I escaped news from Ukraine by going to a Sounders game with two of my fraternity brothers. There's nothing behind my eyes in this picture

2.5 years into my engineering degree, I'm in too deep to turn back. I got through a year of online school, so what's another month of it in the beginning of the quarter? I got through plenty of personal life events in the past, so what's a war in my parents' home country gonna do to me? 
The answer: a lot, and I could only get through this quarter through faith that everything was going to turn out fine.
• ENGR 202, the first-ever first-year workshop class taught by me and more than a dozen other Engineering Design Coaches!
M E 333, fluid mechanics theory & lab experiments
• M E 355, the physics & applications of manufacturing processes (including lots of time in the Mechanical Engineering Shop building a Stirling engine)
• M E 373, "everything is an electrical circuit if you think about it hard enough" (a.k.a. system dynamics and controls)
leaping into learning
January 14, 2022 | professional identity
At the beginning of this quarter, I transitioned away from the cell biomechanics lab to help Dr. Lucas Meza, a nanomaterials and nanomechanics research professor, start a new project on composite laminate mechanics. As I reflected on last quarter, the previous research lab provided me with a "gateway drug" into bioengineering, but I wanted to explore more traditional mechanical engineering disciplines. I got introduced to Dr. Meza through him teaching M E 354 last quarter and enjoyed the class a ton, motivating me to continually bother him to let me join his lab. As of now, I don't regret it — I'm enjoying the R&D/startup-esque work I'm doing, working with very simple latex models before moving onto more complex work with carbon fiber layup next quarter — and it's allowed me to take ownership of the "define" and "prototype" steps of the Design Thinking model.

Very early exploration into laminate mechanics through latex bilayer sheets

faith in chaos
February 23, 2022 | overcoming anxiety
The last time I visited eastern Ukraine, where both of my parents were born and grew up, was in 2013. This was the year after the Euro 2012 competition breathed new life into the region, and the year before the 2014 invasion erased any conception of the region as we knew it. 
Fast-forward eight years later, things aren't getting any better. My dad's side of the family has fled the country (ironically, to southern Russia) and there's renewed pressure from Russia. Now that I live with two other Ukrainians, there's at least a support network to share in the pain.
Having both sides of my family be in active warzones hits different.

The house group chat reacting to the invasion of Ukraine

faith in growth
Experiential Learning Activity 2
March 18, 2022 | leadership development
I came into the Engineering Design Coach program seeking a more rigorous and structured teaching experience. Last quarter, I prepared what I thought would be a challenging and rewarding topic to teach engineering students: design sketching. To me, this quarter represented my chance to finally dive head-first into the experience, hopefully exposing students to industrial design and boosting their creative confidence along the way.

Looking back, I feel silly for thinking that teaching in N95s during the height of the omicron wave would be the largest of the hurdles I encountered this quarter. Between three Mechanical Engineering classes, starting at a new research lab, leading HuskyADAPT's design teams and developing an accessible design curriculum, coming back to design work at The Daily, and recruiting season, I already found it difficult to focus on developing and running my workshop. In the span of four weeks in the middle of the quarter, my immediate family faced COVID and my extended family faced the emerging war in Ukraine, forming a month full of incessant anxiety, declining mental health, and sleep deprivation, during which my stress radiated on everyone around me. I find myself asking: how, and why, did I teach six iterations of my workshop this quarter?

For one, I kept getting scheduled, and my immigrant mindset prevents me from saying no to anything. In informing them about one of my own three close encounters with omicron this quarter (having symptoms related to sleep deprivation), the two EDC instructional leads performed something I like to think is a bit akin to an intervention to prevent me from burning myself out by the end of this quarter. I felt comfortable enough to advocate for my own mental health for the first time in my life instead of staying with my "it is what it is" mindset, cutting down my availability for workshops threefold and reducing my workload to just one workshop a week. However, while that definitely helped make the teaching experience less stressful, I think my biggest motivator was my emerging passion for teaching people creativity. Despite whatever stresses related to preparing an amorphous workshop topic I had, the two hours a week in which I interacted with first-year ENGRUDs at Area 01 were always the highlights of my week. Over the course of this quarter, I not only improved my public speaking skills and found a newfound confidence in my ability to explain new ideas simply, but also made meaningful connections with curious and passionate students which have come up outside of the classroom. I've grown not only as an educator who's able to get students to think about the world around them, but also as a person who's actively aware of their impact on others and chooses to make it positive. 

The best part? I get to do it all over again next quarter. To me, that represents an opportunity for me to truly respond to student feedback and my own aspirations by bringing a workshop experience which teaches students not just the fundamentals of design drawing, but also exactly how to apply them to their own ideation work. I'm excited to experiment with reworking my workshop to achieve this, potentially by reducing the amount of time spent on perspective drawing or orthographic projections and collaborating with my industry connections on interactive design exercises. I'm also excited to get more practice with speaking concisely, a skill that I struggled with this quarter and which will be incredibly useful to me in the future. Finally, I feel more confident in my ability to handle emergencies which will inevitably come up next quarter, as I know that even though life is hard, I have the right people around me and the willpower within me to stay passionate and thoughtful.

The annotated slide deck from my 5th (out of 6) workshop taught this quarter, making a great record of how much pen-to-paper work was being done...

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