2015 Annual Review

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2015 is coming to a close and this will be my 2nd time writing an Annual Review – which will give me a chance to reflect on what went well and what could have gone better, as well as giving me a moment to enjoy the progress I’ve made over the past 12 months (You can check out my 2014 review here). Again, here are the 3 questions I’m going to answer in my review:

1 – What went well this year?

2 – What didn’t go so well this year?

3 – What am I working toward?

Let’s get this party started… Continue reading

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5 Ways Designing An Algorithm And Developing A Business Are Identical

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This summer has turned out to be far more productive than I expected. I have had the chances to meet and talk with many professionals in my fields of study and learn about what it takes to get my foot into the door. Studying Computer Science and Communication in college, I discovered that there is a position in the tech world that marries both of my qualifications: Product Manager. A product manager is responsible for making sure that a team ships a great product and gets to sit at the intersection of technology, business, and design. It is also a highly collaborative role as the product manager serves as the main liaison between the engineers and other roles (quality assurance, user research, customer support, biz dev etc.). For me, the combination of technical abilities (product-focused) and management/communication skills (business/customer-focused) sounds very appealing. Continue reading

Applications of Proof Techniques

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A substantial learning aspect for any software engineers, in addition to the academia of computer science, is a topic called discrete mathematics. It is a branch of math that focuses on studying mathematical structures that are discrete (distinct and separate) in nature rather than continuous in nature (calculus, trigonometry). It is also an abstract form where conclusions are based on logical deductions using set theory and other simple theorems. Last spring, I took “Proof Techniques” as part of my CS major. The class is an introduction to proof writing techniques, covering multiple topics such as logic and proofs, set theory, mathematical induction, relations, modular arithmetic, functions, cardinality, number theory, and calculus.

proofs1

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Onto C++ Programming

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The most difficult and assignment-intensive class I have had so far at Denison is Intermediate Computer Science, which I took last semester. In this class, I covered a new programming language, C++, and learned how to work with the Linux Operating Systems. C++ is a much more raw / bare-boned coding language than Python, which I learned previously; thus, it takes way more effort to grasp concepts like abstraction and remember all the syntactic nuances. Continuing my tendency to reflect on academic materials I learned, this post shows some of the important concepts in C++ programming and their real-world applications.

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The Art of Non-Sales Selling

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Over the past one year and a half, I have been working as a Fundraising Assistant in the Annual Fund office at Denison. My responsibility is to call the alumni/ae to ask for their gifts for the Annual Fund. Now the job is tough, as I’ve met with so many rejections since the beginning; however, it actually has trained me for an incredibly important skills: sales. As a huge advocate of entrepreneurship, I came to realize that a world of entrepreneurs is a world of salespeople: the exchange of ideas, products, skill sets, or service. In addition to that, the liberal arts education at Denison provides me skills that stretch across functional boundaries – something called “elasticity.” In a world of competitive job search, every employer looks for potential employees with high elasticity, and sales skill is definitely a belonging element. Ultimately, college graduates need to sell themselves to the recruiters, right?

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Break Away 2015

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“Our guys have the same goals and the same aspirations as you do too, but only with a different timeline.”

Susan said this sentence many times over the last few days when we were volunteering in Springfield, Missouri. She is the director of Champions Athletes of the Ozarks, an organization that focuses on training and improving the lives of people with disabilities, majority of them diagnosed with autism, in the local area.

She is a caring and compassionate woman, who has an incredible passion for this nonprofit, as she has been with it for 40 years. Who knows how many lives she has saved, but according to David – the autistic friend we have just been close with, she is everyone’s protective guardian. Helping her to arrange the office last Tuesday morning, I came to realize that there are basically too much work for this woman to handle: legal documents to archive, emails to read, grants to apply for, curriculum to design, and most importantly, individuals to care for. And I guess she’s old-fashioned, that’s why she refused to follow my suggestion when I mentioned Evernote as a tool to keep track of her work.

Anyway, what definitely attracted us were the fascinating stories about the individuals we were working with that she told us. There’s Alex, a 16-year-old boy who’s obsessed with Tomas Trained reading. There’s Cory, same age with Alex, who enjoys playing his Gameboy more than anything else. And there’s David (mentioned above), who’s been living with Susan for years and becoming much more high-functioning than he used to be. I, Cubby, and Ryan worked with David on Monday reading in the first day and immediately made personal connection with him. Talking about Monday reading, it’s the training program to teach mentally low-functioned people math (under coupon ads) and basic levels reading.

Tina and Kristine working with one disabled individual

Tina and Kristine working with one disabled individual

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2014 Year-in-Review

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Inspired by James Clear’s annual review post, I decided to create a version of my own, including the things that worked, the things that could be improved, and the things I need to focus on for the year of 2015. Borrowing the format from James, here are the 3 questions I am attempting to answer:

1 – What went well this year?

2 – What didn’t go so well this year?

3 – What am I working toward?

For each question, I will provide areas that are important in my life and tailor them for specificity and number crunching. Let’s get to it! Continue reading