Thursday August 12th

Broadening Launch, Usenix, SOUPS, Decoding, Book Club, First Cryptography talk!

I had planned to post earlier

  • So I had planned to post earlier, but a couple things happened. For one, GH was not allowing me to make a new post, because parts of it were down.
  • I was going to do a role-play guest-post idea between a PhD liberal arts student and a CS PhD student, kind of in a Socratic method but tongue-in-cheek (particularly with respect to assumptions each has of the other), but well, maybe another time.
  • I quite like this new layout, to be honest, because you can easily preview and commit simultaneously, which is nice.

Broadening launch

  • It’s our first time, so I hope participants find it useful, and we’re also happy for feedback, too! Please join us!
  • There definitely seems to be a need; we currently have approximately 300 people on the Slack group! We also have a very asynchronous setup with office hours and opportunities for mentorship, but mainly allowing researchers to advocate for themselves and find support for the skills they need in a way that is not the typical top-down solution.
  • The larger goal is that this can be continued, and that we can have a more diverse group of applicants to ICLR. I’d also like to point out as we mentioned, that “diverse” also very much ties into those who have never published before, too. We want all of your perspectives and creativity in solving problems, and hope you find a home in this research community. And even if you don’t, we hope you make new friends :)

Bloomberg Decoded

  • I was invited to the Bloomberg Decoded event this week, so I was involved in participating in that, as well as a few other recruiting events.
  • I’ve enjoyed it thus far, and they also have a puzzles culture, which is nice.

I got a scholarship from Google!

  • I got a scholarship from Google to attend the Grace Hopper Conference! I’ve applied for years, so I’m really happy. It is really something to be chipping away at something for years and years and finally make headway. It’s worth it to achieve something you’ve set out to do for years.
  • Oh, and the MSR award is finally processed! Hooray!


  • As was leaked in my slides from my last post (that I presented to the MSR lab), I received a return offer and an offer for full-time to join the team if I’d like after my PhD. So hooray!

Book Club

  • I’ve been working with an R book club group (8 or 9 of us) on chapters of the book, Open Statistics, and this week I had to do a 15 minute summary. In about three weeks, I will have to prepare exercises in R or by hand for the group to work on for about 45 minutes to an hour.
  • People from the group said that my summary was very thorough, but I really just enjoyed going through the chapter, and the group is great!


  • I’ve been attending a Cryptography workshop all summer (I originally found the workshop while I was taking the Cryptography class, and my advisor agreed that it looked solid, while we were reproducing code from a paper together. She also knows some of the workshop organizers, and I had contacted them long before registration was even open to find out if I could participate) that relates to my new field and a proposal I recently wrote, and I’m giving a talk within SFPC in a week, affiliated with another class I’m taking on the love of Mathematics, which includes people from a range of fields. It (my talk) will be pretty basic, as I’m learning, but I’m very excited about the topic, and it’s really been for me a field where I think I’ve found home. And it’s convinced me to even consider staying in Academia because it’s research, and as such probably won’t be super applied / engineering any time soon, which is nice. As such, people who are in the area legitimately just love the field. I love the people and I’m enjoying the work a lot, and have met a whirlwind of people. There are not a lot of people who look like me, but there are a lot of women, and they are rockstars who have solid technical chops, and zero ego. Four of us sat in an office hours session for 2 hours and just went through material together, asking questions, noting resources and just having a great time. I can see these people as future collaborators. The discipline has enough “rigour” (or rather, the kind I’m looking for) to hold my interest, also.
  • My advisor at my University (I’m doing a hybrid of being advised by a Pure Maths cryptography advisor and my other CS advisor, essentially) has already introduced me to so many people, and it’s made me contemplate who I might want to continue a postdoc with, or even consider focusing on an additional Pure Maths Master’s degree in the future (although both of my advisors don’t think I’ll need it, but my school has a small number of senior professors (one of my advisors is one of the most senior in our department), and a small number of Pure Maths classes in favour of Stats / Data Science classes (which is a shame, so I’ve been getting a lot of the Pure stuff from seminars and private tutoring from my mentors and advisor)). It’s been a fantastic summer and I’ve loved every session of this workshop! I’ve made so many new friends! I definitely want to focus on Cryptography for the rest of my career.
  • My entire life, as I’ve walked past buildings, I’ve always been calculating whether the numbers are prime numbers (I found one today on the way to grab caffeine: 173), and what they’re divisible by, so it’s nice to be in a group of people who do the same :) My whole family is the same but I’ve often felt like a weirdo for being like this, or noticing that the time is a Pythagorean triplet. I feel complete and happy.
  • I also fiddled around in Sage and almost got the memory on my laptop to almost run out because I picked a horrible prime and the function was written with @ss complexity. Oops.
  • I also had a great discussion with quite a few people, and it’s been surprising how many people know who I am already. I’m still pretty new to the community.

Algorithms group

  • I’ve also been taking part in this Black software engineers algorithms group, where we’ve been going through algo expert. That’s been fun, and it’s usually just an hour or two on a Sunday, so very relaxing. We did stacks and queues last weekend.


  • I attended SOUPS and attended the speed-mentoring session on Tuesday, and got great advice about a postdoc and career advice, and also have been attending the talks at USENIX, which I received a free ticket for through GREPSEC.

I’m doing a podcast!

  • I’ll be on a podcast, which will be recorded at the end of the month! So that’s pretty exciting :)

So that sounds like a lot

  • It hasn’t been super-duper busy, but maybe I have done a lot over the past week. I have a lot more time on my calendar, but checking in on the Broadening Slack and making sure things are okay will take up some of my time. My co-committee peer is so passionate and has done so much great work; she really has a good heart, and is smart and thoughtful about the process, which has helped me grow and learn as well, and I’m grateful for that. So many people carve out research careers that seems to put themselves at the centre, and she really is the kind of person to take others with her, and that’s been a beautiful thing to witness. She really cares about the community.

Anyways, that’s it for now

  • I’m attending a Q&A Cryptography workshop, and getting up at 3AM tomorrow for another one. I’m so excited! :)
  • Edit: It ended up being amazingly fun! It literally felt like we were at a bar at a conference hanging out at 3am! I love these people and this group!
Written on August 12, 2021