The heavy-credit quarters that I suffered through in sophomore year paid off, as I got to do this quarter part-time. It ended up giving me enough space to hone in on my professional side, splitting time between research, capstone, and a part-time internship. For the first time, I felt like a full-fledged adult, as both paychecks and fun experiences came in, during the warmest autumn I experienced in Seattle.
• ENGR 202, the third-ever first-year workshop class taught by me and more than a dozen other Engineering Design Coaches!
• ENGR 321, more internship credit
• M E 414, Engineering Innovation in Health's clinical design boot camp
• M E 499, credits for composite mechanics research (mostly lit review)
September—December 2022 | career track
After a gratifying 9 weeks as a Mechanical Engineering Intern at Chiplytics, I took their offer to return to the role for all of fall quarter. I transitioned from working on a small component of the minimum viable product to working on the design and manufacturing of the entire product and customer experience. This was a direct result of me poking my nose into every internal process and asking lots of questions over the first term of the internship which, to me, validated that approach for the future. I continued learning a ton about how to talk to customers and how to work through a scrappy design process, and I hope I get to do more of it in the future! It sure was nice getting paid, too...
November 28, 2022 | subverted perspectives
I kept looking for jobs this quarter, as I was still somewhat unsure of whether I wanted to go into electronics, medical devices, or another field entirely. (This also gave me the opportunity to practice good open communication with my managers at Chiplytics, as they were in the loop on my job search.) After months of interviews going nowhere, my first-ever job offer came my way in late November, as an environmental engineering consultant at a national firm's office in Oakland.
Finally, after years of getting rejected from colleges, internships, and jobs in the Bay Area, this could be my chance to move there for good!!
I took the opportunity to visit on the company's dime, which turned out to be a hectic experience: I woke up at 4:30am to leave my house at 5:05am to get to the airport at 6am, stood in the security line at SeaTac for 75 minutes (listening to episodes of 99% Invisible for the whole time), ran to my gate for the 7:35am boarding flight, found out the flight got delayed for an undetermined amount of time (ultimately by 3 hours, causing me to reschedule my return flight out of pocket), flew out at 11am, landed at 1:30pm, had hours of informational interviews at the office from 2:30pm to 6pm, flew back out of Oakland at 9pm, landed in Seattle at 11:15pm, and got back home at 12:30am the next day.
It took me all of that to realize I didn't want the job. Environmental engineering consulting sounded cool (and is cool), but as I toured the office and talked to many people about their jobs, one question from an employee who'd stalked (by their own admission) this website stuck out to me: "Your website shows you're very product development-oriented. Are you willing to lose that?" The thought of "I do not see myself doing this for 2 years" kept intruding my brain, and I also became afraid of trying to claw my way back to the thing that I really wanted to do, product development, after working at an unrelated job just to live in the Bay Area. I'm still really, really grateful for this experience, however. The only thing I'm interested in more than product development is getting to know people, and I got to do that to my heart's desire.
The funniest thing about this? I was exposed to COVID at the office, and didn't find out until I emailed my offer rejection notice. Oops
December 6, 2022 | career track
At the same time that I was interning in the electronics industry and exploring a consulting job offer, I charged ahead with my exploration of the medical device industry through the Engineering Innovation in Health program. Working as part of a group of 4 engineering undergrad & grad students (and one entrepreneurship master's student that we dragged into this whole ordeal) and with a gastroenterologist at UW Medicine, we explored gaps surrounding the use of wound vacuum-assisted closure in esophageal leaks and possible solutions to the problems. For the first time, I got exposed to tools, including QFD matrices, lean business canvases, and stakeholder maps, that are used to better understand what solutions should look like. The three-credit boot camp class turned out to be way more work than the credit count let on, but I feel like I learned way more about what it's like to engage in product design and development outside of the university bubble, and this day's EIH Fall Symposium represented what I felt like was a proper culmination of that learning. Because of the way the program works, next quarter, I get to find out whether the project actually continues!
December 12-20, 2022 | subverted perspectives
I lived in Israel just long enough for it to leave a lasting imprint on my personality and memory, but not long enough for me to have lived a proper life there. Additionally, as I went through junior high and high school in the US and became busier and busier, my family's visits back home became rarer. By the time my mom and I took off for Tel Aviv (via Paris) on the 10th of this month, it had been 5 years to the day since the last time my feet were on Israeli soil. This was my chance to experience Israel as an adult for the first time.
Did I? Somewhat. I was effectively chained to my mom, my sister, or both of them for most of the time, since I didn't have my own car or remember how to speak any Hebrew. ("I forgot how to speak two languages over the course of my life" is my fun fact at most parties.) I was also lacking sleep, not adjusting well to the time zone, and anxious, so I was sick a lot of the time, and getting food poisoning at a Dead Sea resort cafeteria didn't help. I saw so much of my mom's side of the family who hadn't seen me in a while and didn't know what to ask other than "what are you studying in college?", "how much time do you have left in college?", "what are your plans after college?", and "where is Seattle?", which made me feel like an adult but not the most fulfilled conversation-wise. On the other hand, I also got a lot closer with my cousins, drinking alcohol legally with them for the first time at a chain pub at a mall outside of my hometown. I also got to reflect deeper on my weird relationship with Israel and Judaism everywhere I turned, having criss-crossed the country everywhere between the Negev, the Upper Galilee, and the Western Wall as a 21-year-old instead of as a 16-year old or 7-year-old.
Returning from the trip, I'm deciding to work on being more Israeli and more Jewish over the coming years, although I don't know what that means quite yet.