First Year Read!

Welcome to Stevens! My name is Grace Miguel and I am a junior software engineering major. I am from Washington Township, NJ(the one in Bergen County). 

By this time, all of you should have received your summer reading book, What the Eyes Don’t See by Mona Hanna-Attisha. I highly encourage you to read this novel because it is relevant and applicable to today’s world.

 At Stevens, our ideology is to apply our knowledge in the classroom to the real world. We don’t learn isentropic processes and big-O notation to plug and chug into equations just to get a decimal number that is meaningless to us. Stevens students are curious. We take concepts from our courses and apply it to what is meaningful and purposeful to us. For example, in my independent software engineering class, I had a semester long project. The only directions I were given were, “Create something with code, it can be a website, a game, anything.” Initially, I was taken aback, I’ve always been given directions for what exactly I should do. This was an opportunity to pursue something meaningful. Because I love spending time outdoors, I decided I wanted to create a website that gives Stevens students directions to mountains and trails based on the wanted intensity of the hike and the distance from campus. This was the most rewarding project I’ve done because it was something I cared about. 


The reason why I think you should read this book, or at least skim through the chapters is because it will open your eyes to the grander picture. College isn’t all about getting an A in every course and reading the textbook under your desk lamp into the wee hours of the morning. College is immersing yourself in your classes and putting your knowledge to use. The themes highlighted throughout the book such as ethics, leadership and technology will stay with you throughout your time at Stevens.

What is happening in Flint, Michigan is very real. Mona Hana-Attisha is not just a pediatrician, she is an activist for Flint children and a person who looks beyond her office. I implore you to read this novel not just to understand the crisis in Flint, but to understand that anyone can make a difference. 

The Samuel C. Library is a great resource to find academic databases and journals for research papers and research guidance. You may also borrow books, newspapers and magazines from the library as well. For more information about the library click here. They even put together a research guide for the book which you can find here.

Another reason you should read the book is because you can enter the Summer Reading Contest! It is optional, but there are three options: 

  1. Essay: Discuss one of the book’s themes and relate it to a unique cause or solution to What the Eyes Don’t See -No longer than 1,000 words
  2. Art Activism: Create a piece of art that represents the theme of activism in the reading or that reflects current cultural or political power structures in the United States.  This art can be visual, literary, digital, or whatever form you see most fit.  -Submissions that are physical can be sent in by taking a photo(s) of the piece.
  3. Video-Present one of the book’s themes and relate it to a unique cause or solution to What the Eyes Don’t See -No longer than 2 minutes. 

First place will receive a $200 bookstore credit. Second place will receive a $100 bookstore credit. All submissions can be submitted by August 16, 2020 to 

Grace Miguel, Software Engineering

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