Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Turkey Day and things!! :)

Mood: exhausted but excited :)

Hello again!

Sorry I didn't get to update this while in was truly and busy and WONDERFUL experience! :D For anyone who doesn't know, myself, my research advisor, and the student I've been working with went to Mountain View, CA last week (Wednesday - Saturday) to interview developers at the Google headquarters. Now before I get into how successful the interviews were, I would like to say that the Google in Mountain View is everything that I imagined Google to be and so much more! I can't discuss everything on here (some of it is confidentiality issues) but one of the coolest things that I can (and will) mention is that they have bikes (which you will see in my pictures) that they allow their employees to use in order to get around their HUGE campus. They also have their own bus (which is awesome, because traffic and the driving in Cali definitely leaves something to be desired). I think what made the trip was the awesome people we got to meet (and of course the day we got to spend sight-seeing in San Francisco waiting for our flight back home!). I knew that people in technology tend to be much more laid back than those in other areas, but the people are Google are just down right friendly. On top of the awesome people any and everything you could possibly need to do, you can do it right there...there's an eating establishment in EVERY building, there's recreational activities (such as volleyball), there's a fitness center, on site laundry facility...all that's missing is a shower (which I think may be there as well!!). As far as the reason we went, in my opinion it was a pretty huge success. We were able to get 10 Google interviews and 1 from a Mozilla office in Mountain View. The hard part now is going to be going back through these interviews and manually transcribing each... which I am honestly not super excited about. I am super excited, however, about getting to submit my first conference paper! We are writing and trying to submit a paper, based off the interviews we've conducted , to the European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming (ECOOP) 2012. The only downside is that the paper is due December 17, and because Robert--the guy we met with at Google-- and Google needs to approve our paper before we can try to publish, which means we actually need to have it done by about Dec. 9 (which is much closer than it seems!). Don't get me wrong, I love a challenge, but I think the biggest problem is going to be trying to get this stuff done while also preparing for my exams/finishing up projects and papers. I know I can do this...I'm just honestly really nervous about it. A part of me wishes we could have done this trip like 2 weeks earlier to give more time, but that's slightly irrelevant seeing as we can't go back in time to do so. I'm going to do the best I can (with the help of my awesome partner Yoonki Song) and we'll get something together...and then I'll enjoy the hell outta my Xmas break!

On a brighter note (again), here are some of the pictures from my CA trip (I'll post the OR ones in a separate post just so it's not too confusing)! Enjoy!

The Android building at Google

Android Building again

Me with the HUGE Android figure :D

Grapefruit salad at Xahn (Vietnamese) -- soo good (and pretty)!

Another entree from Xahn -- even more delicious!

on the way to Google...such a lovely view!

The Google bike!

Google main campus (filled with random head sculptures)

The Google T-Rex with flamingos (a Google tradition)

We went to this cool pet store -- I saw this HUGE fish...

And this AWESOME eel that I wish I could have taken with me

And this extra-terrestrial lookin thing :)

The view from the mountains...absolutely breathtaking

and again...


We went on a hike through the mountains...this is me with a Cali redwood

Banana slug..apparently popular on the west coast? (because I never seen on over here!)

A cool orange mushroom growing off a tree stump (it was even brighter in person)

Here I am with an even BIGGER redwood ( I could almost fit in that hole!)

We were driving and Dr. Murhpy-Hill screamed "NEWT" and pulled over...this newt was trying 
to cross the road and we stopped to help it out :)

The beautiful California coast

My favorite picture from my trip <3

City Hall/Center - the first stop on the 49 mile scenic drive

A HUGE Macy's with awesome Xmas decorations (this pic is for my mom)

Chinatown :)

A view of the bay

The Coit Tower

Another awesome view

Not a great shot, but the biggest Ghirardelli factory/restaurant/store thing I've ever seen!

Palace of Fine beautiful


and again

Inside the dome..

again angels

The Golden Gate Bridge :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Grace Hopper Celebration -- Day 3 (Last Day; Who wants to be ordinary??)

So today was the last day of Grace's bitter sweet. I miss home and school so I'm ready to get back, but I've made so many connections and potential friendships that I can't help but be a little sad at it all being over. My roommate just left for the airport and I will be leaving in the next hour and a half. I took the opportunity today to get to see Portland (aka I didn't go to sessions for Grace Hopper)...don't be disappointed, there really weren't many and none caught my attention, so I took it as the perfect opportunity to get to visit the City. I got to go to Chinatown and Portland Place, which is a LARGE mall filled with stores with NO SALES TAX (a shopper's heaven)! Although it was gloomy/rainy/cold for the most part, Portland is so beautiful and part of me really hates to say good-bye. I absolutely love coming to this conference..I always leave with such a positive sense of self and motivation to do great things with my life. Who wants to be ordinary? The women at this conference inspire me (and hopefully others) to strive for nothing but extraordinary. Not only as women, but as people. I can't help but feel a connection with every single person at this conference, whether I met them or not. Now that's some powerful stuff.

Something interesting happened to me today, and although it's slightly random in a relevant way I want to share it with you...I was about to walk to conference center when I ran into an older man that I had spoken to the day before. We started talking, mainly about sports and things related to Portland and the he looked at me, and he said "You know, I don't know what you have going on in your life right now, but I can look at you and tell you are going to do big things with your life"...Although I have NO idea what this man's name is or much of anything else about him, this meant so much to me. I have such huge aspirations for myself it feels good to feel like others can sense that from me. He asked my age, and I told him I was 22 about to be 23...and he said "Yup, by the time you're 33 you're going to be set. Keep doing exactly what you're doing and it will pay off." Sometimes things mean the most when they come from someone that means nothing to you.

Time for me to prepare for the long flight home...Good-bye Portland. It's been wonderful, and hopefully I will see you again sometime soon! Grace Hopper Celebration, I WILL be seeing you next year in Baltimore, MD! :D

Until next time... <3

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Grace Hopper Celebration -- Day 2

Mood: Tired, but satisfied :)

So, for some reason I didn't think being here was going to get any better....and then it did. Just to give some background...I've been talking with people at Intel about getting an internship this summer, and there was one person in particular whom I had been conversing with (Leai Rose) but we were never able to meet face to face. Earlier this evening, while in my room getting ready to go to the poster session/reception I got a phone call...answered it...and it was Leai Rose inviting me to the by invitation only Intel gathering to get to meet her and other recruiters/employees from Intel! :D Not only did I get to finally meet Leai, but I got to meet other people who seem more than eager to help me get an internship with their company. The more I hear, the more I like and the more interested I become in learning more about their company and the different opportunities they have. And the thing is, if it weren't for my AWESOME research advisor, I would never know who she was and probably would have never made it into that by invitation only section. This, as you can probably tell, was the highlight of my day. Despite this fact, I will also share what else I got to do today:

I think besides the meeting with Intel, I really enjoyed the seminar they had on choosing software processes. Although I'm not quite in industry yet so I don't to deal with the seriousness of it, I am quite interested in software processes and finding ways to improve the process of developing software so this session was very informative and helpful. There was someone from Google, HP, Microsoft, Facebook, and CA Technologies, all representing different roles in software development (which made it even more interesting, seeing how different roles/projects make you look what's important/not important differently).  I also enjoyed the HCI research session I attended...yes, I know I'm a software gal. But the research I'm currently doing involves some HCI concepts, so I figured it would be beneficial for me to check it out and see what it was about. I think what really caught my attention was the title of the session; What if Computer Science was not "just" about technology? <-- This exact concept is what got me into software engineering. Although coding and the techie stuff are still important, others things matter too. Just like with HCI. I think that's another reason why I'm so drawn to the field of HCI. There were so many sessions to choose from it wasn't easy to pick just one for each time slot, but I think I made the right choices, especially with these two.

I also got to talk to some more employers about internships (and hand out more resumes which I had to print at the hotel). I'm really hoping that I will be able to get an internship for this upcoming summer, particularly doing something that interests and will benefit me in the long run with what I want to do (or even help me decide what I want to do). Hopefully my passion for the field came through in my conversation and excitement about the different opportunities and someone will contact me. In the mean time, can't stop putting myself out (unfortunately) my work is not done. Follow ups are a must, and that's my next step. Don't we all wish life was that easy??

I would talk about school...but that would be such a buzz kill from the pretty fantastic day I had today. Maybe tomorrow will be horrible (doubt it) so I'll just want to talk about school but I can't do that right now. I've been watching my lectures and doing the best I can to balance getting work done and actually reaping the benefits of this great opportunity (attending Grace Hopper). My plane back home leaves out tomorrow night so come Saturday morning I will be back in NC -- so maayyybeee don't expect a blog post until Sunday, because Saturday is going to have to be rest catch-up time so I can prepare myself for the monster of a week I have ahead of me next week. 4 days to catch up and figure out my life...and then off to Mountain View, CA for 4 days. Some would say it's ridiculous and that I should be staying in NC focusing on school...and for those of you saying this, you don't know me or my goals very well. Research is my life; it's what I want to do....and I know there are things I have to do to be able to do what I want to do..but sometimes what you want to do is what you have to do. And, in my opinion, this one of those times. What is meant to be will be, and until what will be is...I'm living life :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Grace Hopper Celebration -- Day 1

Woah what a day..and it's not even over yet! Yes, today was the first day of Grace Hopper and so far so GREAT! Despite the fact that I am not a morning person and dread being up before 10:00 am, I don't seem to have any issues with rising with the sun. Just for a slight recap of my day so far:

First, we had the welcoming session which was short, sweet and to the point (just the way I like it). After, the sessions began. My session of interest today was the CRA-W Workshop session for Graduates entitled "Publishing your Research". It seemed super relevant to me right now, especially since I'm sure we're hoping to get a publication out of the research we're doing now. I was a little disappointed because I didn't get to ask the question I had (even after waiting around after the session), but I got a lot of valuable information from what was presented and the questions other students asked. I also got to visit the booths that were set up (for the Career Fair) and get a head start on talking to companies about internships and passing out my resume. I actually ran out of resumes and had to go back to the hotel to print more! :) Now, I've just got to work on following up with the companies I spoke with by going online and watching to see when applications become available so I can get rolling on that (and maybe even contact some people I'd like to work with just to get my name out there). After speaking with Google today (all of whom seemed super interested in the research I'm doing), I think while I'm in California next week I'm going to try and get some sort of contact where I can let them know I'm interested in internships, maybe get a good recommendation while I'm at it! One company I am really interested in working with (especially since it's local to Raleigh) is Intuit, whom I also spoke with. I'm really hoping I will be able to get something close to home, but I'm at the point where I'm open to other options (as long as they're paying!) :)

On the school side of things, I am just as stressed as ever...I'm so afraid I'm going to come back to a whirlwind of things I've missed. My anxiety is trying to take over, but I'm trying my hardest to suppress it (which is SO much harder than people think)...but hopefully I'm making things bigger than they are and everything will work out fine. But whether this is actually the case, only time will tell (and hopefully it will tell me quickly because I can't handle all this anxiety!). I don't want to say I regret the decision to do research my first year because it is what I really want to be doing, or the decision to attend Grace Hopper ...but whether it was a wise choice or not is something I'm going to find out really soon. My professors seem understanding, but it still really worries me being absent from class so much--especially when I've never missed a day of any of them! I am just so scared that I won't succeed or let people that had so much faith in me down, and I don't think I could bare that. So....I guess I just gotta do what I gotta do to make it work. It's gonna be hard, but nothing in life worth having or doing is easy; which sucks!

I guess that's enough banter for now...I have to get myself together for the Opening Reception and Career Fair at 7:00 pm. Still got some booths to visit and hopefully more awesome swag to get! :D
Until next time...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Portland, Oregon!! :D

Mood: Super Excited!! :D

Hello followers!

For anyone who doesn't know (and if you've read my blogs or had any sort of conversation with me the past couple months you know), I am currently Portland, Oregon!! :) For some this may not be very exciting, but this is my first time in Portland...heck, it's my first time on the West coast. So this experience becomes even more exciting. If I can be even more exact for everyone, I am currently sitting in the visitor's lounge at Google in Portland, Oregon. My main purpose for being in Oregon, as I have mentioned before, is the Grace Hopper Celebration (yay!). I am also here to try and pick some of these Googlers brains and find out how they feel about static analysis tools. So far, I've only been able to get one person (our contact, Phil) to go through the interview with me, although we didn't get to fully do everything because he had some other things to work on). Even though the interview had to be cut a little short, I was able to get some REALLY valuable information from him, especially being that he's not only had experience using various tools, but he's also helped develop a static analysis tool. I got to meet some other Googlers, and hopefully they'll get some time to be interviewed -- at this point it seems like I'll have to take formal or informal interviews in order to get feedback. *** Just a side note, just from being in Portland 1 day I can tell you if you love food, come here. At the airport I had a "Gotta Have It" burger...and let me tell you.. I'm glad I got it! -- 1/3 lb beef, pulled bbq pork, bacon, an egg, and all the fixings. Then today, Phil and one of his co-workers (I believe his name is David?) took me to a food stand down the street from their office where I had my first Asian burrito, and let me tell will not be my last. Absolutely. Epic.***

On to other news...I'm a little worried about missing this week of school, especially since there is so much going on in the realm of team projects. I feel like I'm letting my teams down by being here (although they are not making it seem as if I am, I can't help but feel I am). I'm trying to do my best to keep in touch and work on assignments so I don't fall behind, but at the same time I'm here for a certain now I gotta figure out how to balance keeping up with the work/classes I'm missing and still being focused on the task(s) at hand. I will say this, it's so much easier said than done. I was so worried about my interviews today, I forgot I had an assignment due for software engineering...I got it submitted, but once I submitted it I realized one of the files were the wrong copy, so it's actually slightly incomplete.  And then, when I went to do the questionnaire, I realized that in Portland we are three hours BEHIND not I barely got to finish the questionnaire because my time ran out. Lesson learned: keep track of time differences!!

Also, my networks class has about 3 upcoming assignments due, so that's another focus I have to keep in mind: a HWK assignment due Thursday, part of a team project due Friday..and then a Lab due the following Tuesday (which isn't too bad except for the fact that if I wait until I get back to work on it I run the risk of having the same issues everyone else always has when trying to work on the lab a day or two before the lab is due, and that is not being able to get a reservation to use the software because so many people are trying to use it (which is why I usually try to get my labs done WAY in advance). The only problem is, the labs are time consuming, and I don't' know whether between my other assignments and watching lectures I will have the time to finish before I leave to go home Friday. But hopefully I'll be able to figure something out -- maybe extension?? :D very doubtful. Oh yes, and we can't forget that I have things to get done for my research as well. This is going to be a busy week indeed..

Anyways, that's enough ranting for now...time to get some more work done (and hopefully some more interviews will come my way). I'll try to post something on here everyday letting you guys know what's going on here in Portland.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's about to get serious!!

Mood: BUSY!  ':D <-- me smiling, but sweating from running around and doing so much HWK!

Hello again!

So, this week is about to be crazy...I have 2 projects and 1 paper that I'm in the process of working on..and then there's the intermediate HWK assignments give...oh and next week I'll be in PORTLAND, OREGON for the entire week! :D Yes, although I am stressing the school thing right now, I am too excited about going to Portland for Grace's going to be wonderful. I even got to submit my resume this year so I may just come back with an internship for the summer! :) And what makes this trip even better (and possibly more nerve-wracking) is the fact that I will also be conducting interviews for my research at the Google in Portland...alone (I'm usually with my partner Yoonki). I have confidence simply because of the fact that I have been the one actually asking the questions for the most part in the interviews, but I've never done one completely solo. And on top of that I'll be in a new place, by myself, meeting with contacts and arranging myself.. It should be interesting.

And then, the week AFTER Grace Hopper I will be going to Mountain View, CALIFORNIA to do more interviews at Google. This I am even more excited about because I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Florida and on top of that we're going to the Google of ALL Googles...and it's going to be epic. The only thing I really need to figure out is what our schedule's going to be looking like, which is a task for Yoonki and myself, because everything else has pretty much been taken care of. I should be getting more details on both of my upcoming trips tomorrow at our weekly meeting so I'll give more details later...and TUNE IN next week for (hopefully) day-by-day updates on what I'm doing and how things are going during my travels :)

On a not so wonderful note, I have been working on a project for Networks for the past 2 weeks and it is kicking my butt...I haven't programmed in a minute so I was a little rusty at first..but my logic seems to be correct but some of my numbers that are being produced are oh so wrong. Things have been so hectic, and with the weather changing my immune system has been freaking out (seems like everyone's getting sick and I REALLY don't want to!). I'm just glad this project is 3 parts and the last two parts are team assignments...hopefully I'll be able to learn this stuff a little better hearing it from students that are in the same boat as me; because although I do understand most of the material, the final exam counts for 40% of my final grade and I need to do better on that than anything. I got my eye on the prize and I refuse to let anything stand in the way (even if it's a class I have nearly 0 interest in, such as...Networks). So whatever I gotta do, I'm gonna do it...even if it means torture (like...Networks?). :)

You may notice that I use smiley faces a lot in my posts (and emails if we've ever spoken via email) ... I think I'm going to adopt this as somewhat of a trademark or identifier for myself. Smiling is such a good medicine, and I feel like the world need more "medicine" of this nature. So maybe, if I smile more, everyone else will smile more...maybe.

Well, now that I've stalled finishing up my Networks assignment, I'll go ahead and get back to what I was working on. I promise I'll try to update this thing more often...

Until next time... :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

Hello again!

Things have been as busy as ever lately...especially being that I had family in town this weekend (which added to the stress I was already feeling). Fortunately, things went well with the visit and now it's back to reality..and by reality I mean school and all the work I neglected for 2 days straight.

Just for some updates, I still haven't gotten my grade back on my Networks midterm, so I'm still a litte nervous about that. I understand the material but when it comes to tests/projects I feel so clueless. We have a project we have to work on, and part of it is individual (mostly team work). I find myself staring at the assignment more than actually working on it. I don't know if I'm just not reading it right, but I'm having a hard time understanding exactly what I'm supposed to be doing and it's kind of irritating. I'm thinking I'll look through the message board and see if I can get some helpful hints as to what exactly is being asked. If not, office hour time! On top of this project, I also have an HCI project that I have to start soon (on top of the HWK assignments being given) and a paper I'm still working on in Software Engineering (along with the other assignments that are being given). What's most upsetting about this is that these are the times when I can't work on my research because "school comes first"...and I'm trying my hardest to keep school first, but all I want to do is work on my research. BUT, my time for that has not come yet..

Speaking of research, I'm pretty excited about the fact that in the next few weeks I will be in Mountain View, California (on the west coast for the first time! :D)! What for, you may ask?? My research partner and sponsor are going to the Google site out there to interview developers for our study. I'm getting so many new experiences in my first year and I feel so blessed!! I never thought I'd be getting to travel AND do what I love to do AND get paid for it...I hope this keeps up! The only thing that sucks is that I'm not getting to devote as much time as I'd like to preparing for the trip. But since it's a little further down the road than the deadlines I currently have, I'm hoping I'll be able to find the time before that week arrives (noone likes to cram!).

I'm really excited right now because tomorrow is the Jud Bowman Seminar " Overcoming the Challenges of Young Entrepreneurship: How to Start a Successful Company in Your 20s". For anyone who doesn't know, Jud Bowman is the founder and CEO of Appia, Inc. He started his first company at the age of 18 (which is pretty awesome!). I can't wait to learn some new stuff and maybe get the information I need to take some initiative myself. I'll let you guys know how it went in my next post. I should also add that I got to go to a "Case Study Research in Software Engineering" seminar which taught me a lot about conducting case study research in the field of software engineering (which is exactly what I'm doing right now). One thing I've noticed, there's a seminar for everyone here, which is pretty cool in my book.

Well, I got a good bit to do so it's probably best if I let this be enough...
Until next time... :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Hello again to those who read my blog (and wake up to those of you who don't!!).

Things have been kind of hectic lately...a lot of planning, a lot of homework, and project assignments have pretty much been described so we can start working on them. Am I excited? Not really. Will it get done? Of course! :)

Now, I'll give a sort of recap as to what I've been up to the past week. I've taken  all my midterms (all 2 of them!), so that's good news. Still waiting to get the final grade for my Networks midterm but I made a 92 of my software engineering midterm so that's pretty awesome :D. Besides midterms, I've also been busy getting started on semester projects for 2 of my classes and continuing the paper for my SE class. I got to a point last week where I really thought I was going to be spending my weekend working on my research...and then the assignments came. Fortunately, I got to get a good bit done for my research before my professors dished out all these assignments.

Speaking of research, things are still rolling with that as well. Yoonki just turned in our IRB application in order for us to get permission to conduct the study. Fingers crossed everything comes back ok! Also, Yoonki and I were able to conduct a couple more practice interviews this week. Unfortunately, one had to be cut fairly short but we still were able to obtain some valuable insights from both our interviewees. Now all I have to do is go back through the interviews, organize my analysis, and incorporate it into our paper (which is of course the 'fun' part!). If it wasn't for the fact that I am so stuck on what I want to do, I would not be getting my Ph.D. that's for sure--there's so much writing and for anyone who knows me, you know I am not the writing type. Papers and such are not (excuse me....were not) my thing..but being that I've chosen this path, I have to do what I have to do. Fortunately I have an awesome advisor who's been helping me along the way with everything. Things are moving smoothly, but I really can't wait for our first REAL interview.

On another bright note, Grace Hopper is right around the corner! :D I just downloaded the mobile app and also got my travel authorization for the interviews I'll be conducting at Google. I get to spend a week in Portland doing the things I know/love best; networking and research. I am super SUPER excited...also a bit nervous. Hopefully as the time to go draws nearer I'll have a chance to work on that part :).

Also, on a personal note, the state fair is here and my family is coming down this coming weekend to visit/attend the state fair. I am TOO excited about this. I am prepared my apartment (as well as my wallet) for the fair, food, fun and family. It's been a while since my family and I have gotten to do something together so this should be lots of fun. And I've never been to the NC State fair before so that makes it even more exciting! :D Hopefully I'll be able to get enough work done this week to be able to have some free time to chill with my family this weekend.

That's all I can think to report right now. I've been trying to get ahead all weekend so my brain is a little fried at the moment..if I forgot anything I'll just report it later.
Until next time... :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ew, midterms...'s that time of the year. Midterms. Although it's a little earlier than I'm used to, the feeling's all the same; stress, anxiety, procrastination...but being that my workload isn't had heavy as undergrad, the 'side effects' aren't quite as bad. Nonetheless, I would MUCH rather be doing research right now than studying for my Networks midterm.

Anywho, besides being swamped with things to do, things aren't going to bad. I'm doing well in my classes and I've managed to get every assignment I get finished more than a day before it's due! Now, this may sound like 'yeah, whatever' to anyone else, but coming from the queen of procrastination (and a pretty good queen at that) I'm doing good! I'm trying to work on my time management/organization skills -- it honestly seems like the only thing that's going to keep me from having a mental break down in the next 5 years. Especially since I KNOW things are going to get worse--much worse--before they get better. I'm ok with that though, especially after just watching Randy Pausch's Last Lecture. For anyone who hasn't seen it, please watch it. For anyone who doesn't know, Randy Pausch is the father of Alice, a storytelling game that teaches kids how to program. If anyone knows what working hard will get you, it seems he does. Nothing's given to you, so to expect you must give...if I expect to get my Ph.D., I must give it 110%...give 50%, get 50%. You don't realize that's how it works until either it happens or someone else says it. So I may have seen that lecture at the right time.

I got feedback from my advisor concerning my paper I wrote...and he seemed to like it! :) Obviously it wasn't perfect, but for my first research paper he liked it much more than I thought he would. Now, just gotta plan my next moves...

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My First Paper (possible publication)

It's getting to be that time of the year...midterms. Professors are throwing out assignments/projects left and right and preparing to administer midterm exams. What makes it so great for me is that right when my partner and I are working on a paper (and a possible first publication for myself), that is when all of this wants to happen. This is the one part of being a first year RA that I am not lovin too much -- having to balance school work with research. Obviously I need to be concerned about my school work because grades are what's going to keep me at NC State and keep my funding. The problem is, all I really want to do is work on my research. In my graduate orientation class Friday they spoke with us about how important it is to have publications (especially publications that have been accepted to a big conference), so I got excited about the fact that I already started mine...problem is I'm not getting as much done as soon as I wanted because I'm also having to make sure I keep up in school. *For the record, this is not me complaining...just venting :) *

Don't get me wrong, I love's just the testing part I hate. The only reason I think I don't want to spend the rest of my life in school is because of the tests. I love to learn (which is another reason I suppose research is just for me). Hopefully next semester I will be able to find a way to devote more time to my research while still getting the credits I need to meet my requirements..maybe an independent study or something.

Either way, I hope this week goes smoothly and I get all the stuff done I want to get done (without too many bumps or curves). It feels like the week just started and it's already about to be Wednesday, so hopefully that's a good sign.

Now, I suppose, I must get back to my writing so I can get to a stopping point and get a decent's night sleep. 
Until next time...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's been a while...

Hello all,

Sorry I haven't given many updates lately...things have been pretty hectic (between school and things going on at home) so I haven't really even had time to put much into my research let alone to post on my blog (unfortunately). Besides an HCI assignment that completely snuck up on me, my landlady decided it would be a good idea to have an exterminator come through and handle the 'bug problem' that I, as well as other tenants, have been complaining about for the longest. The best part about this was that we had to pretty much remove everything from our closets and cabinets...just for them to come in a spray the bathrooms and the kitchen. That's it. Makes no sense to me, but what can you do?

On a brighter note, I was able to find my 3rd letter of recommendation (as well as a potential co-advisor/mentor) from Dr. Annie Anton. She's currently my software engineering professor but after meeting with her today--and finding out we have a good bit in common--I'm hoping we will be getting to know each other better. She also agreed to help me with my CV for my application.

As I said before, I haven't had a lot of time to work on my research this week with all the class assignments I've had, but I was able to re-listen to the interviews and try to put together a chart to compare the responses/results from each interview. Our current assignment is to write a conclusions/results paper to go over with Dr. Murphy-Hill and see whether the information we're getting from the interviews are actually useful. I'm hoping that this paper will serve as a draft, especially since I haven't written any potential publications before now. I'm actually really looking forward to his feedback to see what can be done better/different in the future.

Another side note, I've been seriously re-evaluating what I'm doing and what my plans for my future are. I was told (again) today that I would make a great professor. The problem is 1) research is my's what I want to do, it's what I'm going to do and 2) I've never had any teaching experience so I don't know if it's something I'd want to do. After meeting with Dr. Anton today, however, I'm starting to reconsider the way I am doing things. In order to try and solve the issue of not having enough time to work on my research, she suggested I try to do an independent study with Dr. Murphy-Hill next semester so I can get more time to work on my research while still meeting the university's requirements. As for the issue of teaching, I was under the impression that because I'm doing research, TAing was out the window. Apparently I was wrong. According to Dr. Anton, I can take a semester off from research to TA (and she recommended trying to TA for my research advisor). This is something I'm going to seriously consider and hopefully get to speak with my advisor about it.

Well that's it for now...I've got a lot of work to get done so until next time...

Thursday, September 15, 2011


So for anyone who hasn't heard, Obama came to NC State yesterday to talk about jobs....and I missed it!!! I got stopped at the CookOut up the road from school (I'm assuming because he was on his way in). Wednesdays are my busiest days and of course it had to be the day that the President of the United States was coming as well! The only reason I don't feel as bad is because the professor that taught the first class I had that day was supposed to be sitting right behind Obama during his speech but declined in order to make it to class in time to teach us (although I'm not sure if I would have done the same!).

Anywho, I'm starting to see the biggest difference between undergrad and graduate school...reading. In pretty much every class I'm having to do an extensive amount of reading. For HCI, there's new readings posted for pretty much every class, all of which are fair game on the final. For Software Engineering (as I've said) I'm having to write a research paper, which as most of us know entails A LOT of reading. My networks course doesn't require as much reading (especially since the book is so dense) but I have a feeling it's coming. Then there's the Research Reading Group for our lab, which has us reading at least 1 paper a week. I don't really mind it because it's all interesting/beneficial in some way or another, so I'm not so much complaining as I am pointing out the (probably) obvious. :)

My research advisor told Yoonki and I that our next step was to write a short paper analyzing the results we've gotten so far from our practice interviews. I'm a little worried because I've never written a paper of this nature, nor have I had to write a paper with someone else so this is definitely a new experience for me. I'm good at summarizing things, but I have a feeling what Dr. E is looking for may be a bit different than what I'm thinking so hopefully I'll be able to sit down with Yoonki and pick his brain. If that doesn't work, I'll just have to nag Dr. E some more :)

Things are going pretty smoothly right now...this weekend shouldn't be too busy but it's not the end of the week yet, so we'll see!

Until next time...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ready for another week!

Man time is really flying! I can't believe I'm almost halfway through September seems surreal.

Anywho, I don't have too much as far as updates right now. My partner and I were able to find 2 more people so far to interview (3 really, but we're still waiting to hear from one). The candidates we're getting are coming closer and closer to what we're ultimately looking for (the more experience/understanding the better), so that's good news.

Also, I am in the process of trying to put together the materials for the 2012 Microsoft Research Graduate Women's Scholarship Program . My research advisor (Dr. Emerson Murphy-Hill) nominated me (which is super exciting), so now all I have to do is gather my materials and get them sent off! One of the things I need for the application is a CV (curriculum vitae), which I have never made before, so this will also be a learning experience for me. This scholarship program will give me tuition for next year as well as conference and travel funds (which would come in handy now while I'm trying to buy a plane ticket to Grace Hopper!).

I have a good bit going on right now (particularly with research), but the more I have to do the more productive I am so I can't really complain.

So ready for the week!
Until next time...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Man it's been a while...

Hey everyone!

Sorry it's been so long since I've was Labor Day weekend (as most everyone knows) and also my boyfriend's birthday so it's been a busy past few days. Now it's back to the daily grind of school and research.

I met with my research advisor today about the interviews and he seemed just as excited as Yoonki and I about the results and progress being made. We are still have a slightly difficult time finding candidates that fit what we're looking for (if anyone out there that uses static analysis tools is reading this please feel free to get in touch with me! :D ), but we have been able to get useful results from the interviews we've had so far, particularly from the participatory design exercise. Our interviewees had some really good suggestions, but instead of having them draw their own sketches (or maybe along with it) we will try to have printouts of the static analysis tool their familiar with (which we will find out about through our pre-interview questionnaire/consent form) and allow them to show us what they find useful and not useful about the interface. We also were not able to try the 'interactive interview' idea with our last two interviewees (they were familiar with the tools, but not avid users; they didn't even have the plugins installed on their computer), but we still feel it's a good idea and a great way of getting detailed results. We just need to be sure to be prepared for those like our two last interviewees who don't avidly use tools/don't have any tools installed on their machine.

Another something that I need to look into is a software called Atlas.ti for qualitative analysis. It may not be worth the effort, but being that I never really heard of it, and neither Yoonki nor I have used it before it's worth at least looking into. We want to make sure we are able to clearly analyze any results we get form our interviews and correctly portray and ratios or numbers we give.

As far as my classes are concerned, they are still proceeding rather slowly, but assignments are starting to roll in so it should get more interesting. My grades are looking good though, so that's a good thing (particularly for my Networking class--although the material isn't too difficult, the professor isn't the easiest to understand). I'm trying to stay ahead on my class assignments so it leaves me more time to focus on my far it's not too difficult but we'll see how things go as the semester progresses.

I wish I could think of something else exciting to share, but I believe that's all I have at the moment.
Until next time...

Friday, September 2, 2011

T.G.I.F. !

As my post title says, Thank God It's Friday....this has by far been the longest feeling week since I've been here. I thought the weekend would never come. Along with the weather being all over the place (which hasn't been very good for my sinuses), school and my research are picking up more and more.

Today, Yoonki and I had two more practice interviews (one with Xi from our lab and Karin from Yoonki's other lab). Although they were not the exact type of candidates we would like to interview (preferably looking for those that are experienced with and use on some sort of basis static analysis tools). Both candidates had used static analysis tools before and were aware (for the most part) of what they did, but their usage was minimal. We did, however, get some useful information from the interviews -- I believe we also decided that we like the idea of making the interview "interactive" with portions that allow the interviewee to show us what they do and how they do it as well as give us suggestions on how to improve static analysis tools. We also found out that Dr. Laurie Williams (another professor/research advisor at NC State) is teaching a course where they discuss static analysis tools in relation to software security. We are hoping that with this new found knowledge we'll be able to get more people to interview that fall more into what we're looking for in an interviewee. But overall I'm excited about the way things are going...can't wait to see what's next! :)

In terms of my research paper that I'm working on, I believe I am going to go with the topic of Model-Driven Software Development. I thought about just using my research topic (static analysis tools) for this paper, but even before I came to grad school, my research interest was pertaining to MDD and executable UML (I love me some diagrams and charts). I'm hoping that if this research paper goes well I will be able to use this topic/paper as a beginning to my own research for my Ph.D. As I get more of my paper done, I will be sure to share the problems I run into, my frustrations, etc. with you all (exciting, right? :D )

Although this is a long/holiday weekend, I have a feeling I won't be enjoying much of it -- but ya gotta do what ya gotta do!
So stay tuned...there's definitely more to come.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Practice Interview/Research Progress

Mood: busy!

Hello again followers of my blog (if I have any :) )!

Sorry I'm not being as consistent with my blog posts...things are starting to pick up already so I'm spending most of my time getting things done for school/my research. But never fear....updates are here :)

First, I will fill you in on how the first practice interview went for myself and my partner Yoonki. Our first interview was with our advisor Dr. Murphy-Hill. Overall, I would say things went pretty well. The interview went a bit long and there are some definite improvements/adjustments that need to be made, but there were some good questions asked, good answers given and even better suggestions. One major decision we made was pertaining to the organization of the script. We decided in order to make it less tiring for the interviewee and more interesting, we would make the interview more hands on. To start, instead of just asking questions, we are going to see if we can get our interviewees to show us how they use their tools (when they get warnings, how do they deal with them, how to they set their preferences, etc.). We found that in the interview with Dr. Murphy-Hill we got more valuable information from him actually using the tool and giving us feedback as opposed to us just asking him to recall his experiences with the tool. We are also thinking about adding participatory design to our interviews. For anyone who doesn't know what participatory design is, check out this link for more info. Once we come up with a default format, I will put it up here.

As far as school is concerned, things are still going kind of slow. I'm getting assignments but my research is keeping me busier than anything (as I suspected). I feel that my software engineering class will be keeping me on my toes as well, but I can't quite tell yet. Either way, I'm keeping busy (which I like).

I'll probably end up posting more for today later on...but if not I'm going to try and keep updating at least every other day if not everyday.

Stay tuned!! :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The end of a long weekend

The hurricane Irene scare is over! I have just returned to Raleigh after a nice weekend in Sumter, SC with my parents feelings refreshed and ready for the week ahead. Turns out, Irene didn't do much on our end but tussle some trees (thankfully). My prayers go out to those who were affected by this hurricane.

Progress is still kind of slow right now (still trying to get a steady schedule going). My practice interview is coming up soon so I've been working on coming up with an interview script. My partner, Yoonki, has his preliminary oral exam tomorrow, so I'm hoping once that's over we can get together and get everything finalized.

As far as school is concerned I'm doing pretty well at getting things done in a timely manner (aka not procrastinating).  I'm trying to work on assignments as they come in so I'm not having to do a lot at once. It's working out for me so far so we'll see how things go. I'm still having a hard time deciding what topic I want to use for my Software Engineering paper, but I've narrowed it down from 3 to 2: Design Pattern componentization and Model-driven Engineering/executable UML. I'm going to continue to look further into these two to see which bring the most information and then go from there. 

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Finding my voice

For anyone who knows me (personally), you know that I have quite the outgoing personality. My challenge to myself while in Graduate School (besides getting my Ph.D. of course!) is to learn how to use my outgoing personality in an educational setting (aka find my voice). I began thinking about this today in my Software Engineering class (when I realized that a lot of the questions she was asking the class, I knew the answers to but I wasn't saying them)...a huge part of being successful in Grad school seems to involve being able to speak up and speak out. Although when it comes to my personal life I can be very outgoing, when it comes to the classroom I tend to be a little more reserved (which, of course, is not very beneficial to me). It has something to do with confidence issues (being around all these other students that for some reason I feel are more qualified to be here than me), but it's something I'm definitely going to work on!

Also, thought I would share that my new website is up and running! :D You can click here to view it (it's still a work in progress). As times goes by, I plan to make modifications here and there to my website until it exactly how I want it. Any feedback/recommendations are of course welcome!

Another sidenote, my research is really beginning to pick up speed (a little quicker than I thought, but I'm loving it!). After meeting with Dr. E and Yoonki today, we decided it would be best to push forward as soon as possible. As I stated in my first blog, we plan to interview workers at Google about their use of static analysis tools. In order to accomplish this, we have to come up with some predefined interview questions (as well as potential supplementary questions) and practice interviewing with similar interviewees. To start, Yoonki and I are going to put together some interview questions to ask our advisor, Dr. E, and have a practice interview next week. We also hope to get a few more practice interviews in with other avid programmers (the problem is finding these programmers). 

Sidenote .... I really REALLY hope Hurricane Irene doesn't make it here. I am in no way hurricane-trained (even though my boyfriend is). I need sunshine this weekend!! 

Things are starting to pick up speed, so it should be exciting to see what I'm doing next!
Until next time...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Still excited...

Hello again everyone!

    Over the weekend, I spent time getting assignments together, working on my research own personal website! :D This is literally my first time creating my own personal website (without using something like LinkedIn or Facebook). It began as a simple assignment for my Software Engineering course but I actually got really REALLY into it and it's lookin pretty good so far! ... I still have some things to work on, but once I'm done I will be putting the link up on here so all my followers (not that I have too many right now) can check it out!

    Another assignment I'm excited about (which is, of course, also from my Software Engineering class) is the semester paper we have to write. It's in the style of deliverables throughout the semester--which I love because it maximizes feedback and the opportunity to get help early in the game. Also, we get the pick the topic so, being that I'm a Ph.D. student, I plan to use this opportunity to start looking into potential research topics for myself and get started on getting some resources lined up. I've been able to narrow my research topic down to a few things: Design Patterns/Design Pattern Componentization, Model-driven Software Development/executable UML, and Agile Software Development/SCRUM. Once I do some deeper research I should be able to make an informed decision as to which topic I want to go with, but I want to make sure and gather all I can about each topic before making a final decision.

    Aside from school, I'm still going through the adjustment phase in my life... a lot of things are still really new to me and I'm still trying to find my niche/schedule that I had when I was at CofC. Finding the most convenient bus route to the library from the Building I work in/have classes in wasn't something I really had to worry about when I was in Charleston (because I could walk everywhere)...So now I have to get used to driving/taking the bus where I need to go (which is not as easy as it sounds, especially when there's like 4 different buses to choose from!). I am so very thankful for my boyfriend right now, without whom I probably would have lost my mind by now! ... I know things are going to get smoother I'm just so anxious for it to happen (and then once it happens and things get busy, I"m going to be freaking out--typical). I am, however, one step closer to my residency here in NC--got my voter registration in the mail today! :)

    Either way, I'm still excited and can't wait to see what's next!

Until next time...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Third First Day (last one I promise!)

Today I had my last first day (only 1 class on Fridays, wooohhooo!).  Again, not a lot to report.

I got to meet the members of the lab I will be working in. I am super excited about working with all of them (especially Yoonki, whose about to do oral exam for his Ph.D.!) Next week at our meeting we will be listening to Yoonki do his practice oral exam and eating PIZZA (compliments of Yoonki)...Although I've got a ways to go before I am doing my oral exam, it's going to be pretty neat to get a idea of what it entails. I also found out that you can attend any student's oral exam if you're interested in their/their professor's research (which I was told is a great way to decide who you want to work with research wise). I obviously already have an advisor but I'm always down for hearing about someone else's research!

I also had my Grad Orientation class today (which was moved to a different room without any notification -- LAME). It seems like I'm going to be able to get a lot from this course (internship/job opportunities, research presentations, etc.) ... I'm also pretty excited about the fact that this class requires no homework, no tests...just attendance. If there's one thing I'm good at it's showing up on time :)

That's all for now...until next time...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Second First Day

Not much to report today...

Had my first Computer Networks class (which I'm actually pretty excited about) and got to go to the HUGE bookstore in the middle of the HUGE NC State Main Campus to get my EXPENSIVE textbooks. But enough complaining I suppose :) ... on to brighter news..

Tomorrow I get to meet the rest of the members of the lab I will be working in so that will definitely be exciting! I got the opportunity to meet some of them this summer while visiting, but it will be exciting to get to formally meet and speak with everyone (especially since it's where I'll basically be living ha).

Sorry this post isn't too informative...hopefully as things get started I'll have more to report!

Until next time... :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My First Day

Mood: Super Excited!!

Today is my first day as Ph.D. student at North Carolina State far I have been able to meet with my new research advisor Dr. Emerson Murphy-Hill and the Ph.D. student I'll be working with Yoonki Song. So far I'm super excited about working with them (and of course the visit to Google that is supposed to occur this semester! :D ) ... We're going to be working on static analysis tools for the Eclipse IDE--which I am not yet very experienced with, but will get there. This Friday I will get to meet the rest of the 'lab rats' I'll be working with, so I can't wait for that. I've already got a list of things to get done by our next meeting and I'm ready to get started! :D

As far as classes go, they don't seem too bad (especially since I only have a few anyways). Today, I had Software Engineering and Human Computer Interaction (each of which I am quite excited about). It seems to be mainly a lot of reading and writing, which I need to work on anyways. Being that my course load isn't going to be too heavy I get to focus on research and transitioning into my journey as a Ph.D. student (hence the name of my blog).

On another note, I just found out I got a scholarship from Microsoft to attend Grace Hopper again this year; this time in Portland, Oregon!! :D [[finally gettin some traveling in]] I just gotta figure out what to do about missing classes for a week  :-/..

Stay tuned!