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Mar

11

Staying Motivated for Spring Break

category icon Posted in Academics, General

Hey Hawkeyes!

Wow, I think the weather has finally decided to start heading towards spring. It’s amazing how many people you start seeing around campus when it warms up and how many different activities you can watch. The most recent thing I’ve noticed is the number of hammocks that people have brought to the Pentacrest for relaxation (I may have added a hammock to my wish list after seeing this).

The improvement in weather has mixed effects on people. For some people, they’d rather be outside playing frisbee or basketball rather than studying for midterms, especially with the building anticipation for spring break. For others, having nice weather has picked up their mood and motivated them to keep studying and finish out this last stretch of midterms before spring break.

Mine has been a combination of both of these. For my non-major classes, I’ve been struggling with motivation, but for my major-related classes, I spent a ton of time making a notecard and reviewing material. I’m so glad to be so close to Spring Break, though. It will be so nice to take a break and not worry about my schedule for a few days. However, when we come back it’s going to be a whirlwind. I’m actually taking some stuff home with me so I can attempt to get ahead so that first week back isn’t as chaotic.

My last midterm went really well and, after a chaotic 20 minutes, my senior design meeting went pretty well, too. My group is in the process of learning how important communication is. In case you were wondering, communication is extremely important. But now I’m one class away from being on spring break. I hope all my fellow Hawkeyes have a fun and safe spring break and that everyone has a chance to de-stress.

Talk to you after break!

 

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Mar

09

Bunny Suits in the Nanolab

category icon Posted in Academics, General, Photos

Hey Hawkeyes,

I hope everyone has been staying warm the past couple of weeks! The wind has been particularly strong the last few weeks. It’s nice that it’s finally warming up a bit. We had some weird weather things where it would be 40˚ during the week and then 60˚ on the weekends. Fortunately, I have a lab class this semester that is plenty warm. I’m taking a Nanofabrication class that has a lab component which happens to be in a cleanroom. Apparently the dictionary definition of a cleanroom is a room that is clean. While this doesn’t mean much to people outside the “nano” world, it means a lot as far as nanofabrication. The nano-scale is so tiny that particles like dust can ruin the thing that you’re making. To prevent particles from contaminating all the projects, we get to wear these:

Ready for lab!

Ready for lab!

These cleanroom gowns, also called bunny suits, reduce the amount of particles that we produce. It has been a new experience going through the gowning procedure before lab as well as being in a lab where you can’t have anything with you. There is special clean room paper that is supposed to reduce particle formation. Due to the small space to help control airflow and the double layer of clothing, it gets plenty warm in the lab.

Most of what we’re learning about is done on industrial levels for manufacturing circuit boards and electronics so it’s cool to be able to do some of these processes. I think one of my favorite parts of my major has been getting to be in so many lab classes where we get to do the things we’re learning about. Although I may complain about the lab reports, I really like the actual lab portion. 

Talk to you guys soon!

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Jan

25

Spring? Winter?

category icon Posted in General

Hey Hawkeyes!

We’re finally into the “spring” semester, even if it doesn’t feel like it outside. To be fair it is like 31 degrees today, so you know, a heat wave. Last week was the first week of class and I was super enthusiastic about all my classes until the second day. My last class on my second day gave me the first three assignments and the first project for the first month of the class. I guess that’s one of the fun ‘perks’ of being a senior, the professors are super excited about all of our classes.

I decided to be adventurous and take a ballroom dancing class this semester. We’ve only had one class, but I’m really loving it. I think it will be a fun way to relax in the middle of the week. As for my other classes, I’m taking a couple of advanced engineering classes, Analytical Chemistry II, and a core engineering class. There are a couple classes that I’m cautiously optimistic about, but I’m pretty hopeful about them.

I also had the opportunity to go to the women’s gymnastics meet this past weekend, and it was fantastic. It was so cool to watch all the events! I definitely plan on going to more of them! I’m excited for the basketball games too. The Hawkeyes are doing really well this year which is really exciting!

I hope everyone else is having a fantastic start to the semester!

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Sep

11

Hey There!

category icon Posted in General

Hey Hawkeyes!

I hope everyone is having a great start to their school year! I was more or less catapulted into mine!

As I had mentioned in a previous post, I had an internship this past summer. I worked with the research and development team of a plastic compounding company in Minnesota. As a native Iowan it was really cool to live in a different state for a few months. I was able to go kayaking and even learned paddle-boarding. I also enjoyed taking a few trips to the Twin Cities to see the Mall of America and a nearby zoo. I got involved in the community that I lived in by volunteering on stage crew for a community theatre and attending a Shakespeare festival. Between people I met through volunteering and people I met at my internship, I definitely made new friends and had plenty of activities to keep me busy.

 

The internship itself was absolutely fantastic. I was incredibly nervous on my first day (and first week), until I got used to the work dynamic, managed to find my way around the building, and met some awesome people who patiently answered all my questions. Switching from the school dynamic to the work dynamic was definitely a shock, but a very welcome one. It was so nice to be super focused/productive for 8 hours and then have free time to relax and take a mental break. The common theme throughout my internship was ‘Learn something new everyday’. There wasn’t a single day where I didn’t learn a new process, test, or a more efficient method. This fast-paced learning made every day at work interesting and presented enjoyable challenges. I had my own project that I worked on, which allowed me to develop my own organization and plan of attack for accomplishing as much as possible. I learned a lot about research methods and how to set up a study. Learning to balance all my project work with helping engineers with their projects gave me a lot of organization skills along with learning how engineers structure projects.

I also have to say something about the people I worked with. Everyone that I worked with was awesome! I met so many great people with interesting stories, a willingness to share their knowledge, and the patience to help me learn. I learned a lot about how an industrial business works and the diversity of skill sets in a workplace. I know that I messed up a few different times, but everyone was extremely patient and turned all of my mishaps into a great learning experience. I also really enjoyed getting to know everyone personally. So many of the people I worked with had a lot of great life experience to share and I really appreciated the advice they gave me.

 

Overall, the internship was a great experience. It really helped give me direction for what I want to do as well as give me motivation for the semesters I have left. I’m excited for the next few semesters now that I’ve seen the end goal and how our classes apply to the workplace.

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Apr

02

Time Flies When…

category icon Posted in Academics, Events, General

Hey Hawkeyes!

I hope everyone is enjoying the warmer temperatures! It’s been a crazy spring semester. I haven’t felt much like writing when I’ve been turning in at least one lab report every week. I have learned that taking three lab classes at once was not a good idea, especially when two of them require 40 page lab reports. I’m so glad we’re almost done with the semester. I have 9 lab reports until I’m done so the countdown has started!

So a few quick things about my semester so far:

  1. 1. At the beginning of the semester, I began working in a research lab in the pharmacy department where they study droplet spreading behavior. I really like what I’m doing and the cool shapes make it fun. The one below is a yellow solution that fluoresces green under a blue light. The solution we’ve moved onto is purple (which I absolutely love), and fluoresces red under green light. I’ve really enjoyed getting to learn some new techniques and be involved with the project.
    Droplet Spreading
    Droplet Spreading
  2. I got an internship! I had actually interviewed for the position last year, but they were looking for someone a little more long term than just the summer. This year, the company decided to start a project-based internship program and offered me a position over the summer based on my interview last year. I’m really excited to get some industry experiences and learn more about the polymer process. I will also be in Minnesota for the summer and get to explore a new area. This will be my first time living away from home and not at college as well as having to make an entirely new group of friends.
  3. I am on Orange Squad this year! I interviewed for On Iowa! Leader again and was placed on Orange Squad. The spring leader training days are basically just a time for the squads to get to know each other. My cast is the Flaming Not Cheetos and the other Orange cast is the Goldfish. One of the first-year students on my dorm floor is in my cast and I’m super excited to watch her experience all the awesome parts of On Iowa! from a leader’s perspective. Being an On Iowa! leader has really improved my leadership skills. I’ve started noticing how much more conscious I am about what I say and how I respond to questions.

I think those are the main updates of the semester; hopefully I can blog some more over the next few weeks as the lab reports wind down. I really miss writing for fun; it’s been a while since I’ve had the time for that. Talk to you again soon!

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Jan

25

Syllabus Week?

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

Hey Hawkeyes,

I made it through the first week, sometimes known as syllabus week since most professors go over the syllabus and maybe on the second day of class they will begin covering lecture material. The main highlight of this first week is that there isn’t typically homework yet, well, at least no homework due. In my experience the professors usually assign homework on the second, if not the first, day of class. If you have a lab class you have a 50/50 chance of having lab cancelled the first day. Some professors want to have lecture before students begin in the lab, but some decide to just throw you into the lab. I really like having the first day of lab cancelled, mainly because it gives me a little more time to adjust (or sleep, if it’s an early lab) during the first week. Sadly, one of my three lab classes this semester decided to have lab on the first day, but then I met my TA’s (teaching assistants) and decided that it was ok. My TA’s seem really cool and fun. When you have to be in a room with someone, ask questions, and get help from the TA’s for six hours every week of the semester, it can make a huge difference. I’m a little nervous about my course load, but I’m going to try to be on top of everything and be super organized and efficient. I’m also going to try to have fun this semester, which was well-demonstrated this past weekend.

I have always loved watching the figure skating during the Olympics and I thought this semester would be a great chance to start learning. I signed up for lessons out at the mall in Coralville. These lessons are keeping me active as well as gives me at least one thing to look forward to each week. After my lesson I went shopping in the mall with a friend (might as well since I was already there, you know). Then my friends and I decided we should go to the Swing Dance Club’s kick-off dance. It was a Great Gatsby themed dance and they had a lesson before the dance. They even had a live band as well as a set-list with all the songs and what dance styles you could practice for each song. It was a lot of fun to get dressed up and go dance. Between that and my skating lesson my legs got a great work out. After the dance I asked a friend if she would go see a movie with me. An organization on campus called Campus Activity Board (CAB) gets movies that are just leaving theaters and plays them at the Iowa Memorial Union for $3 admission. They usually have two movies that play Thursday through Sunday. It’s a nice chance to go see a recent movie on a big screen for a cheaper price than other theaters. Even though it was kind of late at night, it was still fun and was a great end to my Saturday.

I decided to take Saturday off and just have fun, which means that Sunday needs to be spent doing lots of homework. I want to get a head start on this week so I can hopefully stay ahead of the stress this semester.

I’ll try to post halfway through the week to talk more about the lab schedules and how some of the advanced labs work. Talk to later!

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Jan

21

And So It Begins

category icon Posted in Academics, Campus Life, General

Hey Hawkeyes!

I’m so sorry for my some-what dead blog last semester! It got crazy busy and I didn’t get to do as much as I wanted. Hopefully this semester I’ll have more time for writing short posts. I also want to try to post one picture a week.

Today was the first day of class here at University of Iowa and I had it pretty easy. My first class (at 8:30am) was cancelled so I technically didn’t have class today. I did however start working in a research lab (more on that later). Tomorrow, which is my busiest day, will be hectic and a bit crazy, but I think it should go well. I color-coded my assignment notebook and planned my notebooks so I should be ready to conquer the craziness. Last semester was spent doing homework the majority of the time and when I had free time I just didn’t have the energy to do anything. This semester, my friends and I have decided that we are going to make a point of attending more campus activities and having fun. I think this semester will be a great one!

I’ll update at the end of the week and let you know how my first week went!

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Oct

03

Life Update

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

Hey Hawkeyes!

I hope everyone is having a great school year so far. My level of busy-ness is what my math professor would call a beautiful exponential function. I thought that after the first week of school my schedule would balance out and I would fall into a routine. Yes, I know, I’m a junior now and I should know better. My activities are starting to get more active with volunteering, professional meetings, and workshops. On top of that, as the main reason that I’m here, my classes are really picking up as well. Going into this year, I was a bit nervous about all my classes and was considering dropping one of my classes. But then I went to the first day and decided I really liked the class and wouldn’t drop it. I’m still not sure if that was the right decision or not, but I still really like the class. The past couple of weeks have been pretty busy because of my class and homework schedule. So in summary of my last couple weeks:

It was so good to see Code Red again! We’re planning a Code Red dinner soon and I can’t wait to see them!

Lab Equipment

Lab Equipment

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have a 3-hour lab where we rotate through different experiments and then write a lab report about the experiment. The contraption above is from the experiment entitled “Jacketed Kettle”. The idea of this particular experiment was to study the rate of heat transfer in heating and cooling water with mixing versus just letting it sit. In case you’re wondering, if you’re trying to cool something quickly, you really need to mix it. To collect enough data to write a report about, one of my lab partners and I hung out in the lab for 4 hours one day just waiting for the water to cool from 90˚C to 30˚C. It was a long day, but we collected all the data we needed. At least we hope we did; we’re writing the lab report in the next couple of days.

Homework and report writing

Homework and report writing

After finishing the experiment, we write the lab report about it. The engineering building has a great space for working on group stuff, which also comes in handy when there’s a large group of us working on the same homework assignment. Luckily, the building has lots of table space. I spend a lot of time in this building so I’m getting to know a lot of the people who also do homework there. The Chemical Engineering department at University of Iowa is very close and I know the majority of my class as well as a quite a few people in the classes above and below me. I think it makes homework a little more enjoyable to work on it with a group of people, it adds a little more of a social aspect to it.

I’ll try to update my blog more regularly now that I’m used to the craziness of writing lab reports and doing homework.

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Sep

02

I Survived!

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

Hey Hawkeyes!

I hope everyone had a great week! I managed to survive my first week of classes. Everyone always says the first week is just syllabus week and you don’t do anything. I’m not sure if it’s just because of my major, but I had homework by Wednesday of “syllabus week.” It wasn’t a lot (only two classes), but the other professors warned that there would be homework the following week. I had also made the incorrect assumption that it would be a relatively slow week with all the activities. As it turns out, every one of the organizations I’m involved in had their first meeting last week. It’s really surprising how the semester seems so long from the class/homework perspective, but when you’re trying to plan events the semester seems so short. We’re already in September, which leaves the rest of September, and just two more months to plan events, since December gets tricky with finals week. We can’t do an event every week (no one has that much time) but once a month is too spread out (and only like 3 events). I’m really excited about all the activities and the things we’re planning. It will make this year really busy, but it will be so much fun.

I had a really cool observation/realization last week. One of my classes (a photography class) is in Art Building West across the river from where most my classes are. I was completely fine until I was walking up the sidewalk to the building. Then I realized I was really tense. Why was I so tense? I was nervous. I was just a little bit terrified of walking into that building and knowing that every person I pass probably has more artistic talent than I do. What if they’re judging me about how I’m dressed or my little to non-existent creativity? Then I had a light-bulb moment: How many people walk into the engineering building and feel like everyone they  pass is probably way smarter? I may not be the smartest person in the engineering building, but I’m comfortable there because that’s where my friends are. Every building is the same way. Everyone has a different set of talents and everyone feels less competent in an area they don’t know as well. One talent isn’t better than the others. Just because I chose to major in chemical engineering, it doesn’t make art less important (or less cool; there’s some really cool things in the art building). We can all learn a lot from each other if we choose to be friends with people who have different talents as well as expand on what we already know by having friends with similar interests. Everything is easier once you’re comfortable with being in a new place and make a couple friends. Once I realized that everyone feels out of their element in a new building for a subject they don’t know much about, I felt a lot better. I met some cool people in my class and I can’t wait to learn more about artistic photography. It’s all about perspective.

After the first week was over, it was nice to have a long weekend. Especially when it started with a football game! I was so happy to have a large group to walk with and sit with. It definitely makes the games more fun when you have people to talk to and cheer with. I also have them explain parts of the game to me (I don’t understand football). I get the basics, but I miss a lot of the penalties.

My football group!

My football group!

We left the East Side fairly early so we could get good seats in Kinnick; with the definition of good seats being that there were enough that we could all sit together.

Stadium smiles!

Stadium smiles!

Just being in the environment at Kinnick is exciting. All the cheering and music really gets everyone’s school spirit pumped up. Even though football isn’t my favorite sport, I absolutely love going to the games with friends and cheering for the Hawkeyes. I love being in this stadium with all the black and gold on a Saturday morning. I can’t wait until we have a bit more fall-like weather so it’s a bit cooler. The weather at this last game wasn’t too bad. It was a bit warm, but nothing compared to last year. I hope it will be a really mild fall/start of winter and that we continue winning! It definitely makes the hours in the sun worth it if we win! On Iowa-Go Hawks!

Go Hawks!

Go Hawks!

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Aug

26

End of OnIowa-Start of New School Year

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

Hey Hawkeyes!

It’s been a busy weekend! Saturday was an awesome day for On Iowa! Ok, it was still a little too warm and humid but it was great besides that. We had some great discussions about what it meant to excel at Iowa and what activities we wanted to engage in. We also discussed bystander intervention in tough situations. This discussion was what I was most nervous for, but I had no reason to be. My small group students were extremely mature and took this discussion very seriously without making it kind of dark and depressing. I am extremely proud of how all my first year students responded when I asked them for one way they, as individuals, would feel comfortable reacting to a situation in which someone may need help. They did so well with that discussion that I also talked with them about the benefits of delaying drinking. They had some questions for me and they responded really well to it. They did such a great job discussing these tough topics and were such responsible adults about the situations that I didn’t get to play all the icebreaker games I had planned. I’m totally Ok with that though. Our discussions were much more valuable and I think (hope) it made them feel more prepared for the responsibility they have now that they’re in college. They will truly uphold our Hawks Helping Hawks commitments. I’m really happy I had such an amazing group. I couldn’t have asked for a better group. I hope they all have an awesome year and that they remember me enough to wave when I excitedly wave at them in passing on campus. I hope I was able to impact them in some way and make their first year in this amazing journey just a little bit easier. At the President’s Block Party following convocation, I saw two of my students hanging out and it made me so happy to see that at least they both felt like they had a friend to sit with and eat dinner with for that day. I hope they stay friends and that the rest of the group will also say hi to each other when they walk by on the way to class. All these hopes and experiences are the reasons why I put so much time and energy into being an On Iowa! leader. It really is incredibly rewarding and I love having the chance to help a few new students have a better year because they(hopefully) felt comfortable asking all their questions.

Sunday was the day Code Red said goodbye. It was really “see you later,” but it seemed like it was goodbye since we wouldn’t be spending hours and hours together anymore.

Red Squad: Code Red!

Red Squad: Code Red!

We did an activity that I did last year with Teal Squad, where we have a yarn ball that gets thrown around the circle and we make a web. Whenever a person caught the yarn ball they had to say why they joined On Iowa! and how they think it helped them. We had some very personal stories in Code Red in which people said that Code Red had helped them overcome some very big issues. A lot of us(me included) were tearing up listening to our friends share their achievements.

Our red web. We're all connected and will always remember each other! Go Red Squad!

Our red web. We’re all connected and will always remember each other! Go Red Squad!

After this extremely touching activity. We decided we needed to quit crying (after the huge group hug) and play some of our favorite icebreakers (yay!). After 5 minutes of icebreakers we were laughing so hard some of us were crying again. I loved my whole squad so much. They had such fantastic, unique personalities! They really taught me what it means to be yourself and find your own style of leadership. One of the things I showed my students was a video from Kid President, his pep talk to students and teachers. In the video, Kid President talked about how we’re teaching the world something everyday and that we need to realize what we’re teaching the world around us. We need to be teaching the world who we are and what we believe. I think it’s true for everyone and it made me think about what goals I want to achieve this semester. I’m working on writing them all down and making sure I’m sticking to them.

The first day was pretty uneventful. I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t get rained on and my first class of the day was even cancelled. I also had mentor training for the Women in Science and Engineering mentoring program. I’m so excited that I live so close to my mentee again this year and that she seems to like me as well! I also love the fact that my mentee from last year still hangs out with me. I absolutely love everything I’m involved with this year. I’m so excited for everything I’ll get to be a part of!

I’ll try and update again at the end of the first week to let you know how the whole first week went!

By the way, holding to tradition: I’m cautiously optimistic for Polymer Chemistry 🙂

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