Welcome events introduce first-year students to CET

ECU first-year students attend a College of Engineering and Technology welcome event on Friday. (Photos by Ken Buday)

Now that first-year students in East Carolina University’s College of Engineering and Technology have found their classrooms, gotten their books, located the dining halls and figured out their bearings, the real work is about to begin.

Brad Collier, assistant director of first year and transition programs at the college, wrapped up the first week of classes by hosting a series of welcome events, 45-minute sessions designed to introduce new students to the First Year Program, give them information about the college and listen to any issues or concerns they’ve had in their first week.

The program is designed to support new students as they transition to the university and includes a mentorship program, advising, fun activities, mixers and resources, such as the Career Development and Leadership Center.

“We want to help you,” Collier said. “We are adamant about providing you the resources you need to be successful.”

That definition of success will vary by student, he said.

“Success is not just getting a job and making six or seven figures. There’s so much more to it,” he said. “It’s about what success means to you, and it’s about your goals and your values.”

Collier provided some suggestions to the new students, such as using their ECU email addresses for everything related to their studies, whether they’re contacting a professor, the Pirate Academic Success Center or the advising staff. He said some outside email addresses could get blocked.

Brad Collier, assistant director of first year and transition programs in the College of Engineering and Technology, speaks to freshmen during a welcome session.

He told students that they should get to know their professors, who will get to know them as people rather than just some number in a class.

“When I was in college, I didn’t talk to my deans. I didn’t talk to my faculty. I didn’t know I could do that,” Collier said. “That is not the case in CET. Our professors want to see you succeed. We are here to help you.”

The students were encouraged to get involved in the college’s clubs and organizations. He pointed out the college’s Student Organization Day is scheduled for Sept. 28, when students can get information and talk to members of these groups.

The idea of joining clubs intrigued freshman Lauren Humann from Rockingham.

“I’m really excited to join some of the clubs, like the Society of Women Engineers,” Humann said.

Fellow freshman Ryan Wahrenberger of Hampstead said a martial arts club through Campus Recreation and Wellness intrigued her.

“I always thought it looked fun,” she said. “I’ve never done it before.”

Wahrenberger said she settled into her first week of classes, describing it as relatively uneventful, but is looking ahead.

Freshmen students attend a welcome session.

“I’m mainly looking forward toward class activities,” she said. “I’m an engineering major with a focus on biomedical, so I hope there’s going to be a lot of hands-on things because I’m a hands-on learner. I’ve got biology this semester, and I am really hoping we dissect things and really get in depth, and the same thing on my engineering graphics class. I hope we actually make things.”

Humann described a hectic first week.

“I have been extremely busy with a bunch of fun activities and school stuff to the point of almost exhaustion, but it’s been a lot of fun,” she said. “Classes were a little bit more stressful than I thought they would be, and it’s only syllabus week, but everything’s been good, and the teachers have been really awesome so far.”

She did have one request, though.

“The only thing I wish is that there were signs on all the rooms with the classes to make sure you knew you were in the right room,” she said.

Rico Randolph, a freshman from Greenville, is majoring in engineering with a mechanical concentration.

East Carolina freshman Rico Randolph listens during a welcome session.

“My dad is a paving contractor, so I kind of grew up in that environment with machines,” he said. “I’m pretty familiar with things like that.”

He said his first week of classes was different from what he expected.

“I thought it was going to be really stressful trying to get to class and not knowing where it is, but it was really organized,” he said. “I used the ECU map to get around, and the teachers were laid back and really relaxed going over the syllabus and preparing us for the classes. So far, it’s been really good.”

Humann said her first week reinforced her decision to attend ECU.

“What I’m most excited about ECU is how well they’ve lived up to the reputation I’ve heard with their community atmosphere and nice faculty even though it’s a big college campus,” she said. “I was really worried going from a small community college to a campus like this if I was going to have the same kind of connections with my teachers and with my fellow students, but I have not been let down. It’s been absolutely great.”

Collier ended the sessions with a final bit of advice for the new students.

“Enjoy the ride,” he said.