BUILD, a pilot orientation program jointly operated by Yale University’s Center for Engineering Innovative Design and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, began this fall as part of Camp Yale, Yale College’s newly reimagined orientation program.
Courtesy of Vincent Wilczynski
Camp Yale, a newly revamped first-year orientation program, opened its doors to first-year students interested in exploring Yale’s science and engineering through a pilot BUILD program.
BUILD debuted this fall as a collaboration between the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design. Twenty new his freshmen were selected by the Yale Dean’s Office to participate in the first session. Former Yale Dean Marvin Chung and Student Affairs Dean Melanie Boyd proposed the idea for the program.
Vincent Wilczynski, associate dean of SEAS and director of the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID) at Yale University, said:
Chun and Boyd initially contacted SEAS and CEID to inquire about the feasibility of implementing this program.
The program is a way to introduce first-year students to “the new culture of engineering and applied sciences on the Yale campus,” Wilczynski said. The goal of orientation was to enable students to explore new environments and bond with each other through experience.Y.Richard Yang is Dean of Undergraduate Research in the Faculty of Computer Science and Computer ScienceHe He added that he is a professor of science and electrical engineering.
Yang compared BUILD to FOOT. FOOT is a popular and established orientation program offered to her first year students during Camp Yale.
“Similar to exploring natural environments with FOOT, BUILD was about exploring new environments in which people build things in the world of computer science and engineering,” said Yang.
As part of the program, students traveled to New York City where they attended presentations by Yale alumni from three software companies.
Students visited Security Scorecard, a digital forensics company co-founded by Yale alumnus Aleksandr Yampolsky GRD ’06. Simon’s Foundation is a non-profit organization that designs software for research. and google.
“The continued engagement of Yale alumni and their commitment to engaging with students is a testament to the engagement alumni have with the campus community,” Wilzinski said.
According to Yang, these companies were deliberately chosen to expose students to the diverse applications of the “building process” in computer science and engineering. Many students agreed that the trip to New York was the “highlight” of the program. Lilia Chatalbasheva ’26 said she especially appreciated her candid discussion of diversity, inclusion and the importance of women in STEM.
The program is aimed at students with little or no computer science experience, Yang said. Gloria Kim ’26 has no coding or engineering experience with computers. She said she liked her STEM focus on the program, even though she didn’t major in science or engineering.
“We will definitely come back to CEID,” says Kim.
Students explored how to build physical objects in CEID while building virtual hardware using computer science department resources. Working with computer science lecturer Scott Petersen, students explored the relationship between computer science and music.
Other activities in the BUILD program included exploring Scratch programming and data visualization.
“The goal of the program was to expose students to the applications and connections that tie computer science to various humanities disciplines such as music and art,” says Yang.
The program emphasized how computer science and engineering can be linked to other humanities and social science disciplines that students may be interested in studying at Yale. Reva Tagare ’26 enjoyed “tasting the different flavors of STEM.”
In addition to a trip to New York City and a collaborative building project, students participated in workshop activities led by Computer Science faculty instructors Jay Lim and Cody Murphy. Yang said Lim and Murphy played an integral role in promoting the program. A notable student favorite was a workshop on “The Physics of Bubbles” by Larry Wilen, Senior Researcher at CEID and his mentor at Design.
BUILD also introduced students to the vast array of STEM resources accessible on campus. According to Erin Murray ’26, students have become accredited members of her CEID, prompting many to return to the center.
“I’m starting to think about projects I might want to start myself. [at the CEID]said Ishan Narra ’26.
Outside of workshops and alumni meetings, students in the BUILD program have formed a “beautiful close-knit community,” according to Fiza Shakeel ’26. Anjal Jain ’26 echoed this sentiment, calling his BUILD program a “highlight” of his Yale experience so far.A Community of Faculty and Student Leaders Eliminates “Anxiety” [that] Many of us were going through a recent move to New Haven,” Carl Geiselhart ’26 wrote in an email to The News.
However, some students made suggestions on how BUILD could be improved in the future. Harrison Copp ’26 said BUILD had less “community development” than other orientation programs. This is because students did not necessarily get to know each other on a ‘deeper level’ by sharing stories such as ‘hometown’ while collaborating on a project. Tradition of the more established FOOT and FOCUS orientation programs.
“I was often told that Yale was weak. [than peer institutions] On the engineering side,” Noah Dee ’26 wrote in an email to News. “This may be true, but the BUILD program certainly reassures us that Yale recognizes the need to move forward in these areas.”
Whether Camp Yale will offer the BUILD program as part of its orientation program next year has yet to be decided by the Yale dean’s office, but both Yang and Wilczynski say they want to expand BUILD in the future. He said that he thinks
CEID is located at 15 Prospect Street.