I am thrilled to be a returning member of Portland Audubon's fundraising team! Within the first 24 hours, I've almost reached the goal set by Audubon, and I have two months left to go!
Perseverance has landed safely! Most of you know that my brother Scott and I both worked at NASA, and most of you know that I did have the honor of designing a circuit board for the lander program. So this is a very proud moment for me.
Exploring space is exciting, but what many people do not understand is how the Mars and Lunar missions affect all of us. Many of our everyday and life-saving objects either arose from the space program or greatly improved because of it: camera phones, personal computers, the computer mouse, firefighting equipment, workout machines, solar cells, water filtration systems, Velcro, insulin pumps, scratch-resistant lenses, artificial limbs, air purifiers, and so much more.
You can thank my brother's programming genius for your daily weather forecast. He worked on the latest GOES satellite (a joint venture between NASA and NOAA) which is exceptionally accurate and generates volumes of data. If the forecast isn't always accurate in your area, I guarantee it's not due to a lack of data.
I worked on a different team, developing next-generation sensors, specialized computers, and algorithms which not only assist the rovers and probes in space, but they will also be instrumental in developing the next generation of everyday machines and vehicles. The system can detect objects, characterize their shape, calculate the relative distance and velocity, and determine its own motion relative to the ground or other objects, including speed, pitch, roll, and altitude. And this all happens at a rate that is 300% faster and more accurate than any comparable systems on the market.
Space exploration is not just about space. It is exceptionally important to every person's life. The jobs, products, and industries that the space program helps create impact nearly every aspect of your life, from the food supply to the device you're using right now to read this. NASA's value is truly immeasurable.
And yes, I took my R2-D2 to work with me, and he got to meet several of the directorates.
It may seem strange, but I was really happy to go into the office this week. Don't get me wrong - there are advantages to working from home, such as cooking lunch from scratch or avoiding rush-hour traffic. But I have missed looking my coworkers in the eye and exchanging ideas and pleasantries in person. Those exchanges form a stronger bond with the people and the place. This is especially true at Intel since we have an environment that is more like family than just a place to work. We genuinely enjoy each other's company! I'm looking forward to the day when COVID-19 is under control. I miss those all-important interpersonal connections, and I miss seeing the smiles of my coworkers!
This was a fun project! It's an LED Christmas tree that plays music from a micro SD Card. There's also a headphone jack so you can listen to carols without disturbing anyone around you. Enjoy!
I made a "river table" for my brother for Christmas. This is how I did it.
I created a face mask that either smiles or frowns, depending on your mood, with just a click of a button!
A little off topic, but even an engineer has to eat, and what could be better than homemade pizza?
It's funny how blocks and bricks can lead to boards! Many of my childhood toys are now forgotten, but I still have my beloved wooden blocks and Lego bricks. They allowed me to dream big and build anything I could imagine, from spaceships to entire planets. From there, it was a natural progression to imagining and building unique circuit boards, R2-D2, and supercomputers (Beowulf). I'm happy to be celebrating National Engineers Week, but when you love what you do, every day is a cause for celebration!
There’s nothing more rewarding than helping the next generation get excited about the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Over the weekend, I was honored to teach at the BeWISE STEM Camp for girls near Columbus, Ohio. We talked about electrical engineering and computer programming, and we engaged in some fun hands-on activities to demonstrate the concepts. All of the girls were enthusiastic and eager to learn, and I am very excited to see what their incredibly bright futures will bring!
If I had to use just one word to describe my internship at Intel it would be "inspirational".
As I drove into Oregon to begin my internship, I was stuck by the wondrous landscapes and scenery. The beauty of Oregon is beyond compare. Tapestries of wildflowers lead to snow-capped peaks, varied shades of ferns and moss line babbling mountain streams, beautiful waterfalls as tall as office buildings are around every bend, and the tidepools and ocean beaches provide surprising discoveries with each low tide. Even the food is a sight to behold, with farmer's markets bringing new delights each week to tempt your palette.
The second thing that continues to inspire me is the hospitality of Oregonians. As a newcomer in a strange place, never have I felt more welcomed by my co-workers, fellow Audubon volunteers, and even my landlord, as I have felt here. My co-workers instantly made me feel I was a valued part of the team, my landlord has become a cherished friend, and Audubon allowed me to join their fundraising teams and help raise over $150,000. I've only been here a matter of months, yet I feel as if I've always lived here; I belong here.
The internship itself has been the perfect mixture of fun activities for the interns and meaningful tasks. There were so many fun activities from which to choose; there was always something going on so it was easy to connect with people and build relationships. Outside of work, I got to go whitewater rafting, and hiking and camping at Mt. Hood. I ate until I exploded at the all-you-can-eat ice cream event with the gamers, and I stuffed my face at the cheese-lovers events and factory outings. I visited a ton of museums and historic sites, I collected a small mountain of geological treasures at the Rock and Mineral Festival, and I got in touch with my roots at the Scottish Festival.
The projects I was assigned were precisely the type of work I hoped for. The work was fascinating, and while it was challenging, help was always available if necessary. I was always so excited to get to work that I never had to set an alarm! My team was fantastic! My boss Yedu Jathavedan (below), my mentor Nagendra Ketineni, and my second line manager Alex Henstrom had open door policies and were exceptionally supportive. I learned more than I ever dreamed possible, and I felt I accomplished something and contributed to the team.
Thanks to Laura McCarson, my internship at Intel culminated in two rare honors (1) speaking directly with CEO Bob Swan (above left) and (2) meeting with CSR Director Suzanne Fallender (above right). From these awe-inspiring individuals, I received sound advice, I grew even more excited about the direction Intel is taking in the future, and I developed a deeper appreciation for Intel's commitment to social and environmental issues. The culture of Intel is unusually supportive - not just supportive of one another, but also of the community. When I walked in the door my first day, there was an immediate sense that Intel is a company that has a real heart. That culture starts at the top, and I am so fortunate to have met with two of the people responsible for Intel's heartbeat.
On my final day, I was pleasantly surprised and very grateful to receive a note from Mr. Swan. In the note was a piece of advice that I intend to follow: "Every minute of every day is an opportunity to have an impact on someone or something. Don't waste them!"