Albert Einstein was one of the greatest minds in physics. His unruly hair and grand ideas about the cosmos have changed the way we think about gravity, time and space. The eccentric character he possessed made him an icon in Switzerland, Germany and beyond, as he dared to challenge the Reich twice! Even after his discoveries were used to create the bombs that decimated Hiroshima and Nagasaki he remained relevant and revered for his humanitarianism. A truly amazing man.
His life wasn’t all roses and accolades though, and NatGeo does a superb job at piecing together the life of this true genius. From his love live, marriages and children to his journey as a student and patent clerk, they bring his softer side to light despite the shortcomings if his arrogance and callousness. The parade of scientific contemporaries, the likes of Marie Curie and Planck, make the show a remarkable geek and nerdgasm. Imagine living in those times and knowing the people we now credit for Nobel worthy discoveries. Time machine anyone?
If you have a moment, consider binging on this extravagant yet realistic view inside the science that shaped the 20th century. We wouldn’t be here without the application of the work these fine scientists. Their lives are very much worth celebrating and honoring on the small screen. Truly an inspiration for all of us who endeavor to reach, literally, for the stars. The men and women behind the curtain are truly admirable and interesting. The patriotism and overwhelming uncertainty of the first half of the 1900s palpable as it was an honor to advance science and engineering to win and end wars. A different take on history, if there ever could be one.
After 8 months of hard work, the university teams had the opportunity to fly and prove that their autopilot programs worked. The event took place at Ball Ground’s Model Airplane field and we had a few people from the model association moderating the field. Our team lead gave a short safety briefing and off they went!
Overall, the teams did really well with their design and manufacturing plans. All of them flew ahead of the competition but we still had two crashes occur before they could test out the UAV’s autopilots. Even though the teams had self impossed missions to perform the competition doesn’t require proof of concept, just functional flying aircraft.
Clemson, Purdue, BYU, Tuskegee, Everett Community College, and GA Tech participated in this year’s cohort sponsored by Boeing, Siemens and Dassault. We had a guy from NASA show up too which was cool becausw he is also an astronaut! Thanks to the success of the program it looks like they may be adding additional schools for the 2017-2018 season. 🙂 The students had fun and we did too. Hopefully they learned how to build something better. Hehe
During the Emerald City Comic Con I had the idea of swinging by the QuirkBooks booth about an hour before the convention ended and walked into a frenzied discounted product sale! Woop woop! Their add in the event’s program guide piqued my interest because they carried a book called Wonder Women and once I got there they had so many geektastic offerings that it was hard to walk away with just one. The staff was very generous and gave visitors the last of the tote bags with lots of freebies and goodies. 😆😊
The first item I picked out to read from the stuffed goodie bag was Stuff Every Geek Should Know. This thin booklet didn’t have a bar code on it or ISBN so assume they must give it away for free at Cons and special events. My only regret is that I didn’t take more because my friends would love owning one of these manuals to ensure successful geek coexistence with the real world. 🤓😛 Their bit about hacking your online profile, naming children after your favorite characters and ways for nerds and geeks to make friends at cons were hilariously accurate. Their advice was dead on! Can’t wait to try it.
I liked the rhetoric and aloof writing style so much I decided to review the offerings I purchased by blog article to share them with my peeps and future readers. My hope is y’all visit the store’s webpage and sponsor the endeavor. It was really cool to finally find material I could relate to and enjoy. I’d like to contribute to their success too!
Sam Maggs wrote a compilation of stories that focus on women who are recognized as pioneers and overachievers in their respective fields. Illustrated by Sophia Foster-Dimino, gorgeously designed page backgrounds are filled with factual data and quirks about each selected superstar. Great book to inspire and teach children of all genders and orientations about the achievements of female scientists, innovators, adventurers and even spies that shaped our modern world. 🔬🔬🔬🔬
The Geek’s Guide To Dating
Have you ever wondered how geeks manage to navigate relationships successfully? Are you stuck in the dating world’s Neutral Zone? Do you need bonafide geek advice to find your Player Two? This book will help you figure out what kind of nerd you are and what steps to take to find a quest-mate. Although it relates to dating it can also help you build any type of relationship, reagardless of geek status and gender or sexual preferences. Be prepared to honestly take stock of your character stats and get your stores in order to embark on this hilarious journey of introspective self discovery. The geek references alone are worth every copper piece spent! (This book is a good read for the married geeks looking to spark things up again, nerd style.) 😄😄😄😄
Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture, Edited by Steven H Segal
Filled with quotes from around Nerdom, this book will remind any geek and nerd why they fell in love with the sci-fi and fantasy genres in the first place. Asimov, Huxley, Ralph Wiggum and Mae Jemison, to name a few, are featured in this work to remind us that many of the truisms and phrases we use daily come from our beloved geek heroes; the people who shaped the sci-fi, fantasy and actual scientific writings into mainstream speak. Reading its pages reminded me of my childhood and upbringing, of the many one liners I drop on people hoping they understand where I am coming from, to find my tribe. Excellent gift for nerds, geeks and posers alike. 🤓🤓🤓🤓
Disney made a deal with the makers of Metal Earth to design DIY model kits based on their most popular characters and films. These are available for purchase on site at the Disney parks or can be found in museums, online and in certain novelty stores. Favorite designs include Star Wars Star Destroyers, R2-D2, X-Wing, The Black Pearl, 3D Castles and Cinderella’s Carriage.
The models can be put together using tweezers and pliers since the manufactuter touts that “no glue is required” to join the pieces. Sadly, the Cinderella’s Carriage model my coworker got me as a gift didn’t live up to that expectation. The undercarriage got fatigued and broke off as I was putting it together and although salvageable, other components buckled and broke off resulting in the loss of many valuable pieces and aesthetics.
Ironically, we ended up needing to glue some of it together. To add insult to injury, the instructions were not super easy to follow nor sequenced optimally so some improvisation was required. Read the entire manual before commencing to ensure success. After 6 hrs of hard work the final product was ready for display. Yay! It came out looking good but not great, and I have the scars to prove it. 😦 The part holder edges are extremely sharp!
Many of these Metal Earth kits will have you cursing rather than enjoying your evening without the appropriate tools or approach. Check Amazon for tool kits specially made and marketed for this hobby. Not recommended for the faint of heart or people with kids under 3 due to small parts. Rated 14+.
Written by Peggy A. Pritchard and Christine Grant, this book turned out to be a must have for any woman interested in or pursuing a career in STEM. I was fortunate to have gotten this book as a thank you gift from my organization for attending the Women of Color in STEM conference. Released in 2015 as a companion to the book Success Strategies for Women in Science: A Portable Mentor. These two books have been updated to keep up with social media trends and developments.
The book sums up my experiences at the seminars and sessions to the point I found it eerie. The bottom line is that women in math, science, tech and math need to stand together to break through the glass ceiling making sure they employ strategies that enable them to become strong independent leaders and advocates for women in the workforce and for their respective fields. The advice in this book is stellar and can be life changing for those looking for wisdom, encouragement or enlightenment regardless of gender.
I must admit that by the end of the discussion it becomes very clear that women still have to adapt their styles to please men and be perceived as technical experts. It is a sad realization but one must play the game to win and to effect and affect social change. At some point the board tables will be full of women that can attest that progress has been made and sustained in terms of pay and gender equality. This is an excellent book for young women looking to start a career path in STEM and an eye opening text for those who want to mentor and coach women into high up positions.
The women of STEM are fearless. They helped build the foundations for the technology we enjoy today. They are mothers, grandmothers, sisters, wives, friends whose fierceness is admirable because they defied the odds to get to where they are today. Many take for granted the ability to go to school, later to college and acquire a degree that will open the door to a long and successful career. Some of the women in STEM were the first to earn a degree for their kind, and some for their countries and ethnicity as recent as last year. It is amazing to have met the leaders of the past, present and future during my days at the Women of Color conference in Detroit, MI (2016). A true blessing to have been selected to attend.
The conference aims to explore the stories and struggles of the women in science, engineering, math and technology. Open to all, you will see men and women of all colors, backgrounds and sizes walking through the COBO Center. The ultimate goal is to network, listening and learning about the many ways one can further a career with grace, diplomacy, and compassion proactively and effectively. As an audience, your only job is to internalize the information and become self aware; to let go of the biases and impediments that you impose on yourself and your professional development.
At every seminar gifts are bestowed upon the brave souls that dare to speak to the crowd and participate by asking questions. What surprised me was that some of these give aways include books! First conference ever where I see this occur. It is true what they say, knowledge is power, and wisdom and enlightenment is exactly what you will take home. The fact that women planned and executed this event for the betterment of womankind is remarkable. With unity comes strength and at the WOC there is no cat fighting and backstabbing allowed; we come together to raise each other and further woman equality and pride in the workforce. We are blessed to be together from all over the world to celebrate the technology stars of today.
If you can, check out their website and enroll for next year. Dare to nominate yourself too. This experience is best lived than described. Plus Detroit isn’t so bad either.
We all want to be considered exceptional, stellar, and unique. It is our desire to be seen as different, avant garde and ahead of the curve. However, being a true exception to the rule is never easy and may require a lot of patience, sacrifice and fortitude to overcome the challenges that come with the position. In many cases you must show that your talents or circumstances are unique and that your life, goals or effort matters more than the rule. Because of the unique quality of the predicament people may shy away from or condemn you because they cannot relate to your reality. Don’t lose hope! The value of an exceptional person is measured by the plight of their story and the richness of their far out ideas. People will come around once they understand or comprehend that drives and motivates you to keep on trekking is beneficial to the world.
At the Women of Color conference I met a lot of exceptions to the rule. There were women who came from poverty and/or escaped war torn countries. Several had to fight misogyny and prejudice to earn and keep scholarships during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Many recounted how they had to prove everyone wrong, including their families and peers, to be recognized and promoted in acedemia and their current STEM field. I was amazed at how women, and minorities have struggled to become educated and pioneers in their respective areas of research and development, their stories now surfacing as we attempt to reach a healthy balance between diversity and inclusive in the workforce.
If you have a chance, check out the book and movie called Hidden Figures. It was heavily featured during the conference and features Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as the trio of Black Women who coded for the first NASA space missions enabling the astronauts to reach the moon. These ladies eventually earned world renown due to their mathematical, science and engineering prowess even though many of us had never heard or seen them sharing the spotlight. At the time, they were exceptions in a society that devalued women’s intellect and the black race’s worth. They exemplify the courage and will power ir takes to defy the standards attributed to your gender and to rise in an environment that shuns your participation because of your gender.
To me, what makes us at one point or another exceptions to the rule, is our need to dare to to what others may find taboo or impossible. Once upon a time taking a breastfeeding pump into an office space was unheard of and could cost you your job. Now, thanks to the enterprising spirit of the corporate women of the 80s, we have Mother’s Rooms or safe spaces to pump and work in peace. Regardless of how you feel about the LGBTQIA community, we are starting to see bathrooms as the unisex entities that they are and to stop fearing the lovely people who chose to identify with the gender that better suits their pursuits and state of mind. During the Vietnam War, the high incidence of maiming resulted in a need to redo the way we addressed physical disabilities and mobility access to welcome back our heroes. The ramp on the sidewalk we take for granted was made possible by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Everyone has a right to live in peace, protected by the constitution, and it is up to us to learn to embrace the exceptions to the rule to make progress as a society.
Not all exceptions to the rule are good but make sure you don’t lose your identity and peace of mind trying to conform to a society that would be better served by your uniqueness. In many ways having an iPhone X or a car, heck even an education, doesn’t make you feel like the exception to the rule because those items are so common but, statistically speaking, you are part of the top 2% of the world’s population that enjoys these commodities. The other 98% of the planet doesn’t have all this plus the liberties of a stable democratic government. Think about it for a second. Just because you were born stateside you are already ahead of the game. You are already exceptional.
If you have the intestinal fortitude treat everyone as if they are extraordinary. Don’t assume the hooded kid is out to mischief, or use to determine the type of safety threat underneath. When you see a human being harrassed don’t assume they deserve it or that someone else will help them. Clear your unconscious bias and replace them with factual conclusions and opinions. Become more knowledgeable about the rules and its exceptions. Embrace and effect change.
The 2016 conference took place from Oct 13th to Oct 15th. It was a nice 60°F. 😀
With the tagline STEM is a girl thing, the 21rst annual Women of Color in STEM conference kicked off at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan. My managers decided to send me to this event because as an engineer I am very involved with the science, technology, engineering and math initiatives that our organization sponsor at the K-12 and college levels. It is a uniqie opportunity to network with all of the minority groups considered of color in the USA without having to limit the participation to engineering students and graduates. If you work in any of the STEM fields and can pay the admissions fee, you will be taken through a behind the scenes look of what women endure in this male doninated environment and what they are doing to bring more young ladies into the field.
As a corporate sponsor, my company gets the perks of hosting break out sessions and reception events throughout the conference. After landing in DTW and checking in at the Crowne Plaza, we gathered in the Richard room of the Downtown Renaissance Hotel for a quick meal and registration check in. It is interesting to be around mostly women engineers and scientists, educators and leaders of the STEM world. Lots of heels, make up, skirts, boots and people of all ethnicities and genders.
Day 1: #STEMisagirlthing
We started the day with a breakfast with our corporate HR leaders and award winners for my organization. To recognize our participation, they gave us a few trinkets and a book to get us revved up about the possibilities of women in STEM. Many may not realize the challenges our predecessors had to get to the high ranking jobs, to become emgineers, managers and VPs. Sadly only 1% of board seats are occupied by women, and we need to fight to earn more pull to be represented at the table. Women are strong, smart, fierce and dedicated hard workers; we never give up and we never surrender. It is our ability to adapt to change for the benefit of our families that make us the best candidates to affect workplace reform and make it stick. The time is now, and we must rise to the challenge for the sake of our daughters.
The day was filled with conferences, meet and greets and lot and lot of networking. The first break out session Think, Act, Achieve Extraordinary Results – Winning Executive Coaching Strategies for the Leader and the Coach focused on the differences between mentorship and coaching, diving deep into the motivations behind both categories: Coaches will help you find your own way versus a mentor who has a specific mastery that you need to learn or harness. Coaching is all inclusive and you have to work to develop the entire individual not just the professional within. This was really eye opening because as a mentor we are told to focus on the technical excellence side forgetting that the attitudes and thoughts of the individual affect their performance inside and outside of the workplace. We are human, not just lawyers, doctors or STEM professionals and we need to nurture the soul to be able to get to where we need to be. To become better.
What I found fascinating about this talk was that as an Engineering Performance Coach my job role aligns more with mentoring than coaching. Why? Because a coach’s job is to assist a person to be introspective and learn about themselves to take the next steps necessary to succeed; it is about being honest, having integrity and keeping things confidential. What I do work wise is to help people master a system tool or process without any other interactions before or after the assistance is provided. Based on what Harrie-Marcia Shakir and Cheryl Jefferson conveyed coaches aren’t there tell someone what to do but rather facilitate their introspective journey. I like the idea of making my job more about helping people become better and take action during the process of discovery. Of listening more than talking.
The big take away from the session was that if you don’t have the time to coach, mentor; if you can’t listen, share your story and advise. Being a good listener is they key to be effective as a coach and you must be willing to stretch yourself and your own goals to grow into the role. With passion and caring you can assist the other person reach their goals effectively. As a coach you must ask questions to reach moments of clarity and genuinly care and support the person through their process of self awareness. If you only tell people what to do and how to do it you are doing them a disservice; you must engage their inner thought processes to figure out what their game plan should be. Don’t give solutions to other people’s problems, help them find their own.
Phew! Lots of brain power was used in this session so I was tempted to take a break. But the show must go on so I bravely trekked on to the next session: Daring to be Different; Breaking the Glass Ceiling and Riding the Glass Escalator presented by Lockheed Martin. Wouldn’t you know they decided to break us into groups to socialize! My introvert heart is about to go into arrest. I like talking to people but not to this extent. Grin and bear it, I guess!
Cheri Larkins, Melonie D. Parker and Dionne Mack guides us through real life exercises that touched base on how to break the glass ceiling. They also introduced the concept of the Glass Escalator where men are promotef faster in women dominated careers. The thought is that there is an unconscious bias towards women, making them appear inferior to men just by virtue of gender bias. Hard to overcome both in the workplace. Not even the jobs traditionally dominated by women are safe anymore! Imagine that, men making more money and being promoted over women just because they are men…(sarcasm). Y’all need to learn how hard women have it. It ain’t easy.
After the signature seminar I grabbed lunch at Granite City Food and Brewery. The Duke Pale Ale hit the spot. Ahhh. The weather is holding nicely around 60 degrees so the pictures and walks are turning our rather well. Gotta love autum in the Canada-Michigan border.
Around 2pm, we continued on our self awareness and improvement journey. I went to NASA’s A Perspective from Executives and Trailblazers to learn more about the unknown triumphs and contributions of women of color at this space agency. Two of the panelists were from Puerto Rico, Dr Dionne Hernández-Lugo and Deputy Chief Marla Pérez-Davis. Woop woop! They discussed work life balance and how to get ahead while using mentors and coaches. It was a nice open discussion to compliment the morning lecture.
Fasr forward to 5pm. My new buddies and I went to dinner at Santorini in nearby GreekTown. The meal consisted of flambé appetizers, seafood and lamb combinations and rice pudding for desert. It was delicious and exquisite. Our waitress Amber was really sweet and attentive.
We paid our bills, drank our wine, water and sangría, and took a stroll back to the hotel. Once in my room I checked in with my family back home, watched TV and read the book given to us during the breakfast. The amount of accepted LinkedIn invitations filled my inbox and prove that today was a good day. (This introvert is extremely tired and inspired. 😎)
Day 2: You do you, boo.
For the second day, I had a late start because I needed some rest due to the jet lag. After a quick lunch, I swung by the career fair and checked out the booths. GM, Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop, Aerotek, NASA, USDA Forrest Service and Consumers Energy were a few of the companies that had prime real estate as sponsors but there were many more to see including universities and other government entities. Many students, male and female, took the opportunity to share their resumes and compete for interviews. It was truly a goodie bag paradise. Hehe.
Once I had checked out the Career Fair, I went to a session called Woman to Woman in which we sat in tables as groups to discuss hard hitting questions about women of color in the workforce. I totally forgot to introduce myself when I was sharing the talking points from my team, lead by Angela Barbee-Hatter from GM Global. Without thinking twice the moderator had me go up there to mention who I was and to the cheers of the group I took over the show for a few minutes. Now I am famous. 😎 Never ceases to amaze me how easily I can commandeer a room. Selling myself short is never possible when I get in front of the microphone.
A quick dinner and reception later, I found myself at the Awards Gala. One of our VPs of HR wad being honored at the event and after meeting her I can honestly say she is a very deserving honoree. Hopefully I will be up on stage someday getting recognized for a job well done and for inspiring others to become the leaders of tomorrow. One needs to dream big and aim even higher. Right after the evening ended, I went off to bed since I have to wake up early tomorrow to make my flight back home. Hopefully the Detroit Marathon won’t cause too much of a delay. With the weather we have been having, it is a nice day for a run.
I’ve always wanted to visit Georgia Tech. When I was in high school Atlanta seemed like a good place to escape to while earning an engineering degree as it was, and still is, highly ranked and regarded in the USA. Many of my good friends are from GA Tech, so I guess life had destined us to meet. Hehe
Last week my coworker asked me to participate as a coach and engineering mentor for an intercollegiate initiative called AerosPACE. The goal of this program is to enlist multi discipline teams of undergrads to design, build and operate an unmanned aircraft or UAS. During the competition they will learn and reinforce the art of acquiring requirements and meeting customer demands on a set budget and timeline. In essence, it is similar to what I did back when I was an AeroDesign student for SAE’s collegiate competition. He didn’t have to twist my arm to get me to accede to support this endeavor. It doesn’t hurt that we get paid and flown over to Atlanta to participate. Yay!
We left early on a Thursday morning and headed to the ATL via Alaska Airlines, non-stop service. Since they don’t run IFE (in flight entertainment) the traditional way – they rent out equipment for $12 USD a fee that you can avoid by bringing your own stuff to keep busy – I made a quick stop at Hudson Books and got a few tomes to read during the flight. Breakfast came in the form of a Burger King crossandwich which is a guilty pleasure I enjoy during my travels. The Alaska service for economy class is basic and I’d rather eat at the airport than pay for an onboard meal. It’s cheaper anyway and my company appreciates every penny I can save during my journey. The 737-900 seemed to have the new Sky Interior and 777 style overhead bins which are always a welcomed sight. Now if the guy right next to me was less broad shouldered, I could avoid getting a back spasm because he is pushing me towards the aisle way. 😦 Curse you 17.5 inch wide seats!
4.5 hrs later…
I’m on page 270, the Lusitania just got hit by a torpedo, and they guy next to me encroached on my space and dropped his water all over my lap. The book was unharmed though. 🙂
The weather is clear with 80°F and 60% humidity which is great for Atlanta during August/Summer. Traffic was a pain since we landed at 5:30pm but it didn’t turn into a super long and excruciating ride from the airport to the GA Tech Hotel. We checked in quickly at the convention center and took a break before heading out to dinner at Fandangles. It wasn’t too fancy, although it was mid priced, and our waiter Anthony Brown made the evening delightful and worth the cost of the dinner. After all the professors introduced themselves we networked for a while, ate and then went straight to the hotel to sleep. The skirt steak, chimichurri sauce and chocolate cake I ordered took their toll on little old me. He he 😛 (Made me sleepy.) With the three hour difference it took me a while to fully doze off, giving me time to finish the Lusitania book and start its review around midnight. The plan is to raid the Barnes and Noble across the street from the hotel tomorrow to get another book for the journey home. Gotta use my discounts!
The next morning we went to the Georgia Tech campus and sat through the AerosPACE kick off. Our role in this endeavor is to coach and mentor the aerospace engineering majors to make sure they design the best possible solution for their customer. Employers want grads to possess interpersonal teaming skills and the know how to critically think and analyze engineering problems. It is the goal of this program to mash up students from all over the USA to help them understand the challenges of working across time zones and remotely to get the job done. In April, we will all meet again to see the UAS fly and to celebrate completing such a hard but satisfying journey.
One of our teammates had to fly back home sick so we are down a man. 😦 Hope he feels better soon. This changed up our itinerary somewhat but we still managed to hit lunch in time. The Papa John’s pizza and this morning’s Starbucks sandwich have me rethinking my diet and exercise plan for the weekend. My coworkers are on board to walking later in the day but it turned out that Pappadeux was about 16 mins away on car so we ended up driving instead. The weather was truly lovely and we did not mind the temperature being in the 80s. I have to admit I miss the toasty warm feeling of the Atlantic/Caribbean sun but not the humidity.
Pappadeux is technically in Marietta, the home of Lockheed Martin (nee Marietta). The Seafood Kitchen moniker is exactly true and doesn’t give it justice. Inside the place you feel like you are at the Bayou or Gulf enjoying a nice evening out with friends. The decoration and ambiance are delightful and the service was friendly, warm and quick. The libations, both alcoholic and non, were excellent; my watermelon mule was refreshing and perfect for the weather and environment. You could hear live music in the patio, another cool place to enjoy your meal. I had the Salmon Alexander which has a little bit of scallops, shrimp and other fare on top of the fille served with yummy dirty rice. Anything seafood or meat will be excellent and tasty, especially the shareable appetizers. 😀
After the meal we went back to the hotel (nearly got hit on the highway in the process, nice save by my German driver-internal joke) and took a stroll through Barnes and Noble. I couldn’t decide which book to get so I will have to rely on Delta’s IFE, especially now that I got bumped up to first/business class. Woop woop! I’m so close to Gold Medallion status it is exciting! A miracle though that I got upgraded since this route is usually full. He he. After the stroll and the good upgrade news, I went to the hotel, packed up and went to bed. Outside, students walked up and down the streets and placed lures that almost landed me a Charmander. Almost…
The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and finished up the AerosPACE kick off. The students and faculty presented the schedule and communication tools. By the end of the day they had preliminary schedules and concepts as they present to the advisory board September 23rd. It will be interesting to see how the designs have evolved by then. We wrapped up on a high note and stopped to lunch at Der Biergarten on our way to the airport.
Traffic cooperated and we made it in time to catch our flight back home. Next time, I hope the Braves are in town to catcha game. Let us see how the project turns out. We’ll be back in April. Until then ATL!