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• Jaclyn Navara •

Graduation Day

May 17, 2013

Today was the undergraduate commencement ceremony, and I officially earned my Mechanical Engineering degree!  It was certainly bittersweet, as I will miss my colleagues very much. However I know everyone will be on to bigger and better things and that we all will keep in touch.  I wanted to introduce the newest College of Engineering blogger, Chris Cullen.  He is a great friend of mine and know that you will be in good hands come September.  I also wanted to share my commencement speech that I gave this afternoon and hope that it will inspire others.  Have a great summer and enjoy my speech that I posted below.

 

It wasn’t too long ago that we first stepped foot onto this campus as wide-eyed freshman wanting to make a life for ourselves. Freshman year really does feel like it was only yesterday.  I know we can all remember moving into our dorms for the first time, making our first friend, getting lost going to our first class, struggling through our first test, staying up all night to finish our first 20 page lab report, and even taking our first bite of Rowan’s café food. In reality, our class full of strangers quickly turned into a class full of friends. It won’t be easy leaving a place where we all practically lived together in the same building for four years.  A place where we became friends with our professors. A place where we became a family, so much so that you probably know a little too much about the person sitting next to you.A place where it rains without a doubt at least twice a week.A place where I can look around at my fellow classmates and recall at least one fond memory of every person. But more importantly, Rowan has been a place where we all came together not knowing what we would achieve or what would become of us, but has led us here today knowing who we are now. That is truly a memorable gift and should never be forgotten.

Today marks a day to celebrate. A day where we celebrate accomplishing a goal that we’ve all set in our lives, and there are few things in life more rewarding than receiving a college degree. We’ll all celebrate this achievement differently, as we’ve learned many times that no two engineers do things exactly the same. Some of us will enter industry, while others will continue onto graduate school. Either way, we must continue to challenge ourselves and take risks.

 

Opportunities do not arise without taking risks.  We’ll have to fight for them and without a doubt stumble a few times before reaching our goals.  Think about it.  We didn’t get that job offer letter or graduate school acceptance without taking a chance.  We’ll get turned down and receive battle scars, but just as we all fought to survive four years of Rowan’s engineering curriculum together, we should continue to fight for what we deserve.  The feeling of satisfaction and success will make the journey worth it in the end.

 

Dare to be different and refrain from living in the shadow of other people’s thinking.  Especially as engineering innovators, we’ll achieve no great work or memorable status if we play it safe our whole lives. So after graduation, let’s step out of our comfort zones again with our heads held high.  Mistakes are an important aspect of the learning process, and they’re one of the only things in life that we can truly call our own.This is why I wish for both the good and the bad for each of us in the future.  So let’s go on and fall down, break the rules, and make a mess.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and remember that the first person through the wall always gets hurt.Thomas Edison was once asked how many times he failed in making the light bulb.  His response was, “I didn’t fail. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways NOT to make a light bulb.”  Let’s hold our heads high in this regard because fortune really does seem to favor the brave ones.  We’re all here today because we took a risk to study a subject that we felt passionate about and decided to stick with it to the end.  This is hopefully the beginning of a lifelong trend of taking risks in order to accomplish our goals.  The thrill of succeeding makes putting ourselves on the edge worth it.

 

Success is only a measure of the achievement of our goals.  Don’t strive for mediocrity; this will only make us like everybody else.  Don’t be afraid to change your mind, even maybe a few times.  We have the rest of our lives to determine what we truly love to do so don’t be afraid to switch what it is that you’re doing to find it.   I believe that nothing is truly over until the moment that we give up because the only person that can stop us is ourselves.  And if we keep our hands in our pockets our whole life, we will never be able to climb the ladder of success. Take Henry Rowan’s advice and “never accept limits imposed by others” because the difference between succeeding and failing is the will to make it actually happen.  Henry Rowan also once said “I have never been content with the status quo. I have never said to myself ‘This is the best that we can do’….to my mind, satisfaction has always been the enemy of progress.”

 

Even though we are commemorating our own accomplishments today, we also need to thank the people who helped us get here.  The people who pushed us into achieving all we can be and shaping us into who we are today.  Today signifies the start of a new chapter in the journey we call life, and I encourage you to celebrate this new beginning with them.  I challenge each of you to embrace this new beginning with a motivated mindset and maintain your passion for engineering.

 

I can guarantee that each of us have had a strong passion for engineering at least once these past four years, even after we realized how much work we really had to put into it:  the multiple all-nighters, the last minute cram sessions, and the countless hours spent on class projects.  I can guarantee that in the end we can all agree that it was worth it, and that the work of an engineer always has its rewards.  I challenge each of you to keep the passion for engineering that has led us into completing these four years of our education. Never lose that drive that got us here today and stay hungry as we advance onto the next stage in our engineering career by also motivating others to do their best.

 

I further challenge each of you to make a change because I believe that engineering truly is the foundation of the future and therefore engineers have the power to make a difference.  One thing I think we have all learned these past four years is that engineers do not work alone.  That being said, you will not find the cure for cancer alone, solve the energy crisis alone, or even increase human longevity alone. What you can do alone is make a change.  Simply make something better and prove how it is done.  I challenge each of you to leave this world more interesting than when you arrived here.  We will face many issues throughout our lifetime, some of which will not be solved.  But what we can do is leave our successors with a solid foundation in conquering these problems.

 

Instead of following a distinguished path, go where there is no path and leave a trail.  Leave a trail full of creativity.  Think of creativity as a renewable resource because it can never run out as long as you have the drive. The beauty of creativity and imagination is that it can take us anywhere we want.  Remember that each of us should be very proud of ourselves for sitting here today, as we all have had to conquer hurdles to get here.  This was all a part of the educational process that shapes us into engineers. One thing I think we can all agree on is that our investment in education will always return the greatest interest.  We will never forget this special place that we have been able to call our home these past four years.  And never lose that motivation that got us here today. I’m not saying that it will be easy, but it sure will be worth it.  Class of 2013, it’s time to get out there and make a difference! Carve your own path, turn your failures into success, and most of all, never forget the memories we created here together. Let’s make Rowan’s College of Engineering proud to call us their alumni!

Jaclyn Navara



ASME’s 2nd Annual Junkyard Wars: Battle of the Boats

April 28, 2013

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers will be hosting the 2nd Annual Junkyard Wars Battle of the Boats competition this Friday from 8:00PM until Saturday 6:00PM.  This is a 24-hour overnight design competition in which teams will build a mechanically driven boat and water balloon launcher to compete against each other in multiple challenges in Rowan Pond.  Some of these challenges will be Tug of War, Obstacle Courses with Target shooting, and Drag Races.  Teams will not be informed in advance about the materials that will be supplied to build the machines to give all the teams an equal chance to design and build within the time limit.

Food and drinks will be provided throughout the night.  The actual competitions will take place at 2PM on Rowan Pond accompanied by an ASME sponsored BBQ.  Come hang out, have fun, and watch the various teams compete against each other!

Jaclyn Navara



SeaPerch

April 7, 2013

Rowan University will be hosting a SeaPerch competition this Saturday in the Esby Gym Center Pool from 8AM to 2:30PM.  New Jersey students from various high schools and middle schools will team up and create underwater remotely operated vehicles.  In the initial competition, the vehicles will have to maneuver around a submerged obstacle course.  The vehicles will be judged based on the general speed, control, and optimal maneuverability.  In the final competition, the vehicles will need to retrieve and relocate objects at complex locations in various depths of the pool.  There will be underwater bins for these rings to be placed in.

This will inevitability be a very enjoyable competition, and I cannot wait to see what the students have designed.  This event is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research.  For more information, please visit the website www.seaperch.org/index.

Jaclyn Navara



SWE Coldstone Fundraiser

March 10, 2013

The Society of Women Engineers will be hosting a Coldstone fundraiser tomorrow, March 11th, from 5:00PM to 9:00PM in Washington Township!  In the past this event has always been fun and successful.  The SWE girls actually get to stand behind the counters and make the customer orders.  No flyer is needed.  Ten percent of every bill will be donated to the society.  Please come out to support the SWE girls tomorrow night.  As always this will be an exciting way to make new friends, have a great time, and eat some ice cream!

Jaclyn Navara



Engineers Week

February 14, 2013

Engineers week is a week that all of the engineering students and faculty celebrate the positive contributions that engineers make to better our society. This is a week that we not only celebrate being an engineer but also continue to outreach to younger students to really show them what engineering is all about. The National Engineers Week is always the 3rd full week in February, this year being February 17-23, 2013.

On Monday, February 18th, there will be a Faculty-Student basketball game in the Rec Center from 3:45PM – 5:00PM. On Tuesday, February 19th, there will be a K-12 Visitation Day in Rowan Hall. On Wednesday, February 20th, there will be a Professional Development Day where a resume review session will take place in Rowan Hall Room 108 from 2:00PM – 4:00PM. On Thursday, February 21st, Foodpalooza from 11:30AM – 1:00PM will take place in the atrium, IEEE Student Professional Awareness Conference from 12:15PM – 3:00PM in the Auditorium, and the Faculty-Student Volleyball game from 3:45PM – 5:00PM in the Rec Center. On Friday, February 22nd, there will be another resume review session from 10:00AM – 12:00PM in Rowan Hall Room 108 and a Get Licensed, Get Ahead presentation in the auditorium from 1:45PM – 2:30PM.

I really hope that we have as great as a turnout as last year. This is going to be a fun filled week with many opportunities for the students such as networking and perfecting their resumes, and also a chance to play our professors in volleyball and basketball.

Jaclyn Navara



The First Day of Classes

January 22, 2013

While these past four weeks have been a very relaxing time spent with family and friends, it is great to be back on campus for the first week of my final semester as an undergraduate.  Today was the first day of classes, and it was nice to see all of my colleagues and professors well rested and energetic for another productive semester.

All engineering students have to take an engineering clinic every semester, giving a total of eight different clinic courses throughout their undergraduate career.  These clinic courses give every student hands on experiences beginning at the freshman level.   The freshman clinics introduce the students to various laboratory experiments & reverse engineering involving the different types of majors.   Engineering design is introduced in the sophomore clinics.  The students are given realistic design problems, while applying writing and speaking communication deliverables.  The junior and senior clinics are inarguably the best courses that Rowan has to offer.  During these fours semester long courses, the students are paired in small teams to work on a project of interest that explores engineering from every angle.  The students have to collect information, research, design and/or test in a few short months and communicate their findings, through writing and presenting.  This is great practice and experience for how projects will be handed to us in industry.

During the first day of junior and senior clinic classes, the professors pitch their various project ideas that they would like students to work on.  The students have to rank their top five choices before the next day.  The professors will finalize their project groups and break the students off into teams during the next clinic class.  Since today was the day that we heard all of the pitches, I have to decide on my top five choices.  There were so many awesome clinic projects this semester such as the Steel Bridge Design, the ASME Design Competition, Engineers on Wheels, Origami Engineering, and the App Design Clinic.  There is a clinic project for pretty much every interest any student can possibly have.

Jaclyn Navara



Finals Week

December 19, 2012

It sure is finals week!  The library and computer labs are all filled with students preparing for their final exams and finishing their semester projects.  My best advice in getting through this difficult week is to form study groups and work out examples problems together.  You would be amazed at how much better you can do in a course if you collaborate with your classmates.  Once you start surrounding yourself with the smartest students in your class, you will eventually notice that you are trying just as hard as they are.

There is no better feeling than seeing your project finally work after hours and hours of troubleshooting.  As a semester long project, the senior Mechanical Engineering class was challenged with designing and coding a ball and beam lever system with a straight smooth track.  The system had to contain at least one sensor and actuator that would work together to balance a metal ball 4 inches away from the pivot point of the track.  It was enlightening to see the other designs my classmates had come up with and to watch all the other systems in action.  It’s days like this that make me really happy that I chose to pursue engineering.

Jaclyn Navara



FIRST LEGO League

November 28, 2012

FIRST LEGO League is an annual event held for elementary and middle school students to experience an introductory level of engineering.  These young students will work in teams to create a LEGO based robot with the functionality to perform tasks based off of this year’s theme, “Senior Solutions.”  Some of the various “senior issues” that the robots can try to assist may include the aging of the human body, memory loss, and health issues.

On Friday, December 1st, Rowan University will be hosting this event in the Student Center beginning at 8AM.  The Robotic Competition will officially begin at 2:15PM and run to about 4:00PM.  These young students will use LEGO MINDSTORMS® to design, build, and program their robots to make positive contributions to our society.  The students will explore their imaginations and apply classroom learning to this real life concept.  Critical thinking, teamwork skills, and presentation skills will be applied and expanded upon through to this project.

The judges of this competition will determine the winning team based off of design, sportsmanship, quality of research, ability to perform tasks, and teamwork.  All robots must independently function from start to finish.  The winning team must accumulate the maximum amount of points allotted by the judges.

It is free for anyone who would like to come out and watch as these young students put their minds to the test.  Donations of any sort are always appreciated to help fund this program for another successful year.

Jaclyn Navara



CHAMPS

November 9, 2012

Every semester the various professional societies will each host a different hands-on engineering related project to about 20-30 middle school students.  Each project is intended to teach these young students about a particular engineering topic, as well as give the students a glimpse about the planning and designing stages that engineers encounter.  This quick hour and a half session will engage the students in a fun activity that will inevitably drive each student to the realization that engineering can be a lot of fun.

Tau Beta Pi hosted the CHAMPS event this past Saturday.  The students were tasked with designing and building a Lego car that would travel the farthest distance.  The students were instantly motivated by this competition and were engaged in perfectly their own Lego car.  They tested out their own designs multiple times by propelling their Lego cars with a balloon attached to the end.  After each test the students went back and bettered their own personal designs.  Through this parametric study, the students learned a lot about aerodynamics on their own without even realizing it.  Below is a picture of four Lego cars that were built during this session.

Jaclyn Navara



Pumpkin’ Chunkin’

October 21, 2012

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers will be hosting their 8th annual Pumpkin’ Chunkin’ event this Friday, October 26th, from 2:00PM until 6:00PM on the Engineering Green.  Local schools build their own unique catapults and compete against each other by hurling pumpkins at various targets in the field.  This year between five to seven of the following schools will be competing: Rowan ASME, Rowan SAE, University of Delaware, University of Pennsylvania, Temple, Rutgers, & Washington Twp High School.

The theme is Pac-Man so the targets will be ghosts, bananas, cherries, & Pac-Man dots.  There will be two rounds.  In the first round, each competing team will be given three pumpkins.  Each target is worth a predetermined amount of points.  The top three teams will move on to the second round.

Other sponsored festivities will include a Costume Contest and a cash prize Pumpkin Carving Contest.  There will also be free food, free t-shirts, and a live DJ.  This event is sponsored by the Rowan Mechanical Engineering Department and the Student Government Association.

Jaclyn Navara



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