Monica Berron

Posts from me

Pinkies up and we are done

I really liked our etiquette lunch yesterday. Many of the others found it too proper, but I liked the fine dining aspect. I definitely made mistakes, but I felt kinda cool? And no, you didn’t have to hold up your pinkies or anything like that.

Today we did a demo practice, which was a very accurate portrayal of what Friday will feel like. While all the presentations have personally been frustrating for me, I think they will pay off and I should continue to improve my pitches.

I’m glad I took the time to challenge and reflect on my work ethic here. I’m proud of the hours I built in a group setting. Looking back, this is probably the best group project I’ve had to do. I have had some particularly sad ones in my undergraduate career. I never thought I could have collaborated with two engineers who were really cool, and well-versed.

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10 Minutes of Fame

I have the Fame theme song stuck in my head.

Tomorrow we are presenting our poster and project at Eliot’s WATCH research team meeting. At the end of every meeting there is presentation called “10 Minutes of Fame” where someone presents a virtual reality subject or area of interesting research to the team that isn’t necessarily done at VRAC. We were encouraged to share our work with the team for this week’s meeting. It’s exciting to present to the people at VRAC and practice for Friday’s symposium. I have created slides with an agenda and we will practice at the end of today.

We’ll also be having an Etiquette Luncheon tomorrow, which I hope is funny aside from informative.

I think many of us are excited to go home and some of us will even be on the same flights :)

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It’s our last Friday at VRAC and it was also our last journal club session! Amanda and Hua picked a cool topic, college student diets, and we had a great discussion. We’re all starting to miss these experiences.

Adriana and I switched gears today to check on each other’s work on the poster and paper. Eric is supposed to come by to implement code with Jordan, but due to some other factors we might not get to pilot until much later. We’re focusing on writing a brief results section and in-depth future work section to justify our experiment and challenges.

I’m nervous about having free time next week and being under the time crunch. It’s our last free Friday and this time next week we’ll be presenting and leaving. I’m not going to believe it and when I go home this will feel like a dream.

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Continuing progress and field trips

This morning we received great feedback on our poster and paper so Adriana and I have each taken the two projects to finalize. We are moving calmly but surely through our program and are choosing not to be outcome-oriented.

We also had a discussion with Pam about making our results simple to have the poster print on time. We will only run a pilot study, if that, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t learned anything from this experience.

I’m really glad to feel less under pressure although it’s easy to get disappointed when you don’t achieve or over-achieve on a project.

I enjoyed the career field trip we took yesterday to the Science Center and Principal Financial. I liked going to workplaces with different cultures. The rooftop luncheon was also really cool and scenic.

Later tonight a few of us are going to the DeMoss farm, an event which requires no justification or explanation in Iowa.

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We are having another wonderful day at VRAC. I’m happy with the progress we made this morning and hopefully Jordan will be done his portion today for our experiment to start coming together. I am continuing to work on the poster and Adriana started thinking about ways to adjust our paper. She did a great job of finalizing the poster yesterday so everyone on the team was happy.

Today we had our last luncheon lecture, which was a little scary. When I get back home, I’ll probably wake up at the same time in the morning thinking I need to catch Cyride…

Thelma did a great job of explaining the nitty gritty details of grad school to us today. This program is really appealing and accommodating, but I have also done little research on schools. She provided so many resources for researching grad schools and preparing for the GRE.

It’s also my room-mate Alex’s birthday! Over the last three years I’ve learned that having great room-mates is such a blessing. I’m really going to miss our little apartments here.

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Where are we?

This morning I was very happy to be making progress with Adriana on our experiment. We found the position coordinates for each of the organs we want to test. It was definitely too hard of a task to conquer last week on a Friday afternoon.

Jordan is also coming along with the program, but I’m not absolutely positive about where we are time-wise. Eric will also have to come in a later point to put our two pieces together.

Eliot also took a look at my computer and explained why ISIS runs slowly on it. Poor Bob Slydell. I’m excited to have a demo of our experiment at the symposium, if we can pull it off. It has to run on a stronger hard drive.

I’m glad Eliot’s back and I’m a bit too anxious to finish the project. I should try to focus on ending on a high note versus just completion.

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Long time no see. I was reminiscing about all of us going to Walmart on the first night scrambling with 10 bags of groceries each in the Iowa State vans. It’s truly been a long summer, but not in a bad way.

I go back and forth between grad school ideas often now. I’m very glad we got to hear Melissa’s insight yesterday. She told us exactly how we would spend our time here and what Iowa’s like, which I appreciated. She also took the time at lunch to talk with many of us one-on-one, which was very nice. The main aspect I’m needing to reflect on are career options, if I were to apply to an HCI program.

Today, Adriana and I looked at organ coordinates, which is difficult. Bethany is working on a structure for us to create our user study (Isis’ 3rd I believe). Jordan is collaborating again and I hope he feels less overwhelmed. I’m glad we have insight from many mentors here because it allows problems to be solved in more ways when you’ve run out of ideas.

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Apparently we’re worry warts?

It’s really great to hear from our mentors that we’ve done a good job here, but apparently we’re also known as the more worrisome bunch from previous summers. While that’s not necessarily a good trait, I know I’ve definitely enjoyed being with more like-minded peers as opposed to my other undergrad experiences.

I also forgot to mention last week that we had our last Ethics class. I came more prepared for this one, but I actually found the case less difficult than our first case study. We didn’t come down to an easy solution or conclusion, but the nature of the study is familiar to me because I’ve taken a number of classes in politics, contemporary moral issues, written argumentation etc. I also live in a fairly hot political area so the cases on safety and engineering are refreshing to me.

Today, we’re having starting our discussion on graduate school and the HCI program. It’s great for me because I have a limited time to think about graduate school. While I’m interested, I also believe it’s almost impossible to plan for things so far in advance. Especially because you can’t accurately predict where you’ll end up in 6 months or a year. I mean, Ames, Iowa. Perfect example.


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Update to Week 8

This week was excellent in general.

I enjoyed visiting John Deere and taking a field trip. I’m also happy to say I received helpful feedback on the poster and Adrianna and I are working on drafts. Jordan is working hard programming and got a lot of tech support yesterday.

Today, I was a test subject for DPIVE’s experiment, which was great and gave me good experience for when we run our experiment. We basically had target practice with guns in a 3D environment.

I’m very excited to learn more about the HCI graduate program and graduate school next week. Our REU is very different from traditional REUs and makes this grad program appealing. I’m making the mistake of future tripping right now and want to get back to work to make the next very few weeks count.

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QT and Poster time

I’m trying to practice a QT interface today. Bethany showed us how to use the Designer program last Friday. There’s lots of loops and command prompts.

Jordan is working away on Kinect code and Adriana is thinking about touching up our paper. I have a feeling I’ll be leading the poster portion. We are going to a lecture on how to design it today and I’m looking forward to it.

My overall hope is to contribute more to the experiment and program development and keep us on track to deliver a prototype this week. We are going to the John Deere lab Wednesday too. No pictures allowed :/

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