Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Hackathon Experience

Or in otherwise a Hackathon from an engineers perspective...

HackUMass  


Hackathon: an event, typically lasting several days, in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming.


I like to think of hackathons as something for both techy people and business people. Especially in this era where everyone has an idea for some awesome app but has no clue how to code it. A hackathon is a great place to flex your entrepreneurial skills and build upon your ideas.


Being an engineer at a hackathon as opposed to a computer science major is a different experience in my opinion. Your work is more likely to be more hands-on, I mean this is why most engineers are in the industry… we love to get our hands dirty. But actually, it also depends on the product your team is developing.



Last weekend I attended HackUMass, a hackathon with both software and hardware focuses. Essentially, you had the possibility of creating anything from a robot to a app or video game (ehmmm..which I did! Continue to read on…) For those of you who don’t read my blog and did not see the WeCode Harvard post, I am a mechanical engineer undergraduate (hence, no coding experience to use at hackathons). All I have is some designing skills (Matlab, Solidworks, Cad) and beginner Python (a coding language) capabilities.


Once arriving to HackUMass, I signed in and begin to observe my surroundings. I knew that I had to look knowledgeable in order for people to want me on their team. Well… that is true and false in some aspects. It’s false because I found another mechanical engineer who had similar interest as me so we immediately hit it off and she invited me to be on her team (peep this: She was a graduate engineer student! oooo that’s pretty impressive for an undergraduate student). And the statement is true in the sense that the team I did end up joining invited me because I was a mechanical engineer with a designing background.


I feel like this is turning into a long story SO long story short: I helped design a game on Unity and integrated the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles. This was my first experience with both Unity and Oculus Rift and my team and I were able to complete an entire game in less than 26 hours.


If you have any questions about my project or would like to see a demo, comment below and I’ll upload a video soon!



Product testers of the Oculus Rift Escape the Room Virtual Reality Game (Photos above)

Remember that list of skills I listed earlier? Well now I can add Unity and Oculus Rift experience! How exciting is that for mechanical engineer? It’s wicked exciting guys! (Like #soryynotsorry but after the hackathon I had to tell all my friends about this seemingly impossible feat.)


Grammarly yours, SemirahD

Follow me on twitter and instagram for more exciting daily stuff!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Blogger Writing Struggle

A large handful of bloggers write because they enjoy it or it's their job. I started blogging partly to enhance my writing skills. This is a post about a writing struggle situation I've personally encountered.

Unicorns. Write a paper that intelligently proves they exist or FAIL? Being given an assignment with limited background information is where I shy away in regards to persuasive papers. That’s why in ENL 101 the time when I struggled with a writing task was when we had to write about nootropic drugs. The task was to create a claim about Nootropic drugs that is related to education. For example; do they help or damage student performance, should nootropic drugs be further invested, are they better than drugs prescribed for students with ADHD/ADD? What did I do to overcome the issue? Well obviously I had to go out and actually try out the nootropic drugs. As an engineer I like to base my arguments off of hard primary facts and with a lack of experiments with nootropic drugs I set out to find the freshman Adderall provider and personally try a nootropic drug. In class we talked about the pros and cons of nootropic drugs, so that everyone had a miniscule pool of background information before creating our thesis. I wanted to prove that nootropic drugs should be invested in because traditional drugs for ADHD students were more detrimental than not. Well an olde to my procrastination habit for allowing me to actually dodge trying to find nootropic drugs and guiding me to using online scholarly articles and sites and fuel my argument.

My paper was like the epitome of the paper that freshman are used to presenting, straight out of high school, as mentioned in Kelsey Diaz’s paper, “Seven Ways High School Prepares You for Failure”. I grabbed some important looking quotes, slapped them into a word document, restated them, and felt pretty good about actually completing a paper on a topic that I was reluctant to start due to lack of background information. If I don’t know about it, it is a daunting task to defend it (Side note: I plan to attack daunting task this semester, with a dauntless approach).

Photo has nothing to do with writing. Wanted to share because it has everything to do with my academic and professional development. US Senator Elizabeth Warren and I. 

My approach is probably similar to the first draft approach of the authors from Anne Lamott’s “Shitty First Drafts” excerpt; however, “All good writers write them” (Lamott 301). So I must be progressing somehow because I had no idea where to start but as Lamott quotes from a writer, “you can either type or kill yourself.” And with goals of achieving an A in ENL 101, I typed.

I appreciate freedom in allowing students to hunt down their own thesis; however, I ask for specific assignment requirements and directions. If I don’t know what you are expecting as a desired finished product than please spare me the adverse thoughts you may have from the journey that my imagination has commenced. For students like me, I would recommend a push in creativity. My other classes don’t allow a lot of speaking time for my creativity so, it stays hidden in its dressing for quite some time. And when my creativity is presented with appearance opportunities, I either walk out of the dressing room in casual attire or a sparkly gown for a big sha-bang. In other words, the range at which I am creative in my writing can depend on the assignment and how much teachers push me. I understand that writing is important as I progress in my career so, I look forward to conquering my some of my writing struggles.

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

*Disclaimer: This is an assignment I did in my first year English class about a personal writing struggle situation*

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Freshly Minted

My top FIVE favorite 'Save The Date' cards and Wall Art from Minted.Com

As a collegiate, Save The Date cards and Wall Art are meant to express your personality or the vibe of your organization (i.e Sorority!)

Make a statement with Minted.Com's unique pieces for people from all walks of life. I was wicked excited to try out Minted.Com because you get to personalize certain art; make a college of your home state with photos or place a monogram. Someone once told me, "If it doesn't move, monogram it!" This lifestyle can be applied to personalizing.

Minted.Com also has really cute agenda's. For your friends who procrastinate, I'm sure they still haven't brought their 2015 calendar because they just threw away their 2014 agendas. Update your friends with Minted.Com's daily/weekly agenda's. I know I will be using one this year. 







I think state maps are pretty versatile for men and women. What type of art would you gift a collegiate guy? Sometimes we want our gifts to be more heart felt than a playboy calendar.


Grammarly yours, SemirahD


A Women Engineer In Training: WECode Harvard Experience

I would like to send my love and appreciation to everyone I met and networked with at #WeCode Harvard and look forward to staying connected and possibly working with you lovely ladies in the future!

I am sharing my notes and thoughts from WeCode Harvard, a conference for technical college students, because; 1) I am a huge advocate for information being easily available to everyone. 2) I aim to start a conversation around Women in Tech or any topic mentioned below. 3) I am documenting my journey as a W.E.T (Women Engineer in Training). Join me and freely share your thoughts and opinions below. I wouldn't say that if I didn't mean it!



#WeCode Notes
  • Print resume on card stock
  • For career fairs:
  • Look up recruiter and connect with them (i.e. fun facts)
  • your pitch
  • banter (questions for the company)
  • logistics questions for recruiters
  • follow up


  • Dona Sarkar’s advice: Learn swift and build an iphone app.
    • Sites that help me:
  • Keynote talk:
    • Be customer obsesses
    • Watch someone who uses your product. (i.e watch someone read my blog: find flaws, pros and cons)
    • First to market is better than perfect
    • Customer need = greatest negotiation tactic
    • Website to visit: I Want Her Job (get connected w/ Women in Tech)
    • Explore your curiosity (i.e try classed that fuel your passion during your undergrad
    • Keep up with the future (i.e idea: make wearables attractive!)
    • The Future; Nobodynamics luna (a housewife robot), Saving lives with 3D printing, Shoes of Prey (Innovation for demands with no solutions), Hololens (a plug about a Microsoft product that emphasizes; design, exploration, communication)
    • “Technologist are the modern day alchemist”
    • Must see Ted-talk: Start With Why




  • Notes from next keynotes:
  • If someone invests in you, latch you!
  • Check out LinkedIn Women program (huge want!)
  • Facebook Lean In mission: To empower all women to achieve their ambitions
  • Goldman Sachs favors Harvard students (tip: Fill up resume with all Harvard programs attended) (P.S My team won 3rd place at #WeCode Harvard so Goldman Sachs if you’re reading this I am a first year mechanical engineer to look out for!)
  • Look up: Conway’s law




  • Laura from Facebook and She++
    • Talk about: An idea to product
    • Product finder > Business finder
    • Product designing: Fight for the people and for the product
    • Introduced Facebook’s new product ‘Place Tips’
What we learned:
Place Tips pop up on your phone when near a Facebook Bluetooth beacons. Wifi then alerts phone of location active with Place Tips and you see place feed of said location. The place feed includes; people’s post from their experiences there and which allows customers to better interact with the business.
    • My personal research and review of Place Tips after #WeCode: Place Tips is basically, Yelp + Foursquare had a child and out came FB’s Place Tips. The product is great for travelers, date preparation, and business press. Receives an 8 out of 10 in my book, seems like a pretty legit product. 
    • Entrepreneurship talk: motivational, keep going with your ideas!


Was there a piece of advice that stood out to you?

If you are in the tech field what piece of advice would you give to a WET (Women Engineer in Training)?

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

Friday, January 23, 2015

Outfits: Bloomingdale's Picks

Bloomingdale's is not on the map for collegiate/teen fashion so, I was excited to find these hidden jewels in their outlet store. My main shopping mission was to find pieces that complimented a short petite figure. Let me know how I did?


I started off the outfit selection with a mid-thigh skater skirt and loose blouse, tucked in. I didn't even have to look for jewelry because the blouse is already embellished with diamonds in the shape of a collar. The head band is a cute addition for colder days during the winter. You won't have to sacrifice warmness for cuteness is this ensemble. 


This outfit can work for all shapes and sizes. If you own black leggings then this top would be a great addition to your closet. This is a tri-layered top and black leggings ensemble. The top's base layer is a loose blouse, next frills that accent the striped crop top. I imagine this top perfect for lazy days where I want to look like I tried or even if I actually tried I could easily transform from day to night situations. 


This is the same skater skirt ensemble depicted earlier however, I removed the headband {and added a bit more sass}.

I have more pictures from my Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, Bloomingdale's visit on my facebook page (essential poses that every fashion blogger uses).

This outfit is a similar build of the skater skirt ensemble however, add a few more doses of pizazz and we get this. Outfit: Golden tutu and a black button up tank top to tone done the tutu. I love the gold in this outfit because it compliments my brown hair beautifully. With a two-tone outfit like this a pop of color with lipstick or accessories is great.

What is your go-to figure flattering outfit?

Grammarly yours, SemirahD


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dining Locations for Cru Epicenter 2015

The secret to finding food at out-of-state or overnight conferences. Plan ahead! Or just wing it. Your choice. 

5 Recommended Dining Locations for #CruEpiCenter2015

99 Restaurant
  • Great deals on steak: As low as $13 entrees
  • Free appetizer if you join their email list
  • Chocolate Truffle Pie: Enough Said!
  • 3 minute drive, 18 minute walk.


Moe's Southwest Grill
  • Free Burrito on your birthday if you join their email list 
  • Burrito Bowls
  • Cool names for burritos
  • Pretty decent prices
  • 2 minute drive, 7 minute walk.


Arby's 
  • Master of All-American sandwiches
  • You don't see these around in Boston
  • Ummm... Their milkshakes bring all the.. ok, yeah I'll stop with the Fergie reference. 
  • 2 minute drive, 14 minute walk.


IHOP
  • Unlimited pancakes. Struggling college students take note, I don't think you heard me. Unlimited.
  • Breakfast is king. IHOP understands that.
  • 4 minute drive, 30 minute walk.


CiCi's
  • Pizza Buffet. All You Can Eat Pizza. 
  • And for dessert? Cinnamon rolls. With extra sweetness.
  • To-Go Menu available as well.
  • Sounds greasy? Well they have a soup and salad bar too. 
  • 5 minute drive, 13 minute walk.


Other locations:

  • Pizza Hut: I suggest you guys order online.
  • Dunkies
  • Misc. Chinese food restaurants
  • McDonalds

Disclaimer: Estimated travel time found on GoogleMaps. This is not a sponsored post. I just want to know where to go when my stomach says feed meh.

About the blogger:

Hey y'all! This weekend I will be joining my campus Cru organization to NY for #CruEpicenter2015 or in other worlds: 
"A 4-day conference where hundreds of college students GATHER around Jesus in transformational community. They GROW in grace and truth, to love and serve through prayer, powerful stories, Biblical teaching, and practical training. As a result, they GO to serve all nations with Christ’s unlimited capacity to love."
I will be posting a few tweets and instagram post about the conference so, that will be happening on my accounts till Monday evening! 

P.S This post was honestly for my benefit. It forced me to figure out where I can find the closest and best food location for this conference. My stomach begs to differ that this is an amazing guide for our short lunch intermissions. 

Grammarly yours, SemirahD


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Bloomingdale's Budget Guy

GQ, D'Marge and other men fashion publications alike have all overlooked Bloomingdale's throughout 2014 for budget friendly men fashion. Bloomingdale's, most notably their outlet locations, has a call to students with discounted prices and trendy styles.

Twenty-fifteen {2015} introduced an emphasis on individuality and efficient communication. How does this pertain to fashion pieces at Bloomingdales for young men?  "From the beginning, the Bloomingdale's brothers sought to present new products first; and when they weren't first with an idea, they simply did it bigger and better than anyone else." By better, I like to think they mean more affordable without sacrificing style.

A trip to the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, home to a Bloomingdale's location, showed my brothers just how easy (and affordable) it is to spruce up there winter looks for spring 2015. I know most men don't like to hassle with latest trends, fusses, etc. I get it... here are some simple pieces to remix your current selection. Arrive to class, the gym, party, etc. as if you're following through with some new aspirations in life.

Joggers, Stylish Tee, New Balance Sneakers

Uniform yet remixed
Some fashion trends I suggest to look out for at your local Bloomingdale's location (according to current selections and predictions from Spring 2015 fashion shows): spring always has the blues, yellows, stripes, bolds, pinks, and polka dots. Check out some pattern play with your style; however, that does not mean wearing two incompatible pieces.

DO make formal, informal. Throw on a blazer with a tee and jeans ensemble or sneakers to a slacks type of day. Men have so many options these days and you can find them as low as 50% off at the Bloomingdale's in the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets.

BTW Pattern socks are totally still a thing. Actually they are preferred.


Do you even work out bro? Adding fitness to your New Year's resolutions list? Yeah, me too. 

Comment below if you know a guy that has been stuck in the same wardrobe style for like ever??

Grammarly yours, Semirah D

P.S. I took a blogger visit to the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets. This is not a sponsored post, it's informative.

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