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!