Yale Engineering & Science Weekend

YES-W students and parents listen to Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeffrey Brenzel in Kroon Hall.

Select applicants to Yale’s class of 2015 visited Yale during Yale Engineering and Science Weekend (YES-W), held from Saturday, February 19 through Monday, February 21. YES-W was a new recruiting initiative from the Yale Admissions Office aimed at attracting talented engineering, science, and math students to Yale. Around 120 regular decision applicants to Yale College, selected for strong interests and notable accomplishments in math and science, received likely letters – letters notifying students of probable admission to Yale – and invitations to YES-W from the admissions office in mid-January. Turnout for the event was high, with around 110 of the 120 invited students attending YES-W.

Jeffrey Brenzel, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, said he was certain that come April, the students invited to YES-W would be choosing between Yale and several other top schools, including Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and Princeton. With hectic campus preview events filling the month of April, the Yale Admissions Office launched YES-W to give potential Yale undergraduates an early introduction to the research opportunities and resources of Yale.

On Sunday afternoon in Kroon Hall, home of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, students and their parents attended master classes taught by Yale faculty, an undergraduate research symposium, and an alumni panel on science careers after Yale. Other events of YES-W included opportunities for attendees to observe classes, tour science and engineering labs, and meet undergraduates and fellow applicants. In one signature event, “Junk Yale Wars,” students formed teams to construct Rube Goldberg machines out of improvised materials.

Durga Thakral PC’12 explains her biomedical research project during the undergraduate research symposium.

Many students and their parents had thought of Yale as primarily a humanities school and were pleased to hear that abundant research opportunities were available, even to freshmen. One parent, Mr. Tongsu Kai from Kentucky, was impressed by the facilities and spirit of Yale. The fact that Yale offers excellent opportunities in the sciences yet is less well-known for science surprised Mr. Kai. “Perhaps it’s partly the history and legacy of Yale,” he said, referring to the numerous politicians that Yale has produced.

Students too were impressed by the sciences at Yale. After hearing about undergraduate research projects at the undergraduate research symposium, Michael Fu from Ohio said, “It’s inspiring to know we could be doing that in a few years.” Jun Sup Lee from Virginia said he liked “the community at Yale,” especially, “the interactions with fellow students and faculty members.”

Similar to Yale’s primary campus preview event, Bulldog Days, current Yale undergradu¬ates hosted students in their residential college dormitories for YES-W, giving attendees a taste of residential college life. Elaine Zhou from nearby Orlando, Florida remarked, “I really feel a sense of community here. Everyone’s proud of his or her [residential] college.”

Whether the Yale Admissions Office will host another weekend for engineering and sci¬ence students next year will depend on whether “this weekend help[ed] students make a better decision,” said Dean Brenzel. Students such as Anisha Mudalier from California have already noted the benefits of YES-W. “[YES-W] will make an impact,” she said.