Nov

30

New Adventures

category icon Posted in Academics, Events, Photos

Hey Hawkeyes,

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving break. It always seems like it takes forever to get to break. I know I had a lot of issues staying focused on homework and lecture during the week leading up to break. However I was one of the lucky ones that didn’t have a midterm right before break so I could slack off a little bit. A lot of my professors were also extremely ready for break so they went easy on us as well.

You may have noticed my blog has been a bit quiet. It’s been a busy couple of weeks. The weekend before break I flew to San Francisco for a conference for one of my organizations. I’m part of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and they have a regional student conference in the spring with a national student conference in the fall. Regional conferences are held at a host university in that region. University of Iowa hosted the regional conference when I was a sophomore which is when I really got interested in this organization. I became the historian, tasked with recording all the things our chapter does, and awards we get. As part of the historian role, I also attend the national conference to take pictures of our students presenting and receiving awards. The national conference is held in a large city; I’ve been to Atlanta, Salt Lake City, and now San Francisco. Eighteen students from our chapter navigated airports and train stations to attend the conference. This was my first time in California so I was very excited. We had time to explore the city and got to meet a lot of people.

The Golden Gate Bridge! So excited to see this California symbol and learn about the engineering behind it!

The Golden Gate Bridge! So excited to see this California symbol and learn about the engineering behind it!

I also had the honor of being involved in a presentation about our chapter’s outreach activities (I’ll have to do a blog post about that), so we had the opportunity to talk to students from universities across the country as they try to implement similar outreach programs.

University of Iowa also hosted an alumni reception while we were there so we spent an evening dressed up, eating fancy appetizers, and talking with alumni on the 40th floor of a hotel. It was really fun to talk to the alumni that are either currently working in California or retired in California about student life at the university. They were asking about some of their favorite restaurants, whether the library is still intimidating, and if the engineering building is still cold. We informed them that while the library is newly remodeled, the engineering building is still cold in certain rooms. We were also able to ask career advice and talk to them about engineering in the field. It was a really great experience and a cool way to spend an evening in a cool city.

This trip was very educational and very fun. It was cool to explore a new place and learn so much. I’m so glad that I got involved and really invested my time in this organization.

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Nov

10

Cookies, Toys, and Engineering

category icon Posted in Academics, Photos

Hey Hawkeyes!

It’s starting to get a little chillier out which makes me excited! I love snow and can’t wait to wear scarves and boots. I’m still kinda surprised at how fast this semester is going. It seems like it’s flying by! We’re already in November and I’m about one month and a week away from graduating. When did that happen?! With the end of the semester and my time here at Iowa gets closer, I’ve been thinking a lot about the experiences I’ve had. One of these experiences is the opportunity to be a teaching assistant, or TA.

A lot of schools will have TAs teach the class and the students never interact with the professor. However with all of my classes, the teaching assistant was exactly that: an assistant. The TAs are there to help answer questions, grade homework, and help proctor tests. This is my second semester as a TA for the same class and I really enjoy it. The class I TA is a beginning engineering course, typically taken during the first semester. I love getting to interact with the first-years and watch them experience their first semester of college. They panic about deadlines and double check to make sure they’re doing things right. I find it really fun and rewarding to be the one to reassure them that they’re going to make it, they will pass their classes with hard work, and that they will in fact survive engineering.

There are a bunch of sections of this class, but the professor I work under is really dedicated to doing hands-on projects. In fact, it’s the same professor I had when I took the class four years ago. Most of the projects are the same so it’s been fun to see the freshmen in the same position I was in just a few years ago. I also really enjoy the variety of projects we get to help with and end up grading. One of my favorites is cookie coating. Yes, with actual cookies. Basically, we want to help them think about how to design a process with accuracy and precision while being able to convey those instructions in written form. So they get to pick cookies and a type of chocolate and come up with a way to uniformly coat the cookies with chocolate. As a TA, there was a ton of prep for the actual project, including weighing up the chocolate. The other TA and I learned a lot about chocolate amounts and how easy cookies break. The best part is after the process is complete, all of the students have to grade each other on several parameters, including taste. And the TAs, of course, have to try all the cookies to provide the most accurate grade.

$100 of chocolate and cookies, in case you were wondering

$100 of chocolate and cookies, in case you were wondering

Another project is called reverse engineering. Each group chooses a toy from the box we provide and they must disassemble it and put it back together. In order to get full points, the toy must be operational at the end of the project. Once they know how it works, they present to the class about the toy and what improvements could be made. It’s always an adventure when the toys are used over and over and develop small issues. My TA partner never got to do this project so he got in on the action when a group couldn’t figure out why their toy couldn’t come apart. It turned out the screws were stripped, but we were able to get it apart and back together, and have it operational!

My co-TA playing with *cough* I mean fixing the toy.

My co-TA playing with *cough* I mean fixing the toy

I’ve really enjoyed being a TA and I’m looking forward to see the designs this group comes up with for their final project. I’ll try to share updates as we get more into the final project of building disaster proof houses for developing countries!

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Nov

07

Full Schedule

category icon Posted in Academics, General

Hey Hawkeyes,

I realized after my last post that I’ve barely discussed my classes this semester. First of all, since it’s my last semester I have a seemingly random mix of classes because they’re the classes that didn’t have to be taken at a certain point. Unfortunately, for my last semester I ended up with morning classes. I am nothing close to a morning person. And when I say morning classes I’m not talking about like 10:30 or 9:30. No, I mean 8:30 and 8:00 every morning except for my one morning of 7:30. It’s been tough but so far I have not missed a single class.

My first class is Biostatistics. Basically statistics, but applied to biological examples. Like statistics for studies involving whether a new medication works as well as how to set-up experiments and what conditions need to be met. I’m not a huge fan of stats, but at least the examples are interesting.

My next class is Material Science. This class is more basic level materials class that focuses on a broad overview on how to select materials for applications. Sounds super easy, right? Not always. Since my internship was focused on polymers, the whole concept of metals has been new. And if you’ve never seen a eutectic phase diagram, you should definitely look that up; I finally figured them out!

Next is my Musical Theatre History class. It is phenomenal. I’m really enjoying a class that doesn’t make me think super hard or derive equations. We read, watch, and discuss musicals as they’ve developed over time. We focus on gender and race and how they relate to the themes in the musicals.

Finally, I have my pharmacy class. This class is based on drug delivery systems. So basically any way from getting a medication from outside the body to inside the body. We’ve discussed micro-needles, bone tissue engineering, cancer vaccinations, and gene therapy methods. I find this class immensely interesting and I’ve learned so much! Aside from the information aspect, I have also learned more about what I’m interested in and what kind of job I’d like to have in the future.

I have really enjoyed this semester with the combination of major-related classes and non-major related classes. It’s been fun exploring some of my other interests. I also really appreciate how much of my past classes are used in my more advanced classes. It’s really cool to learn difficult material and realize you have a strong background in the area.

 

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Oct

28

FORE!

category icon Posted in Campus Life, General

Hey Hawkeyes,

I hope everyone is having a good semester so far. It’s crazy how fast this semester is going! There’s so many more blog posts I want to write! Anyway, at this point in the semester everyone is usually trying to find some way to destress a little bit and one fantastic way to do that is to get back into a hobby you may not have done in a while. I knew I wanted a fun, relaxing class this semester so I signed up Golf. Yes, that is correct, I took a golf class.

The department of Lifetime Leisure Studies offers a wide range of classes for all interests. I have taken ballroom dancing and golf. I have had friends take kickboxing, volleyball, yoga, swimming, and cycling. They also have classes such as scuba diving, canoeing, and rock climbing. It’s like high school gym class, except you only do the activity that you like. The classes are worth 1 credit hour and typically only last for about 8 weeks. Some people will take two sessions in the same semester. Some people like to take the second session to help them de-stress during midterms, and some people like to take just the first session so that the class is over by the time they get to the majority of their midterms.

I really enjoyed my class because it meant spending time outside in the beautiful fall weather and learning about golf. I golfed in high school but would not consider myself a good golfer by any means. We had great instructors (golf professionals that would typically charge crazy prices for lessons) and I met some really awesome people. We had a ton of fun encouraging each other, searching for golf balls, and trying to become pro golfers. We met twice a week at the golf course and all of our equipment was provided. I definitely recommend these classes as a way to pick up a new hobby, learn a new skill, or just relax.

Golfing in the Sunset

Golfing in the sunset

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Oct

06

Resumé? Check!

category icon Posted in Academics, Events, General

Hey Hawkeyes!

This is the week of the engineering career fair! My first year, I was terrified of the career fair since I didn’t know how to answer questions or how to talk to the recruiters about the company. Over the last four years I have done several practice interviews, several real interviews, added some great experiences to my resumé, and have learned to enjoy the career fair. Good thing I like it because this is the most important one! This is the career fair that will (hopefully) help me find a job! As a graduating senior, this is my best chance to get my resumé to real people from these companies rather than just applying online.

I spent the first several days of this week re-modeling my resumé to make it look a bit more professional as well as making sure I had all the right things on it. It’s always difficult to try to predict what a recruiter will want to see. I have a document that I just list all of my project, jobs, activities, and experiences (research, internship) so that I can easily build a resumé for specific jobs just from pulling things off the document. After combing through my resumé to catch any errors, I took it to a professional development peer advisor in the Student Development Center to have it critiqued. I was told that I have a very strong resumé (yay!) and I had a few minor things to fix. I was also curious about the wording for a certain part and they were able to help me with that as well.

I’ve been practicing my 20 second elevator speech (introduction, year in school, major, looking for ____ position, really interested in ____ because ___.) so I feel ready on that front. Now I just need to make sure my dress pants are wrinkle free, my high heels are ready to go, and my resumé is tucked carefully in my portfolio. Wish me luck!

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Sep

30

Cheer, Cheer, Cheer for Iowa!

category icon Posted in Campus Life, Events, General, Photos

Hey Hawkeyes!

One of the things I will miss most when I graduate will be football season with the Hawks. When I was in high school, I played in the marching band so there was a lot of preparation for football games and then we’d hang out with friends after the halftime show. As a college freshman, I decided not to get season tickets because I wasn’t all that interested in football. After discovering that a lot of the new friends I was making had season tickets and one of them was even in the marching band, I decided I would try going to a game and see what it was like. As it turns out, it was a lot of fun! Over the past 4 years I have learned a lot about football, developed a very strong sense of school spirit, lost my voice cheering, and had a blast with my friends at the games.

Hanging out with friends before the game starts!

Hanging out with friends before the game starts!

Nothing quite matches the energy in Kinnick stadium on game day. The sea of black and gold, Back in Black playing on the loud speakers as the team comes out, the loud cheers. I recommend going early to get your choice of seats though; the student section fills up fast!

One of my favorite memories was last year (2015 season) during the night game and we had just gotten a touchdown, bringing the score within only a couple points difference. The cheerleaders started the normal I-O-W-A cheer that we do after each touchdown where each section of the stadium yells a letter. The energy was so high that the cheer kept going for over 10 minutes until we scored the next touchdown, putting us in the lead and eventually leading to a victory!

Picture with Herky for Homecoming!

Picture with Herky for Homecoming!

There are so many great traditions with so many of the games, especially homecoming. I love going to the events during homecoming week. The parade is one of my favorites with getting to see floats from the student orgs, local marching bands, and the Hawkeye marching band. The College of Engineering puts on a little after-parade carnival for kids with games and prizes that are run by student organization members. It’s a fun way to get involved with the community and get to spend some time making kids happy.

 

This week (homecoming week!), I was just hanging out at work when I heard footsteps coming down the hall. One of my responsibilities at work is to greet people when they walk into the office so I look up to greet the visitor and it just so happens to be Herky! I guess he was visiting the engineering building for an event and decided to visit some of the students. I was so excited to be able to get a picture with him! Here’s to a win this Saturday!

 

 

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Sep

23

*THAT* Point

category icon Posted in General

Hey Hawkeyes,

We have officially reached *that* point in the semester. The point where everyone has either taken their first test of the semester or getting ready to take their first test of the semester and the homework is really hitting. Lab reports deadlines are approaching, the homework is getting harder, organizations are trying to plan events, and unfortunately for a lot of people, most people are sick.

Typically, the first couple of weeks aren’t too bad. Some of the material may be review and project deadlines seem far away. Everyone wants to hang out with friends and “study” (aka watch youtube videos, listen to 90s playlists, go get ice cream, and talk about their weekend plans). Now everyone is realizing they need to buckle down and actually start studying (aka secluded in a quiet corner with their best study music). It’s also been just enough time for slight sleep deprivation, poor diet, and the high concentration of students in small spaces to weaken the immune system and it seems like everyone is coughing and sneezing.

My friends know this as the point where they barely see me. I enjoy talking and hanging out with everyone on my floor in the early evenings for the first few weeks. And then the homework really starts and the lab reports need more focus. I’m also busy with organizations and work responsibilities. I usually pack my backpack at 8 a.m. (7 a.m. on Thursdays), and don’t return to my room until 8 or 9 p.m. It definitely results in creative packing and prioritizing exactly what I’ll work on during free time. From now on, I will pretty much only have real free time (like to watch movies and hang out with friends for more than 30 minutes) on the weekends. It’s kinda sad, but it’s also really nice to be in a routine where there’s a strict structure to each day. I think it helps keep me focused and more productive.

I hope everyone is staying healthy and feeling ready for *that* point in the semester!

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Sep

13

You’re Taking How Many Credits?!

category icon Posted in Academics, General

Hey Hawkeyes!

I hope everyone is enjoying the wonderful start to the 4th week of classes!

Obviously, as the focus of college, classes are pretty important (go figure!), but sometimes it can be confusing to try to figure out what you need to take and how many credits you should be taking. So how do you figure that out?

Most majors have a sample course load online where you can see what the required classes are, but as far as how many credits you should be taking, well that’s up to you! The indicated credits are a suggestion. Depending on what classes you enjoy, how difficult the classes are, and how involved you want to be can all affect how many credit hours you take. Sometimes people are able to learn better when they’re focusing on a smaller class load while others learn better by constantly changing their focus between several classes.

I figured out that I am much happier somewhere around 15 credit hours. I don’t feel as overwhelmed by homework and I still have enough time to be involved with activities as well as work an on-campus job part-time. Even though it meant staying an extra semester, I know that this is what was best for me and will be better for my success.

The biggest difference between high school and college is that although you still have to meet certain requirements, you ultimately get to make the decision of how you meet the requirements. You don’t need to take 18 credit hours every semester if it’s going to make you stressed out and drop your GPA. Everyone learns differently and it’s ok to take things at your own pace. College is about finding what’s best for you and what will help you succeed, whether that means finding the right major or the right balance of classes.

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Sep

09

Last First Day

category icon Posted in Campus Life, General, Photos

Hey Hawkeyes,

The start of this school year was kind of a big moment. Since I am graduating in December, this was my last first day of school. It seems weird to think about. Every fall for as long as I can remember I’ve picked out an outfit, put on a new pair of shoes, and headed out with my backpack. I don’t think it has quite hit me yet; I think that will come in the middle of January when everyone else is headed back to school and I am (hopefully) working.

View while walking to class

View while walking to class

We were lucky this year to have an absolutely beautiful first week of classes. No rain and cool temperatures. I was able to grab this picture walking across campus; the sky was absolutely perfect.

I was talking with a friend who graduated this past May and is now in grad school at another Big 10 school. She mentioned how different it is to not see the Old Capitol Building on her walk to classes. You never realize exactly what you’ll miss until you don’t have it anymore (kind of like your first home-cooked meal after being at college for a few weeks). So I guess my focus this semester is to appreciate everything and make sure I’m living in the moment and doing what makes me happy.

Last first day picture with Chester.

Last first day picture with Chester.

Part of that is having my fish at college. I know it seems weird, but it’s really nice. Over the summer at my internship, I would go back to an empty apartment after work. I desperately wanted a pet, and fish are a fairly cheap pet that don’t take up much space. I named him Chester and fed him every day when I got home from work. Turns out you can train fish through repetitive processes, so now he swims back and forth really fast and becomes much more active when I walk into the room; it’s almost like having a dog greet you when you get home. On my ‘last first day’ of high school I took a picture with my dog; so it seemed fitting on my ‘last first day’ of college to take a picture with my fish. Lesson learned: find what makes you happy and do whatever you can to achieve it; even if it’s just the little things in life.

 

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Sep

01

On Iowa! One More Time

category icon Posted in Campus Life, Events, General, Photos

Hey Hawkeyes!

I hope everyone is having a great start to their school year! It’s been a busy first few weeks. The week before classes started I had the amazing opportunity to be an OnLeader for the lean, mean Green Squad (not really mean). We fit in better with the VeggieTales rather than the green beans (long story involving a roll call we could never remember).

Tractor Tippers!

Tractor Tippers!

I absolutely love the On Iowa! program. When I came as a first-year, the program was only two years old. I have really enjoyed watching the program evolve and improve over the four years of being a leader. I have grown so much as a leader and made amazing friends through this program. I have gained skills in speaking in front of a group, planning a group discussion, time management, thinking on my feet, leading a group of people, handling unexpected situations, and working as part of a team (a very large team, as shown below). Along with all the fun and awesome friendships from On Iowa!, all of these experiences also look fantastic on a resumé. I have actually talked with many people at the career fair about On Iowa! and they are always impressed by what I’ve learned.

OnIowa Leaders ready for the first day of the program

On Iowa! Leaders ready for the first day of the program

The leaders put so much effort and time into making sure we’re ready to welcome the first year students into the Hawkeye family. We want them to realize the importance of academic success and the weight of their choices as well as experience all the amazing opportunities and fun here. That’s a lot to accomplish in two days; luckily we have a whole team of captains and directors to support us. I highly encourage anyone who is looking for a great community and resumé builder to apply to be a leader.

Highlights from my past several years as a leader:

I already posted a picture of my cast from this year but here is my last small group picture. I hope I’ve had some impact on their lives, or at least made their first week a little bit better by explaining the bus system.

My last group of first years on Kinnick. They were a great group and I hope I was able to help them a little bit.

My last group of first years on Kinnick. They were a great group and I hope I was able to answer all of their questions.

 

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