSE: March gallery

March 3, 2016 - Looking north toward the Beckman Quad from outside the Digital Computer Laboratory. View of the Main Quad from outside the English Building.
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Taylor shares the highlights from Dean Cangellaris' talk for Engineering Council's "Last Lecture" series.

How luminous life is

March 2, 2016 -   Dean Andreas Cangellaris gave a talk for Engineering Council’s “Last Lecture” series.
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Considered a popular teacher even by MechSE students, physics professor Mats Selen was named Professor of the Year.

A glimpse into the life of Professor of the Year Mats Selen

February 29, 2016 -   Physics professor and Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs Mats Selen was named a 2015 Professor of the Year.Last semester, UIUC Physics Professor Mats Selen was named a
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Taylor spent an informative day at the annual weSTEM conference at Illinois, and she shares important advice that applies to all women in the field.

Be Inspired, Stay Motivated, Grow Passionate

February 14, 2016 -   Grad students had a chance to talk before the opening keynote.Saturday, February 6 marked the 4th annual weSTEM conference. The flagship project of gradSWE, Women Empowered in STEM brings students from UIUC and universities all around the country together for a day of discussions and fellowship.
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Taylor says a new semester calls for new ways to be resourceful with your studies.

New Year, New ...

February 1, 2016 -   Welcome back to school, everyone. What’s new on campus? For one, Everitt Lab is under construction, as I’m sure everyone knows. A little history: Everitt was built in 1949 and named after William Everitt, who had served as the Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering. Parts of the building were actually used in 1947 for classroom space since there was an apparent dearth of available classrooms.
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In this February edition of her blog series, Views of MechSE, Taylor shares original photos she captures from around campus.

Views of MechSE: February gallery

January 31, 2016 - Snow angels on the Beckman Quad.   The Engineer still has his hat from the holidays.
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In a new blog series, Views of MechSE, Taylor shares original photos she captured from around campus.

Views of MechSE: End-of-semester gallery

December 17, 2015 -   Looking west along Boneyard Creek in the early afternoon. First snow of the season, behind Engineering Hall.
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As we say farewell to a successful 2015, Taylor brings you her creative version of O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi."

Maybe December

December 14, 2015 -   77 days of class later, we find ourselves again at the end of the semester, in a strangely warm week.  Soon we’ll have a solid month of no school at which point some of us will stay here and the rest will scatter to the four corners of the earth. I wish everyone a happy holiday and a great break. Below, please enjoy this college version of O. Henry’s story The Gift of the Magi, first published Dec. 10, 1905.
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