Lehman begins engineering dual-degree at Dartmouth

-3 For most students, just getting their B.A. (Bachelor of the Arts) from the College is a feat. However, in only five years, students who participate in the Dartmouth dual-degree engineering program, students receive both their B.A. and B.E. (Bachelors in Engineering).

For one or both semesters of their junior year, many undergraduates choose to study abroad in a different country. Scott Lehman ’16, in contrast, is not studying outside the United States; instead, he is spending his junior year at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.

Dartmouth offers a dual-degree program for students at liberal arts colleges to study at the Thayer School. In order to receive the dual-degree, students must complete their junior year at the Thayer School, then go back to their home college to receive their Bachelor’s Degree, and then return to the Thayer School for a fifth year of undergraduate studies in order to receive a B.E.

20 liberal arts institutions participate in the program, including other schools in the NESCAC, such as Amherst College, Bates College, Bowdoin College, Wesleyan University and Hamilton College.

“I found out about the Dartmouth program freshman year, while discussing course [selection] with my freshman advisor,” Lehman wrote in an email to The Colby Echo. Lehman decided to pursue the program after thoroughly enjoying his physics and mathematics courses he took during his first year.

The application process itself does not require many supplemental components, besides one essay on “Why do you want to be an engineer?” Lehman wrote, “It was hard because there were no length limits or guidelines besides the prompt.”

While the application does not require more than an essay and a copy of the student’s transcript, the true difficulty in applying for the program is the rigorous set of pre-requisite courses. “The required classes I had to take before applying were: two semesters of physics, one semester of chemistry, mathematics courses up to vector calculus, and one semester of computer science,” Lehman wrote. If that wasn’t enough to fit in to only four semesters of college, the program also encourages other mathematics and science classes, so Lehman took one semester of biology.

Despite the quantity and difficulty of the required courses, as well as the overall applicant caliber for the program, the Thayer School accepted Lehman. While his friends are either on the Hill or abroad, Lehman is experiencing a brand new college.

Unlike Colby, Dartmouth is on a quarter system, including one offered in the summer. Lehman decided to take classes this past summer in order to have the upcoming spring semester free. “Dartmouth has been great so far… Taking classes in the summer was fantastic. I think everyone should go to school over the summer and have the winter off.”

Lehman continued, “There is just so much to do and everyone is in a better mood in the summer…It is hard to be stressed or in a bad mood when it is 75 and sunny every day.”

For the upcoming year, Lehman will be taking two engineering classes and one other class per term. “I have been enjoying the program…The classes have been very interesting, and I like the other kids on the program,” Lehman wrote, and acknowledged that he has already made many new friends in the same program.

In addition to Lehman, Phil Adamson ’16, Carl Vitzthum ’16 and Daniel Maurer ’16 are all students from the College participating in the dual-degree program. There are also nine Colby graduates who are now in their fifth year of the program in order to receive their B.E.

This term, Lehman is taking “Chemical Engineering,” “Distributed Systems and Fields” and a Statistics course. During the Summer Lehman took “Systems,” “Thermodynamics” and “Natural Resources, Development and the Environment.”
One advantage of attending an engineering school, Lehman said, is being able to take his past and present theoretical and problem solving based course work and apply it directly to a hands on project. “My favorite part of the courses has been the projects that accompany the coursework. For example, this summer for a thermodynamics class we got to each build our own model sterling engine in the machine shop, and there was a competition for the fastest engine. These projects make the work engaging and fun, while applying concepts learned in class,” Lehman wrote.

Despite thoroughly enjoying the people and academics at Dartmouth, Lehman still misses the Hill. “My least favorite part has probably been missing things going on at Colby, like seeing pictures from the Common Ground Fair,” he wrote.
Dartmouth has a liberal arts college, the Geisel School of Medicine, the Thayer School of Engineering, the Tuck School of Business and 19 graduate programs in the arts and sciences. Thus, Dartmouth is a significantly larger school and community than Mayflower Hill. Another stark difference is that Dartmouth has Greek Life, an organization that Administration banned from the Hill in 1984.
“There is definitely more activity around campus. In addition, the fraternity scene dominates the social life, which is obviously a big change from Colby. However, the fraternities are very open and inclusive, more inclusive it seems to me than an apartment or a dorm party at Colby,” Lehman wrote.

While Lehman does not feel that the in general the academics at Dartmouth are significantly more rigorous than those at the College, he finds his engineering courses to be very demanding. Lehman wrote, “I think that the engineering classes in general are more work than a lot of classes both at Dartmouth and at Colby. However, some classes at Colby, like multivariable calculus with Professor [of Mathematics and Statistics] Leo Livshits, had a similar amount of work to the classes here.”

Lehman is very happy that he is participating in the dual-degree program and loves the academic opportunities that Colby is unable to offer as a purely undergraduate institution. “I am definitely happy that I did the program. I am greatly enjoying the engineering coursework that I would not have been able to get at Colby,” Lehman wrote.

Believe it or not, Lehman is an economics major at Colby. He hopes that upon graduating with both a B.A. and B.E. at the end of the program, he will be able to pursue a career that is an amalgamation of all his intellectual interests. He wrote, “I am still not sure what my plans are for after college. I am planning to concentrate in chemical engineering [at Dartmouth], but I am not yet sure what I want to do after I graduate.… It would be great if I could combine engineering with economics in some way.”

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