A Non-Engineer’s Guide to Pratt

Duke Students
3 min readMar 30, 2023

By Eliana Durkee

Although there are an infinite number of things that make obtaining a degree from the Pratt School of Engineering unique, most of the reason why it seems so foreign to Trinity students is because it seems to take place in another world. So, let’s start with a map.

Map of Duke’s campus with red lines denoting paths to Pratt buildings

If you’ve taken a science or math class at Duke, you might be able to get oriented using Science Drive. But for those of you who stick to Abele Quad, I picked my favorite routes to the Engineering Quad (E-Quad, for short) from there (including a bonus route from WU to The Foundry!). If you’ve never been to E-Quad, you may be baffled by references to places like Twinnies, Teer, The Pod, Hudson, or Fitzpatrick. You may be even more confused if you’ve ever tried to find Schichiano A, or even worse, spell it after hearing it said out loud (sh-ish-shee-on-o).

Twinnies Cafe is where engineers grab a quick bite to eat between classes — their breakfast sandwich croissants are underrated, and if you go later in the day their hummus and pita are pretty good too. It’s also one of the few places you can snag a Gatorade instead of Powerade if you’re particular about your sports drinks. I frequent it mostly to get a conciliatory chocolate chip cookie after exams and quizzes.

360 pic of E-Quad during fall E-Picnic 2022!

Hudson, Teer, and Fitzpatrick are mostly where classes take place but each has their own unique features. Teer has the Pratt Dean’s offices, Fitzpatrick houses Schiciano A and Twinnies, and Hudson… well, Hudson is being renovated in the next few years! It does feature Pat the lab manager though, who is a Pratt icon if I’ve ever seen one. He and his staff designed a completely accurate curling rink, down to the type of granite used for the curling rocks, all for a EGR 244 homework assignment.

Bridge surrounded by trees
The walkway to the Foundry (Gross Hall)

The Pod, The Foundry, and The Innovation Co-Lab feature all the machines one thinks of when they think of engineering. You name it, you can find it in these design spaces — 3D printers, laser cutters, electrical equipment, and even sewing machines and sticker makers. It’s not only where Pratt Stars complete academic assignments — anything from wooden vinyl record player stands to 3D printed marble tracks have been designed and brought to life in these places, just for the fun of it.

Eliana working on an EGR101 project

Being a student in Pratt isn’t just about taking classes in E-Quad. Whether it’s joining the Combat Robotics team, just hanging out to do homework, or helping plan E-Ball and other Engineering Student Government events, Pratt’s various extracurriculars and social engagements bring us back there time and time again. So if you ever wonder what it would be like to be an engineer, I encourage you to grab a cheesecake brownie from Twinnies and take a walk through E-Quad (however you decide to get there).

2 Engineering Student Government (ESG) members during E-Oktoberfest

Eliana is a sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering with a Math Minor and a first year @DukeStudents intern. She loves to play field hockey, take photos, and travel. On campus, she spends time watching Duke Basketball, working on projects, giving admissions tours, and organizing Pratt events through Engineering Student Government.

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