Intro ESE course a ‘must-take’ for first-year students

Through a combination of mathematical language, labs and healthy competition, this course gives new students a firm foundation

From left to right: Allison Todd, James Cavasco, Caitlind Walker
Caitlind Walker
Coming to WashU, I was an undecided engineering major. I was unsure which field would fit me best and which field interested me the most. After talking with the electrical engineering department during orientation, I knew that was what I wanted to major in. But my decision was not solidified until I took Introduction to Electrical & Systems Engineering (ESE 105). This class introduced topics that electrical and systems engineers’ work with and equipped us with the necessary skills to be successful in an electrical or systems engineering major.

The class introduced us to the subjects of clustering, control systems, circuitry and imaging in a way that we could understand both the basic concepts of the individual fields as well as understand how each field relates to work or research currently being done. Knowing that what we were studying directly applies to our futures really made this class unique and helped to keep us interested and excited about the subjects we were studying. We also learned linear algebra and the program MATLAB, both of which are used frequently by electrical and systems engineers. I have already used both MATLAB and linear algebra in other classes, which really aided in my understanding of the material we were learning and allowed me to get through homework faster.

My biggest advice for incoming ESE students is to take ESE 105. It is going to be one of the most useful classes you take in terms of being introduced to the fields of electrical and systems engineering and in learning concepts you will use throughout your college career.

James Cevasco
I’m the only student from my high school who has come to WashU in the past couple of years, so I didn’t know anyone before coming to campus. Even after I started getting to know some of my peers in my first semester, I didn’t know anyone else majoring in electrical engineering. It’s one of the smaller majors on campus, and while I was interested in it from taking physics in high school, I didn’t know too much about it. ESE 105 gave me a broader perspective of what electrical engineering truly is and gave me a glimpse of how expansive the field is. I was surprised at first to use a linear algebra textbook for the class. But the linear algebra skills that were taught turned out to be extremely useful for many ESE applications, which we were able to visualize using MATLAB software.

All of the freshmen who had declared electrical or systems engineering majors were in ESE 105, so we got to know each other well by working on classwork and studying together. I’m still friends with many of the students who were in that class, and it’s nice knowing people in my major since we’re all taking similar classes and going through similar academic experiences. ESE 105 was a difficult but rewarding course, and it’s a class I really appreciate for setting the tone for a successful college career.

Allison Todd
I decided to attend WashU because of the amazing community I saw even from just walking around campus. As a student, I see the same support everywhere on campus, even in the classroom. I love WashU Engineering because of its nonconfining environment. There is such a strong sense of interdisciplinary collaboration on campus. I’m not a traditional engineer, and I don’t want to follow the traditional engineering plan; WashU Engineering will not confine me to traditional expectations and will embrace everything I want to do.

Introduction to Electrical & Systems Engineering gave me a perfect snapshot of the Electrical & Systems Engineering department here, and I loved every aspect. You could tell the professors genuinely enjoyed what they worked on and what they were teaching us. There was a constant level of excitement and expectation for what was yet to come that kept the class dynamic and my mind constantly expanding. The class was demanding and difficult, but after completing every seemingly impossible task, there was always a rush of adrenaline and excitement.

I decided to study electrical engineering because my favorite part of physics was building circuits. While that was a pretty good reason, I was presented with amazing things you can do with electrical systems beyond just turning on a light bulb and beyond anything I could have possibly imagined in August. With the other first-year electrical and systems engineering majors, we accomplished some amazing things together; we bonded over late nights with seemingly impossible projects and figuring everything out the next morning in TA hours. Overall, taking ESE 105 is why I’m still studying electrical engineering. Every challenging thing I learned excited me beyond belief, I learned so much more in my first semester than I was expecting, and I’m so very thankful.