With high school graduation a recent memory, incoming freshmen are hanging tassels from their rearview mirrors and gearing up for their new college experience. Getting off on the right foot is the best way to set your future in motion. Whether you’re staying local or going away, the next four years will be what you make of them. So, take a deep breath and read on for the top tips to getting the most out of your freshman year.

1. Choose a major—You’re probably asking yourself, “How do I know what I want to be? Isn’t that why I’m going to college?” The answer is?you can always change your mind, as more than 80 percent of students do. Just think about your strengths and interests and go from there. Choosing a preliminary major can set you on the right track so you’re not taking classes that you won’t need down the road.

2. Attend and participate at orientation—Think of orientation as your first networking experience. It’s an event packed with valuable information and where you’ll hear firsthand about college resources and how to navigate through your new campus environment. Everyone is in the same boat and trying to fit in, so put your smile on and let your personality shine. It’s a great place to start building friendships and asking questions.

3. Get your dorm supplies—If you are planning to move away, leaving the nest and setting up your own room can be an exciting time. Be sure to review the recommended dorm supply checklist from your school and check with roommates to determine who is bringing what. Don’t forget to pack your favorite pillow, pictures or anything that will make your new space feel like home.

4. Meet with your adviser—By now, you should have your fall schedule in place, but it’s a good idea to set an appointment with your adviser once classes have started to get a handle on prerequisite and required courses. An adviser is your best resource to help you plan and balance future schedules so you’re not overloading yourself.

5. Contact professors early-on—Now is the time when being a “teacher’s pet” can be a good thing. Building strong relationships with your professors early-on shows that you’re serious about your studies and gives them a glimpse into your personality. Try emailing your professors to arrange a time to meet at orientation so you can introduce yourself in person. Put your best foot forward and be respectful.

6. Buy the book and show up to class?Believe it or not, these are two things that you can skip but shouldn’t. Yes, textbooks can be expensive, but you can often find them used, and they are worth the money. Professors mostly teach from the book and you’ll need to read assigned material if you want to do well in the class. At some colleges, professors leave attendance up to the student. This can be a liberating?yet dangerous?option since professors cover valuable material in class, as well as what is in the textbook.

7. Manage your time?So, there’s a mixer you want to attend but you have a ton of studying to do. What gives? Balancing your time can be your best asset at college. Your grades are important, but so is your sanity. If you know there’s a social event you want to attend, then be sure to get your studying in early or double-time it days before so you’ll be prepared for your next class and have a clear conscience about blowing off some steam.

8. Sharpen your social skills?Most freshmen start off knowing only a handful of people, if anyone at all. Polishing your social skills and coming out of your shell just might be the best thing you can do for yourself. After all, most freshmen are reinventing themselves, so now is the best time to get out there to meet people. It’s a level playing field. Keep an open mind, put yourself out there and make some new friends.

9. Get involved?Don’t wait to explore the many opportunities college campuses have to offer. Clubs and teams go way beyond sports, so take the time to explore what interests you and give it a try. Don’t see a club or team that matches your interests? Many colleges are open to hearing new ideas, so don’t hesitate to put a proposal together to start your own club. Getting involved with on-campus activities is a great way to stay engaged and connected with your school while building new friendships and nurturing new or untapped talents.

10. Refresh your technical skills?You’re now in the big leagues, so knowing how to comfortably navigate technology is a must when it comes to researching content and completing assignments and projects. It’s a good idea to do your homework ahead of time and know the requirements before you get to college. For example, does your college prefer a special laptop? Do you need to purchase it ahead of time or will you be able to buy it from the college? And be sure to polish your skills for the different programs your courses might use like Excel and PowerPoint. It’s time well spent.

11. Ask for help?It’s O.K. to ask for help. In fact, it’s expected and shows professors and faculty that you’re genuinely concerned and dedicated to earning the best grades possible. After all, you’re there to learn, and they are there to teach you.

12. Safety first?Staying vigilant is part of everyday life and being on a college campus isn’t any different. Having a sense of security is a priority for both students and parents, so it’s important to make yourself aware of all safety measures that are in place on your campus. Bottom line—use common sense and avoid less-than-desirable or dangerous situations. Prevention is your best defense. Be smart.

13. Get a job?College is expensive. Consider getting a part-time job freshman year to earn extra money. Not only will you be able to afford an occasional night out, but working also expands your circle and builds confidence and character.

As summer winds down, it’s almost time to start the new chapter in your life. Take a deep breath and embrace your future.  You’ve got this.

Robots are developing emotions, and not in ways that you may think. Today’s technology is advancing the evolving relationship between robots and humans, moving it beyond the realm of “artificial intelligence” (AI).

New Advances

Although transformative advances have recently shifted AI to be referred to as “machine-learning systems,” there’s more than meets the eye with these mechanical wonders. Artificial general intelligence (AGI) is quietly emerging, adding some personality and a bit of emotion to existing intelligence. These advancements allow for more natural human interaction and the ability to develop motivation to solve problems in creative ways.

Autonomous robots are designed for the capability to gain information and work independently for extended periods of time. AGI now enhances these abilities by adding humanlike common sense, making the robots react in more clever ways when engaging in problem-solving tasks. “The future direction of automation and robotics is to make life simpler for future generations,” said Dr. Hossein Rahemi, chair of Vaughn College’s Engineering and Technology Department. “Robots can make life more relaxing by taking the stress out of the workplace and relieve some of the pressures that workers experience.”

The mechatronic, electrical and mechanical engineering programs at Vaughn College provide a solid foundation for students to secure jobs in the field of robotics. “Hands-on experience is critical to gain the necessary knowledge to be successful,” Rahemi said. “Our World Championship Robotics Team is the perfect example of how engineering students come together to apply their knowledge and achieve success.” As the technology behind autonomous robots continues to gain momentum, so does the demand for engineers to maintain it. “As professors, we never stop learning,” said Rahemi. “This constant flow of knowledge passes down to our students—giving them the edge they need to be relevant in the field.”

How industries are using robots to get ahead

A variety of industries are seeing autonomous robots as valuable assets to their businesses. This doesn’t mean robots are taking over the workforce. In fact, they can assist in making human employees’ jobs easier and more streamlined while helping businesses run more efficiently. The automotive industry is a field that is no stranger to using robots. For years, car makers have used robots to assist workers with daily tasks by facilitating more efficient, flexible and precise production lines, resulting in faster production times.

The world is seeing amazing advances in the medical industry, which is now using autonomous robots. Hospitals, for example, can use autonomous robots to quickly deliver lab results and pick up patient samples while navigating through hallways, which will free up time for health care professionals to tend to their patients and other responsibilities. And since some autonomous robots can detect emotion in the human voice, they can be used in more interactive settings to improve productivity and customer experience. Skilled surgeons are using a robot’s pinpoint accuracy to assist in delicate and complex surgeries and procedures. “Scientists, engineers and other industry experts are the sources behind this AI, giving life to the robots and fueling the future of autonomous robotic technology,” Rahemi said. “As much as robots are designed and programmed to help humans do a task, we still need human intelligence to make it all happen.”


With virtually endless advancements on the horizon, it’s just a matter of time before the world sees what researchers will develop next in the field of autonomous robotics. “Demand is skyrocketing as the industry is seeking talented engineers to be the human intelligence behind AI,” Rahemi explained. “The field is growing and expanding before our eyes and Vaughn is committed to educating our students to be the future intelligence of tomorrow. Our mechatronic engineering programs are testament to this commitment.”

Learn more about our mechatronic engineering degree.

At 23 years old, Vaughn College graduate Terry Cetoute (’16) says his degree in mechatronic engineering and experience at the College helped him blend his passions to land the job he has today.

Growing up in Miami, Fla., Cetoute recalls working closely with his father, from whom he learned carpentry and discovered how things were built, and explained how he always had an interest in engineering. It wasn’t until one of his high school teachers encouraged him, however, to pursue either the fields of engineering or aviation that he seriously considered pursuing a degree.

“I’ve always been adventurous and up for a challenge. That’s when I began searching for the perfect college to fit my needs and personality,” Cetoute explained. He discovered Vaughn and said he knew the College would be the launching pad to his future. He started in mechanical engineering but soon turned his sights to mechatronic engineering.

“I joined the robotics team in my freshman year and was hooked,” said Cetoute. He was elected vice president of the team and remained in that position for the next two years—and that team ultimately won the world championship title at the 2016 VEX Worlds Competition. He went on to explain how the mechatronic engineering program molded his interests and gave him a foundation to build on. “The computer programming aspect to the mechatronic engineering program was instrumental in positioning me as a strong candidate for a job,” Cetoute said. “Since mechatronic engineering involves mechanical, electrical and computer engineering, I received a well-rounded education to put me ahead of other job candidates.”

Student life at Vaughn played a major role in his time there. “My love for sports and the outdoors gave me an outlet to explore the extracurricular activities offered at Vaughn,” Cetoute said. He joined the tennis and cross-country teams to nurture his athletic side and says the athletics department at Vaughn was welcoming and helped him keep sports in his life while he earned his degree. “I definitely made the most of my experience living on campus.”

Regarding the professors, Cetoute claims the faculty was the core of his success at Vaughn. “The professors were great at balancing education and being mentors to the students,” he says. “They were always ready to make time for us and made the material relatable so we could understand how it applies to the field.” He explored other resources at the College and visited the career services department for help with his resume. “I began researching jobs prior to graduation and needed to build a strong resume,” Cetoute said. “They did a great job helping me outline my information and putting it all together.” Prior to graduation, he put his resume to work and applied for a job at JTEKT Toyoda Americas Corporation, a top machine tool service and supplier for the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, South America and Latin America.

Cetoute currently works as a field service technician for Toyoda in Wixom, MI. “We provide the programming and machine tools used mainly for the automotive industry,” he proudly states. His passions for the outdoors, exploration and travel have come full circle with his new position. “It takes me to new places, where I put my knowledge to work in the field,” he says. “I couldn’t ask for a more perfect job.”

Learn more about Vaughn College’s Mechatronic Engineering Degree.

Travelers may need to pack their patience this summer as an estimated 234 million passengers are expected to take to the skies. And, as airport delays tend to occur more frequently in the summer than they do in the winter, savvy travelers should think ahead when planning their vacation destinations.

MileCards.com, a loyalty credit card analyst, sorted out airport on-time arrival data from the department of transportation from 2007-2016 and compiled the on-time ratings for the country’s 50 busiest airports.

Narrowing it down, findings revealed that 40 percent of the top 50 airports have more airport delays in the summer than in the winter, including the popular destinations such as Atlanta, Boston, New York, Orlando, San Antonio, both Dallas area airports, and all three Washington, DC area airports.

Those venturing to Hawaii are in luck, as Kahului and Honolulu top the list for on time summer travel. Other western destinations that ranked among the most favorable were Salt Lake City and Orange County. For the Midwest, Minneapolis and Detroit came in as the best for on-time summer flights.

California tends to be a vacation hot spot, and travelers heading to San Jose and Oakland are good to go, because these two airports come in at numbers eight and 11, respectively, as the best airports for fewest summer airport delays. San Francisco, on the other hand, had more summer delays, partly due to coastal fog and parallel runways.

What airports are doing

No one wants to experience  airport delays―customers and airlines alike. In preparation for their busiest season, some airports are instituting the following to assist passengers during a high-traffic time of year:

  • Increase operations staff to keep delays to a minimum.
  • Increase the number of ambassadors to help passengers navigate seamlessly in and out of the airport.
  • Offer mobile phone apps designed to help passengers navigate where they need to be, monitor wait times and keep track of parking.
  • Have management work closely with airline partners to ensure facilities are adequately resourced and maintained.

What you can do

Since summer travel airport delays may occur, experts agree that being prepared and having a good attitude are key. Here are some travel tips before you take off:

  • Check for waived change fees before you check in.
  • Check if there’s severe weather in the forecast.
  • Use inflight Wi-Fi to rebook your flight if you think you might miss your connection.
  • Book earlier flights that tend to be on-time compared to flights that will leave later in the day.
  • Use certain travel credit cards that may offer compensation for delayed flights.

For those traveling with small children, parents may want to pack travel games and snacks to make the time go faster while they wait to board their flight. At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying a safe summer vacation.

Happy travels!