August 21st, 2010

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Greetings from Home

We returned to our poor starving (aka had not been fed in at least two hours) cats on Friday evening after a very nice day at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, in a pretty area with lots of trees, sandwiched between the University of Pittsburgh on one side and the large (and largely Jewish) residential neighborhood of Squirrel Hill on the other side. Because we arrived early due to a surprising lack of traffic, we went to the bookstore before the general information session, which was the most interesting of any school we've visited this far -- a couple of short films with appearances by prominent alumni sandwiched around quick discussions of admissions requirements, financial aid data, etc., with the Q&A kept short until we broke into smaller groups for the campus tour. We had an excellent tour guide, a voice major in Carnegie Mellon's renowned performing arts program, and got to see the gym, stadium, and street where students race buggies as well as the academic buildings and library.

Since Carnegie Mellon's campus dining includes several small ethnic and specialty restaurants that visitors as well as students can enjoy, we had lunch at the yummy Indian place before going to see the engineering school. There isn't a formal tour but prospective students can schedule meetings with current students, one of whom showed us one of the computer labs and talked to us about the program overall (he chose CMU over MIT and Princeton because he didn't want to be in a pressure-cooker environment, and said that while only 15% of the electrical engineering students are female, women outnumber men in the arts programs, so the social life is pretty good for engineers). We drove home in the late afternoon and ate the sandwiches we'd originally planned for lunch while catching up on Stewart and Colbert -- we'd had no Comedy Central last night -- then the Bengals/Eagles game.


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