School Profile: Get ‘Mobotic’ at Carnegie Mellon

Carnegie Mellon University is ranked #48 among the Veritas Prep Elite College Rankings. This private research university is a blend of the former Carnegie Institute of Technology and the former Mellon Institute of Industrial Research. The University became an epicenter for education in robotics, artificial intelligence, business, and the arts. Their pioneering “Andrew” computing network that linked together every computer work station on campus became a model for technology in education.

Not only does Carnegie Mellon rank high among U.S. colleges and universities, but it also ranks among elite universities internationally; several Carnegie programs individually rank on elite lists as well. The University reaches across the globe to provide learning opportunities on virtually every continent, including Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar that offers a complete undergraduate program.

Carnegie Mellon is an urban school in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, which is considered the cultural hub of the city. Carnegie Mellon students share the neighborhood with the University of Pittsburgh; it has an international flair and boasts, art cinemas, museums, an array of ethnic cuisines, and unique coffee houses.  Shadyside, an upscale neighborhood of boutique shops, intimate lounges, and high end restaurants is within walking distance of the University. Squirrel Hill, a Pittsburgh favorite among neighborhoods, is also within walking distance and offers an eclectic blend of old and new making it the trendy place to be. Carnegie Mellon students easily blend into their urban environment and quickly feel at home.

On campus, there are over 270 student organizations, which are all detailed in their webpage The Bridge; get a head start in seeing where you might best fit in on campus. If you still are unsure about where you might fit in, Carnegie hosts activities fairs in September and January where you can get an overview of the vast opportunities to get involved in student life and talk to organizers face-to-face.

The Arts Pass program gets students free admission into a number of Pittsburgh attractions with a college ID. Winter Gala is the first Friday of the spring semester and is held at the campus student union; it features a no-cash casino with entertainment, and an assortment of activities and prizes. The school’s Scottish roots are celebrated during Celildh weekend for homecoming. Late Night offers Carnegie students free weekend activities from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

All first-year students must live on campus, but nearly 75% opt to continue with campus student housing during their academic careers. Carnegie Mellon offers the typical single-gender and co-ed dormitories, suites, and apartments available at most major universities. There are also Greek houses and special interest housing options, including a sustainable living situation at the New House. Students can enjoy over two dozen dining options on campus serving a wide variety of cuisines. Meal plans even include off-campus restaurants affiliated with the University.

Since Carnegie Mellon is recognized as a leader in science and technology, it makes sense that over 60% of students graduate with degrees in science technology, engineering, or mathematics. There is a 10:1 student faculty ratio, where 99% of undergraduate classes are taught by faculty, 96% of whom hold Ph.D.s. Students at Carnegie Mellon have the opportunity to research side-by-side with some of the greatest minds in their respective fields. Award-winning Carnegie faculty and alumni have embraced Andrew Carnegie’s vision, “My heart is in the work,” and gone on to change the world. One of the most recognizable faculty is Professor Randy Pausch, author of the best-selling book, The Last Lecture.

Carnegie students are encouraged to pursue interdisciplinary work through the University’s seven undergraduate and graduate schools: the Carnegie Institute of Technology, the College of Fine Arts, the H. John Heinz III College, the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Mellon College of Science, the School of Computer Science, and Tepper School of Business. Students can participate in several important research efforts including research in robotics, software engineering, and human-computer interaction.

The Carnegie Mellon Tartans field eight men’s teams and eight women’s teams in NCAA Division III varsity sports, and compete in the University Athletic Association (UAA). The school has several club teams and an active intramural program. Fitness classes are non-elective at Carnegie. Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to take advantage of the vast health and fitness opportunities in Carnegie’s state-of-the-art facilities.

One of the wackiest traditions at Carnegie Mellon is painting the fence. The fence is in the area of campus known as “the cut,” and to be able to paint it you need at least two 24-hour guards to secure the fence, you can only paint between midnight and 6 a.m., and only with hand brushes. It is the “world’s most painted fence” according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Other traditions include Spring Carnival, Schenley Park buggy races, and the annual mobot competition. No respectable school with Scottish roots would go to a football game without their Kiltie Band; Carnegie’s performs at each football game. Carnegie Mellon also offers the only bagpipe music master’s degree in the country, so the University’s Pipes and Drums frequently play at University events.

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By Colleen Hill