Friday August 30th

Burlington is Beautiful and other updates

I’m officially settled in Burlington

  • I completed a week of orientation, and am (today) completing my first week of classes. It’s been awesome. I love it here!

I’m up after midnight… listening to Queen

  • I’m halfway in between insomnia and on a high from seeing a schedule with my freaking name on it to present research at my school next week Friday! So stoked!
  • I’m presenting on an idea I had during a Summer workshop through NASA. My advisors have been super supportive in giving me feedback and I thought it might have been silly to present at first, because I haven’t explored the idea extensively, but they thought it would be great, and instead of a 10 minute slot, now I have a 15 minute slot in a schedule of a full-day of some amazing talks!

I’m TA-ing

  • I am on the books for two classes, specifically one that is Matlab, and another which is for Data Privacy. The students are really bright, and it’s been fun interacting with them! The professor is also really awesome.
  • Data Privacy (in this case, Differential Privacy) is awesome. I can’t say anything about the research done until something is published, but I love the topic. To me, Differential Privacy is like putting together pieces of a puzzle, but with data. It’s fascinating.

I’m also taking three classes

  • One is Software Verification in Agda, the other is a Differential Privacy class, and the third is a Human-Computer Interaction class where I’ll be building stuff using a Leap Motion device.
  • The third was important (and my choice) because I want to work (in research) on real things that people use, and I want to be aware of the ways in which people interact with things I make. If anyone knows me, also, I really resonate with companies that care about their users, and have good user experiences in general. I also resonate with things that are well-made and have some thought put into them.
  • A really awesome example today is that my professor mentioned that if he were to automate role-taking/attendance for our class, he would factor in (eg machine learning) the fact that we generally sit in more or less the same spot, to evaluate whether someone was actually in class or not (ie to catch fake attendance check-ins). That was so mind-blowing for me to think about; we as humans have habits of repetition that we often take for granted, but which persons can use to give other humans a better experience in designing software and software-dependent products. And usually, unless I make a conscious decision, I do sit in more or less the same spot. So things like spatial awareness and patterns and how humans behave matter. I think they do. After all, we’re building things for the world.

There is so much going on!

  • This week alone, I had ice cream quite a bit, and tea, and saw free cookies, and free pizza (but stayed away from that if I recall), and a workshop on Data Science and Machine Learning and a conference on AI and I am going to do all of that stuff because…

We went out hiking to Winooski

  • At Winooski Falls, and I took some photos. All my lab mates are pretty cool.

Oh, and one last thing

  • I’m a Code 2040 Finalist! I have to secure an internship to be a fellow. So that’s really awesome. Of course, it will depend on my advisors, and what they say, based on offers I receive (or don’t receive). They (Code 2040) offer really great mentorship and it’s a great opportunity, and my peers (we have an internal Slack) are really high achievers.…crazy…ambitious..and…talented on that Slack. All from really great schools or did really great internships, etc. It’s insane.

There is so much I can say

  • But I regret nothing about all of this; it’s been just a blast and if anything, I have to remind myself to take a break when I schedule it, and find a quiet space.
  • Grad school may be intense, but it’s amazing. I feel supported, and I feel like I matter. I feel like all these doors of opportunity opened because of my decision to attend, and I regret nothing.

And that’s it

Written on August 30, 2019