Big Debut

Recording with Paul was probably one of my favorite memories from the summer. I loved the production and being on screen. I’ve always enjoyed being on camera and I appreciate how Paul always supports my interests in any way he can. For example, when I got my new iPad his first reaction was to ask if I wanted to borrow a tripod to film my unboxing. I always appreciate his support.

Paul is great, he’s a 5 star person:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The symposium was such an amazing experience. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to hand people tangible results of our work this summer. I appreciated everyone interest and support as we presented.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Well it seems like this will be the last blog of the summer. Here’s to all the greatness we’ve achieved in 10 weeks. I appreciated everyone’s wisdom and knowledge, I feel blessed to have experienced such an immersive research program.

Appreciation Post
Thank you to my fellow interns for your individuality. 
Thank you to my mentors for providing personable perspectives on your experiences at ISU. 
Thank you to my course instructors for your effort to articulate your skills and knowledge in digestible forms. 
Thank you to everyone people behind the scene, prioritizing our growth and learning while organizing days that flowed seamlessly for us.

I will make an effort to maintain the connections I’ve made in my time in Ames.

Talk to you soon!

Time flies when you’re learning.

I used to perceive the experience of life through a mountainous lens, climbing and growing upward just to fall back into old patterns. I used to imagine that the only trauma I’d have to figure out was that from my childhood. Boy, was my lens out of focus… A shift in my perspective readjusted its focus. The pitstops I took no longer find like climbing back down the mountain. They began to feel like time for rest and reflection.

While catching up with my closest friend Krystal, I began to describe my experiences as a road trip. Occasionally steering off the main interstate to accomplish a side quest. Each side quest equipping me with the skills to get back on the road.

"In 200 miles, I see a split in the main road, somewhere where my choice directs the trajectory of my journey. This decision is graduate school. My decision will dictate a new destination", I envisioned.

When I think ahead to the next interstate I’ll merge onto, I want to have a clear view of what each road has to offer. So I’ve been obtaining the information to do so.

I’ve been mapping out my options. Making connections to ask clarifying questions. Slowly I am gaining the clarity I had been seeking.

My intention in attending this REU was to gain exposure to the work I imagined doing in the future. This experience is developing the tools, knowledge, and connections to know what direction I want to go when I meet the next intersection.

This journey of seeking clarity is wrapping up in 4 days.

Back to the main intersection to wrap up my undergraduate side quest!


Let’s be honest. I really do not enjoy blogging…

When I first heard about this aspect of the program I was so intrigued by the idea of sharing our thoughts. I thought it’d be a fun form of expression while we experience this whole new environment. And it was. For 5 seconds. Then I realized that anytime I am writing in a format similar to this, I am writing to and for myself. To me, journaling is like letting go of the constant thoughts that swarm my mind. Writing them down on paper so I can let them out but not discard of them. I guess these blogs are doing something similar, keeping track of the variety of experiences throughout the program. Yet, my expression on this blog is not authentic. I curate a post that summarizes some selected amount of time that aligns with the way I’d like to be perceived.

Here is a reflection of my mind at all times.

This pondering is not limited to these blogs, truthfully I question the authenticity of many things around me. Here are some of my thoughts about my presence on social media:

"Often I debate whether or not I should share my curated life on here. Beyond my minimal influence, I acknowledge how much we as individuals contribute to shaping a platform that feeds into comparison and perfection. Sometimes it feels wrong to perpetuate the cycle by adding equally as hand-picked media. I question if those who seem to post with ease are using media as a form of manifestation, a physical visualization of their higher self. I try to believe that dreaming is my intention, while in reality, the root of my curation is to aesthetically please the eyes of others. Is it possible that we're all just swimming in circles, perpetuating cycles we’re not conscious of?"

This psychoanalysis of my surroundings allows me to identify previously undefined connections. Yet, it can be quite dissociating at times and this caption to an Instagram post titled “Distance and Dissociation” captures those feelings:

"For a while now I've been disconnected, viewing my life from a third-person perspective. Trying to anticipate my every move; I've been attached to unknown outcomes. It took new trauma to remind me of the significance of faith and the impact of self-doubt. Previously I imagined the only hurt we’d have to heal was from our childhood. In reality, I am just barely scratching the surface of adulthood and the universe has been introducing hardships and lessons that I’ve been reluctant to learn for a while now. Throughout my journey towards a higher state of consciousness and understanding of self, I observed myself plateau at a similar place each time. I'd grow to the point of self-actualization only to tumble back down as doubt began to creep back in. No matter how stable I could make my perception of my environment feel, did I ever evolve beyond the doubt that consumed my mind and actions? Beneath the surface laid comparisons and measures of success that did not align with my pace and intentions. Resonating in a deep place of ego and fear blurred my perception of reality and silenced me with doubt. I am beginning to set aside the energy I need to heal and release the urge to control the elements around me."

Clearly I’m not the best at those few-word catchy Instagram phrases or lyric captions…

Constant battle with my ego wanting to know everything and be in control…

Welp. Here is the reality of my mind, filled to the absolute brim with philosophical pondering about life. Most of which may go unanswered. I’m beginning to accept that I won’t be able to answer the abundance of questions. However, I still enjoy the reflection. And I hope you did too.

Bye now!

A window seat into my mind.


Window Seat by Erykah Badu plays in my head as I follow my momentary inspiration into beginning this blog post. My blog engagement has been limited, allowing my MCA project and miscellaneous life events to consume my mind. Now I’m back. Shifting my focus toward making the most out of the 24 days left here. Here’s a gallery of a few things I haven’t shared in previous posts:

These photos are from our last extra-curricular activity to the Ames Public Library where I re-discovered my deep love for reading fashion magazines. There is great potential for this to become a new hobby of mine…

My walk home from work is always a visually immersive experience. From perfectly heart-shaped leaves in my path to a carefree horse strutting a stylishly braided mane, each walk leaves my phone filled with serendipitous images of the world around me.

Here’s Cherry Cola, a glass octopus with plump red puckered lips I bought at the Kansas City River Market gift shop over the 4th of July weekend. She was short-lived as I forgot to take her out of my dark blue Levi shorts before their wash…

Mochi doughnuts. Top tier. Everyone should try them. The hybrid batter makes for a doughnut that is fluffy and moist, with a satisfying chew. On the right of the most amazing doughnut in the world is a sticker set titled “A day with Bobby”, a little frog going through his day that happened to resemble my day quite well.

This is me having absolutely way too much fun making pasta… I could be hired as a pasta chef right off of these photos. No doubt.

To conclude, here are some postcards I sent to my family. One of which read “IOWA: wandering lost in a cornfield is just the tip of the iceberg”. Which I thought captured the randomness of my placement in Ames for the summer excellently. Accompanying my cards is a snow cone I got from a little shack on my last grocery trip. It was mediocre.

Well, that’s all folks.

I hope you enjoyed my perfectly curated gallery titled “A window seat into my mind.”

Long time, no blog…

I haven’t blogged in a while but we’re wrapping up our deeper dive projects and I’m eager to present my project and get to work on it later at my own pace. The MCA project illuminated a lot of things I didn’t know I’d enjoy. It’s been challenging to accept not having a fully complete project to present but I know that I have learned so much in such a short time. That’s all, have a great day.


To be honest, I’m tired. I haven’t been inclined to blog. Simply because I haven’t had much to say. We’re beginning our deeper dive projects and I am eager to work on something I am genuinely passionate about. Otherwise, the summer’s flying by. My mom is visiting me from NYC this weekend. I’m excited about the comfort of familiarity.

My heart has been heavy since Saturday after finding out about my friend’s tragic passing. I wish I could be home to attend all of the services to celebrate her. I’ve been holding in tears every day as I open my social media to see everyone posting about her. Life’s interesting, right now I just don’t have much to say.

HCI: Locks & Cabinets

While thinking about the design of things through the lens of bad usability, two features of the Fredrickson Court Apartments came to mind.

The first being the door locking mechanism to each apartments door. In order to open the unlocked door, you must insert the key, turn it all the way to the left while pushing the door open. This sequence of steps may seem intuitive, but the handle on the outside of the door implies its use to open the door. Yet it is not actually used. It took multiple attempts to get inside the first few times of opening the door. Although this locking approach differs from standard doors, I anticipate that its implementation was for college students who would prefer to leave their door unlocked or forget to lock their apartment door. This mechanism causes the door to remain locked regardless of being physically locked from the inside or with the key. I believe the intention was to increase security. However, it lacks common design principles of following standard knowledge and experience.

Another feature of the apartments that could be adapted for better usability are the cabinet doors. The cabinet’s have a seamless look with no handles and are opened by pulling the side or bottom of the door. Navigating this seamlessness took many failed attempts of pulling the wrong corner or something that wasn’t actually a drawer… Two cabinets that particularly stand out to me are the two adjoining cabinets in the corner of the kitchen. Without the aid of handles, I anticipated the doors would open towards one another. Similar to double doors. However, the doors open on opposite sides. You think it’d be simple to remember which way they open but I get it wrong every single day. Jamming my fingers into the side with the hinges at least once a day…

It’s interesting to think about how usability design affects my daily routine. Yet, these examples seem quite trivial to me when thinking about the implications of other inefficient usability designs.

Appreciation Post

We’ve been directed to share our thoughts through our blog posts. Allowing others to understand our fears or questions about our experience so far. All I have to say is thanks.

Thank you to my fellow interns for your individuality.

Thank you to my mentors for providing personable perspectives on your experiences at ISU.

Thank you to my course instructors for your effort to articulate your skills and knowledge in digestible forms.

Thank you to everyone people behind the scene, prioritizing our growth and learning while organizing days that flow seamlessly for us.

I really enjoy spending time with myself. I am so grateful for the bikes we received. Something about exploring on my bike is incredibly immersive as a form of transportation. Feeling the weather around me as my body moves toward my desired destination. Gratitude consumes my thoughts as I explore this new environment. Appreciating the conversations and abundance that surrounds me.

This post is just an acknowledgment of everything around me. My mind and eyes are open to the opportunities behind the unknown doors that seem to open every day. It may be a bit early to summarize everything we’ll have access to, but from my perspective, it appears that the depth of my experience is directly linked to my ability to advocate for myself.


Briefly speaking to my mom about the orange foggy skies of New York City reminded me of how far I truly am from home. Texting my partner in Buffalo about the Canadian wildfires left me worried. Hearing about the masks coming out of drawers and back closets to protect people from the worst air quality in 20 years. It’s contradicting to think about how far I am from home while this smoke seamlessly travels thousands of miles across states. The earth continues to swing the pendulum of nature, each disaster appearing more dramatic than the last. We’re all trying to reach an equilibrium, just as the world around us adapts.

My mama’s perspective from Staten Island, NY

Opportunity Costs

Todays Luncheon Lecture speaker, James Oliver, discussed his journey navigating the contrasting worlds of academia and industry. A journey I will soon face as I prepare for graduate school next year. It is clear that the opportunity cost of completing a masters degree is worth it for my career goals. Yet, there is still so much to decide. My home university, University at Buffalo, offers a Human Factors (HF) graduate program in the Industrial and System Engineering department. Additionally, their collaboration with OSHA provides a Occupational Safety and Health Traineeship that covers tuition and a stipend. Right now I am trying to navigate my next steps, determining what schools I am interested in and the necessary steps to prepare for those applications.

Tomorrow I am virtually meeting with a graduate student completing the HF masters at UB with the OSHA traineeship. I intend to find clarity on the program and what it has to offer for me. Some of the questions I am going to ask include:

  • Why did you choose the HF M.S. at UB?
  • What was the application process? For both UB and the OSHA traineeship?
  • What are some advantages of the OSHA traineeship? What are some disadvantages?
  • How did your initial expectations of the program and traineeship align with your experience? How did they differ?
  • What is something you wish you knew before applying that you know now?
  • What are your next steps, and how did this program help you get to where you are now?

Thanks for reading my thoughts. My upcoming blogs will be filled with my consistent search for clarity and answers to the abundant questions within my mind. Have a great day!

Beginning Week 2

Today begins week 2 of the REU program. Although the first week was jam packed with introductions and team building activities, it flew by. I can already tell that this program is going to move fast. This immersive experience has me seeking more from each and every activity. Here’s to week 2!

Confident Individualism

The Myers Briggs Assessment identified me as an Advocate, INFJ-A. I align with the introverted, intuitive, feeling, judging, and assertive placements. However, I acknowledge how different my results would’ve been if I had completed this assessment a year ago. Today I carry a greater sense of self-assurance, providing me with the assertive energy needed to fulfill my goals of helping others help themselves.

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being. “

This is how the INFJ-A type was introduced, along with the keyword “confident individualism”. Seeking purpose and connecting with others and myself remain some of my core intentions in this season of my life. I found this assessment to be incredibly insightful, and I feel affirmed by its alignment with my true self.

Pleasant Surprises

Iowa isn’t too different from Buffalo. Both are certainly slower paced than my hometown in NYC, but still filled with plenty of life. I was pleasantly surprised to see horses on my walk to campus. The only horses I see in the city lack the freedom to roam like they do here. I am so grateful that I get along with my roommate Nadya. Our hectic trip to Walmart was guided by our prepared shopping list of shared snacks and other apartment needs. One of my mentors, Imtiajul, gave me and my roommate the warmest welcome when picking us up from the airport. Surely the warmth of his energy is similar to the friendliness of Iowans.

First post!

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Iowa so far. I didn’t have too many expectations, but I can already tell this is going to be such a fruitful experience. Here’s to many more blog posts!