Monday, December 28, 2015

The Bus Ride to the 2nd Million Man March

Million Man March 

This is a speech I presented at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (October 2015).

**Below is the translation of the speech from the video**
On the bus ride to the march was my only time to really think about what I was actually doing, the decision I had made. To not only take up on a travel extravaganza with a school organization but, to place myself in the midst of history, in the midst of other possible unknowns. The unknowns are what haunted and fed my paranoia on the way to Washington, D.C. I bugged my friends with ‘what if’s..’ questions and statistics of how likely my life would be affected by a series of unknown events. My concern ranged from facing the appearance of the KKK to getting separated from the UMassD group. I attended the Million Women March as a child but, under the protection of my family. I was facing the world by myself. I realized that all survival lessons, home training, and life experience will partake in my experience at the Million Man March that weekend.
The day of the event:  I’m dressed for success because, that is the only way to start off an affluent day. I get in the elevator to head to the hotel lobby and I’m instantly enveloped by people who are also attending the march that day. They greet us with respect and admiration for supporting a greater cause. This march is already expanding it’s reach in my life and is showcasing that it represents more than a layout of XYZ inequality problems in America. As Nation of Islam leader, Farrakhan, emphasized during his speech, “It’s NOT a moment, it’s a movement!”
Fast forward past the subway ride, we’ve now arrived to the National Mall. Like any major event, we are bombarded with a plethora of vendors and entrepreneurs selling memorabilia, souvenirs, etc. I’m not sure if it’s a daily occurrence, but amongst these vendors, were people selling beautiful african oils/soaps/natural hair products, etc. This was their time to thrive and they came out and showed up, kudos to supporting black businesses in America. We need to invest in ourselves and motivate one another to be productive citizens. For my business students, this is Maslow's hierachy of needs.

I am not going to attribute the high level of love and respect emulated from the crowds to the fact that we were in southern hospitality zone. We are emerged in a nation that fills it's media with "black violence" and minorities are doing this or that wrong. But once a million+ of us peacefully gather around the cause of improving black lifestyle quality in America, NO ONE is there to share our our story or cover a historic event for the nation. I wish you all were there to read all the signs.. see the hurt faces.. and hear the life struggles, you’d agree that every single person came to the Million Man March hungry for more. Hungry for answers, healing, information, support, ecetera. I was able to get a taste of a wide range of the march by exploring the crowds from the very back all the way up to the stage where Farrakhan stood and many influential leaders spoke, including UMassD Professor Morgan James Peters, (aka Mwalim). Traveling deeper into the crowds was parallel to traveling deeper in historic roots. The passion was stronger amongst the crowds with intense concentration on the speakers and people appearing to be present for America’s growth.
Farrakhan did a thorough overview and recap of major instances of inequality in America. For example, police brutality cases from the past decade, illegal situations that didn’t result in consequences, Black Lives Matter campaign, and igniting a commemoration for the strong men and women that rallied for our struggle and demands at cases such as Ferguson.
The following quote introduces my summary of the Million Man March “call to action”.  Farrakhan states, "We who are getting older... what good are we if we don't prepare young people to carry that torch of liberation to the next step? What good are we if we think we can last forever and not prepare others to walk in our footsteps?" To me, Farrakhan is asking older generations to hand us (the millennials or surviving generations) the key to open the door. We are the ones that can initiate change. Expecting Farrakhan to hand us the secret to equality in America is unrealistic. Same as, waiting for older generations to switch up status quo and start voting for campaigns that benefit us or for them to draft a system that they’ve never seen before. We see a better future, now let’s create it.  
Grammarly yours, SemirahD
I usually don't voice my political opinions on my blog but, I'm in college and you have to try everything at least once.
Top 5 reads of the week:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Resident Assistant First Year Experience

Me being "Pitch Perfect" perky for Move-In Day
After filling out the application to be a resident assitant at my college and actually getting the job, my initial response was, “YES! No loanss…Free Room and Board!” *Commence the halting/screeching sounds of a car tire and that loud phone alarm sound* Irkk.. What I didn’t expect was...ha! everything else. In all seriousness, the additional aspects of the job that I wasn’t aware of included: two weeks of training, constant arts and crafts, meetings and more meetings, emotional damage, and mental strain.

Encouraging students to use campus resources with my 1st bulletin board
Maybe I am exaggerating the job or being completely honest. The two weeks of training was a swirl of staff bonding and a multitude of time spent on learning policies. During the rare free time, I made door decorations and prepared monthly bulletin boards. There are a plethora of websites dedicated to resident assistant crafts, that includes: door decoration and bulletin board ideas.

What did YOU do this summer? Well you probably didn’t waste away on Pinterest for hours, noting down ideas to use for decorating your hallway, that’s what I did (sad face?). However, that research time over the summer saved me for the start of the semester. Whilst the other RAs scrambled to come up with ideas, I crafted and glittered away in my RA room.
Advertising my resident hall Halloween party for the October bulletin board
Here comes the first month of school and my RA’ing is off to a great start. I had my first floor meeting the evening of move in day. During this meeting, I introduced myself to my kids (aka my residents) and informed everyone on policies and community building activities for the semester. Three weeks later and my hallway is a quite and clean slice out of the entire resident hall of 400 students. My boundaries were set and demeanor was laid out in such a way that I gained the trust and respect from my residents. Part of this level of respect is attributed to the fact that I'm a sophomore RA for sophomore students. Everyone here is the same age as me, same level of education, etc. I just have an additional level of responsibility for our housing. Very lucky situation for a first time RA!

Typo alert, *A RA. Making floor meetings cool. 
Now two months later, I did have a small bump in the road during one of my duty nights BUT that's a different story for another post. If you're a resident assistant, what was your first semester like? And if you lived in dorms during college, what was your RA like?

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

Thursday, September 10, 2015

King Richard's Faire Ticket GIVEAWAY

Huzzah...! As the knights and princesses proclaim. King Richard's Faire has settled it's wonderland depths in Carver, MA. Last year I attended with my family and we had a fun experience. It was different, new and unlike any other family amusement park. I'm hesitant to even categorize it as an amusement park because it is more like a 'flash to the WAY past'.  

What’s new in the realm of Carvershire……
King Richard and Queen Anne are thrilled to entertain their guests for the 34th season of King Richard’s Faire!

The enchanted forest of Carvershire is abuzz with fabulous new performers including: Squire of the Wire, a high-wire comedy and juggling act; Topsy Turvey, the amazing acrobatic (and flexible) woman duo; Baba Yaga, the stilt-walking story teller; The Princess Sing-A-Long Show, our three beautiful princess will enchant even the littlest of visitors with their fabulous voices; Draiku, this dazzling duo will amaze with their silk aerialist skills; our life size Lady Tree will tower over the Majesty’s patrons with her beautiful branches; new members of our royal court will join your old favorites in this season’s original themed musical on the King’s Stage and last, but not least, the King’s new sword-fighting, hilarious singing trio, Mis-Adventurers.

The royal chef has been busy all year creating scrumptious new delectables for royalty, nobles and peasants alike.

Queen Anne and her ladies in waiting will enjoy shopping amongst the realm’s newest merchants: Silverleaf Studios, gorgeous copper, silver and brass wire-wrapped jewelry; Drinan Crafts, our talented new potter; Mordork Clothing and Mordork Jewelry, the newest line of 16th century attire; Your Historic Timeline, allows patrons to trace their birthdates and family named histories; Imaginarium Galleries, fabulous hand-controlled Drabbit puppets to sit upon your shoulder; Majestic Ink, a new kind of 16th century temporary “ink” to apply to your body; Opinicus Bath and Body, this terrific artisan offers all organic bath and body products for both women and men; and Kaleidoscope Silver, will be joining the realm for just two weekends (Sept. 26-27 & Oct. 3-4) selling their fine made silver jewelry; Moonstar Collections, has a wonderful collection of essential oil blends for use in their ceramic wear and vessels; Designs by Nature Gems, will also be joining the realm as a guest artisan for two weekends beginning Sept. 19 thru Sept. 27).

So you want to go King Richard's Faire? I'm here to give you tickets and tell you why it's the place to be (well from now until October 25th because, that's when it close). 
Maybe I'll see you there!

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

SO HOW TO WIN THE TICKETS???? Enter the Rafflecopter below. GOOD LUCK my knights and queens of the millenial era.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Back-to-School Share–A-Haircut Program to Benefit Thousands of Children in Need

For each haircut purchased, one will be donated. 

Vienna, Va., July 14, 2015 – Hair Cuttery, the largest family-owned and operated chain of hair salons in the country, will be donating back-to-school haircuts to children in need this August. From August 1-15, for every child up to age 18 who purchases a haircut at one of Hair Cuttery’s almost 900 salons, one free haircut certificate will be donated to an underprivileged child in that same community.

“Share-A-Haircut allows us to give back in a way that is simple, but meaningful,” said Dennis Ratner, Founder and CEO of Hair Cuttery. “On the first day of school everyone deserves to look and feel their best, and our stylists love nothing more than being able to give children in their community a much deserved boost of confidence.”

This being the 16th anniversary of the program, Hair Cuttery is determined to donate tens of thousands of free haircut certificates. Certificates are distributed with the help of more than 100 local government and non-profit organizations that are closely tied to each community.

To date, the Share-A-Haircut program has reached more than 925,000 children with haircut certificate donations, valued at $16.65 million.

Hair Cuttery has an established history of charitable giving, supporting a range of local and national causes, including St. Baldrick’s Foundation, American Red Cross, The National Network to End Domestic Violence, American Cancer Society, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Girls on the Run.

About Hair Cuttery

Hair Cuttery is the largest family-owned and operated chain of hair salons in the country, with nearly 900 company-owned locations on the East Coast, in New England and the Midwest. A full-service, value-priced salon, Hair Cuttery offers a full complement of cuts and styling, coloring, waxing and texturizing services with no appointment necessary, as well as a full line of professional hair care products. Hair Cuttery is committed to delivering a delightful client experience through WOW Service including a Smile Back Guarantee. Hair Cuttery is a division of Ratner Companies, based in Vienna, VA.

We rely on our local barbershop, Hair Cuttery, for formal event-ready hair styles. Glad that we can now get our family hair cuts and help charity! 

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

Disclosure: I have received promotional consideration from Hair Cuttery

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Workout Gear That Got Me to The Gym

What is your favorite fitness gear of 2015?!

The North Face Mountain Athletic women apparel team has put together a superb Fall 2015 fitness clothing line. Over the past two weeks, I had the opportunity to try out some of the gear myself.

The Mountain Athletics gear is: "Engineered with DRYXD technology that; keeps you dry and won't snag, pill or pull. Materials designed to stretch, flex and move with your most rigorous workout." 

Grab a friend and try new fitness gear!

The Women's Dynamix Leggings (as pictured above, on the right) are super snug, versatile leggings. I am a medium and they were a bit tight, like compression shorts tight but just bearable for me. I would suggest trying them on to make sure they are comfortable. They come in grey, black, and 'starry purple'. What made these pants comfy and bearable, through the tightness, is the breathable, lightweight, and quick-drying fabric. Also they are super stylish and durable for yoga, running, mountain climbing, etc. 

The Women's Dynamix Hoodie (as pictured above, on the right) offers wind protection to reduce the chill factor during outdoor activities. It is true to size and slimming on the hips, ladies! (winky face and thumbs up emoji). I was pleased to discover that the hoodie is weather-resistant and abrasion resistant with the soft shell material at shoulder and hood. Meaning: rain, rain, go away! This hoodie can take your weather conditions any day! 

Workout in new locations!

That's me rope walking #neverstopexploring
Next up is the Women's Dynamix Pants (as pictured above)... These are your ultimate lazy day but, I still want to look like I'm trying pants. These pants are uber comfortable with a soft and sleek satin backing that glides up your legs and makes waking up and being active worth it. The North Face calls them pants but, they remind me of joggers and can be styled as so. I wore them with the elastic ankles either scrunched up to my knees or kept them put at my ankles. I tucked in my Women's Dynamix Short Sleeve Tee because, it had a slimming effect at my waist, with the elastic bands of the pants, and completed my overall comfortable ensemble.   

The Women's Ultra Kilowatt Trainer shoe is a piece of work. There are a ton of features that Mountain Athletics wanted to include to match a large variety of audiences. The official features include: breathable, wicking fabric, lightweight, rubber toe cap for protection, airmesh, specialized footbed/outsole/midsole. All of these add-ons confused my feet and I had a mixing pot of first impressions with the shoe, it depended on what type of activity I was doing. When I ran; the shoe was sturdy, comfortable, and breathable but NOT lightweight. When I had to walk or stand for long hours; the shoe provided a neutral stride and strong midsole. This strong midsole combined with the rubber cap, made my feet feel squished and tight after long hours. However, I am working on 'breaking in' the sneakers to force a more comfortable ride. The shoes are an overall 3.9 out of 5 stars.

Bird: Arghh! Love your clothes.. Arghh! 
Jacket and Leggings c/o The North Face

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

Have you missed some of my other summer fitness post?? Check them out below:
New Balance Girls' Night Out July 2015
Top 2015 Father's Day Gift
New Balance Girls' Night Out June 2015

*I received The North Face apparel complimentary, in exchange for my services*

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Best #NBGNO Experience of the Summer

Boston was home to the New Balance Girls' Night Out Surfset event last night and it was hands down my favorite out of all of my #NBGNO experiences. The experience included; a jog to the Esplanade and a total body workout on surfboards (sans the ocean)! I can't forget to mention the pre- and post-party gatherings at the New Balance Back Bay store. The post-workout party completes the #NBGNO experience. Meet local fitness lovers or come with old friends, and enjoy appetizers while sipping and jamming to guest DJs. 

For this event I actually arrived solo and set out to reach out to any other attendees holding up the walls with their face in their phone and drink in hand. I met a fellow social media professional and chatted away about marketing strategies. You never know who you will meet! This event was filled with like minded people which, made me more comfortable with reaching out to strangers. Shortly after one conversation I turned around and came face to face with Allie from Alliewears Fashion Blog. Allie's blog is regularly updated and has gorgeous fashion post (as well as her instagram!). Allie and I were both participating in the surfing class so, we were workout blogger chicas for the remainder of the evening. I also always get to catch up with blogger friends at these events and worked out next to bloggers; Jen and Rachel.

For this event the participants had the option of either a 3.4 mile run or Surfset class on the Esplanade. I opted for the Surfset class with about 25 other motivated ladies. The view of the Esplanade from our workout was exceptionally stunning this evening. Upon arriving to the location, I immediately noticed that our instructor was Arnold Schwarzenegger ripped. Like... six pack for days and triceps made of gold. At first I thought, "Hmm.. she must really be into fitness?" But then I realized, "Oh no... this is going to be a hard core workout. Literally." BRING IT ON...!!!    

Twenty minutes later, I did start to question my own personal workout regiment and whether or not I was reaching enough muscles. This workout was pushing limits and burning parts of my body that needed building. Surfset also host at home visits and group classes at their studio.  I highly recommend Surfset classes, if accessible to you. Wear some athletic crop pants/tank and grab some friends for a fun time building, burning, and toning your bod. 

Aside from the workout and fun networking, kudos to New Balance for ah-mazing premium goodies bag. I will be monogramming my tote bag and rocking the towel to my next beach visit.

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

Follow along on Twitter and Instagram! Any of you into Snapchat?? Comment below!

P.S. I used the BeFunky Photo Edit to add text to my photos and made complete noob mistakes on these photos. Forgive me... They aren't totally cringe worthy, more like laugh out loud and shake your head worthy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

First Year Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate

Below is a series of photos and a video clip that partially sums up my first year as a mechanical engineer undergraduate. It is the season for preparing for school so, please feel free to comment and ask me and questions you may have about college!? Seriously you want advice from someone who has been through it before. 

Also, I was not able to fit everything into one blog post so follow me on twitter, instagram, or facebook to get the full scope about this Women Engineer in Training!

Even as a very outgoing person and social person, I was able to maintain satisfactory grades. How? "Being social" Actually meant group study times, dinner with friends, and miscellaneous parties to reward myself for the hardwork.

I was given the honorable opportunity to be the Mistress of Ceremonies for the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's Annual MLK breakfast and I hope to participate again next year! BTW That orange dress is from Old Navy and my blazer from Macy's ;) #CollegeFashion

I presented my research, that I've been working on for two years, at the UMass Honors Undergraduate Research Conference. 

Met Elizabeth Warren and discussed the movement towards affordable college tuition!

Nominated for the Student Civic Leadership Award with nominees such as the Student Trustee Jacob M.

Received the University's Emerging Leader of The Year Award. Side note: I was doing some research about how to get a job at Google... LOL judge me, I know. But one of the main keywords that I repetitively came across in multiple articles and seminars was "emerging leadership". Google looks for someone that can grow, take up leadership when needed, as well as take on the team member role when it is necessary. Well Google, I have that skill in the bag. See you guys at the Google headquarters in 3 years... maybe sooner? 

I traveled to Panama City Beach, FL with my campus CRU organization to do some good ole evangelism. Try something new in college and take a leap of faith... in my case that happened quite literally.

My phone photo gallery is FILLED with snippets from class, mainly physics and calculus. Is there an app for this? A note sharing or collaborative app? 

I did 2 more retreats with my campus CRU organization and connected with some amazing people throughout the year.

My first two months were filled with girlie nights out and beach visits (my campus is 10 minutes away from a beach).

If your going into your first year of college or your last, good luck! I love to stay involved with campus events. What type of cool events does your campus host?

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

Get live updates on my twitterinstagram, or facebook.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New Balance Girls' Night Out Boston Fitness

Gabby, Semirah (Me) and, Janice at the New Balance Girls' Night Out event
Thursday, June 11 beginning at 6 p.m., my friends and I, joined New Balance for an exciting Girls Night Out event focused on sculpting and strength training. With an emphasis on your 'Booty and Arms', New Balance Ambassador, celebrity trainer and wellness coach Sarah Kusch lead a 3.5-mile run as well as a 'Booty + Arm Summer Sculpt Session'.
Gabby, Semirah (Me) and, Janice at the New Balance Girls' Night Out event
The fitness-filled evening was hosted by NBGNO emcee-alum and healthy lifestyle blogger behind the site, Healthy Chicks, Rachel Chemerynski. Post-workouts, and refreshments from Thirst Juice Co., clean cocktails and healthy hors d’oeuvres. 
New Balance also distributing jewelry-inspired body art by TribeTats and swag bag giveaways. My friends and I rocked matching arm and wrist tattoos. I see these gold/silver tribal tattoos everywhere (Especially with music festival season in full swing) but, this was my first time 'tatting up' with them. 

Spot me in the back with the yellow tank top!
I always have a ton of fun at New Balance events and this was my first time with friends, instead of a blogger meet up. It was exciting to motivate each other, dance, mingle, and break in the summer with a healthy start. I admire and love how New Balance gets involved with the local community and hypes up fitness for all.  
Music during this months NBGNO was courtesy of DJ BREK.ONE.
NBGNO was held at the New Balance Experience Store which is located at 583 Boylston Street in Boston.  
Spot me in the back with the yellow tank top!

Can you see my comment? Look for my twitter tag "@SemirahD"

Readers, let’s chat! How do you put excitement into your workout regiments? With friends or new routines? Did you attend the June NBGNO event?
Grammarly yours, SemirahD
For past New Balance event recaps on Sound of Charm, check out:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Kings’ New Menu Premieres with FREE Teri-Dactyl Wings for Jurassic World

Kings, “The Classy Bowling Joint,” in honor of Jurassic World opening in theaters will be offering a FREE small order of their new Teri-Dactyl Wings (Teriyaki meets Spicy BBQ) to everyone who brings their Jurassic World movie ticket. The offer will be valid June 11th to June 14th more under construction, and unlike the dinosaurs, Kings is here to stay.

The Teri-Dactyl Wings personify Kings’ dedication to fresh and delicious wings, and Kings’ reputation is supported by being a 3-time champion of Boston’s KING OF THE WING. Kings will also be adding Marinated Artichoke and Spinach Pizza, Kale and Quinoa Salad, Lemon Basil Shrimp, and Mango Lime Grilled Chicken Breast to their executive chef-driven menu. Lest we forget about hand-formed juicy Don’t Knock it ‘Til Ya Try It Burger topped with crunchy peanut butter, bacon, grilled pineapple and Sriracha and is literally taunting you to order it. It’s been 65 million years in the making, but KINGS has perfected a chef-driven menu and brought it to a bowling alley, along with their ‘best in industry service’ that allows for seamless execution.

For Kings’ regular guests they will be glad to see staples like the ever popular Buffalo Wontons, Fried Mac and Cheese Bites, Spinach and Strawberry Salad, and Kings’ Famous Steak Tips still gracing the menu. Kings also features juicy burgers formed from a premium proprietary mix of brisket, Angus and chuck seared to perfection on a sizzling hot flat-top grill. Kings has made sure to provide you with plenty of libations to enhance your visit. Whether it be a Red Zeppelin, Drunken Bear Martini or you just abide with The “Dude”, Kings has something for everyone. Guests also have options off our well-appointed wine list along with a thoughtful selection of craft beers and contemporary favorites.

As guests step into Kings, the vibe is a hip, retro-inspired atmosphere with upscale 60’s-style décor. In addition to bowling, guests can enjoy the ambiance indoors, on an outdoor patio, or in Kings’ full-service restaurant. You also won’t miss any of your favorite team’s big games as each Kings features over 40 HD large screen TVs along with projection screens.

During the day families are encouraged to bring the kids until later in the evening when Kings becomes an adult playground for guests HOURS OF OPERATION vary by location, so make sure to check for more information. In the 14 years since the last installment of the Jurassic Movies, Kings has grown to seven locations and numerous Kings Bowl first opened its doors in 2002 in the heart of Boston’s Back Bay. From the start, Kings has focused on rekindling the fun and escape of bowling by creating a memorable entertainment experience, emphasizing good food, cold beer, creative cocktails and great music. Each Kings location features upscale, retro-inspired décor and executive-chef designed menus brought to life by “best-in-industry” service. With varied entertainment options, themed nights and state-of-the-art audio visual equipment, Kings sets itself apart as an unparalleled social scene for all occasions. Whether one is looking to host an unforgettable party, share a superb meal or catch tonight’s big game, Kings is committed to insuring that when you leave, you’ll be planning to return soon to Kings, “The Classy Bowling Joint".

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

Be there when my family visits Kings Bowl by following me on; twitter, instagram, or facebook!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Summer Beauty Product Must Have

Narynda Natural Skincare Product Review

For the past 30 days I've trialed the Narynda natural Night Cream, Cleanser, and Face Scrub. With the onset of warmer weather, I have to switch around some of the products I use in my daily regiment.  Alot of sun exposure is harmful to your skin so, we must take extra precautionaries to keep our skin healthy. I look for extra protection, spf, moisterizing, and slight exfoliating in my summer beauty products. The natural ingredients in the Narynda products insures that my skin won't get irratated after applying and that it will be an effective defense against the outside nature offenses. 

First up is the Night Cream! J'adore night creams.. I love rejuvenating my skin and marinating in anti-agin products over night. Oh my gosh... I sound as if I'm bound for a botox treatment by the time I'm 30. The Narynda Night Cream main ingredient is the calming oat proteins. The description on the Narynda site about the night cream is that it will, "soothe away the stresses & strains of a wearisome day". Bruh... after a full day of classes, this was my miracle cream. 

To read more about the ingredients and how this cream helps wrinkles, check out the Narynda site. Essentially, the antioxidants and peptides in the natural ingredients create this moisterizing film over face that is hydrating, soothing, and protecting your skin.

SilkyResh blog Photo

Next is the face cleanser made with botanical and refreshing ingredients. In other words, the peach and grapefruit ingredients insure that this product cleanses and moisturizes, simultaneously. You only need a small amount of this product to apply to your face. This cleanser is so light that it can be used for all skin types. Now, just because it's light and you only use a small amount, doesn't mean it's less effective. After using this product for a few days, I noticed that it removed most of my makeup and thoroughly cleaned my face. 

This summer you want a product that protects your skin from the harsh sunlight and rejuvenate naturally. The natural ingredients in Narynda products do just that. 

Enjoy your summer and stay safe! 

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

Follow my summer blogger journey on twitter and instagram.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Get The Most Out of Your Undergrad Research Conference Experience

UMass Undergraduate Research Conference

Undergraduate research opportunities are a golden chance to connect with your tentative career industry. As a mechanical engineer undergrad, this research conference opened doors and made noise on my campus. My professors now know my passions within mechanical engineering and can readily guide or assist me. 

I definitely plan on attending more research conferences and would like to share some tips on how to enhance your research conference experience. I made these mistakes and plan on fixing them so, before it's too late, you can dodge these rookie moves. 
Semirah at the UMASS Undergraduate Honors Research Conference
Taken from Instagram @SemirahD

Semirah's tips:
  1. Do a powerpoint presentation instead of poster if you would like more direct feedback. Your audience is present and alert in one room instead of surrounded by hundreds of other poster presentations so, all eyes are on you. Also if you only want to present once and get it over with, then the powerpoint presentation is the best option.
  2. If you are presenting at a poster, take advantage of the “dead” time (You’ll understand what I mean or you already know what I mean). You will be standing at a poster for 45 minutes to represent all the hard work you’ve put into this research and the conference doesn’t guarantee you a prestigious or expert audience. To conquer this and optimize your experience, network with other student presenters. They know mentors that could further your research or you could make great contacts with someone you could be working with later down the road.
  3. There is no need for resumes, unless you are attending the networking event or private invitationals. Bring a few inexpensive business cards to hand out.
  4. Prepare an “elevator pitch” for your research.
    1. 30 second pitch for brief encounters
    2. 1 minute pitch for someone you’re interested in networking with
    3. More elaborate version if someone is super interested and asks you questions

Analyzing your audience and giving the right pitch will save so much time and help you stay productive. I made the mistake of giving everyone the elaborate version and had people snoring right in front of me! I then realized that, of course, someone’s parent just walking around and supporting the presentators wouldn’t want to hear about this manufacturing process that I wish to improve with XY and Z methods.   

There are many ways to approach scientific meetings or conferences. If there is anything I missed that you've experienced or want to share, go ahead and share in the comment section below.

Best regards, SemirahD

Follow me during my summer engineering internship via twitter and instagram

Stories from a Women Engineer in Training: 
(Click to open articles)
1) A Women Engineer In Training: WECode Harvard Experience

2) A Hackathon Experience 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Hackathon Experience

Or in otherwise a Hackathon from an engineers perspective...


Hackathon: an event, typically lasting several days, in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming.

I like to think of hackathons as something for both techy people and business people. Especially in this era where everyone has an idea for some awesome app but has no clue how to code it. A hackathon is a great place to flex your entrepreneurial skills and build upon your ideas.

Being an engineer at a hackathon as opposed to a computer science major is a different experience in my opinion. Your work is more likely to be more hands-on, I mean this is why most engineers are in the industry… we love to get our hands dirty. But actually, it also depends on the product your team is developing.

Last weekend I attended HackUMass, a hackathon with both software and hardware focuses. Essentially, you had the possibility of creating anything from a robot to a app or video game (ehmmm..which I did! Continue to read on…) For those of you who don’t read my blog and did not see the WeCode Harvard post, I am a mechanical engineer undergraduate (hence, no coding experience to use at hackathons). All I have is some designing skills (Matlab, Solidworks, Cad) and beginner Python (a coding language) capabilities.

Once arriving to HackUMass, I signed in and begin to observe my surroundings. I knew that I had to look knowledgeable in order for people to want me on their team. Well… that is true and false in some aspects. It’s false because I found another mechanical engineer who had similar interest as me so we immediately hit it off and she invited me to be on her team (peep this: She was a graduate engineer student! oooo that’s pretty impressive for an undergraduate student). And the statement is true in the sense that the team I did end up joining invited me because I was a mechanical engineer with a designing background.

I feel like this is turning into a long story SO long story short: I helped design a game on Unity and integrated the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles. This was my first experience with both Unity and Oculus Rift and my team and I were able to complete an entire game in less than 26 hours.

If you have any questions about my project or would like to see a demo, comment below and I’ll upload a video soon!

Product testers of the Oculus Rift Escape the Room Virtual Reality Game (Photos above)

Remember that list of skills I listed earlier? Well now I can add Unity and Oculus Rift experience! How exciting is that for mechanical engineer? It’s wicked exciting guys! (Like #soryynotsorry but after the hackathon I had to tell all my friends about this seemingly impossible feat.)

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

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