Monday, December 8, 2014

Long time no speak :)

I'm baaaackkk (again)!

I was just updating my website and when I looked at the link to my blog I thought, "Brittany, people look at your website, which means people might click this link. Either update it, or get rid of it." Anyone who  knows me knows I'm somewhat of a hoarder so of course I decided to keep and update it :)

I won't do massive info dump like I did last time I went MIA, but I will give some high level highlights/details that will serve as the basis for blog posts following this one (which there will be!). I'm determined to post at least 3 times a week (and on special occasions of course).

Overall update, I'm currently finishing up the Fall semester of my 4th year; for anyone who doesn't know, that means I'm working to get the hell up out of grad school sooner than later! Currently I'm working towards getting my oral exam done soon - if you're curious about the research I'm working on right now, you can get more info here. I only took one class this semester (Teaching and Learning in CS) so my class load was super light meaning for the first semester I was able to focus on my research and building my brand. That involved making progress in my research as well as traveling and networking. Aside from going to Australia for the first time this summer to present my potential thesis work (:D), this semester I traveled to Michigan to the NextProf workshop to learn more about a career in academia and Arizona for Grace Hopper where I made more connections than I have in my past 5 years I've gone (including more connections at Microsoft, the importance of which I will discuss shortly). All in all, despite some set backs, this semester has been a successful one that I wish I could have described here in more detail!

I mentioned making connections at Microsoft; there is value in various dimensions here for me. For one, I was funded to attend Grace Hopper by a scholarship sponsored by Microsoft. This meant I was going to have ample opportunity to get my name out there and make connections of my own. My advisor has worked at Microsoft Research, so I've been able to make some connections through him; it was just nice to make some connections on my own :). Anywho, between the meals for scholars only and visiting the Microsoft booth at the career fair, I made a variety of connections, people that currently work and used to work at Microsoft and Microsoft Research. Part of building my brand, in my eyes, is getting experience doing research in a setting other than academia - my goal has been to do this at Microsoft Research for a summer internship. After such a successful trip to GHC, and encouragement from others, I submitted an application once I returned. I haven't heard back from MSR, however, I was contacted to interview for the Microsoft Azure team by someone I met at one of the GHC Microsoft events. I just had the interview Friday, which I think went well despite the fact that I am not actively looking for a development internship at the time. Even if I don't end up at MSR, I've made lifelong connections that have and hopefully will continue to benefit me as I move forward. The moral to this story -- networking is the key to success!! Never leave home not prepared to build your brand!

I said I wasn't going to do a dump, but it's looking more like one as I'm looking so I will bring this blog post to a close - until next time (which will be soon I promise)!

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