Wednesday, April 30, 2014

One Last Time: Celtic Knights

Last Friday night was the MLK Talent Show at St. Mike's.  It was also my last performance as a Celtic Knight.  It is really sad to think about and I almost cried during my last pep talk to them.  It has been a great honor being their president and working with a group of such talented ladies.  From all the laughs, to stressful nights, to amazing performances - it has been great time!!  I know my senior year would not have been as memorable without them.

Throughout March and April, we worked very hard to choreograph a routine to blow people away at the talent show.  Our first goal was to pick a theme.  It was quite difficult because there were some good ones.  We ended up on deciding on a 20s theme.  The next step was to choreograph the actual routine.  This year we consisted of girls with past dance talent and we were able to incorporate some Swing and Charleston into our dance.  It was definitely quite interesting to learn.  Here are some pictures of us during practice.  We definitely all worked hard.

Yes, it looks like we are standing around a lot, but we would stop and discuss different sections, talk about the count, and remind people to smile.  I know I have to be reminded to smile a lot because I'll tend to stick my tongue out when I concentrate - don't worry they took no hesitation in calling me out on it!

Here is what the final performance looked like:

I'm so proud of all them and the hard work they put into this performance!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Jeanmarie Hall, my second home

Some majors have one building where many of your classes are held.  After my four years, I have to say mine would be Jeanmarie.  Jeanmarie is one of the three main academic buildings that are connected on main campus.  It has three floors with many different classroom styles and computer labs.

One room which I have become acquainted with fairly well is the Linux lab.  I've had three Computer Science classes in that room and have spent a fair amount of time there for my other Computer Science classes as well.  I'll say we have a love hate relationship for that reason as well.  I really love my major but occasionally, there were those assignments that I wanted nothing to do with again after that semester.

Some the department offices which are housed in Jeanmarie are the Computer Science, Mathematics, and Business departments.  There are some other professors scattered in there as well but for the most part if you are in any of these three majors, you will frequently visit Jeanmarie for advising meetings, to hand in papers, and for extra help during office hours.

If you stop by campus, be sure to check out the place I've come to love and know!  And to help you out here are some pictures of this place as well:
Jeanmaire Hall
A Windows Computer Lab
The Linux Lab - generally only computer science majors
only have access to this room 
One style room for lectures
Another type of classroom, I really like this one because
it is easier to spread out!
A setup for a more discussion based classes

Saturday, April 5, 2014

We knew it was trouble...

This semester I'm taking an Artificial Intelligence course.  It is an interesting course because unlike the past courses I've taken where we knew our programs would work in our controlled environment, there wasn't a controlled environment.  We still used a set of test variables but a lot had to do with our external environment.
Team Trouble
Our big project we did was right before spring break.  We broke off into teams to create a robot to remove toxic waste, or soda bottles which is what we used to represent the waste.  Our professor set up an obstacle course which consisted of us going down a ramp to remove a door before entering a ring.  Then we entered the ring and had to find the three soda bottles and remove them.  Once our robot removed the bottles, it had to head back up the ramp and shut off at the end.
Trouble, the robot

It was a tiring process.  We built our robot out of a LEGO Mindstorms kit.  It was slightly exciting for me since my brother used to make anything I wanted out LEGOs and I had no real skill for it.  We spent a lot of hours on this project because one thing this taught us was how difficult it would be to factor in external environments.  For example, if the color sensor missed the red dot on the floor, our robot would drive off the course.  Or if the touch sensor didn't registrar the bottle was in its grasp, then the robot would keep pushing the bottle around.  It was a bit frustrating but I learned a very important lesson during the process.

Trouble removing the door.  We built a lever to hold the door
until it was outside the circle and dropped it.
Trouble had a touch sensor and bars on the side to remove
a bottle from the field.
 We did fairly well during our presentation.  Our main problem was the search field was so big that it took awhile to find all the bottles.  Anyways take a look at this video one of my teammates made that shows Trouble completing the required tasks:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


In my last post (Birthday Shenanigans), I mentioned that I went on a MOVE Extended Service Trip to NYC for Spring Break.  It was an exhausting but well worth it trip.  I had an amazing group and met some really great people while helping them out in anyway we could.
My Group <3
All our days were long but it was well worth it.  We traveled mostly by subway and foot since it is the most convenient in the city.  For the most part we mastered it, only after we lost two people on a platform on the first night.  We all made it in the end and we laugh about it now.

Our mornings normally started out working with God's Love, We Deliver.  It is similar to Meals on Wheels but at a much larger scale.  3 out of the 4 days we worked there, we help package food.  Me and 4 others in the group chopped 200 hundred pounds of onions while there.  We helped prepare other food and also organize the bags to be delivered.  On the last day, we each got paired up with a van driver to deliver food to the people.  It was quite an experience to meet the people in need and I think that affected me the most in the end.

On the odd morning (my birthday actually) we went to help sort inventory at Handcrafting Justice.  It was a different experience since we only interacted with the people who handled shipping.  We had fun anyways.
Sorting backpacks
For three of the afternoons we worked at The Mercy Center hosting some after school games for the kids who went there for homework help.  It was a lot of fun because the kids were great and entertaining on their own!  Our last stop of the day was the Covenant House.  We all really enjoyed going there because we got to hang out with people our age.  We played pool, air hockey, basketball, and a lot of cards.  It was interesting since a lot of us were from different areas (including the people there), we all had different games and such to teach each other.

One of the coolest things we did was on the vernal equinox.  There is the old tale where you can stand up an egg.  We actually did it!

By the time we got home at the end of the night, it was probably about 10pm.  After the second day we decided to nap anywhere we could, if we had time:
I wouldn't go back and change the schedule even though I was running on fumes by the end of the day.  I really enjoyed meeting new people and getting to know more about the different types of people in the area.  It was definitely a rewarding experience.