Meet the New Center for Computing & Data Sciences Building!

Bridgette Lang (CAS’23)

As one of the tallest and definitely most striking buildings on campus, it’s hard to miss Boston University’s new Center for Computing & Data Sciences (CDS) building. While this building has already made an iconic debut to Boston’s skyline, it also has a number of perks and opportunities to offer Boston University students starting in 2023. As of last week, I’ve been able to take a walk around the new CDS building, and here are some of my favorite features as an undergraduate student:

1. Saxby’s – At least for me, no study session is complete without coffee. It’s incredibly convenient to grab a drink on the first floor of CDS before you start a class or a study session. Saxby’s also offers grilled cheese sandwiches and other bakery items.

2. Many study spaces! – CDS might have the most study spaces of all BU buildings. After all, it’s a 345k-square-foot building. On the first through the fifth floors, you’ll find tables, chairs, and benches at every turn. All of the furniture is brand new too, so head to CDS to study in style.

3. BU Spark! – BU Spark! aims to help students realize their potential by providing access to resources, knowledge, and expert networks to support their innovation journeys. BU Spark! hosts an event space in CDS, which will hopefully make their amazing programming even more accessible to students. Learn more about Spark!’s undergraduate project support and funding here.

4. Outdoor patio – Although it doesn’t appear to be open at the moment, there is an outdoor patio that looks like it will be absolutely delightful in the summer. It’s like a little, green oasis in the shiny and high-tech CDS building. Once it warms up outside, I can’t wait to hit the patio to catch great views of Boston and soak up the sun.

5. Great views of Boston – Standing at 19 floors tall, CDS surely has some of the greatest views of the city. Featuring wide windows and an observatory patio on the fifth floor, nearly every floor overlooks the city. With views of the Charles River, I would also imagine this is a great spot to watch the Charles Regatta in the fall.

Did I also mention that CDS is also eco-friendly? The list of great things about CDS goes on and on. Although, one of the negatives to CDS is that is incredibly crowded, as all of Boston University’s students want to check out and use the new facilities. Give it a few months, and hopefully, the chaos will quiet down. If you’re interested in learning more about CDS, visit this website for information on the construction and live cameras.

    Advice: From Senior Me to Freshman Me

    Marie Kimball (CAS’23)

    Stuvi 1 in the spring

    As I embark on my last semester here at Boston University, I've of course been thinking about the future. In between classes, I've been scrambling to apply to graduate school and figuring out work for the summer. However, the past has also been on my mind. Almost four years ago, I began my journey at BU - it's unbelievable how fast the time has flown. I think that no matter what happens during your undergraduate career, including a global pandemic, it's easy to get caught up in the moment. Now that I've had the opportunity to reflect, here are some things I wish I could go back and tell my freshman-year self.

    1) There are only 24 hours in the day! Make sure taking time to relax takes up an hour or two of those 24. Every semester, I've found myself rather busy with classes, work, friends, sports, extracurricular activities, and studying. With such a busy schedule, it's convenient to maybe eat lunch on the go or stay up an hour later some nights. I wish I could go back and tell myself that taking these shortcuts just make you plain tired and put you in an even worse spot to take on your day. I wish I would've been more intentional about making sure I took time to refocus so that I could really make the most of my day.

    2) Explore Boston - the green line is right there! With so much going on all down Comm Ave, I never made it into the city as much. I regret this, as some of my favorite memories are from adventuring through Boston. Faneuil Hall is a few stops away with tons of shops, restaurants, and plenty of walking space. I loved going there for breakfast with my friends. The theatre district is vibrant and always bustling with people. I had the opportunity to see Wicked and it was incredible! Finally, even though its more of a commute, the Seaport is gorgeous. The Institute of Contemporary Art is there, along with plenty of good food and beautiful views.

    3) Rely on the people around you! BU is such a supportive community. Kilachand Honors College in particular is a community of such friendly, passionate, and thoughtful people. I wish I could've told my freshman self to check in with my advisor a few more times or to attend a few more Kilachand Teas. Everyone is so driven to accomplish their goals and just as enthusiastic about supporting their classmates. It's just a great group, and I wish I would've hung out with everyone a bit more.

    4) Think about your interests! I think that sometimes while I was completing assignments the thoughts in my brain consisted more of, "This is due in a few days. Try to power through as much of this tonight," and less of, "What do I think of this topic?" and, "Is this something I'd like to continue exploring?" I think after reflecting on everything I've learned over the years at BU, I'm able to sift through and find the nuggets of information I was notably passionate about and interested in. However, I wish I would've taken a few extra seconds in the moment to think about whether or not what I was learning was something I would've liked to follow-up with more seriously. Thinking this way would've made figuring out the next steps after undergrad a bit smoother.

    5) Finally, be proud of yourself! Everyone works so hard here at BU to accomplish their academic and professional goals and everything in between. One thing I've truly loved about going to BU and especially about being a member of the KHC community is that everyone is really putting their best effort forward. Almost everyone I meet is pretty awesome and pretty humble about it too. I wish I would've reminded myself more often that I should be proud of all of the ways I was growing academically and personally. Being an undergraduate at BU is a busy, fulfilling, challenging, fun, incredible ride - freshman-year me should've stopped to look around and appreciate that a few more times and given myself a pat on the back.

    I hope that as you think about attending BU and KHC that this advice helps guide your decision. One thing I know I wouldn't tell my freshman-year me is that I made the wrong choice. My time here at BU and KHC has been amazing, and I'm so excited to talk about this opportunity with anyone who would like to learn more about it. Feel free to reach out to me to chat about the BU and KHC experience!

    The KHC Residential Experience

    Rebecca Sarkisian (Questrom'23)

    If you ask KHC students what their favorite part of being a Kilachand student is, one of the most common responses you will hear is the Kilachand community. While the KHC community is built in many different ways, Kilachand specialty housing is often the first introduction.

    All Kilachand first-year students live in Kilachand Hall. Living in Kilachand Hall is a really unique experience because first-year students typically live on floors occupied by other KHC students in their class year. This means that you see a lot of friendly and familiar faces from your KHC seminar and Studio classes.

    The first floor of Kilachand Hall is home to Kilachand Commons, where many Kilachand community events and co-curriculars take place. It’s also where you’ll find the Kilachand offices with the Kilachand advisors (and also the much-loved coffee machine that is a staple of many KHC students’ mornings). I particularly loved having class in the seminar room on the first floor, which meant a really easy commute to class.

    During my freshman year, when I wasn’t in class, you could typically find me in the ninth floor study spaces. The views from the ninth floor are some of the best that you can find at BU, especially during the fall. I also loved being able to meet with my classmates on the ninth floor to study or work on projects without having to leave the building.

    The view from the ninth floor of Kilachand Hall prior to renovation

    Kilachand Hall is currently in the process of being renovated, which is scheduled to be completed in August 2023. A major aspect of the construction is the complete renovation of the ninth floor, which will certainly still have the same amazing views in an even more comfortable environment.

    While not required to live in Kilachand specialty housing after their first year, many students choose to stay in Kilachand Hall or move to Kilachand House, a brownstone on Bay State Road. Many other students choose to move to other housing options on or off campus with other KHC students.

    I opted to stay in Kilachand Hall for two additional years. I loved being able to study on the ninth floor, being in close proximity to Kilachand events taking place in Kilachand Commons, and living alongside other KHC students.

    During the renovation on Kilachand Hall this year, there is a Kilachand Floor in the residence at 610 Beacon Street, which is where I have moved to for my final year at BU. Living in Kilachand specialty housing has really shaped my BU experience. It’s provided me with a smaller community feeling while also allowing me to benefit from all of the resources that a large research university like BU has to offer.

    An Engineering (and Honors) Student’s Guide to Being a Pre-Med

    Carolyn Glasener (ENG’25)

    Picture this: you’re a high school student. Maybe you’ve done some volunteering or research or been on your school’s robotics team. You know you’re interested in both medicine and engineering, so you apply to be an engineering major with a pre-medicine designation at BU.

    Now, you’re at BU and Kilachand, and all your advisors are telling you to get involved in extracurriculars. The options are so overwhelming. You have to volunteer, manage engineering and honors classes, do research, join clubs, and gain clinical experience?! What even is a clinical experience?!

    Fret not, anxious student. As someone who’s lived it (and survived), I’m here to give you the engineer’s guide to being a pre-medical student.

    1. Studying and Time Management

    The first thing you have to do in college is adapt. The course load can feel overwhelming for an engineering student. If you’re in Kilachand, you take additional classes, adding to this feeling. Before getting involved, you have to first establish strategies for success in your classes. This often means learning how best to study.

    Part of studying is actually planning. This is where the best tool known to a busy college student comes in: Google Calendar. I use my calendar to track all my classes, exams, volunteer hours, and club meetings.

    Establishing study habits and time management early on in your college career are the best things you can do for yourself. Do this before volunteering and clinical experiences!

    2. Clubs

    What you can (and should) do while establishing your student habits is join clubs. Go to Splash, BU’s club fair, and sign up for whatever sounds interesting to you. You can narrow down the list of what you actually want to be involved in after the club’s initial meeting. Pick clubs that you’re interested in, not just clubs that you think medical schools will like. They’ll like it more if you have a genuine interest. Clubs are a great way to get involved from the start of college, without having to commit huge amounts of time.

    I highly recommend joining BU’s Pre-Medical Society, as you’ll get to interact with other pre-medical students, attend events, and even gain a mentor through the Physician Mentorship Program.

    3. Shadowing

    Shadowing is a great way to be exposed to healthcare. BU’s Physician Mentorship Program is a great way to do this, as you get matched with a physician. As someone who didn’t have any personal connections to doctors, this was great for me! My physician mentor is super nice and offered to let me shadow him before I could even ask. Shadowing can be difficult if you have a lot of classes during the day, but you can shadow during the summer and over breaks, regardless of if you’re in Boston or not.

    If you don’t want to do the program, you’ll have to do some extra research to find physicians to shadow and reach out to them on your own.

    4. Research

    Another thing you’ll hear from your advisor is that you need to get involved with research. Luckily for you, BU makes this super easy! BU has a whole webpage dedicated to helping undergraduates find research opportunities. If you don’t see anything you’re interested in, you can email professors directly.

    As a student in the College of Engineering and Kilachand Honors College, you’ll complete a Capstone project at the end of your college career. For engineering students in the Honors College, research in your department counts as your Capstone!

    5. Volunteering

    Medical schools want to see some form of volunteering on your application, but this can come in a few different forms. A good way to start is by looking at BU’s pre-medical webpage on volunteering experiences. Start a list of what you like and apply broadly. Volunteering doesn’t need to be in a hospital, but it does help.

    Currently, I’m a volunteer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the Medical Career Exploration Program. I found this program through BU’s website! It’s made specifically for pre-health students and involves volunteering in multiple departments. This is a great way to get exposure to different forms of volunteering, as well as the inner workings of the hospital.

    Caution: a lot of volunteer programs closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and are just now starting to open up again. This may limit what’s currently available to you.

    6. Clinical Experience

    Gaining clinical experiences as a pre-medical student is one of the most confusing and frustrating processes I’ve experienced as a student. They deserve their own blog post, so I’ll just give a brief overview here.

    Clinical experiences are basically anything involving firsthand patient care. Common clinical experiences involve being an EMT, scribe, CNA, or phlebotomist. These are often part-time jobs on top of an already crazy schedule and often involve training programs before you even start, so it’s best to research these early on.

    My best advice: talk to the pre-health advising office. They know engineers have packed schedules, and they want you to succeed. The advisors can suggest training programs that other students have completed and suggest experiences and companies that would best fit your schedule.

    7. Final Takeaways

    I hope this guide has demystified some of the stress that comes with being in both engineering, the Honors College, and medicine. While this list is neither a complete, step-by-step guide nor a checklist, I hope it’ll help you think about what you want to do and how to successfully get involved. Again, the most important thing is establishing yourself as a student, rather than jumping into the deep end.

    With these suggestions in mind, take a deep breath, complete your EK125 problem sets, and be the best engineer/pre-med/honors student you can be.