DMP Summer Project 2005

Journal of My Experiences and Opinions

My thoughts:

Week 1:
I read on the DMP website that this program is usually for students who have not yet graduated and that its purpose it to help promote women to attend graduate school. I just graduated and I have realized why this program is usually for undergraduates. Right now I am at a point where I need to make decisions concerning my future and alot of offers are being presented to me, however, I cannot really consider them until after I finish this program. This is a good reason why it would have been benefitial to participate while I was still an undergrad, and was not at apoint in my life where I have to make life altering decisions.
Also, this program involves relocation of some students to live on the campus of their mentor for the summer. I dormed at my undergraduate school, but decided to commute to my mentor's school, Steven's Institute of Technology in New Jersey. The commute takes nearly 2 hours one way on the train. I have just begun and I am not used to this yet. My body's clock needs to settle in.
Hoboken, where Stevens Institute is located, is a very nice, quaint city. It is small and quiet, but not too quiet. It has a strip with a nice amount of places to eat and run erronds. It's located right along the water, with a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline. It is very easy to get to Manhattan from here, by taking the Path Train, which is like a less crowded and easier version of the subway.
Week 2:
The commute to Hoboken is much better now. I get to read on the train, which I like alot. We've also had some beautiful days. I ate lunch outside with a fellow female student one day. My Mentor also took me to lunch and suggested that every few weeks we have lunch with a different faculty member so I can hear different people's experiences and about each person's section in the computer science department here at Stevens.
I also got engaged this past friday. It is wonderful. As a woman in this career and this stage in my life I am beginning to see how I am going to have to juggle my personal life with my education and work experience. I am beginning to set more goals now, so that I can will not neglect any aspect of my life, personal or professional.
Week 3:
This was a busy week. I had an interview with a company I may be working with, so I had to leave early one day. It was very stressful and I got sick, which did not help. The interview went well and the next day I was feeling better and back to work.
Quynh arranged for another student and I to meet with a PhD student, working in Computer Vision. He explained several things that he was working on to us. He is working with one topic that is not very central in Computer Vision, which involves interpreting different wavelengths of the color spectrum in order to identify certain objects. He is also working on something, more mainstream, which involves determining contours. I have never taken a computer vision course, so it was very interesting to learn about this field.
Week 4:
I was called to jury duty this week. I already postponed it at least once before, during school, so I had to go now. On Long Island for jury duty you call every evening to see if you have to go in the next day. I did not have to go until Thursday. It was very interesting to see our legal system work. I sat in, but was not chosen for, one particulr jury so I saw the lawyers questioning possible jurors. Although traveling there and missing one day of research was inconvienient, I am glad to have taken part in our Judicial system.
I had lunch with a member of the computer security part of the CS department and one of her PhD students this week. It was very interesting to hear what they were working on. It was also interesting to hear about the PhD student's experience. She is from Grermany and keeps oming back to Stevens with different grants, each fo which she is not sure how long will last. She has a boyfriend at home who is frustrated with her constant traveling. She did her undrad and masters work in mathematics, which I am very interested in and now she is working with security, which she feels does not have much to do with mathematics. The professor also talked with us about why we think there are so few women in this field and why we like this field and what we think would make other women like it. Men can be very intimidating. I was attracted to the math and computer technology fields for thier structure, while I notice alot of men seem to liek them for different reasons.
I also got some big news this week. The people from the interview I went on called and offered me the position as an IT Associate. There are very good benefits, including tuition reimbursement to a certain amount toward graduate school. I have decided to accept their offer, but it means that I will have to leave the DMP program early. I have enjoyed my time here, but it is required that I start my new job as soon as possible.
Week 5:
I went to a Graphics conference on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Some aspects of the conference, I really enjoyed. There were a broad range of topics, incuding textures, medical applications, and simplification, as well as other, which I found very interesting. It was amazing to hear this advanced research in different areas, which many of these people have worked on and built up for years. It was also amazing to me that many of the people who attended were from foreign countries, including Ireland, Japan, and more. These people were not only able to explain complex details of their projects, but were able to do so in a language foreign to them. I only hope one day to be able to clearly explain my own research in my own language. I have no hope to do so in other languages. I understand a little Russian, Spanish, and even less Italian, but I am very far from fluent in any of them.
There were also aspects of the conference that I did not like, however. There was a coffee break and a lunch break, but other than that the paper presentations went from one to the next, each about 25 minutes long, without a break. By the end of teh first day, I was so overwhelmed from trying to concentrate for so long on different topics, mostly new to me, that I got very nautious and sick. I really could not take it all in. By the second day I was better able to pace myself. I stepped out when I needed to, and tried only to really concentrate on every other presentation to give my mind a break.
The other student in the lab and I met with another PhD student today. She studied engineering for her undergraduate and graduate degrees in China. She moved here to Stevens with her husband, who is pursuing a PhD in engineering, while she is getting her PhD in a computer vision and graphics, concerning a topic related to her undergraduate work. She was very nice and it was interesting to hear about her experiences with working so closely with her husband, with living and working in a foreign country, and with the difficulties surrounding a PhD, including certain qualifying exams.
Week 6:
Well, this is my last week. I'm a litle sad. I became friends with the girl who sits with me in the lab. We have been going swimming in the Steven's pool sometimes during lunch, and we eat llunch together most of the time outside. I am actually going to miss the commute here two. I have read 2 books since I started working here, on the train. Each one was over 400 pages long. I honestly have never read a book that long, let alone two of them in just over a month. I am going to miss Hoboken as well. It is such a beautiful town. I keep trying to remember to bring a camera to take some pictures. I have two more days to remember it.
Lauren, the other girl in teh lab, and I saw a garden snake today, outside by the picnic tables, while we were eating lunch today. I love snakes. I have two ball pythons at home and I used to have a couple of garden snakes. It was cute.
We had our last group lunch today, my last day. We spoke with several female professors and PhD students, 8 of us went in total, about their research, how many of them worked before getting their PhD (usualy about a year or 2) and about having children. It was really a great feeling to be sitting there with these wonderful, intelligent, motivated women who are fullfilling their academic and family lives at teh same time. I have an amazing amount of respect for them. I only hope that now that I am starting a new job and getting married, that I will be able to balance my family life, academics, and career as well.

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