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The University of Minnesota's Formula SAE  (Society of Automotive Engineers) Team is composed of 25 U of M students, primarily majoring in mechanical engineering, who design and build a race car each year. The team will be competing against other Formula SAE teams in Michigan this May under the sponsorship of Honeywell.

The 2011 car averages 75 miles per hour, and can theoretically reach 135 mph. The team has the goal of placing in the top 15. After learning from previous years and incorporating new strategies in design and building, these U of M students have high expectations for the future of our Formula SAE chapter. For more information on this project, visit the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Formula SAE team website.

Many members of the team find jobs have been hired by major engineering corporations as a result of their involvement in the Formula SAE Team. It's a great way to get involved on campus and network with future employers!

Pictured below is the racecar on its first drive of the year on Saturday, April 9th:

SAE racecar.jpg

During the 2010-2011 school year, a group of University of Minnesota first-year students took photos to document their transition to the campus. Through an exhibit titled "The First-Year Photo Project," this group of freshmen have displayed their photos at the Coffman Arts Gallery in Coffman Memorial Union. You can see many of the photos on the Orientation & First Year Programs website. 

The entries were very impressive, and thoughtfully depicted what it means to be a student at the U of M. Themes of the exhibit include: "Who You Are," "First Days," "Confidence and Anxiety," "Show Your University," and "Closure and Development." 

If you're visiting campus before the exhibit closes on August 11, be sure to check it out!

One of the best things about walking around the U of M campus is constantly seeing and experiencing new things. Today, I learned that it is Ag Awareness Day, hosted by the students of the Minnesota Agricultural Club. I was greeted to campus by live cows, llamas, sheep, and even a pig!

Ag Awareness Day was created to promote awareness of the necessities of life that we as Americans recieve from our agriculutral resources. The necessities of life, such as food, clothing, and fuel, are displayed to show how agricultural resources play a critical role in our modern civilization. Along with students from the Minnesota Agruiculturaul Club, there are also Minnesota agricultural producers and agencies to offer information and display how their agricultural work helps support people all over the state of Minnesota (and around the world).

There is rarely a dull day on campus, so take advantage of events such as this one to enhance your U of M experience! To learn about future events on campus, visit the Campus Event website.

There are literally thousands of opportunities to enhance your college experience and prepare for a successful future. A new website geared toward helping you get involved in the U of M and Twin Cities communities is Engage! This is a website where you can find activites in a specific area of interest. From A to Z there is something for everyone! There are also links for student employment, community outreach, research, and even internships. All the tools you need to enhance your experience and prepare you for success are right at your fingertips. Take some time to look and see what activites you can find that interest you!

The school year is coming to an end, but before it's over, I'd like to share with you one of my favorite classes of the semester-- American Popular Culture and Politics: 1940 to the Present. I took this American Studies course to satisfy some of my liberal education requirements: the 4-credit course fulfills the 'Civic Life and Ethics' and 'Historical Perspectives' themes, and is also a writing intensive requirement. I was thrilled to find a class that fulfilled three requirements and was also very interesting.

In this class, we study the history of America beginning with World War II. This is done through reading approximately 50 pages each week, as well as viewing a film each week that is related to the topic we're discussing. Through experiencing the popular culture itself and listening to a lecture about the historical context, we are able to see how history has changed the way Americans think and act, and how it has affected what we are exposed to on a daily basis. Some of the films we've watched include Gran Torino, Thelma and Louise, Rambo, and Fight Club. Through this class, I've learned a great deal of new information about important topics in American history, such as the baby boom, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, consumer culture, the aftermath of 9/11, and many more.

I find the workload very reasonable for an upper-level, writing intensive class (but perhaps that is because I like it so much!). The course culminates in a 10-12 page term paper discussing the themes of the class, a popular culture item of your choice, and how it relates to a domestic or international issue in the history of America. We meet for lecture twice a week, as well as discussion once a week. There are four quizzes and final. The quizzes consist of short essays related to the themes and popular culture items of the class, and the final is a take-home essay. This may sound like a lot of writing, but the content is interesting, and you don't realize how much you have learned until you look back on what you have accomplished. The work is enjoyable!

I have looked forward to attending this class each week throughout this semester and I highly recommend it!

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