Hello everyone, this past week I concluded another quarter at the UW and till now, maybe the most engaging one. I am grateful for getting accepted to the prestigious CSE major at the UW, taking interesting classes, going to networking events, and learning new things at every opportunity.
I now look forward to the opportunities that the upcoming spring break brings along with itself. I am on the organizing team of DefHacks and we are organizing second annual DefHacks, this time at Microsoft’s HQ and expect over 150 attendees. It has been a rewarding experience, being part of the organizing team, working to get the venue, mentors, students, and food among many other things. I hope for an exciting weekend of knowledge sharing and networking on March 24-25. Apart from that, I really look forward to my first ML class this upcoming quarter along with a Data Analysis class and a Database Management class. I hope that these three will provide me with a lot of depth in the field I am passionate about and something I can build upon during the summer break.
I am excited to have got an interview call-up from the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and I look forward to sharing my thoughts and hopefully getting the opportunity to work with brilliant minds in academia. The prospect that drew me greatly to this opportunity was the freedom and breadth of positions that interns were allowed to choose from, something that showcases the amount of attention given to interns and the projects they work on.
Hoping for a sunny week so I can explore Seattle more than I have yet. Capping off, here are a few recommended reads: Canadian doctors demand lower salaries, teaching philosophy to prisoners, Sony photography awards 2018, Discoveries that made Stephen Hawking famous, and Syrian war in pictures.
A great couple of weeks just passed by and here is my experience and what I gained from it.
I never really understood the real meaning of networking before the past couple of weeks but now, I have a better clue about what it is and how one approaches it. I was fortunate enough to attend two great networking events that took place last weekend and the amount of knowledge I took from each one, was massive. Not only was I able to listen to two CEOs from Forbes 30 under 30 but I also had a great conversation with Mr. Shawn Sullivan, co-founder, and CTO of Phase Genomics, for more than 30 minutes. The phrase sounds cliched now but truly, the experience is the greatest teacher and hearing from the experience of some great professionals is a great lead for every student about how to approach college. What I took away from my conversation with Mr. Sullivan was how should I have strong fundamentals if I want to be involved in Data Science and what all technologies from the wide array I can choose to start off with. Also, I learned about all the different ways to approach problems when you are the one managing a group of great technical experts in a constructive manner.
Another major task I have been involved with lately has been organizing Defhacks, Seattle. Defhacks is a student-run non-profit that organizes hackathons across the US and also outside the US. On March 24-25, we are organizing the second annual Defhacks Seattle at Microsoft’s HQ. It has been a great experience till now of getting the venue, attendees, mentors, sponsors, and caterers. I look forward to getting more people involved with the event, at both high school and college level in addition to getting more passionate mentors who are looking out to help the students. This event too has taught me how important it is to have a good network, something that I able to achieve too through this event. The only part that I feel sad about is that a couple of days back I got an idea related to Blockchain that I would have loved to work on at Defhacks but being an organizer I would not have that opportunity. Anyways, I look forward to working on the same during the spring break and get to know more about a topic that has been envisioned to revolutionize numerous fields.
To wrap it up, here are the few reads I recommend: Michelle Obama portrait puts black Baltimore artist in the spotlight, A New Leg for Joan, This Route Doesn’t Exist on the Map, and These psychedelic stickers blow AI minds.
A happy long weekend to everyone! The past three weeks have been some of the toughest I have had in the time I can remember but I am happy that coming out of it, I have gained many things.
First and foremost, I have got admitted to Paul G Allen Center for Computer Science and Engineering after months and months of hard work. I feel very happy and proud of this face and so do my parents, who have been a driving force for me. I eagerly look forward to the multitude of opportunities that I will encounter as a part of one of the best Computer Science programs in the World. More than the final result, it is the journey that pleases me more. Many times the mountain seemed too hard to climb but after having many slip-ups initially, I started focusing on each step and thinking how I can make each step stronger rather than getting overwhelmed by the bigger goal at the end. It is good that I have this long weekend to shrug off all the tiredness of the past few weeks and go in again for the long stretch that would finish mid-March.
In addition, the Amazon mentorship program that I have been a part of has been amazing. I have had the privilege of meeting several employees at Amazon through my mentor and each of whom has shared their stories and experiences. It is inspiring to listen to listen to their experiences and how they managed to get to where they are today. One advice that was given to me and that resonated a lot was that I should stay with Art and should never leave it; it is a part of my identity and I should learn to weave it with my education and career as and when I can.
I look forward to my first interaction with ML in a classroom setting during next quarter and also to a class based on Database Systems. Hope I can learn a lot from both of them and take them along with me to future endeavors. Something that I have learned from this experience of getting into CSE is that grit separates impossible things from those that we make possible. I hope to follow this in all the tasks I overtake.
(Suggested reads: Searching for an Alzheimer's cure while my father slips away and Google Arts and Culture App, and the Rise of Coded Gaze)
The winter quarter has been very hectic but I am liking it due to the different interesting course material I am encountering this quarter which mainly consists of operations in MATLAB, Statistical Programming in R, and probability.
MATLAB is something new that I am learning and it looks to be the perfect system to do many mathematical based calculations like linear algebra, etc. Statistical programming in R is something new too. Although I have prior experience in R, it was based in data wrangling, visualization, and those sorts of areas but this time I am learning the statistical applications like histograms, distributions, etc. and what inference we can draw from them. And probability has been one of my favorite topics in Mathematics growing up, mainly because of its real-world applications and examples (the Monty Hall problem was good).
Two other important things happened this week. First, I was contacted by the Director of the Study Abroad program to be a panelist at the info session that was conducted this past Friday. Although the director did not know me, the previous director had recommended me as she was the one who arranged the program last summer and took the theatre class too in London. It was the first time I was a panelist and the major reason the event feels significant is not only because of the opportunity I got but knowing that the last director thought I was worthy enough of being given this recognition.
In the other event, I visited one of the buildings belonging to Amazon’s HQ in Seattle as a part of a mentorship program. I have been fortunate enough to have been assigned a mentor who is a Senior Software Developer and Tester at Amazon, and I along with 4 other students have the opportunity of going every Friday to the HQ and having discussions on various topics with him. It was my first time in a corporate office of this scale and it was a great experience. My most striking part was how welcoming all the colleagues of our mentor were when they interacted with us. I am very much looking forward to all the upcoming Fridays and learning new things about my mentor and the life at Amazon in general. Our mentor has been flexible and generous enough that he has already got a guest speaker for our second meeting and I look forward to that too.
Apart from that, have a couple of career fairs in the coming week and also, I got some major breakthroughs in getting Drupal-based website functional for the Near Eastern Language and Civilization department here at the university.
(A suggested article read: Pop culuture obsessed with battle of good and evil)