Tuesday March 17th

Social Distancing and NCWIT finalist

I’ve been home the last couple days

  • It’s been pretty great, and I’ve gotten a lot done. Slashing your commute does a lot for your time. I also love cooking at home and being able to have a glass of wine with dinner. Plus, I am less worried about sanitation in general because I have access to things I have control over, vs public facilities, etc.
  • I have a soft-margin work schedule, so I’ve been getting work done. These days, I’m working on a Machine Learning project, going over all the chapters from the first half of the semester, setting up stuff so I’m ready to TA virtually (which, I’ve done in the past via Udacity anyways, in groups of 30 students; maybe grad student committees should put more weight on these skills in the future :D )
  • I’m also taking a machine learning course on neural networks, and enjoying it thus far. It will put me in good shape for my class, which starts on Wednesday.
  • I also feel very calm and rested. This is a very positive environment for me, and my parents chat with me often, so I’m definitely not alone.
  • I’m also on a few Slack groups, a discord group, etc, and one of my Slack groups is starting a Book club that officially begins April 5th (machine-learning related, or rather, deep-learning related). Today I helped someone with a GSoC proposal, and was considering whether to be an online mod for another channel. Otherwise, I’m upbeat and am using my optimism to quell the anxieties of those who loathe staying at home :D

My biggest hurdle

  • The hardest thing for me is to have a day schedule. Aye. If I had my way, I’d get up around 10am or 12pm, and stay up until 2am or 4am. The day schedule SUCKS for me. But you know, once class starts, I’d have to get back into that again.

NCWIT package

  • Anyways, here are some of the photos from the NCWIT finalist package that they sent me!
  • It included a letter from NCWIT, a Certificate in a beautifully bounded frame, a tumbler, a 64GB USB drive, and a business card holder that looks like a PCB! I’m in love with that last item. Omggggg. It reminds me of the Art Fair we went to in Sunnyvale last Spring, in which a guy was selling custom-made pens that had designs like those of PCBs on them. During that fair, I bought a pen with the Constitution for my mentor, that looks like a bullet. It’s beautifully crafted, and I knew he’d love it. I try to be thoughtful when I’m at events if something reminds me of someone or I think that something will be a good fit for them.

Opportunities arise when things change

  • My dad is very involved in the Church community, and was asking me for recommendations about computer cameras this week, because of my background (I haven’t kept up with camera technology in years; probably since 2013?). I said that I wasn’t really an expert, but I was able to give advice to send him in the right direction based on things he should look for.
  • He is in an interesting situation; the congregation of most churches is mostly the elderly, which is a high-risk group. However, they are not typically the most technologically-savvy. So those are two challenges.
  • He put it well, that basically the situation has “sped up parts of our lives that were inevitable” (eg speaking and working more remotely). A lot of my work has been in remote, cross-functional teams anyways these days, so this is pretty normal for me; I feel like a fish in water.
  • Another professor (the lovely Dr. Jones) suggested that if we had a conference talk or something we were passionate about, to reach out during this semester of being remote to speak as a guest for a class. Some of us had been presented with this opportunity already (I know that I’ve been approached at least one time for this), but it’s a great opportunity to do so, with great reach and impact.

Change is inevitable

  • A person made a post a week ago about the LA area needing persons with lab-type experience. There is apparently a shortage in LA. My first instinct was that if I lived in LA, I would certainly have helped out. I did spend 7 weeks of a summer in the Gambia, and I worked in both a Pharmacy dispensing and writing prescriptions, immunizing children in a nearby village, and checking the blood pressure of many persons old and young. If there was ever a need in my area, I would do the same to the best of my ability, also. Interestingly, a week ago, I was interviewed by local News agency and I asked the reporter afterwards about lab capability, because I know the constraints of lab workers in terms of time and workforce.
  • It’s been interesting to see the world adapt and for people to discover things which were kind of in the works anyways. Sometimes all the clues are there; you just have to take the time to listen. I am happy that years ago I adapted my life so that I can pretty much exist mostly remotely, have a career that I can do remotely, etc. I think of some of the earlier parts of my life, and how heavily it would have been impacted by the world’s current events, and I feel grateful. I also feel grateful that I can help others who weren’t so fortunate.

Anyways, that’s about all I have to say for now

  • Stay well, and wash your hands :D
Written on March 17, 2020