2017 Book Selection - "Lab Girl" by Hope Jahren

The incoming School of Engineering and Applied Science first-year students and UVA Engineering faculty come together in small groups at the start of every year for the Common Reading Experience (CRE) to enjoy a lively discussion about a book selected by the CRE committee. Through the CRE, you will meet your fellow first-year students and will share professional and personal views and experiences, and discuss engineering careers and their connections and impacts to everyday life in the context of the selected reading.


The CRE committee's pick for this year, “Lab Girl,” was selected as a New York Times Notable Book for 2016.

We are sure you have been anticipating your Engineering classes, but have you thought about the research opportunities available to you at UVA? This book describes the excitement of research and the passion and curiosity professors have for creating new knowledge with their students. We hope this book opens you to new ideas for your future accomplishments both at UVA and beyond.

Please come prepared to discuss the book with other incoming students and an Engineering School faculty member on Monday, August 21, part of your Wahoo Welcome activities. You CRE room and leader assignments are listed here.

Please send your suggestions for future CRE selections to Professor Elizabeth Opila.

We selected the following books for the CRE in recent years:

2016 Leaving Orbit by Margaret Lazarus Dean
2015 Spare Parts by Joshua Davis
2014 Ingenious: A True Story of Invention, Automotive Daring and the Race to Revive America
2013 The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
2012 To Engineer is Human by Henry Petroski
2011 Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
2010 The Viking in the Wheat Field: a Scientist's Struggle to Preserve the World's Harvest by Susan Dworkin
2009 The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
2008 America 1908 by Jim Rasenbergerto
2007 Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
2006 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
2005 The Rocket Boys by Homer Hickham, Jr.
2004 The Human Factor: Revolutionizing the Way People Live With Technology by Kim Vicente
2003 Hacker Cracker: A Journey from the Mean Streets of Brooklyn to the Frontiers of Cyberspace by Ejovi Nuwere
2002 Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
2001 Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin
2000 Managing Martians by Donna Shirley
1999 Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea by Gary Kinder
1998 Airframe by Michael Crichton
1997 A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr
1996 Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder
1995 A Scientist in the City by James Trefil
1994 The Control of Nature by John McPhee
1993 The Final Forrest by William Dietrich and The Tragedy of the Commons by Garrett Hardin

Prior to the Engineering School CRE, the University selected the following books for faculty-student discussions:

1990 Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
1989 All the Kings Men by Robert Penn Warren
1988 Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody