A commentary on formal education and how I approach it. This was used for one of my college application essays.
School has always been a struggle for me. I worked hard but I never seemed to be able to deliver exactly what my teacher wanted to get a perfect A. I remember entering freshman year very ambitious, and when I didn’t conclude that year with As, I beat myself mentally for not getting the grades I should be getting, not getting lead roles in the plays, and not being a star player in field hockey. I didn’t even take a moment to think about what other things I did excel at - design and technology. It seemed completely irrelevant in a world where a high GPA and outstanding team and club participation mattered the most. However, I eventually discovered school was only one of many moving parts determining my future.
I realized my strength lied not in delivering perfect assignments, but utilizing the knowledge I gained from school and applying it to the real world. A large majority of my junior year was spent doing so and therefore, my grades suffered. However I still spent most my time learning and arguably learned more in that year than in any other. In APUSH I experienced history in a way that inspired me to read The Economist so I could connect historical events with current events then use that knowledge in debate. In math I began to watch videos on Khan Academy, which spurred my interest in delivering quality education to masses efficiently, leading me to found an education based startup at Teens in Tech.
Ultimately, I value education – even if my efforts do not show though in my grades. I work hard to learn and more importantly, I do not allow knowledge to sit idly in my mind - I apply it beyond the classroom.
I’ve had the most mind-boggling-ly awesome summer. In fact, it has been my most productive summer by far. I have been able to accomplish so much over the past two months, meet some great people I hope to remain in contact with for years to come, and most importantly, learn that my dreams are within reach.
No matter how cheesy, gooey, goopy, or dovey that sounds, I know now that it is true. My journey through the technology startup scene has led me to many inspirational mentors and friends. I will soon be writing about my experiences with Teens in Tech, the Thiel 20 Under Summit, Startup Weekend, and more.
In the meantime, I’ll be entering my senior year of high school, taking standardized tests, and beginning college applications… Whew!
Here are some photos from the summer:
Presenting 7Dchallenge.com at PARC for Teens in Tech
Visiting Paypal with the Teens in Tech Crew
At the TechCrunch & August Capital Summer Party
With my Startup Weekend team after winning an Honorable Mention (3rd)
The 2012 June edition of Wired featured Mythbuster’s Adam Savage in How to be a GeekDad. I’m not exactly a father figure… (I think it’s got something to do with anatomy). But I sure am a sister.
The quirky science projects and nerdy ideas inspired me to buy just a couple things from Radioshack for my little sister: a bag of sorted LEDs and a one cell battery.
I think it’s safe to say she had some fun with them.
How to be a GeekDad is one of my favorite Wired features so far. And if you have a chance, browse through: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/
Definitely check the magazine out, borrow it from a friend, or pick up the lonely copy sitting on your coffee table.
I love learning things online; the internet is chock-full of information. So I’ve compiled a short list of my favorite sources:
- TED-Ed (http://education.ted.com/) – Recently launched division of TED is a great resource for quick bites of knowledge. It’s got great animation to boot.
- Organized Wonder (http://www.organizedwonder.com/) – Another great resource for bite-sized information.
- Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org/) – Perfect for brushing up on my math every once in a while.
- Codecademy (http://www.codecademy.com/) – Get started with web design and development right in your browser.
- Udacity (http://www.udacity.com/) – A bit more heavy weight than the previous sites, Udacity is a great website for learning college level computer science from professors and industry specialists.
Hopefully this helps someone out in the great sea of internet surfers. Enjoy.
Of all the video games in the world, I settle on the one that’s:
(And for those who know this game, I died in UDL with a 3/8 (DEF, SPD, ATK) sorcerer and a priest by my side.)
I’m a pro.
Jotting down a brief list of design trends floating about that bring joy to my heart.
Solid colors are pretty cool. But hey, two is better than one! Sometimes gradients can be tricky, but boy are they easy to get right. These two-timing graphical elements are taking center stage by appearing in centerpiece graphics and logos.
- Web Design – The Verge
- Logo – Google Play
- iOS Mobile App – Clear
A vast majority of navigation icons in the 1990s and 2000s can be summed up with bright, glossy, rectangular buttons with no aesthetic appeal. Lately designers have taken a liking to matte buttons with subtle noise and shadow. It’s all about the finesse.
- Interface – Google+
- Interface – Behance Network
- Interface – Tweetbot by TapBots
Typography is one of the strongest types of design. It combines both text and visuals thereby appealing to both “sides” of the brain. Recent progress in web typography has allowed designers to exploit this on the cloud by using Web Fonts and CSS3 (properties such as text-shadow).
- Web Design – Fast Company
- Web Design – Sahil Lavinga (http://sahillavingia.com/)
Another design element that is becoming increasingly popular are triangles. I personally think this is the result of the hipster triangle fad. And, granted, these three-sided geometric shapes do look rather snazzy.
- Logo – Google Play
- Logo – Samsung Smart TV
- On Instagram all day erryday
I have the sudden urge to do a round-up of my currently most played artists. Mainly of the indie variety. Some songs uplifting some songs ground breaking. Either way, there’s no denying they’re incredible.
Florence + the Machine
Now, in my world, the goddess of gods in musictopia is Florence Welch. Words cannot express my love for her music. Both her released albums (Lungs and Ceremonials) exude an unworldly force. Seriously. Loud drums, powerful vocals – her music is strong. Many songs are also rather dark but I enjoy a bit of that macabre. Take a listen to:
- “Cosmic Love” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EIeUlvHAiM
- “Shake It Out” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbN0nX61rIs
- “All This and Heaven Too” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNE2meQCI-Q
She was actually playing at UC Davis in April so I’m hittng myself over the head for not getting tickets. But, hey, always a next time.
Purchase her music on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/florence-+-the-machine/id281070699
Lately I’ve taken a liking to Jason Mraz’s fluffy happy music. His latest album, Love is a Four Letter Word, is the perfect uplifter without being dance-y or having a really quick tempo. He’s just laid back and, quite frankly, chill. Definitely listen to:
- “Living in the Moment” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2tPeFnIb_E
- “Everything is Sound” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzOtoLuTPTM
Also, check out his…
He’s an awesome guy.
Foster the People
Ahh-gah. These guys are incredible. Their music is so up my alley ya dun even kno. (dat’s mai street talk.) They’ve got lyrics as dark as Florence’s and lyrics as dovey as Mraz’s. However, their music doesn’t sound as heavy as Florence + the Machine’s music and not as feather-light as Jason Mraz’s music. They also boast a more synthetic sound than both which just makes their music all the more dynamic and interesting to listen to. Nice indie flare going on as well.
They only have one album released, Torches (2011), which I think contains some stellar tracks. These include:
- “Pumped up Kicks” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDTZ7iX4vTQ
- “I Would Do Anything For You:” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOIfNyBmZ0g
- “Houdini” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GMQLjzVGfw
Foster the People also has some very intriguing music videos so definitely watch them if you’re into weird stuff. You can buy their music on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/foster-the-people/id414023649
Or, better yet, go listen to them all on Spotify: http://www.spotify.com
Just watched a solar eclipse. I have to say, one of the coolest things about a solar eclipse are the shadows it forms. They appear cloud-like except, of course, not in the sky.
Photo will be posted on my instagram – once the darn thing decides to upload.
All this talk about women in tech. I don’t think its a matter of simply hiring more women. It’s a matter of how few women are interested in technology related jobs.
I got into technology because my parents exposed me to it at a young age. This is also true for some girls on my robotics team.
So given that little piece of information, where should we start to bring women into the tech industry? Their youth.
We need to foster an interest in technology from their childhood if we want to diversify the industry.
Last week I attended the 2012 FIRST Robotics World Championship in St. Louis with my robotics team, 1678 Citrus Circuits. Incredible event. Hundreds of teams, maybe thousands of students. I honestly can’t stress how much of an impact being a part of the FIRST Robotics Competition has had on me. For the most part, it has put me closer than ever to my entrepreneurial goals by giving me the basis for creating and developing an organization with a team of students and mentors.
I conceived a bright, cliched idea. It is, quite simply put:
I suppose you could tack on stuff like government, technology, etc. But I believe the three items listed above are the basis for everything else. If we can somehow get those three right, then the rest of the puzzle won’t be nearly as difficult. Energy, environment, and education are the cornerstones.
About a year ago, Pulse was my go-to app for reading tech news during the dull lecturing hours of a certain class. Since then, Pulse has lost its throne to other apps such as Flipboard and Reeder. However, with recent updates, it is rising in ranks and redeeming its title.
These updates have included the introduction of catalogues, genius, and a new reading view.
My only complaints about the new reading view (like the catalogue) is that the header bar uses UI elements are aren’t seen on the homepage of pulse or .me which makes the app experience less cohesive. The condensed header font and color scheme seem to trigger something in my memory. Something starting with flip and ending with board.
I’m also still not incredibly fond of the social/fave box at the bottom of the reding view. I’m just going to assume those UI inconsistencies are something the Pulse team is working on.
However, the font style toolbox is just beautiful. Although, the position of the pop-up and arrow could be slightly tweaked to be more aesthetically pleasing. (The box could be positioned a little bit below the header bar and the arrow could be pushed to the edge of the box.) Aside from those minor improvements, what I really like about this toolbox is that it uses the blue color that users identify Pulse with. Oh, and the gradients look great too!
As for the functionality of the app, its above average.
But think, what if Pulse downloaded the next article from a site’s RSS feed after the reader digests all of the already downloaded content and swiped to the left for more? That would keep readers using the app and deliver more content. It would make the content pretty much non-exaustive.
Now, lets explore the idea of users taping and dragging down the header bar in the reading view to switch to a different feed without re-accessing the homepage. The functionality of this would be similar to the bottom right menu bar items in the Tweetbot app by Tapbots.
Bottom-line, Pulse is an above average RSS reader app. Good functionality and design. Content is delivered fast and effectively, minimal fluff. However, UI inconsistencies and desired functionality improvements leave me only satisfied.
Just busted some money out of my bank account for, of all things, business cards. Not because I do a lot of networking. Not because my job as a student requires them. Not because I believe in the revival of print.
I spent money on something that will hardly prove of any use to me for the sake of making myself feel accomplished.
It was worth it.