Week 1 This first week was very busy! I got to meet everyone here over the summer that will be working in the Computer Science and Engineering Department. I also got to talk to the people who work at the Sketch Recognition Lab and they are all super friendly. I spent the rest of the week researching applications that use note recognition and realized that there are not enough educational music applications using recognition. That helped me decide to gear my research towards an app that can be used towards education. I ended up reaching out to my old high school music teachers in order to get feedback on how they would approach teaching music education to adolescents and/or adults who have never had a music class. On another note, I started working out! I brought my Jillian Michael's "30 Day Shred" work out DVD with me, and boy, that is quite an intense workout! Friday was the first Friday of the month, so my suitemates and I headed to downtown Bryan for their monthly first Friday events. The highlight of my evening was holding an extremely adorable kitten. I really wanted to take the kitty home with me!

Week 2 This past week I've been working on creating a paint app on Java in order to get familiar with GUI. Paul lent me a Bamboo pad in order to be able to make sketching on my laptop easier. He also lent me a huge Java book. I have realized that I have a lot to learn about Java. As a child, I took for granted the application on my PC called "Paint." I'm sure many of you have played with paint at least once. This past week, I was working on making an undo and clear button, and let me tell you, "Paint" made it seem simple. It's amazing to be able to see what goes on in the background. Towards the end of the week, I interviewed Jeff Morris: he is a music professor at TAMU. I asked him questions about his musical background and if an interactive music application would be pedagogical. He gave me a few book recommendations to read about written music pedagogy. I was told that this week was my "technical training" week.  I also got myself a membership at the Recreation Center here at TAMU. This whole "getting in shape" thing seems like it's going to happen! Over the weekend, the Grad students at the Computer Science department at TAMU organized a picnic for all the CSE REU students and their Grad mentors! It was tons of fun! I worked on a jigsaw puzzle along with many other REU and Grad students!

Week 3 This week I worked on creating a lesson plan for my application. By doing this I realized how intricate it is to learn how to read music. There are so many components that need to be explained in order to be able to read music. Paul and I met at a coffeeshop where I ordered a delicious green-tea smoothie and worked on making paper prototypes of my application. Paul explained that the type of meeting we had was a design meeting: I have never had a design meeting before.  While making a video for Dr. Hammond, I accidentally "clicked" clear instead of playback which showed me the inefficiency of having the clear button placed next to the playback button. It did, however, make quite the entertaining video. I was able to complete the online ethics training course I had to complete for the REU program. On Thursday, my faculty mentor, Tracy, held a lab party at her house! We were celebrating the graduation of one of the PhD students at the lab! I had a lovely evening bonding with the people at my lab and a wonderful weekend with my suite mates. We went to go see the XMEN movie (which was an amazing movie) and after the movie, we made some pizza!

Week 4 Things are starting to get more intense here at the lab! First of all, on Tuesday we had demos for some reviewers to show them what was going on in the lab. If you asked me the day before Tuesday if I wanted to get a PhD after college, I would have replied "Ehhh, I don't think it's for me." But after sitting through the demos and listening to all the cool stuff going on at the lab, my mind has changed. At the moment, I don't know what I'm going to do after I graduate college, but one thing is certain, I am most definitely going to consider getting a PhD after college. This week helped me develop a deep love for computer science. I love that it can't be defined: there's no one definition or one simple phrase you could say to explain computer science. Anyways, I'm finally getting to hard-coding and my ideas are coming together. I've been working alongside Paul on my application. Our weekly coffee shop meetings are the most productive meetings I've ever had. I also met with Stephanie who suggested that I use Stacks (data structure in Java) in order to write my clear, undo, and redo. It's a great idea, yet Paul had a simpler idea in mind. It's hard to pick which way to program the functions. Either way, it's great to finally get to apply what I learned in my Comp Sci class spring semester. Eventually, I was able to finish writing my clear function, except when I ran the code to test it, I wasn't able to test my function because the ButtonPanel in my JFrame was gone (along with my DrawingPanel). So basically, all I saw was a blank screen with one little green button. It was not a pretty sight. I felt like I broke the code. Nonetheless, I kept trying to fix my clear code in order for my program to work as normal, but nothing worked. It's a minor setback, but I think I'll be able to fix it next week! The weekend was so much fun. On Friday, we went shopping, and then before getting ready for bed, we put on face masks. I personally felt like I looked like an ogre, or like Jim Carrey in the movie "The Mask." It was a very entertaining experience. What wasn't entertaining was waking up at 2:30 am because of a fire alarm. It just had to be on the night before we had to wake up at 5:30 to drive to the San Antonio Six Flags. On Saturday morning, my suite-mate and I split up the nearly four hour drive to six flags. She drove 1 hour, I drove about 2.5 hours. On the drive back home, I drove the entire way! Even though I had a great week, I started to feel homesick at the same time. I realized I haven't had a hug in a while. You forget how simple the little things make you happy. It's okay though, this experience is one that I would not have gotten back at home, so ONWARDS to week five!

Week 5 It is hard to believe that half of the program is already over. I feel like there is still loads to do with my application. This past week, I was only able to work Monday, Tuesday, and half of Wednesday because my parents flew in on Wednesday! Despite the fact that I worked 2.5 days, I was very efficient and got a lot done. I was finally able to finish writing a working clear/undo/redo button. It was such a relief when they worked. I also met with Paul Tuesday evening for 3 hours. We pair programmed, and he walked me through the code explaining how strokes are recognized. Wednesday morning, I met with Paul once more and we went over XML files and how they can be used to apply code to text. The list of tasks to get done before the summer is over is slowly getting smaller. I need to start picking up the speed if I want to have something presentable for the poster presentations! Anyways, Paul and I discussed how cool my app is because it's exposing me to things I would be learning my junior or senior year at college. After meeting with Paul, I met with Stephanie in order to get guidance on how to fix my clear/undo/redo. It was a relief to see that my mistakes were minor ones. Though there were a few changes to make, at least I was on the right track and had somewhat of a good idea of what to do. Although, speaking honestly, if I didn't meet with Stephanie, it would have taken me a lot longer to realize my mistakes. After that meeting, I cooked my parents lunch since I assumed they were starved after their long flight to College Station. It made me so happy to finally be able to return the favor and cook for them as opposed to them cooking for me. They also loved my food! (what a relief!) After eating, my family and I drove seven hours to get to New Orleans, Louisiana to celebrate the 4th of July weekend. It was incredible! We went to a beautiful aquarium, watched fireworks by the Mississippi River, went to visit a plantation (I felt so conflicted because it was so beautiful, yet the history surrounding plantations are devastating), walked through Bourbon St, ate at a Creole restaurant, and even listened to numerous people playing on the streets. It was such a lovely trip. But now, I'm back into the flow of things here at the lab, and I'm excited what the next half of this wonderful journey will bring me.

Week 6 This past week might have well been my most productive week so far. I probably ended up rewriting my abstract for my research paper about 3 times until I was decently happy with it. I also got through writing my introduction and part of the related works section! That's not the only thing I was able to get done this week. I got a bunch of grunt work out of the way and read up a bunch on XML processors on Java such as the SAX parser. I also was finally able to merge the clear/undo/redo code into the prototype of Maestoso 1.0. Unfortunately, the price of having a redo button meant that the recognition would not work, thus, Paul and I decided that for this summer, a redo button would not be necessary. I felt very disappointed that I worked so long on the clear/undo/redo code just so that in the end, we ended up not using it. Ultimately, I realized that it does not mean I can't ever have a redo button! I definitely plan on working on this throughout my undergrad years. I made a few videos to put up on this website on what the first prototype of Maestoso looks like, as well as how the clear/undo/redo functions "broke" the code.  I worked on making a few mock Maestoso music quizzes in order to go around the lab and collect data on how people naturally write the order of clef, key signature, and time signature. I have to get people to take the quiz next week and have a crash course on how to write music before having them take the quiz. I made quiz little instructional videos on how to draw the clefs and how the affect the notes drawn on a staff. Something very exciting that happened was having my first success as a computer scientist. I was able to successfully make a few XML processing classes and tested them to make sure they worked and they did work! I was thrilled! It was definitely motivating to see that I was capable of coding something on my own that will be useful after the first try! My parents are still here so we went to Austin, TX for the weekend. It was so nice! We walked through Texas' capital building, went to a few museums, and found a Colombian restaurant where we spent my birthday eating at! We also watched the World Cup...go Germany!  Ultimately, I am happy with the amount of work I was able to get done this past week and the amount of time I was able to spend with my family. I hope the next four weeks will be the same in terms of productivity!

Week 7 I cannot wrap my head around how quickly this program has been advancing. I hope I have a good enough prototype to show for the poster presentation that is in three weeks. It is getting scary how it's not just a working prototype I need to have, but also a poster, and a paper. I already have most of my paper done, I just need to finish Maestoso to be able to write about results! I really hope I can continue to work on Maestoso back at Vassar. This project has been a blast! My parents left on Tuesday so I was pretty bummed. Luckily, I had a bunch of work to focus on! This past week I was able to finish coding the XML Parser. The next step includes figuring out how to have Java automatically output XML files. I also taught a crash course music lesson in order to collect data afterwards! I had two people take a music quiz in order to see how they naturally write music. I'm slowly gaining more confidence with my coding skills. Not even that, but I feel like I'm thinking more like a computer scientist. Before I would try to get everything done at once, run the code, then see it break and not know where my code went wrong. Now I'm writing a little bit at a time, running the code, and fixing it as I go. It is quite interesting to see how I just naturally started doing that in order to avoid the big mess of coding everything at once.  Over the weekend, I went with my roommate Tara to her house that is about 5 hours away from Texas and in the country. It was interesting to see houses so spaced out in that manner and to see so many bugs all over the place. I'm definitely a Jersey girl. I was so paranoid about bugs crawling into bed with me. It was funny because as soon as I got there, Tara exclaims "Do you hear that? I think it's a rattle snake!" She acted like it was a completely normal occurrence to encounter rattle snakes. I was terrified to say the least. I had a great time though. Tara introduced me to Skyrim. I am slowly but surely getting addicted to the game. It's so intense! The graphics in the game are also so amazing. It fills me with awe to realize that someone made that game with code! At this point, I'm just frustrated that I cannot narrow down my path in computer science. There is just too much to do with it! Just a few examples: Video game graphics, making applications such as Maestoso, Software Engineering, Robotics, etc, etc, etc. I'm overwhelmed with possibilities. This REU program has been helping me see the beauty in artificial intelligence and human computer interaction. I am hoping that future experiences will help me narrow down my interests. But first, I must get through the last three weeks and see how this project turns out for me!

Week 8 This week marks the final stretch. I have a few things to get done before Poster Presentations on August 8th. I never realized how much work I was going to need to put into my paper and poster. I was able to finish coding the automatic XML file writer. I have not been able to meet with Paul yet because he has been busy with Mechanix (another project going on at the lab). Stephanie also left to go on vacation. It's been a struggle to work on my own since a bunch of questions would pop up in my head as I would be coding. It made me rely on searching for all my answers online. It is also very scary that we are nearing the end and I have no guidance! Everything will be okay though. I'm making great progress on the application and I really hope  for the best. I've been learning so much throughout this process. I find it incredible how useful code can be! I never thought I would ever be making something like Maestoso. Just a few months ago, people were asking me how I was going to combine Computer Science with Music, and voila! After this program ends, I'll have experience to back up my claims that Computer Science can be applied to practically anything. I am mind blown with all the possibilities. I cannot get ahead of myself though...I have to focus next week and finish Maestoso. Over the weekend, I went with my suitemates to go see the movie, Lucy. It was definitely interesting. I've gone to the movies so much here. Each movie ticket is like $4.50. The price is incredible. In Jersey the price is $12!!!

Week 9 Jeez, this week went by quickly. I guess the time just zoomed by me since I was extremely dedicated to finishing up Maestoso. And guess what?! I FINISHED MAESTOSO! This past week I devoted a bunch of my time to creating the save() method that creates an XML file from the user response. I also had to edit my Parser so that it creates an Answer object as it reads the XML file. After these two were completed, I worked on a method called isEqual() that will compare the current object with another object of the same type and return true if they are the same. Afterwards, I created a method called compareDocuments() that uses isEqual(). Once I had these methods, all there was left to do was add the compareDocuments() method to the check() method that is called by the checkButton action listener. I had to create a new JPanel in order to display "Correct" or "Try Again." The last few moments before I had a working version of Maestoso were filled with intense heart-beating and butterflies. I was too excited to see the final product of this summer's hard work. On top of finally finishing Maestoso, Tara has introduced me to anime shows. I started watching Attack on Titan, and let me tell you, that is probably more intense than Breaking Bad. It is an incredibly dark show but also spectacularly produced. As we were watching, my other suitemate walked in and said "haha, computer scientists with their anime." I am so excited to present Maestoso to my peers. I genuinely enjoyed working on this project.

Week 10 On our last Monday meeting, I showed everyone the completed form of Maestoso and my very colorful poster. I am so happy that I was able to succeed and to create a music education interface. Things are wrapping up pretty quickly. My faculty mentor has been advising me to continue research at Vassar and to also apply to conferences with my research. I had to cut my 6 page research paper to 2 pages in order to apply to the TAPIA conference my mentor told me about. My grad student mentor is also going to help me apply to another conference. If I get into that conference, my research will be published! I have been so blessed with this opportunity. It's also mind-boggling to see all the opportunities I am going to get because of this. People have been asking me how I feel about leaving on Saturday, and honestly, it's pretty bittersweet. I've had such an incredible summer, met great people, and learned a bunch from my peers. Not only that, but I made an application! At the same time, I miss home so very much. The printed version of my poster is so pretty! I really want to take it home with me!