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University Impressions: San Diego 9.4.06

So, on the 8th I visited UC San Diego.

The campus is much nicer-looking than I thought it’d be, although it might take Brutalist a bit too far. After having to ask for directions twice, we finally found the ballroom where the bioengineering presentation was held. It was a rather boring presentation and a model of what not to do when making a PowerPoint slideshow. The interesting part was when they let us loose to explore the campus and specifically the bioengineering labs.

The Jacobs School of Engineering is a gigantic building set up for engineering classes, and while it’s a little bizarre on the outside (although it matches the also bizarre Geisel Library quite nicely), the inside was absolutely gorgeous, with a very clean and modern feel to it (lots of glass, light-colored wood, aluminum accents, etc.). There were a ton of labs, some with very specific functions, like one for cardiovascular tissue analysis, and some broader ones, such as a nanotechnology lab and a molecular bioengineering lab. They were about what you’d expect in a lab: lots of flasks and labeled tubes and expensive-looking equipment. There was one room where I saw the largest centrifuge I’ve ever seen – it literally looked like a washing machine.

I was surprised by a few facts the school laid out for us. For one, bioengineering and biotechnology are the only impacted majors at UCSD – that obviously shows a huge demand for this program. This leads to the next thing that surprised me, which is that they only graduate about 40 biotech engineers from the program each year – I figured that since this is a world-class biotech program (ranked second in the nation), they would let more kids through, but I guess not. I was also a bit taken back by how high the GPAs were – the average CSU GPA of those admitted into biotech was 4.41 – I’m barely ahead at 4.46.

Speaking with some of the grad students, I was very impressed with how enthusiastic they were about UCSD’s biotech program, and with how many amazing faculty members they have, including Yuan-Cheng Fung, who is considered the father of bioengineering.

So, San Diego gets a very favorable review from me. In fact, the only drawback of going there is that they’re the only college that didn’t offer me any financial aid – but hell, if it costs me extra to go to a place that’s on top of its field, it might be worth it.

Coming up later this week: UC Irvine.

2 Comments

Anonymous skip0110 9.4.06  

I think a lot of college campuses overuse Brutalist architecture. You should see the UMass-Amherst campus--it's ugly. I didn't know what it was called, though, now I can refer to it by name. Sweet :)

BU, on the other hand, is very pretty :P

Blogger Sage 11.4.06  

Yeah, I don’t know what the obsession is all about (maybe it’s a lot cheaper?). I don’t mind raw concrete per se, but I do mind the concrete that’s often used for these kinds of buildings, which is the nastiest and slimiest concrete the architects could possibly find. Bleck.