Giving My First of Many Talks

Last week I gave my very first talk on work I’ve been doing for my thesis. It was, as many of my experiences have been so far, a very eye opening and life changing experience. I’d like to dedicate this post to what I learned throughout this process.

I’ll be elaborating on what I’ve learned:

First off, I think this information is beneficial for anyone giving a talk, whether it be in academia or industry. It’s important to know how to give a proper talk. I’ve been told by many and have recently come to realize that talks are a big part of one’s PhD in particular. This makes sense, because the research you are doing is groundbreaking and new. Additionally, you’ll probably attend lots of conferences and universities where people will, obviously, want to hear about your work. It’s not easy giving a talk, but I’ve been told by many that it will become exponentially easier to give them as time passes by and after you’ve talked about your work for years. Continue reading

Grad School: Is It How Everyone Says It Is?


Over the past year I’ve come home with projects that, according to my siblings, have led to high expectations of what grad school will be like. These include Kinect controlled helicopters (ie. body controlled), an auto-sending bedsheet that turns off the lights for you when you get into bed, 3D printed remote controls for a custom built game, and an interactive wall.

On many occasions I’ve been asked if grad school is “how everyone says it is,” to which I hesitate and respond, “how do you think it is?” Continue reading

Stealing Ideas to Create a Thesis Topic

I absolutely love this TED talk on remixing ideas. Think about it. If I tell you to create a website, you’ll probably use ideas from websites you’ve previously seen or used. If I tell you to cook up some eggs, you may remember how your mom made it when you were little and cook it up that way. In the end, none of your ideas truly belong to you. You’re stealing someone else’s ideas. THIEF! Continue reading

Writing My First Paper

In the world of academia, getting published is an essential part of one’s career. As a graduate student, you’re expected to be working on at least 1 or 2 papers per year where you’re the lead author. One of my favorite comics had a great little explanation of what your rank on a paper really means depending in whether you’re first, second, third, etc. author. I had a good laugh about it after I understood what it really meant…mainly because it’s kind of true.

In my field of study (HCI) the projects that we work on are published in conferences related to the topic of the project. For instance, a project related to new interaction designs for children’s science education could be published in the proceedings of the popular conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), or the smaller niche conference for Interaction Design and Children (IDC). The more papers you get published and the more citations they get, the more recognized you become. Continue reading

Obligatory Introductory Blog Post

Hello world! I feel like a newborn butterfly emerging from its cocoon! …Ok, not really, but hopefully that got a chuckle or two out of you.

Recently a friend of mine started a blog about life in the corporate world after receiving a Bachelors in Computer Science. I thought this was a great idea to build on seeing as my life in grad school so far hasn’t turned out the same as many describe it to be. Nope. In fact I’ve been having the time of my life! And for those of you wondering how that’s possible, well, that’s what I’m here for. (Also this is a great way to document the next ~5, hopefully, years of my life.)

So here it goes! ONWARD!