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!