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First Years Get Advice From NASA Astronaut
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What could be more inspiring to a first-year engineering student than receiving advice directly from a full-fledged NASA astronaut? That’s the treat first-years were in for when Michael Massimino BS’84, via Skype, addressed them during their first orientation session on Aug. 28 in Havemeyer Hall.
More than 300 members of the Class of 2016 listened intently as Massimino shared funny childhood anecdotes about his dream to one day become an astronaut. He even showed a photo of himself from one Halloween as a kid dressed in a homemade astronaut costume (revamped by his mom from an old elephant costume). Massimino’s road to NASA had its fair share of challenges including struggling, at times, with his course load at SEAS and later, receiving three rejection letters from NASA before being selected. To the entering class he said, “Always try to maintain a positive attitude … Whenever it gets difficult, don’t get discouraged. Fight through it and remember, there are plenty of people here who will help you at Columbia.”
The week kicked off for undergraduates with convocation, the official welcome for first-year incoming Columbia Engineering and Columbia College students and their families. Members of the Class of 2016 arrived on campus for Convocation on Monday, August 27, and were welcomed by President Lee C. Bollinger and Dean James J. Valentini, among other speakers. They came from 48 states and nearly 60 countries and represent almost 90 prospective majors, according to the dean. This year’s program also featured the first Alumni Procession at Convocation, with approximately 75 alumni grouped by decades marching behind banners to rousing applause from the students, parents and guests.
The School's Office of Graduate Student Affairs also held an orientation session for new graduate students.
Watch photo galleries from these events by clicking the links at right.
-by Melanie Farmer