Hello, Class of 2024! Congratulations on your acceptance to Tufts. I know the remainder of your senior year may not be exactly what you have envisioned, but you should be proud of your accomplishments, perseverance, and grit. Although we are not able to host you all on campus this spring, we hope that our virtual programming can give you a glimpse at what Tufts is all about.
This blog is a part of a series dedicated to the students in the School of Engineering. Every Saturday in April, I will be interviewing a former Tufts Engineer, highlighting their very first year at Tufts all the way up to their post-grad life (which classes to take, how to seek out an internship, tips for first year etc…).
Our first Tufts alumnus is Richard Ding! A 2019 graduate and Hong Kong native, Richard graduated from the School of Engineering with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Hi Richard! Which aspects of the Tufts Engineering undergraduate experience prompted your application? In short, ‘Why Tufts Engineering’?
I knew I wanted to go to university for engineering since probably early high school – I’d always been interested in science, and was obsessed with cars, trains and planes, so in many ways I had a really typical “engineering kid” interest set. When I was applying to uni, I was between the US and the UK, and being half British going to uni in the UK sort of made sense. UK unis however are very single track and pre-professional, and although I wanted to study engineering, I also wanted to be able to take classes in things like history, creative writing, and just about anything else. Following that train of thought, Tufts seemed like the right place as there’s a great emphasis on that kind of rounded education.
How was your first semester as an international student?
First semester was… weird, but fun. Although I grew up in a very westernized expat enclave in Hong Kong, the little differences in how people interact in America versus the rest of the world did stand out. As far as classes went, I took a class on the design of the built environment, and we studied bridges. For our final project we made a huge (over 6ft long) truss bridge out of pink insulating foam.
Wow, a 6ft bridge! What were some of your other favorite classes? Were they electives, major concentration courses, liberal arts requirements?
Like I mentioned before, exposure to liberal arts courses was a big reason why I chose to go to Tufts. I really enjoyed creative writing, Europe since 1815, and in my senior spring I took a class on engineering education which was superb – we sort of took a meta look at how the engineering curriculum over the last four years had worked or not worked for us and was really interesting. As for the engineering curriculum, I think that engineering is one of those majors where certain classes are just going to be challenging. That’s just how it is, or at least that’s how my experience was. With that said, it was challenging in a good way and there were also loads of really interesting courses like senior design projects and various applied engineering courses that worked really well for me.
What was the engineering community like?
I can only speak to my experience as a mechanical engineer, but I really loved the mech e community at Tufts. There were about 50 of us, and over the course of four years we became a pretty tight knit community. I don’t think you get that at bigger engineering schools.
How was your senior year? What were some professional opportunities you were exposed to as an undergrad?
As an undergrad, I did various internships including working at a civil engineering company in Hong Kong, at a robotics startup in Somerville, and at the Tufts Dental School!
What is your current profession?
I'm working as an inside sales engineer at Krohne, which is a German process instrumentation company. I was actually referred to this role by a Tufts alum from the same class!
I think that most Tufts engineers are really great communicators and that’s what makes them stand out. Similarly, I really enjoyed communicating – I liked talking about the technology and engineering more than actually doing it. In my position, I kind of work as a product specialist – but for the entire line of Krohne products, and I assist in evaluating the use of different products in varying application cases.
Stay tuned for more stories from Tufts alumni every Saturday! Next up, Ashley Smith, a Computer Science major turned Software Engineer for Target.