• ## My Master's Thesis Experience

I knew during the fall of my senior year that I wanted a PhD.  I finalized my decisions after I started exploring schools to apply to and working on my personal statement, but I knew then that was what I wanted.  I applied directly to PhD programs.  In the progra I ended up in, when we enter without a Master’s degree we need to fulfill the MS requirements as a s subset of the PhD requirements.  We have two options, we can fulfill the MS credits as 8 courses or 6 courses and a thesis.  I want a PhD because I want to do research, I enjoy research, not because I want to take classes.  I like learning and discovering, of course, but coursework isn’t how I learn best.

• ## Teaching to Learn: LaTeX

One thing I really wish I had been exposed to in undergrad that I was unfortunately slow to adopt in graduate school is $latex LaTeX$.  In my second year, I forced myself to start learning it, during a take home midterm.  I continued learning with some other homeworks and my finals that semester.  During my qualifying exam, I may have learned almost as must $latex LaTeX$ as signal processing.  I’ve even started using beamer for presentations and using TikZ for drawings.

• ## Help: Easier to offer than to ask for

Asking for help is pretty much the hardest thing on earth for me to do. I’m always willing to offer help, but asking for myself is hard.  As I’ve become more aware of my own strengths and weaknesses, I’ve gotten good at playing the connector and asking people to help others when I’m not the best person.  However, when I struggle with something that’s for my own benefit, I always try to just teach myself.  I try to learn the skill on my own, or by taking a class or attending a workshop, but I rarely just ask for help- when I’m the only one to benefit.

• ## My First Keynote

Yesterday evening I gave a keynote at the New England Louis Stoke Alliance for Minority Participation (NELSAMP) Poster Symposium hosted at Northeastern.  The event is in conjunction with tomorrow’s GEM Getting Ready for Advanced Degrees (GRAD) Laboratory, tomorrow.  I was asked to speak at the event a couple months ago, I agreed.  For a while I didn’t think much about it then I started planning the talk.     I’ve prepared plenty of presentations before without much of a problem.  However, I’ve always struggled with giving speeches, so I wanted to go a more presentation-like style for talk.  Something about preparing things word for word, I never manage to get through delivering it smoothly.

• ## NE LSAMP Keynote

On my way to the New England Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation poster symposium to give the keynote at dinner. I’m a little nervous about this very different type of talks

• ## Network = Net worth

First, I’m struggling with this effort to post regularly, but I’ll keep trying.

• ## The Science Gap

I’ve been involved in a lot of STEM outreach since I began college.  I truly LOVE what I do and sharing that with others is just natural to me.  What I found alarming though was the reasons there’s so much push for STEM outreach.  The bleak outlook for minorities and women going into STEM fields is the predominant one.  In that effort we often cite the digital divide as the problem, a lack of basic computer literacy within our communities.  It’s bigger than that though.

• ## Fall Challenge

I know multi-tasking doesn’t really exist.  Realistically, you can only focus on one task at a time.  However, I do believe that tasks can be constructed so that they contribute to multiple objectives.  You can learn more than one thing out of a single task.

• ## Speed Mentoring

I served as a speed mentor for the Black Engineering Student Society at Northeastern tonight– a component of their retention program where underclassmen got to have four, 5 minute speed mentoring sessions with upperclassmen & alumni.  Giving back always makes me so much more motivated to do my own work!

• ## Research Engagement

I started academic research in the spring semester of my freshman year of college, now I’m a PhD Candidate, so needless to say research has been a major part of my adult life.  I intend to have a career in research, so it’s important to me.  One thing I noticed as I progressed from undergraduate research to graduate school though was that a lot of students ‘do’ research, but don’t own it.  They carry out assigned tasks and produce results, but the type of enthusiasm, ownership, and creativity that even young professionals demonstrate in commercial environments isn’t present in a lot of research.  Another thing I found was that a lot of people reach the end of undergrad and THEN realize that research experience would help them make a more informed decision about and a stronger applicant to graduate school.