Posts tagged NSBE

Google Forms for Better Live Discussion

During a workshop I hosted Friday, I was asked how I designed the activity we did. Here’s a quick writeup on how that worked. First, a little context. I presented an 80 minute workshop at the Region 1 FRC. I’ve attended NSBE conferences enough times to know that, no matter how interested I was in a workshop, lack of sleep influences my ability to focus, so I wanted to ensure the workshop was engaging and active. The conference theme for this year is engineering a cultural change; my take on this as a machine learning researcher is big data for social change. My objective for the workshop was that the attendees both learn about the core ideas of machine learning and big data to understand context if following up further and realize how it’s an exciting field with lots of room for exploration and discussion.  The workshop was formatted with the information loaded more at the front, but that we quickly worked into shaping the conversation around the attendees’ interests. I wanted to make sure that the activities were challenging and prompted discussion, but that they were also accessible, so I made it group activities.

However, in my own experience, too many groups reporting out and sharing their responses to the same questions, can get repetitive and boring.  To be able to let all groups share and give myself the ability to select the best groups to share for each different portion of the activity, I used Google forms and had the groups submit their answers to each step. Even without wifi, having participants complete the activity by submitting responses on their smart phones it worked great. I wanted the activity to be completed in stages: after some introduction from me, we’d break out, report back, discuss add new material, and repeat a few times. I also didn’t want the groups to have to type any information repeatedly while I could still match responses from one breakout part to the next. To achieve this, I set it up for them to “edit their response” and for separate pages of questions for each stage of the activity.

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A week late, because NSBE Convention requires some recovery- it’s a lot of action all packed into a few short days.  March 26-30 was the 40th Annual NSBE Convention.  This was my eighth consecutive convention.  It was the usual great time connecting and reconnecting with my NSBE family.

At convention this year I wore several different hats- first I was recruiting for Northeastern Graduate Programs.  It’s funny to be on the other side of the table since it wasn’t that long ago that I was the student looking for opportunities.  Recruiting for the grad programs was less hectic than in the fall when I helped with corporate recruiting, but it’s still funny to be assessing students from the other side.  It was also weird because for graduate recruiting, it’s mostly just my job to sell the school; I can’t actually do anything about an admissions decision.  With corporate recruiting, the recruiters can make a recommendation, that is at least partially considered.

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Empowering African American Women in STEM

Last summer, I was invited to join a NSBE Task Force on Empowering African American Women in STEM.  The task force was established to identify appropriate strategies for NSBE to be most impactful as a society in improving the environment for AA women in STEM, especially engineering and CS. We worked throughout the summer and early fall to make an initial recommendation to the National Executive Board.  

One of those recommendations was to host a recognition month celebrating African American Women in STEM.  We chose to make this month run from today, February 16th through March 15th.  We’re celebrating African American women half in Black History Month and half in Women’s History Month.  Our celebration began on Sunday, along with Engineer’s Week and continues for four weeks.  We issued an eBlast announcing to the whole membership of our launched a [](”>page of content on the NSBE site. We’re running an [](” target=“_blank”>Awareness month and [](” target=“_blank”>photo challenge.

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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 much \(latex LaTeX\) as signal processing.  I’ve even started using beamer for presentations and using TikZ for drawings.

I was really slow and stubborn to adopt \(latex LaTeX\) though.  I’m a very visual person and getting used to writing without seeing the final formatting was hard.  I still struggle to read and edit my writing for content/ grammar issues in the code view, I end up marking up the pdf somewhere else and then going back to the code.   However, despite this challenge, I ‘ve become a huge proponent of its use, it does so much more than other word processing tools and it’s not really that hard to learn.

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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!

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