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Week 9

Week 10

Journal - August

Week 9: August 1-7

Weekend: Katie and I went to Philly on Saturday morning. We saw Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Our tour guide for Independence Hall was a hoot. He really like to ask questions like "Who can name a branch of government?" I was glad I knew a lot of the answers! Haha ... but if those questions were to come up in Trivial Pursuit (and one sort of did - who was the father of the Declaration of Independence?) I would probably draw a blank (like I did when I played with the Russells earlier this summer). I don't know why, but the intense pressure of trivia games really gets to me (or something). We also got matching "Got Liberty?" shirts that we'll wear Monday. I was going to go to Steam Day at Auburn Heights where Mr. Russell helps drive old steam cars around and Mrs. Russell gives tours of this old house on Sunday, but there was too much rain and they lost power there so it was cancelled. Instead I went to Micheals and got paint and brushes to paint a ceiling tile in the Russells' basement with a trident (a W&L symbol/logo). That was one of the things on my list of things to do this summer. I had Two Cousins Pizza and Sweedish Fish water ice for dinner. Yummm!

Monday-Friday: We spent this week working on our poster and finishing our project. There's a summer research poster presentation for UD next week, so we have to have the poster ready early in the week so we can print it out in time. It's looking good, but getting the content right is hard. We've done so much this summer, and we've been looking at it a really low level (i.e. we're really deep in it) ... but we need to be able to explain the project in a really short amount of time/space on the poster and in terms that people who haven't been working on the project (and maybe who aren't even in computer sciene) can understand. It's an interesting challenge, but it's also nice for me because my thought processes are graphic like this. I think better in boxes and charts and not real sentences (haha) ... so I think it will really help next week when we star working on our paper again. It doesn't seem like it would be that hard, but this week has been really busy.

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Week 10: August 8-14

Weekend: My last weekend in Delaware! I'm excited to get home and see my parents and my dog and some of my friends and then to get back to school!!! I guess this is the longest I've gone without going home so far ... 'cause even though school terms are 12 weeks long there's Thanksgiving during fall term and we have a couple of week long breaks in winter term, too. I didn't do much this weekend, just sort of started to plan my trip home and pack the things I knew I wouldn't need again. On Sunday evening I made something with Mr. Russell in his workshop (he does stuf with wood). We cut out a cute letter "C" for my name from walnut wood and sanded and stained it. Power tools were fun, but I think I'll stick to computers and crafty things like paper and yarn.

Monday-Tuesday: We kept working on our poster and finally finished it. Monday was Lori's last day while we're here. She's going camping with her family for the rest of the week. So she got to see the poster almost complete. It's weird that this is almost over. As ready as I am to go home and then back to school, I'm also really interested in where this research goes next, what happens with the evaluation (we aren't going to get to that this summer, so I'll have Sara keep me up to date on everything), and it doesn't feel like we're really finished yet. Tuesday we took it to be printed, but for some reason the colors came out WAY off ... and not consistently off e.g. three of the boxes should have been the same color. Two of them were a minty green but they were supposed to be a tealish green) the third one, which was sort of near/between the other two was closer to the right color. Weird. We expected the colors to be off a little, but having things randomly not match each other wasn't good because the colors were used to make it clear which things were associated with each other. Katie and I spent a lot of the day in the printing area trying to change colors to something that wouldn't have that issue. We even got them to see if printing it from a pdf would be any better. No luck. We ended up having to print it from windows instead of my mac (which meant changing a font because it wasn't on the windows machines). And then it came out in the colors we originally wanted! Yay!!! But also really frustrating. After work on Tuesday Katie and her boyfriend and I went bowling! It was tons of fun, but I didn't come CLOSE to breaking 100. I started off strong with a few spares, but by the end I was throwing mostly gutter balls. Josh had the opposite turnaround. His first 5 or so bowls were really spastic (Josh/Katie, if you read this I'm sorry, but it's true) but he got over 100 in his second game with tons of spares and a couple of strikes. Grrr haha no fair ;)

Wednesday: Today was the poster session. We worked on our spiel a little bit in the morning and then took our poster to the poster session after lunch. We didn't talk to too many people outside of our lab. We were in a hall and it was pretty crowded - not the ideal space for looking at and talking about posters. We did get to talk to the head of the CIS department here at UD. But Carrie and I didn't have any idea who he was. So I guess that was a pretty big deal & really cool. We did get to see the posters of other undergrads who are working in our lab and the other lab that we've eaten lunch with a few times, and they got to see ours. After the poster session we worked on our paper some more. I got my sesion written. It is VERY rough, but that's the way it has to start, right? I'm also working on re-vamping the introduction. We wrote a version of it at the beginning of the summer, but we've sort of shifted our direction on the project as the summer has progressed, and we've also gained a new understanding of the project (looking back at the old version, there were definitely parts that we didn't understand during the first write). I think I want to do a CS major instead of two physics-y majors. This has been a lot of fun, and it's helped me see more of what can really be done with CS and that there really are new problems that need to be solved. That perspective is hard to get from class, because all of the assignments are things that have already been done bunches of times.

Thursday: Working on the paper more today. Pretty much exclusively. It's a lot easier now that we have the poster to go off of, but there are still a lot of pieces that we're trying to figure out. Like when to introduce new terms, what order to put the sections in, how to phrase a bunch of things, etc. etc. etc. We went to a Blue Rocks baseball game. It was lots of fun. We got to see Mr. Celery (who comes out when they score a run ... he only came out once haha), and we lucked out and happened to be there on a fireworks night!

Friday: Returning keys, temporary IDs, finishing up the paper, last lab lunch! My last full day in Delaware (for now ... I guess I could always come back sometime, right?).

Thanks so much for helping me have this experience! It's definitely fueled my interest in computer science, and probably convinced me to upgrade from a minor to a major in CS. I was already considering grad school, but now I have an even better idea of what it's like and how important it is. And, of course, I learned A TON about the research process in CS, how to read and write papers, how to make effective posters, and other random things like code algorithms, CVS and SVN, latex and bibtex ... and lots more. Not to mention I had a great time!

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