Engineering students learning how to be less awkward at U of M

Categories: Education, U of M
gemini project.jpg
The Gemini Project logo is appropriately similar to a comic book character.
Engineering is not one of the social sciences -- at times, it's more like anti-social.

But the University of Minnesota is setting about to change that, thanks to a series of new classes offered to engineering students that are meant to help them be a little less Isaac Newton, science weirdo, and a little more Isaac Hayes, soul man.

The U's new classes, called the Gemini Project, are geared around helping engineers on things  like teamwork, networking, and office politics, just in case the students ever have to, like, talk to another person.

The Gemini Project is the first of its kind, the program leader told the Minnesota Daily.

This is bad news for pretty much everyone else. Those engineering kids are already smart, can fix gadgets, and might actually make money someday. If the U can teach them how to be smooth, no one will want to date the rest of us idiots.

The project, which includes 11 speakers on topics like "Networking," "The Subtle Art of Self-Promotion," and "Understanding Generational Differences," are offered free thanks to a $4 million grant from University of Minnesota IT grads, the Daily reports.

The Gemini Project is hoping for around 100 kids per class, and is helping to lure them in with free brownies and pizza. As of yet, there's no word on whether there will be a World of Warcraft break-out session.

Remember kids: This is not a complex gadget -- it's a tool to arrange keg parties and listen to jam bands.

Of course, as if to hammer home the reason why such a program is necessary, the U is marketing the courses to engineers as if they're being trained to become comic book superheroes. The Gemini Project logo is a sort of bionic man, who manages to be both handsome and robotic.

"At the U of M," the program's tagline reads, "we're developing a more powerful new engineer. One with advanced networking capabilities and amazing interpersonal powers."

The Daily reports that local companies are buzzing about a generation of more socially adept engineers, while students are admitting their shortcomings and getting ready to talk just as dumb as all the sociology majors.

Steve Pescheman told the Daily he plans to go to all 11 courses, in the hope of picking up that certain something that he's missing.

"Social skills are not innate to me," Pescheman said. "I'm here to learn the things that come naturally to other people, since they don't come naturally to me."

There's really nothing bad to say about this idea, except that it's probably long overdue. Maybe next year the U can start a program for English Lit. majors called, "How to be just a little less pretentious," and another one for Journalism students called, "How to transfer out of your Journalism major."

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