Ice Castles & Loon Mountain, NH Trip!

Hey guys! Your girl had a much needed weekend getaway in the mountains; we went to the Ice Castles and snow tubing at Loon Mountain (New Hampshire).

IMG_7786.jpgWe stayed at an airbnb in Twin Mountain, NH; please use my referral so I can save on future trips if you haven’t made an account yet and are planning to anyways (not sponsored btw, you just get $55 and I get $30 off or something).

Things You Should Pack

All kinds of warm winter gear; especially the following:

  • HAND WARMERS
  • Warm boots/shoes (I brought my LL Bean duck boots that I added winter-fur soles to but that lowkey became cold too, luckily I also packed a pair of Uggs and my toes stayed toasty in those!)
  • Snow pants, maybe not needed for Ice Castles but definitely for snow tubing
  • Moisture-wicking underlayers
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On the way to the ice castles!

Check out my vlog above to come along with us on our adventures there + some food places we went to and other random things.

Thanks for watching/reading, I hope you have an /ice/ day!

MA Conference for Women 2019 || Experience & Tips

Hey guys! There were roughly 12,000 attendees at the MA Conference for Women last week and I had the wonderful opportunity to be one of these attendees on behalf of my company! (I am an associate software engineer for those who may not know.)

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At the Reebok “It’s a Woman’s World” Booth in the Exhibition Hall

I took the train into Boston and was at the convention center all day long with booths to see, sessions to attend, and people to meet. When we arrived, we received attendee “swag bags” filled with snacks, a water bottle, the event guidebook notebook, and other miscellaneous items.


Tips on how to make the most of the event:

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luckily I was warned of these, i’m now queen of the event
  • Arrive early: by 7am to head into the line or else you’ll have to spend time outside in the cold waiting to get through security and this way you’ll be one of the first to grab breakfast (free) and hit the booths down in the exhibition hall
  • Skip the coat check–bring a warm enough but lighter jacket to carry or else you’ll have to be in line twice and there’s sooooo many coats in the coat check
  • Use the womens restroom: I know, like isn’t that obvious? They actually convert a bunch of the mens restrooms into womens restrooms for the event, but the permanent womens restrooms have a lot more stalls. I accidentally waited in line for one of the converted restrooms for a long time only to find there were only 3 usable stalls and the other half was urinals!

 

Overview of Events and Sessions I Attended:

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Opening Keynote Session

IMG_6331Featuring Simon Sinek, Amanda Southworth, Yara Shahidi, and others; we were welcomed to a day of reminders that we can kick ass!!!

  • Sinek focused on the infinite game: explaining how learning from our competitor and using what we can study from them could help us become better ourselves and get stronger (and vice versa).
  • Southworth told her story of mental health and how coding not only helped herself but enabled her to help others too.
  • Shahidi is asked a question and answers with how she was taught at an early age about financial independence and how to be smart about money; saving it, spending it, and donating it.

Exhibition Hall (ft. sponsor booths, small business marketplace, and roundtable discussions)

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  • So. Many. Things. Being. Given. Away.
  • And so many photo opportunities!
  • Essentially, I came home with (on top of the swag bag stuff) a T Shirt, schrunchie, button pin, mirror, mints and lip balm, crystal nail file, travel brush and sewing kit in one, pens, magazine, candy, and more!

Unplugged: Reclaiming Balance in a Connected World (POE)

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(from left) Tiffany Schlain, Mary Laura Philpott, and Stephanie Humphrey
    • This was an interesting panel session on unplugging from the social media world, turning 24/7 into 24/6.
    • Tiffany Schlain (filmmaker, founder of The Webby Awards, author) talks about a “tech sabbath” of sorts that her family has done for almost 10 years now where they unplug from their devices for one 24-hour period a week and focus on the present.
    • Mary Laura Philpott (author of I Miss You When I Blink) catches attention from the Type-As of the room, those who love lists and getting things done once they’re started. It’s her journey of accepting that our time is our time and it’s okay to take it back to do what we want.
    • Stephanie Humphrey (technology and lifestyle content creator) discusses how she tries to unplug even with a career that consists of being on social media. Setting time for planning in one period and then scheduling posts is a must.

The Likability Trap: Women, Leadership and the Double-Bind

IMG_6332Alicia Menendez, asked us a question: do you want to be likable or do you want to be successful? Her answer is to ALWAYS. CHOOSE. SUCCESS. People will always either like you or not like you for various reasons and it should not hold you back from reaching your goals.

  • Yvonne Garcia, Minda Harts, and Erica Keswin joined Menendez in discussing their own experiences of having to choose between being liked or being successful in their workplace and the feedback they have sometimes received from it.

Keynote Luncheon: Malala Yousafzai, Tara Westover, Megan Rapinoe

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All of the women involved in the keynotes, panel sessions, and other discussions have all done something to be recognized as leaders, mentors, or just those to look up to. During the keynote luncheon, we also were lucky to hear from Malala Yousafzai, Tara Westover, Megan Rapinoe, and others.

  • Yousafzai spoke of her journey that most of us have heard about (if you need a refresher) and how her father continued to push for her education when extremists who took over their town banned girls from school and how it has developed her into the strong woman she is today. She continues to fight for 12 years of education for girls in countries who are less able to receive the opportunity.
  • Westover joked about how her job is to be a professional narcissist, telling her story about how she was raised in a family that did not believe that the government, education, and other things were genuinely real (instead seen as a conspiracy). She eventually went on to being enrolled and educated at the age of 17 and then went on to get her PhD.
  • Rapinoe was her authentic self with Kara Swisher; it was highly entertaining to listen to them discuss important topics like how Rapinoe was fighting for equal pay among professional soccer players (ex. how the womens soccer team is not compensated the same as the mens soccer team), the upcoming election, and various other topics.

While leaving the convention center, I realized that I was feeling so empowered, a feeling that I had not felt in a while. It makes me want to continue to chase after it all.

I’m hoping to get the chance to continue attending The MA Conference for Women and other events like this! The 2020 Grace Hopper Celebration for Women Technologists is also on my radar and I can’t wait to launch into this potential opportunity!

New York City Girl ♫♪|| Weekend Guide

Hey guys! Your girl had a weekend trip with her mans to NYC this fall and finally got to try and see some of the places on my bucketlist so here’s my mini guide!

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Heres a list of some things I did in NYC & scroll down for the deets:

  • The Vessel
  • Ichiran Ramen (Brooklyn)
  • Line Friends NYC
  • Tiger Sugar
  • Tim Ho Wan Hell’s Kitchen Dim Sum
  • Taiyaki NYC

Processed with VSCO with al5 presetWe made our way to The Vessel sculpture and it was a pretty interesting sight! We got to walk around it and the surrounding area but unfortunately we weren’t able to go inside and up around it because you have to book tickets in advance due to the limit of people being inside!

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Admission is free but it was a busy day so going in was booked out for a few hours. After some wandering and intense games of giant Connect 4 (where I defeated Ricky…once hehe) we got hungry and started our adventure to Ichiran Ramen!

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I recommend going to Ichiran Ramen in Brooklyn because it’s the bigger location which means the wait time is shorter. We arrived for our late lunch/early dinner around 5pm–there was no wait for us on a Saturday to sit in the individual booths next to each other. Since it was my first time (shout out to the recommendations from Theresia and others who have been to NYC) I ordered the “Recommended Set” ramen bowl. IT WAS PRETTY GOOD!! There was a special going on where you get complimentary noodle refills so of course we took advantage of that option too.

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Line friends NYC was also on the list and I finally got to see the giant bear! This time he was decked out in a cute not-so-little halloween costume.

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Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetWhen I asked Theresia for her must-try or must-have NYC boba she said it’s gotta be Tiger Sugar! In the pictures it might look intense (a little less than usual tho since we walked around before this pic) but the drink is actually pretty refreshing and lighter than you would expect. It’s still sweet but that’s what I love. Sadly that is where our first full day in the city ended because I got a stomachache right before we ordered our drinks so we headed back after. I’d imagine we would’ve tried to explore the Oculus.

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Speaking of sweets, we o-fish-ally got to try Taiyaki NYC! We almost walked past the storefront until I noticed colorful sprinkles on the sidewalk in front and thought to myself “we must be near it now!” You get to choose the filling, ice cream, and toppings. Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

One of our last meals in NYC was dim sum at Tim Ho Wan Hell’s Kitchen. I recommend checking in/making a reservation through the Yelp app because the estimated wait time for 2 was basically an hour. The baked bbq pork buns (top right in the pic) are a must. Crispy and sweet on the outside and the usual on the inside. Ricky recommends the spareribs because they’re not too greasy. Surprisingly the only vegetable on the menu was steamed lettuce but it was good with lightly drizzled soy sauce.

And that concludes my short guide to NYC for now!

Stay tuned for more by following this blog or following me on IG @Sambarrassed, or check out my YouTube channel.

Raleigh, NC || Exploring & HUGE Life Updates!

Hey guys! Here’s a quick video update I put together; we’re going back to the basics with iMovie because my laptop does not have enough storage to edit on premiere pro for now oops!

I’ve been in North Carolina for 2 months now and between working and going on adventures finally had time to sit down and collect my clips for now!

Life updates:

  • Traveled for myself or Enactus and flew to different interviews (Washington D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Kansas City, London, Amsterdam, Raleigh) in 2019 so far!
  • Graduated college with a degree in computer science with a job lined up
  • Got myself and two big checked bags from BOS > RDU
  • Met a lot of cool people and am probably eating a little /too/ good
  • Working on the vlogging thing…

Thanks for watching and I wish you guys the best of luck today, tomorrow, and onward for whatever you are working on!! xx Sami

WSU x AMPATH || Sprint Retrospective 6

Sams ShipsHey guys, it’s a weird feeling to be wrapping up my last semester in my undergraduate career in computer science (and sociology). For this final installment of my AMPATH sprint series, I will just go over the general overview of what went on for my team.

Most of our updates went onto our PowerPoint presentation, which is going to be presented on May 15th, 2019. My team and I are looking forward to presenting the overall process of our group’s learning and working process, the many lessons we learned, our advice for future students, the work we tried to implement, and various other technical aspects of our project.

We decided that on top of the search bar work, it is also a priority to organize the git repository so it can be better organized and an open work environment for other classes. I think this is important especially when new people come in and cannot efficiently locate and access the files they need. As someone who was once new to an organization that had a lot of different projects and files to sort through, I believe that this is very considerate of the team to go with this.

With some limitations my team had to face, we worked around it to determine how we should move forward. The end result is pretty much a search bar that is attached to the toolbar. It cannot currently be live tested due to there being no backend but it can definitely be done in the future under certain circumstances.

It was interesting being able to observe how much planning you can start with but still end up having to take detours, starting new paths completely, or sometimes even needing to take U-turns.

I thought it would be important to pull some of the advice for future students from our PowerPoint and include them in this wrap-up:

  • Point out and address problems with technology right away because others around you might have the same problem(s) so you can solve them collectively
  • Do all team implementations in a separate component based on what you will be working on
  • Merge your work constantly to the master branch so each team can have the updated changes

A pattern I am noticing in a lot of teams or group projects is that not everything is going to work out in ways that you expected or were hoping for but you learn to move as a shifting team to make progress and continue growth.

Overall, I’d say I learned an important life lesson from this: if I am to contribute extra time on top of my technology career in the future to work on side projects, it will be a challenge to allocate time if it is a group initiative. I also learned that even when we try to communicate everything there is still more room for miscommunication, so there may be no such thing as over-communicating. I am happy to say that we always tried our best to move forward in all ways!

 

Find Mentors || S.S. 10

Sams Ships (13)In this final installment of my individual apprenticeship patterns, I think an important one to write about would be Find Mentors. To summarize the main point of this one, I would say that it encourages people to observe their role and their surroundings to see where they can find the most value from learning or use their resources. It encourages you to look at things from one level back instead of blindly jumping into something right away.

Personally, I have been in a role where I had to figure out a lot of things that could have just been taught to me. I quickly learned that I would be able to ask other junior developers how they managed to learn things on their own and it helped me a lot. If other junior developers were not available, then I would work my way up to people who had the most recent on-boarding experience and hope that they could recall the process I was currently going through. For the most part, that worked out well!

Thanks to this pattern, I thought it was useful to think about and remind ourselves that even though our mentors will know a lot more about us, they still do not know everything. They are still continuing to learn as much as we are in their own careers.

I thought I should update this blog to throw in a little hidden announcement if anyone actually reads these that I will be learning at a company with about 100 peers going through the same thing. This makes me feel a lot more confident knowing that I will have a designated support system around me and have mentors around.

Overall, I agreed with the pattern. This is because I can testify with my personal experiences how useful it was to be able to utilize my resources including being able to ask mentors questions or just find my own. A common question I had for my interviewers was, “Will I have a mentor or support system along the way throughout my career progression?” Personally, it is important for me to have a designated place to go for support because it just takes one more worry away about having to ask somebody a question.

It is now time to conclude my individual apprenticeship pattern series! I hope you have at least learned one thing from it because I have learned so many things.

WSU x AMPATH || Sprint 5 Retrospective

Sams Ships (14)Over the past two weeks, my team continued to discuss what we are working on as usual. We have come to the conclusion that we will add our Search Bar component once there are updates and more of a base to work off of. This was concluded after we realized that the process would be much more efficient. The parameters and details on the search bar would be harder to figure out without making up a base anyways.

Some advice for others who may be working on the same thing would be to try and collaborate or discuss potential orders between groups if one thing may depend on another. That would make it much simpler from the start if possible so there aren’t any clashes or time wasted on doing extra work that could have just been done by one group or team.

In the meantime, I did a little more research on the AMPATH system out of curiosity since we are going to be building onto their work. I found out that there are 500+ care sites in Kenya! It is interesting to think about the potential impact our work may make on how AMPATH carries out their process. Their initiative reminds me of what Enactus at Worcester State strives for when they work on projects to help people or organizations in the community “sustain their own success, connect them with universal health insurance, train next generation medical professionals, and research new breakthroughs and best practices.” Being able to help a healthcare organization is pretty meaningful, especially as a project through my capstone.

A way to tie our 348 course (Software Process Management) with our 448 (Capstone) course would be through now being able to use Travis CI and Heroku. It was interesting being able to experience using these in class and help our peers use it and now be able to use them in our capstone. I think the practice we got was nice because I found that my peers and I were more comfortable with following steps that were written out and explained to us instead of just “going for it.” I have also noticed that our 348 course helped us pay more attention to how we interact with others, which is very useful for the future when we will be working in teams of developers to create or update new technologies. One more thing which I found useful was seeing Travis CI load, and the race against time when it came to classmates pushing code at the same time; it made me push myself to be a little faster while at the same time not be sloppy about what I was putting into my code.

Overall, we discussed what we will do in these coming weeks as the semester comes to a close. The project we are planning on presenting will feature a search bar which we plan to implement by then. I am excited to see what we end up with in terms of helping AMPATH and their healthcare system!