Thursday, December 24, 2015

Research Assessment #6

Research over smart ophthalmoscopes:

Research Assessment #5

Research over brain-controlled prosthesis:

Research Assessment #4

Research over dynamic braces for kids with scoliosis:

Research Assessment #3

Research over an electrochemical camera chip:

Research Assessment #2

Research over an inexpensive MRI scanner:

Research Assessment #1

Research over thOrthofix Bone Growth Stimulator.

Interview Assessment #5

Interview with Mr. Arellano:

Interview Assessment #4

Interview with Dr. Gui:

Interview Assessment #3

Interview with Dr. Papamichalis:

Interview Assessment #2

Here is the link to my second Interview Assessment, where I discuss what I gained from my interview with Dr. Peikari:

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Weekly Blog #14- Boards, Portfolio, and More

This week, I finished my display board and portfolio! One thing I realized was the amount of time that flew by when printing and assembling pages. Seriously, I had not assumed that it would take me three-fourths of a class period to finish my portfolio. The main culprit of this time was dealing with Excel and my call log. I finally learned to adjust the scaling and switch formats from Google Spreadsheet to Excel, so at least in the future, like for FPN or complex lab reports, I'll be able to quickly arrange a chart or spreadsheet. Several of my classmates helped double-check my portfolio, and one thing I noticed was the importance of going through the 2.5-inch binder page-by-page. I, like several of my ISM 1 classmates, tended to flip through about three pages per divider, and look at the portfolio as a whole. However, an ISM 2 student flipped my binder page-by-page and noticed certain inconsistencies that I was completely oblivious to, like the absence/presence of headers on certain assessments, or the uneven height of title pages. This helped me realize that I need to be more meticulous and put effort into even the "things that don't matter", because they can distinguish a person's personality and professionalism.

As an update to the last report about seeking mentorship, Dr. Peikari did have a very busy schedule, and was unable to be my mentor (although, he did mention that if I attended SMU, he could be my mentor then). I plan on asking a certain engineer who works in industry, and we'll see if I'll have the pleasure of being a mentee!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Weekly Blog #13- Display Boards and Mentorship

This past week, we designed our display boards and gave each other feedback on arrangement and execution. Since my topic of study is electrical engineering, I spray-painted the background dark green, and had metallic green lines connecting each subtopic to each other, in order to represent an electric chip (the soldering points are hard to see in this picture). My classmates loved the idea, but I do need to change the title into something more eye-catching and adjust the frames of the subtopics. Though this design was time-consuming, I'm glad my classmates could identify what it was. I wanted to show a little bit of creativity for a field that isn't as expressive as "Graphic Design" or "Marketing," so I'm happy with the execution of my design.

Besides the display board, this week didn't feel as stressed in ISM because I had finished my interview and research assessments in advance. However, as I considered the relative ease at this moment, I remembered one crucial task to do: find a mentor. I have two professors in mind, as both of their interviews were both interesting and useful, and they were clearly passionate about helping their students. However, I am concerned that their busy schedules might prevent them from a mentorship. I have also considered, using the advice from Mr. Arellano, to not "pigeon-hole" myself into one area of electrical engineering at this point. I really enjoyed my interview with Mr. Arellano, and may consider asking him as well. I will ask for some people's thoughts, and attempt to make the best decision from there on.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Weekly Blog #12- Interview 6 and Thanksgiving Break!

I had my 6th Research Interview on Monday with Mr. Dalmacio, an electrical engineer who works for Oracle and specializes in telecommunications. Although I am looking more into ICs and the medical side, I still gained valuable information from this meeting. One piece of advice that he emphasized the most was getting an education in business, whether it's a minor or an MBA. Mr. Dalmacio's main regret was not pursuing an MBA when working at Nortel. He was discouraged by the amount of work required and the immediate needs of raising two children, but now realizes that a couple of job opportunities were missed because of this lack of experience in the business field. I had planned on minoring in business while pursuing a degree in EE, but now I'm starting to rethink what my dad had advised. He encouraged me to do the opposite- to major in business and minor in engineering, because like Mr. Dalmacio said, pursuing a startup requires a lot of exposure to the business world. I wouldn't immediately change my major to business, as I chose engineering because of my genuine interest in it, but I will definitely try to gain a solid education in business.

An interesting yet helpful research interview was a pretty good start to my break! I'm still suffering from allergies and a runny nose, but I am looking forward to Thanksgiving Day. I still have quite a few writing supplements to complete over this week, but I will push forward and look for places of inspiration.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Weekly Blog #11- Pushing Forward

Now that speeches are over and I've already had 5 interviews, I must remember to keep pushing forward. To find a mentor who is the best match for me, I need to continue searching for professionals to interview. I will also be keeping Original Work in the back of my head to be fully prepared when the deadline comes closer. A lot of extracurricular activities have been squeezing my schedule (namely orchestra rehearsals), but ironically, this has almost pushed me to be more efficient. When I come home at 7:30 PM, I'm fully aware that there's no time for distractions, and I need to quickly finish my homework to accomplish other tasks. On occasion, when I don't have club meetings or rehearsals, I tend to relax and forget to keep track of time.

Although I'd definitely prefer not being pressed, I will say that I asked for a busy and demanding schedule, so I must take responsibility for it and do the best I can. One thing we discussed in ISM was balancing a proper lifestyle and truly focusing on what we love to do. Though we might be obligated to fulfill certain duties, in the future, whether it's college or work, we need to think through our early decisions before there is no longer a choice. I made this sound a little pessimistic, but I honestly took a positive note from this discussion. Right now, I enjoy immersing myself in different clubs and experiencing a variety of cultures and ideas, but I plan to use this exposure to help me focus on my true passions in college. I also will begin a more balanced lifestyle (such as exercising more often) to build a stronger stamina and active mindset. I will continue to search for professionals and push forward for before the break!

Research Speech #1

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Weekly Blog #10- Speeches

This week in ISM, we gave our 10-12 minute Research Speeches about our research, interviews, and insight gained thus far. I'm usually not that nervous about public speaking (especially when we have a PowerPoint in the back), but that Wednesday definitely reminded me what it was like to have 20 pairs of eyes concentrated on every word I'm saying! After watching a video of my speech, I'm surprised that my voice managed to conceal my nerves and adrenaline, but I didn't need to worry so much during the speech. I did better than I expected, although in the future, I will be sure to plan out my speech a little more thoroughly. Even though I could tell some speeches were rehearsed and memorized, they were much more engaging and prepared, with less filler words. Overall, I gave a decent speech, but I will do my best to create a more prepared and professional speech for the next one around.

Lastly, I can't believe it's already November. This school year is flying by, and winter break is approaching, which means 2 things: college applications, and finding a mentor. I plan on contacting Dr. Gui to get some contacts from TI, but other than that, I can't definitively say who I would like to ask to be my mentor. This process will require a lot of consideration, and I am still keeping my doors open. I am excited and nervous for what's to come!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Weekly Blog #9- Interviews and Ideas

This past week, I went on my last two (required) interviews! I had an information-packed interview with Dr. Gui at SMU, where we talked for the most part about her past and current research. I learned so much about integrated circuits and some of their various applications. I realized that ICs are more related to electromagnetism and board design, and I have started to shift my focus more towards ICs. I had an interview the next day with Mr. Arellano, who focuses on radio frequencies and engineering management. That interview was by far the longest I've ever had- 1 hour and 45 minutes! In fact, my lower back started to burn a little because of sitting so straight for so long. I gained a lot of knowledge about the different fields within EE (such as ICs, RFs, and signal processing), but also gained new insight into succeeding and growing in industry. Since I had experience from the previous 3 interviews, I was definitely able to make the most out of my time with these last 2 interviews. By "last," I mean the most recent- I'm still looking to interview professionals in industry, especially Texas Instruments, as Dr. Gui mentioned that they have begun to look into medical applications.

As for Original Work, I've decided to explore a basic tool of electrical engineering- an oscilloscope. This instrument is used more frequently for signal processing, but it is still a fundamental instrument that must be comprehended well. I will conduct an AP Physics-style lab to better understand how and why this instrument is used. My proposal is in the making and will solidify by ideas by next week.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Interview Assessment #1

Here is the link to my Interview Assessment, where I discuss what I gained from a research interview with Dr. Panahi, and how it has changed my perspective on certain levels:

Weekly Blog #8- Upcoming Display Board, Speech, and Original Work

Before I discuss topics related to this post's title, here's a brief recap of AcDec on Saturday! After a very intensive week of cramming knowledge into my brain, I finally data dumped at Rockwall High School. Though I was originally slightly disappointed at having earned 1 ribbon (3rd in Math), I still came out as overall top scorer from my school, so my efforts were to some avail. I still need to develop and memorize my AcDec speech in one and a half weeks, but I am confident that my skills developed in ISM and my knowledge from AcDec itself will prepare me well.

On the note of speeches, I have an ISM research speech on the same day as the AcDec one! This research speech is a culmination of all the interviews, assessments, and practices we've done inside and outside of class. I will be talking about my electrical engineering research and experiences for about 10 minutes. I have never really dared to execute an interactive speech, but for such a long speech, I will try to apply this technique to engage the audience. Similarly, for our display boards, I am developing my design to be as eye-catching and coherent as possible. I plan on using an arduino board or electric chip as the background, with the wires connecting to each subtopic (such as "Topic Proposal" or "Quote"). I will likely use the arduino board, as the electric chip requires a detailed execution of proportions, and I am no artist.

As for original work, I was originally very unsure of what to do with the topic of electrical engineering. Most students in the medical, law, or non-business field do intensive case studies, while most business, economics, and marketing students conduct surveys. I could do a case study, but I wanted to try something more than a long and thorough research assessment. That's when my passion for hands-on projects kicked in. I thought back to the oscilloscope sitting in my dad's home office, and thought about conducting a small experiment with the signals from a microphone, which would receive sound from me playing something on my piano. Not sure how feasible this is, but I will talk with my dad and definitely look into it!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Weekly Blog #7- Time Management and Courage

This week in ISM, I had a lot of other activities bombarding my calendar. All-Region preparation, Academic Decathlon preparation for our first meet, making up quizzes and tests, and keeping up with ISM assignments and scheduling interviews. Luckily, I had a bit of foresight as I finished one of three assignments (all due Friday) on Monday, another on Thursday, and the last on Friday. I'm extremely thankful that I had planned ahead, and I will attempt to do so for the upcoming week, as we start our display boards and Academic Decathlon comes up. Even though I have a general idea of how I need to manage my time, I will still admit that there have been times where I get home at 9 PM (after tutoring and an orchestra concert) and just stare at my laundry list of homework, studying, practicing piano, and college applications. It could be disheartening to awe at the towering pile of burdens, but every time I was about to sign off in resignation, I thought back to the advice from one of my previous weekly posts- "...I would have been more efficient and spent less time simply stressing out. It's easy to give up when you look at the long list of tasks to complete, but if you focus on finishing one small task at a time, you'll be done before you know it." Not only did this reminder keep me hopeful, but also I was able to focus on finishing tasks and eliminating distractions.

Courage is key, too- part of getting through challenges is not fearing the future. How many times do we give up because we fear not being able to finish our work in time? Or we fear the workload and decide to compromise? I would like to keep this mindset for the rest of my career and through ISM. I don't plan on ever compromising the quality of my work on assessments or original work because of poor time management and fear. On a less abstract note, hopefully AcDec goes well this Saturday, and I am also excited to meet Dr. Gui in 2 weeks! I contacted her this week and she replied within minutes. I have heard great things from her colleagues at SMU, who recommended her to me because she's a successful woman in engineering. I'm also brainstorming for original work, and will see where that goes next week!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Weekly Blog #6- Business Symposium

I would definitely choose mock interviews and networking with professionals over any routine day at school. Business Symposium was such a beneficial and fun experience at Independence High School. My favorite aspect of Business Symposium was the fact that I got to practice my introductions, greetings, and networking with actual professionals, while also meeting other ISM students. I love meeting new people, talking about my experiences in high school, and learning from the experts about building a career (integrity was highly stressed).

Unfortunately, I was not able to locate the one electrical engineer at Business Symposium, but I will be sure to contact him in the near future, as it has been harder to locate industry professionals in comparison to those in academia. On the same note, I got to know as many ISM students as I could, as I was quite curious to not only see what my competition might look like, but also connect with someone with a mutual interest. In the end, I could not find a single student who was also studying electrical engineering! Although this could be seen as less competition, I may not experience what the real job-searching world is like; still, I met many students and professionals not in engineering, but who still departed invaluable insight into the real world. For example, most of the professionals I met were involved in some aspect of business or management, and advised that I always stay well-rounded. One professional was originally a computer scientist, decided that she wanted to talk with people more often, pursued an MBA, and now successfully manages the business side of the same company. I will certainly keep my horizons open within the bounds of engineering, as I am passionate enough to be confident of my field of study.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Weekly Blog #5- Experience

This week has been quite hectic! I went on two more interviews, both at SMU. It all also happened to be the last week of the six-week period, when tests come piling up and grades must be submitted. Even though my schedule was packed before and after school every day this week (due to rehearsals, meetings, and make-ups), I no longer feel that I am incapable of balancing demanding courses and activities. In hindsight, I realized that if I had focused on getting work done one-at-a-time, I would have been more efficient and spent less time simply stressing out. It's easy to give up when you look at the long list of tasks to complete, but if you focus on finishing one small task at a time, you'll be done before you know it.

Back to the interviews! I had a great experience at SMU; both professors were very open and gave me lots of information about their experiences and advice for my future in engineering. Both interviews went for almost an hour, and only ended because I was out of questions! Originally, I was reluctant to ask technical and field-specific questions, as they could be a bit risky- would they tell me to just Google the answer? Would I misuse a technical term and come off as amateurish? During my most recent interview with Dr. Papamichalis, I ended up discussing about "real time," a common technical issue in engineering, for a very extended period- and this wasn't even on my list of questions. Next time, I will definitely prepare more specific questions about electrical engineering, because the professional will be able to see concrete proof of my interest and curiosity in this field.

I haven't scheduled any interviews (yet) for next week, but I am on my way. I am also looking at interviewing professionals in industry, as I have only contacted professors so far. Interested to see the differences!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Weekly Blog #4- Interview 1

Next time I go to UTD, I'll make sure to bring an extra pair of shoes to walk in. Last Tuesday, I went on my first research interview! Though my feet hurt from walking down Rutford Avenue, this experience was invaluable as I received insight beyond the scope of my interview questions.

One piece of advice Dr. Panahi explained to me was that investing in my field of study, rather than branching myself out too wide, would help me focus and excel in my path. His advice made me reconsider my future path in college; as much as I enjoy all the various extracurricular activities I'm involved in, I still need to remember that my primary focus should be on my major. As he wisely remarked, it would be better to excel at and have passion for one field than to not excel at any field.

I received lots of information in this interview, but I also received some inspiration simply from perceiving Dr. Panahi's passion for his work and support for his students (he couldn't think of an answer to "What are the most challenging aspects of your job?"). Tomorrow, I have another interview scheduled at SMU, and I hope to gain even more insight into this field. I definitely learned a lot more about preparation and conduct this past week, and hope to better communicate with professionals.

More information on interviews can be found at Interview Assessments.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Weekly Blog #3- Trials

This week, we were assigned to introduce ourselves to the principal and assistant principals. To be honest, I was more excited than nervous. I wanted to practice meeting professionals because first impressions are something that I need to work on (and they knew it was for ISM, so it wasn't awkward). The most interesting introduction I had was with the principal, who told me that he also studied electrical engineering and minored in business (which I plan to do)! Unfortunately, he found that engineering did not involve enough social interaction as he would have liked, so he switched to education. Perhaps, if he had the opportunity to explore electrical engineering in ISM, he would have pursued this career field and his original ambition of starting an engineering firm. I think that after many interviews with different professionals, I can get a better understanding of the jobs that EE offers, whether it be engineering management, teaching, or technical work.

Back to our simulations, after a few more rounds of practice interviews using our resumes, we were good to go for scheduling research interviews. If my AP French teacher gives me permission, then I will be off to my first research interview on Tuesday, at UTD! I can't wait to hear from someone who has first-hand experience with my chosen career field.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Weekly Blog #2- Simulations

This week in ISM, we ran our own simulations- of research interviews and phone calls! Though we were dressed in jeans and used our hands as phones, this practice was extremely exposing and ultimately, useful. It was difficult to fully explain who I am, what ISM is, and how I found this professional in a short amount of time. After a couple rounds, though, words started flowing more naturally. One memorable lesson I took from this practice was to persist and never fear rejection. I had previously been nervous about how a future professional might react, but after testimonies and proof of past ISM students who were never discouraged from an "unfortunately" or an "I'm sorry but," I became more eager to create myself opportunities- whether they're through asking for contact information from a more available professional or inquiring again a few weeks later.

One other simulation I witnessed this week was on an oscilloscope! Two years ago, my physics teacher used this instrument to demonstrate deconstructive sound waves. Finally, I got to experiment on my dad's used oscilloscope, which reads waves from an electric source. The voltage (y-axis) and time (x-axis) are adjusted to match the clock of a signal (similar to the clock of a heart). For example, I adjusted the graph's time (in microseconds) until it matched the time of the signal pictured and displayed distinct waves. This instrument can be used to find the frequency of an electric source, in this case, about 50 Hz. I did some research and found that it includes measuring the electrical pulses of the heart, or heartbeat. It's always interesting to see the potential of electrical engineering in different fields.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Weekly Blog #1- Incubation

This week of ISM has been full of incubation, developing a conscience of various nuances of professional dress, resumes, and presentation, discovering inspirational sources, and finding a purpose behind my current efforts and future career. Jim Collins and Marlo Thomas (not Marlon Brando) have inspired me to consider beyond practical success-how can I live a "meaningful life?" Giving back to others is definitely possible through engineering, which is why I decided to specify my field to a medical application. On the note of inspiration, a piece of self-advice that I discovered this week was the benefit of putting down specific questions to answer. I never had a very clear vision of my field until I started my Career and Industry Forecast, where I wrote any questions that I currently or previously had about my topic of study. Some that I assumed I knew the answer to required much more research and consideration. This useful tool of writing my own "free-response questions" turned out to be an interesting discovery that I will use more often to solidify my goals and aspirations.

After this early construction of long-term goals, I hope to begin the actual process of researching specific subject material and getting a better understanding of the field that I may end up dedicating years to. Through this blog, I will be storing a personal record of my challenges, accomplishments, knowledge, and growth.