Just because a tough year of 18-credit online quarters were done, doesn't mean the grind was over. In fact, in lieu of an internship, I kept myself in check and on track to graduate by balancing a few classes, projects, research and, somehow, some semblance of a social life. As I went through the last few months of living alone, life seemed to continue to pick up.
• E E 215, an overview of the ABCs of circuitry
• IND E 315, statistical tests as applied to engineering optimization and quality control scenarios
• M E 499, two elective credits for joining a cell biomechanics lab!
weather déjà vu
June 28, 2021 | subverted perspectives
Home is wherever (and whenever) it's sunny and over 80 °F. After moving to the PNW from Israel, Seattle's never quite felt like home. Suddenly, just after my 19th birthday, a present arrived in the form of the now-infamous Heat Dome, causing Seattle's hottest heat wave to date. I took the opportunity to meet up with a friend at the newly-redeveloped Fritz Hedges Waterway Park and take a dip in Portage Bay.
Stepping into the water, I felt the warm embrace of the Mediterranean, not the usual crisp cold of glacier-fed Northwest waters. The 95° air felt distinctly Tel Avivian. The hot wind transported me back to the Dead Sea. Only after looking around at the numerous evergreens, boat houses, and English speakers did I remember I was still in Seattle, where this surely, definitely was not supposed to happen. Right when I got home, I continued a days-long battle with my air conditioner setup, and that included a reflective foam taped over the window which, by the end of the week, had expanded to arc a foot into my living room.
Climate change is great for my mental health. Too bad it may bring about a mass extinction event, or something.
gauging interdisciplinarity
August 20, 2021 | interdisciplinary design
Starting the above research experience got me more interested in mechanics of materials, something I got to learn the fundamentals of in CEE 220. For my first of (hopefully) three Honors Ad Hoc projects, I explored how strain gauges worked through the use of electric paint, and put together a video chronicling the design process.
I used to be much more into video production (a product of my sister entering film school when I was in 9th grade), but that hobby has fallen to the wayside as I became busier with school and career building. Getting to merge my interests in engineering and video production through this project led to me discovering an interest in scientific communication of this genre. Maybe someday, I'll have my own Stuff Made Here...
research shows... room for growth
August 23, 2021 — Experiential Learning Activity 1 | professional identity
Before taking on this research experience, I had taken only a high school semester's worth of biology across my entire educational career, so I knew that it would take me a while to get up to speed at the Sniadecki Lab and begin helping Molly answer the research questions in earnest. Nonetheless, this experience progressed slower than I'd expected and hoped. 

At the beginning of the summer, I stated that I anticipated that this research experience will improve my skills in experimental design, data analysis, communication, and problem solving, and I don't feel like I've gotten much experience in doing these activities at this point in the summer. A large contribution to that is the amount of material that I've had to digest to understand the ideas at the center of Molly's research. I actually feel pretty happy with my progress here, as I've gathered enough of an understanding of platelet biomechanics to have done independent literature review a bit. However, I think the largest contribution to the slow pace of personal progress is my trouble to maintain focus on relearning MATLAB and reviewing analysis code between everything else I had happening this summer. Taking two summer engineering classes, planning a move, continuing to work for The Daily, maintaining my fitness and a social life, *and* doing summer research turned out to be much more difficult than I'd expected, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed in myself for not being able to handle my commitments this summer better.

My feelings at the end of this quarter aren't all summed up by disappointment, however. First, I recognize the value of last ten weeks as an opportunity to experience a little bit of everything related to platelet biomechanics research, even if much of it amounted to shadowing. I got to experience and, in places, help carry out the setup, carrying-out, imaging, and analysis of blood experiments, something that I hadn't been exposed to before. I think I now know enough about a field of study with lots of questions to be asked and answered to properly orient myself in it and independently follow the progress of biomechanics research being carried out inside and outside of the UW. Second, I genuinely had fun in the entire process up to this point, and I also had fun getting to build a professional and personal connection with Molly that was stronger than what my first year on the HuskyADAPT student executive board yielded (as well as with the other students in the Sniadecki lab). Thanks to the people at the Sniadecki lab, I'm considering graduate school a lot more seriously as my next step after undergrad than I had in the past, seeing that this experience has shown me that I love learning for learning's sake. Moreover, this experience has shown me what it takes to truly "learn on the fly" - I mentioned in my Experiential Learning Proposal for this experience that I want a career involving advising others on product development, and I now have experience adjusting to new information new design problems like I foresee myself doing in my career.

My feelings of disappointment have less to do with feelings of failure to perform and more to do with me knowing I can do more. Regardless of whether or not platelet biomechanics research is outside of what I hope to do in my career in the short and long term, I have a feeling that my work here isn't done, which is why I've asked Molly to stay on for another quarter. With all of the method-learning that I've done and the exposure to the research process that I've gotten so far, I feel more prepared to independently contribute to her research and focus more on imaging, coding, and data analysis in this interdisciplinary space. I know I have a lot more to learn and I want to do it and make an impact.

The final paper I wrote, for an internal lab audience, to receive M E 499 project credit. My first research paper! Ever! 

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