What I Did with My Degree: Engineering / Industrial Design


I'd always been considered something of a brain, and I was very lucky to get accepted to Stanford University. I entered college with little thought as to what I wanted to study. All I had to go on was my parents' admonition that I "study something useful." Translation: don't get a degree in English, psychology, philosophy or art unless you want to make your life more difficult than it has to be.

I've always been interested in the way things work, so I found myself taking introductory engineering courses. I especially enjoyed the hands-on shop classes, in which I got to use machines such as the lathe and the mill to craft, among other things, a magnifying glass and a futuristic chess set. These classes lead me to a major in engineering with a specialty in product design (as it's called at Stanford; similar to "industrial design" at other schools). The product design specialty allowed me to indulge my less useful creative side with courses such as photography and drawing, while at the same time I worked my way through the physics, calculus, computer science and mechanical and electrical engineering curriculum.