30 December 2008

Ski Trip

Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of going skiing with Chucky and Nick Bell - I even met up with Jordan! The gear rental ticket allows the holder to switch between skiing and snowboarding free of charge, so I gave snowboarding a go. It is quite different from skiing, but pretty fun, too. I took several spills and one really nasty fall on the caboose, but I'm still kicking around, haha. I was really glad to put my snow pants to use at least once this year, too.

Take a look at these fabulous boys just before we hit the powder:

Jordan and his mom arrived well before I did, and by the time Chucky, Nick and I were just getting started, Jordan and Kim were about to leave. So, Jordan and I didn't get to hang out too much, but we did exchange Christmas gifts! He bought me the second book in the Twilight series (can't wait to see what trouble Bella and Edward get into), and I got him a photo of me pulling a face while he innocently smiled at the camera - HA! (It's become a sort of game between us and Jared, too.) Which is clearly why he got me in the photo below, haha:

After snowboarding for a few hours I decided to get on some skis and actually succeed in a snow sport that day. One of the big slopes was nice and lengthy and allowed for a good deal of speed, that one was my favorite. I got to see what a great snow boarder Chucky is! He's in love with it, haha! He loves it so much he managed to convince me down a black diamond that I certainly made it down (albeit at the pace of a snail for most of it). I'm glad I did it, though - it was empowering! Kind of. More frightening, I guess, haha.

Any way, I had a blast, and I'm really glad I let Chucky talk me into joining him. That evening was the terrible ice storm of 2008 and, lucky for us, Chucky didn't let us leave until 7:45p because by then the temperature had risen above freezing and the roads were much safer.

Here's a great photo of me and Chucky:


Purdue Graduation

I've done it! I am now a proud Purdue University alumna! After 4.5 years in Boiler Nation I am now pressing onward into the next chapter of life: The Real World. More on that later.

In case you're wondering, I've graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Network Engineering Technology (think design, implementation and maintenance of hardware for computer networks) and a minor in Organizational Leadership and Supervision.

A quick recap of my nine happy semesters:

Semester One: little freshman, triathlon club, NROTC, first triathlon, meeting heaps of new friends, started dating Roy

Semester Two: used to the college scene, still with Roy, triathlon club, NROTC, two more triathlons, WIT

Semester Three: first apartment, still with Roy, house parties galore, started getting into yoga, WIT President

Semester Four: dealing with a roommate friendship gone bad, more house parties, dabbling with running, WIT President

(Don't worry, my grades were still fantastic, tee hee!)

Semester Five: gained a new circle of friends, movie nights, started serving on the C&IT Industrial Advisory Board, WIT President, first studio apartment

Semester Six: developed a slight bout of Senioritis, WIT President, C&IT IAB, getting more into running, began to consider a Study Abroad,

Semester Seven: officially a senior, C&IT IAB, WIT President, finally turned 21, Breakfast Club, serious about running, pot luck roommate in a great, new apartment, started dating Adam, gained a new circle of friends

Semester Eight: in Australia, lots of traveling, met loads of new (international) friends, gained new perspectives on life and the world (see Australia blog for more)

Semester Nine: the home stretch, tried many new restaurants, celebrated my first one year anniversary, ran my first half-marathon, accepted a job with Lockheed Martin upon graduation

Ah... it's been a great experience. I love Purdue! I bleed black and gold! Here are some photos from Commencement in December 2008:

My family and I

My grandparents and I

My great friends Alex and Feras and I

My old friend, Tyler, and I

Me crossing the railroad tracks towards the south to represent the end of my undergraduate career and the beginning of my relationship with the Purdue Alumni family

Just a quick blurb about the actual ceremony - it wasn't as long as anyone expected - yippee! And that day was the coldest day of my life! -20 degree wind chill! No one who attended the ceremony that day will ever, ever forget how cold it was, haha! On a more serious note, I really enjoyed President France Cordova's words and the music. It felt so wonderful crossing that stage!

Thank you so much to my amazing family, friends and Purdue!


22 December 2008

Master Bedroom Plan

I've been getting excited about dressing up my new apartment, and I thought I'd share a little about my plans. This post will detail my master bedroom. The color theme is of shimmery blues and a little brown, too.

Here is a photo of the curtains I chose.

And here is the bed set I purchased. This set is the beige color theme, whereas mine is actually the blue color theme which better matches the curtains above.

I've decided to paint the bedroom, but I'm undecided on what color and shade. I'm thinking a faint blue or maybe a light creamy color? I just want something other than white. I'm very tired of white walls.

As for furniture, I have a ways to go. I will be buying a dresser, and a night stand. I'd also like a shelving unit of some sort, if space allows.

For the master bathroom, I'm not sure what theme to go with. I don't want to do anything typical (i.e., the beach, fish, etc.). And my current bath decor will be made into the guest bath decor - that means the master bath can't be avocado green-based. Hmm... I'm thinking grey. Grey and silver, maybe? I'll have to think on that a bit.

So that's my master bedroom plan.



I am proud to share with you that I am now a Purdue University alumna!

Despite the bitter, bitter cold weather, my family and grandparents shared the day with me in celebration. The ceremony was very pleasant and it was a great feeling to walk across the stage.

I want to thank my parents for their never-ending support, especially in these last 4.5 years. I love you, Mom and Daddy. Thank you.

I also want to thank the many friends I've made at Purdue. You have become my second family.

My grandparents took the photos today, and I don't have copies of them yet, but here is one of me and Purdue Pete from the Senior Send-Off event:

Boiler Up!


18 December 2008

Opportunistic October

Whoops, I got out of order with my months. Oh, well. Here is October 2008:

Opportunity - a possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances.

In October I was fortunate enough, once again, to be supported on a trip to Keystone, Colorado to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2008. The experience was priceless and I met several great women from across the world. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip, the sessions and all of the fun stuff!

During one weekend the folks came up for a visit. We all went to Pepe's to visit Chucky while he was working. He hooked us up, and we returned the favor for his waiter Bingo, haha - his coworkers were not pleased that he won so quickly.

October holds a day that celebrates moldy cheese, appropriately named Moldy Cheese Day, haha - can you believe it? Because we love cheese, Adam and I bought some fancy cheese and bread and wine and had a nice little Italian dinner.

October break was fun and relaxing. I was lucky enough not to have much school work going on, and that always makes for a nice break. I remember that me and Adam had a pleasant weekend.

Adam took me to see another Margot concert. It was fantastic. I fell in love with them all over again with the release of their new album (Not/Animal).

On the 18th Adam and I ran the Indianapolis Mini Marathon with my mom! It was AWESOME! I had never ran for so long in one session, and I had never been SO sore (thank goodness for the hot tub), but it was completely worth it. Racing the mini was motivating, toned me up almost instantly, and I just loved it! My mom finished, then Adam, and then myself (my mom had trained a lot more than what Adam and I had). All of our times qualified us for the Indianapolis 500 Mini in the spring - I just booked my flight from Orlando for that race with my mom, actually. Ah, what a great race! I finished in 2 hours and 19 minutes. (Search for our names at this link for more details: http://www.tuxbro.com/results/2008/IM3/IMhalfa.htm )

October held the Computer and Information Technology Industrial Advisory Board meeting of the semester. Stephanie Semmel was new to the Board this year; she'll be taking over for me. I'm glad she enjoyed her position as the new student representative. As far as content discussed at the meeting, I think it's brilliant that the courses are being adjusted in the interest of retaining female student. Also, the C&IT labs are getting a lot of light.

Lastly, Halloween. What a FUN night! Adam, Kubacki, Feras and I went to Potter's party on the south side of Indy. Adam and Kubacki caught up with everyone while Feras and I had a goofy time together, haha. I'll never forget that night. Costume wise we were great - I was a librarian, Feras was Bob Marley, Kubacki was a SWAT guy, and Adam took the cake as Charlie Chaplin - it was priceless. This was also the first and only occasion I've seen Adam without his beard. It was kind of strange.

And that was October 2008.


16 December 2008

Nostalgic November

Nostalgia: a bittersweet yearning for the things of the past

So befitting a post title for the eleventh month of 2008.

During November of this year my mom visited Adam and I at Purdue. We had a great evening during which we went to Akropolis for some delicious Greek cuisine (it was my mom's first time). Afterwards the three of us ventured back to campus for some gelato at Grey House.

I ran a 5-mile race with Mom - Run the Mounds. It was one of my worst runs (hers, too, if I remember correctly), but we were both very glad we got out there and ran. Plus there was an assortment of food and snacks afterwards, so that was really great. Plus, I just love running at Mounds State Park. It's where the birth of my passion for running took place.

The presidential election took place during this month. It was quite a hype leading up to the 4th, but afterwards it was fairly calm, if you ask me. I'm really happy about Barack Obama becoming the president-elect for the next presidential term in the USA. It's a tough time for the US, but we'll see what happens.

One night was particularly fun when me, Adam, Kubacki and Feras went to see Quantum of Solace (the second of the new bond movies) and then had dinner at Nine Irish Brother's. We had a spectacular time out that night.

During the weekend of and on the 8th of November Adam and I celebrated our one year anniversary. The day couldn't have been more perfect (with the exception of his becoming ill throughout the day = ( ... Regardless, we each enjoyed our gifts, and cherished the day and what it represented to us. I've never had the pleasure of sharing such a wonderful year with someone so amazing as Adam. I am thankful for every day of that year together.

In retrospect one can see how November would be such a nostalgic month for me. Among the memories reflected here in this post, It holds a tremendously beloved memory with someone very dear to my heart.


15 December 2008

Friday Funday

Ergh, this is what happens when you wait months and months to write up a post. I was good and got the images uploaded (see below), but I don't have much of a post to go with them. So, I'll leave it at that and caption the photos for your enjoyment.

Stephanie, me, Candice and Jen with the GHC 2008 sign

Myself with the Lockheed Martin recruiting team

A really pretty sunrise Friday morning

Two USS Grace Hopper sea mates and myself

Sweet September

September happens to be one of my favorite months of the year. I love autumn, the weather is starting to change, college football is rolling, and, not to mention, it brings with it my birthday!

I say sweet September because it was such a sweet month. Sweet is a word meaning "pleasing to the mind or feeling." And September was just that: pleasing.

Classes were getting going and were going well. Adam and I thoroughly enjoyed Breakfast Club craziness and a few home football games at Purdue (though the team had a kind of rough year).

Karan and Ed took me and Adam to Nine Irish Brother's for dinner one weekend - so delicious. It was a very pleasant visit.

One of the first couple weeks of September was Purdue's Black, Gold and Green week to demonstrate the ways in which Purdue was becoming more and more environmentally friendly. I really enjoyed that but I ask why can't it be more than just one week. Alas, it's a start in the right direction.

As I was fortunate enough to receive some financial support through some scholarships from the College of Technology, I attended a scholarship reception. It was very well enjoyed. Many students received scholarships, and the keynote, Abelardo, shared a truly amazing and moving story about his path to further his education at Purdue.

I had the pleasure of meeting Eric and Georgie at Grey House a couple times for tea and gellato! Georgie is an exchange student from Australia - Brisbane, QUT to be specific. It was great to catch up with her and Eric and talk about our trips.

Once again I got a group together to pay a semesterly trip to Hei Sei (Pratt, myself, Adam, and the Sees). As always, it was a good time and great sushi! Mmm!

A new tradition crept up during September: movie nights with ice cream breaks at Cold Stone's Creamery! I wonder why I hadn't come up with that idea sooner?! Kubacki, Adam, Feras and I took full advantage of those nights. Typically they fell on Sundays, and those days, according to Feras, are the days when I become super goofy, haha.

And, lastly, my favorite trend of the semester began, and that would be visits to The Hookah. I love that place so much, and it has provided me with many cherished memories.

Ah, September 2008. Ever so sweet.

13 December 2008

Ambitious August

I've been slacking with the posts this semester - goes to show what a busy final semester of college it has been! Let me get started:

I'd like to begin by defining the term "ambition." Ambition is a cherished desire. In August my desires were many, but a few note-worthies would be to kick off a great final semester, to grow with Adam and to enjoy life. I'm happy to report that I was ambitious and met my desires.

Now the quick-n-dirty run down on what all I was getting up to during August:

During the first half of August I completed my second internship with Lockheed Martin. It was another great internship, although I missed Kristin's company dearly. I had several visitors: Mom, Aunt Dawn and Grandma visited one weekend, and Adam came down for a weekend, too.

A few times I got together with friends to watch the Colts season get started. It was a rough start, but I still bleed blue, and you better believe it! I finally got a #18 Colts jersey (for my birthday), which I wear on Colts Sundays, naturally.

The summer olympics were fantastic to keep up with. As a swimmer I really enjoyed watching Phelps set so many phenomenal records! The gymnasts were fun to watch, too (thought I was a little disgruntled about the whole age episode with China).

When I returned to Indiana I ran a great race at the Kernal Klassic 5K with my folks and Sam. We took a photo with Garfield and were dubbed "the running family." Immediately after the race I headed up to the Indiana Dunes to spend the weekend with Adam and his crew. We jumped the dunes, built a sand Egypt and visited the casino.

Next on the agenda was to move up to Purdue. Adam was a tremendous help in the effort (I have lots of stuff). That week we celebrated Michelle's up-coming trip to Dominica for a doctorate program she's partaking in. That night was a ton of fun, and I paid dearly for it that night and all the next two days, haha. Adam took such great care of me. Also this week we visited Adam's folks at their recently acquired lake cabin - it's so cute, and such a beautiful lake!

And then it was time for classes to start. I, of course, was all excited and ambitious. That attitude didn't last any longer than it usually does, but it was a great start, nonetheless. There was a nice welcome back reception for spring Study Abroad-ers. Adam took me to an excellent concert of the Counting Crows, Augustana, and Maroon 5 - we loved it!

Labor Day weekend was one of my favorite camping trips! We played bags and cards and swam and played frisbee! It was a blast. Not to mention the company - we'd never camped with Lynn, Mike and the boys previously, but they were great!

And that was my August 2008.

19 November 2008

Our One Year Anniversary

I am very happy to share with you all that Adam and I celebrated our one year anniversary together on Saturday, 8 November, 2008. My life has never been better since having been with Adam. He is loving, caring, accepts me as I am, and makes me so happy. He is the love of my life!

On the 8th we spend a wonderful day together. We had no set-in-stone plans, and everything was great. We slept in and had Denny's for breakfast. I really enjoyed it when Adam took me to the new Indianapolis library (I'm a sucker for the books). Afterwards we had tea and did crosswords at a quaint, cathedral-like coffee shop called The Abbey. Then we exchanged gifts. I took the practical route and bought him an electric shaver (he was jealous of my mom's hair cutting kit = P ), and he was sweet when he bought me a hand-crafted chess set (although he inadvertently stole my idea of what to get him for Christmas, haha!) Next we visited Circle Center. After that we watched Elf (my favorite Christmas movie lately). To cap off the evening we dined at PF Chang's. The meal was excellent, and the Great Wall of Chocolate Cake was sinfully delicious!

What a beautiful celebration of our one year anniversary! I love you, Adam! XOXO

Outside the Indianapolis Public Library:

Architecture on the inside of the library:

The Abbey:

Inside The Abbey:

With the PF Chang Great Wall of Chocolate:

September & October Photos

Links to New Photos on Facebook:

October 2008 2/2

October 2008 1/2

September 2008 2/2

September 2008 1/2

05 November 2008

Obama Wins

I am proud of my blue vote. I am proud of my country for (what counts in my opinion as) recognizing the change we need to make. I believe Obama and Biden will lead this nation in the necessary direction. Congratulations, Obama and Biden, to you and your Electoral College win of 349 votes (against McCain and Palin's 147 votes). Below is a map of the voting breakdown.

Here is to making a difference and being a part of it!

31 October 2008

GHC is Connected!

This year's Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference was extremely connected! There are SEVEN fun, interesting and unique ways to keep up with the going-ons of the GHC, and here they are:








The Numbers of Women & IT

The National Center for Women & Information Technology sponsors the Grace Hopper Women in Computing conference, and each year they put out some statistics regarding women and IT. Here's their recap: By The Numbers:

51% - percentage of professional occupations in the 2006 US workforce held by women
26% - percentage of professional IT-related occupations in the 2006 US workforce held by women
13% - percentage of corporate officer positions at Fortune 500 technology companies held by women

1,000,000 - number of computer and information-related jobs expected to be added to the US workforce by 2014
50% - percentage of these jobs for which US universities will graduate candidates with Computer Science bachelor's degrees

56% - percentage of AP test-takers in 2006 who were girls
48% - percentage of AP Calculus test-takers in 2006 who were girls
15% - percentage of AP CS test-takers in 2006 who were girls

54% - percentage of 2005 Intel Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) finalists in Biochemistry who were girls
24% - percentage of 2005 ISEF finalists in Mathematics who were girls
12% - percentage of 2005 ISEF finalists in CS who were girls

59% - percentage of 2006 undergraduate degree recipients who were women
21% - percentage of 2006 C&I Sciences undergraduate degree recipients who were women
14% - percentage of 2006 CS undergraduate degree recipients at major research universities who were women
37% - percentage of 1985 CS undergraduate degree recipients who were women
70% - percentage of decline in the number of incoming undergraduate women interested in majoring in CS between 2000 and 2005

29% - percentage of Computer Scientists in 2004 who were women
4% - percentage of Computer Scientists in 2004 who were women and African American
2% - percentage of Computer Scientists in 2004 who were women and Asian
1% - percentage of Computer Scientists in 2004 who were women and Hispanic

Note: Computer Science and Computer & Information Technology (both at Purdue and other STEM universities) are not the same. The GHC conference is geared towards CS, but Computing does include C&IT spaces.

Summer Photos

Summer 1

Summer 2

08 October 2008

Chicago for 2016 Games

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) chose Chicago as a Candidate City for the 2016 Games. A host city decision will be made next year on 2 October 2009. Click here to visit the official website for hosting the 2016 Games in Chicago. Click "Find Out More" within the countdown bubble to register to support the bid. From there you'll confirm through an email link and may set up your profile.

Be sure to check it out on Facebook; search for the Official Chicago 2016 Facebook page. Woo hoo! I'm excited already! I can't wait to get into the beach volleyball, gymnastics and swimming again!!!


03 October 2008

Ballet of Birds

Tuesday evening I was around town, running some errands. After making a purchase and upon walking outside to the car, I witnessed what looked to be thousands of black birds flying acrobatically with one another above some trees. I was captivated by the performance - birds swarming and dancing to a silent melody. They flew tightly knit and then spread out briefly to create a beautiful shimmer of pepper against the twilight. They would shrink back to their knitted formation and spread out in a different direction once again.

I felt like I was alone in time, just standing at the car with my key in hand, just watching them fly. It was lovely. I appreciated their chaotic rhythm, and enjoyed the ballet.


Kicking Off the GHC

GHC08 - Thursday, 2 October

(Top: a beautiful morning view, Bottom: Fran Allen delivering her keynote speech) Today was full of insightful, moving and inspiring stories. Officially kicking off the conference this morning was the Welcome and keynote address from Fran Allen. Fran's address regarded the history of computing, reaching back to COBOL and pressing forward to the future of computing for women. This year Fran was the first woman to receive the A.M. Turing Award, the most prestigious award in Computer Science (aka the Nobel Prize of Computing). Here is something incredible: 54 people have received this award. Fran is the first woman after the award's establishment in 1966. Fran said, "The patterns of computing seem laid out like carefully choreographed dance steps where men lead and women follow. We must break out of this box. Many designs are already too antiquated for the new global systems and refitting old solutions to new situations is not going to work.

The Thursday agenda is this: breakfast (I was forced to eat cake as the lesser of two evils when compared to donuts, hehe), the welcome and keynote, session 1, break, session 2, break and lunch, a CTO plenary forum, break, session 4, Birds of a Feather, the awards ceremony reception and the awards ceremony itself.

So what was I up to with all of that going on? After the welcome and keynote I went to a session entitled "How to Manage Your Career When "Life Gets in the Way." While I was on the young end of the spectrum of the audience I gained valuable insight on some challenges Life will likely put towards me. Panelists included Kathleen E Naughton of HP, Jody Mahoney of the ABI, Celeste Null of Intel, Valentina Salapura of IBM, Rebecca Coleman of Microsoft and Henry Schauer, also of HP, who offered a male perspective on the subject. The panelists discussed their background, situation and how they handled (or how they are currently handling) family issues such as elderly parents, handicap children, cancer, etc. One panelist really captured me when she stated that the only way to overcome these challenges is to make the best decision you can based on what you know at that time and what your heart is telling you, and don't look back.

(Jen, Candice, myself and Stephanie at lunch) I took a break to work on my last blog entry during the second session, and met up with Jen, Stephanie and Candice for lunch, which was delicious (tiramisu for dessert and Tazo tea!).

Next up was the CTO Plenary which was very fascinating (also new to the conference). Panelists discussed leading technology and included Sophie Vandebroek of Xerox, Nan Mattai of Rockwell Collins, Greg (say this 10 times fast) Papadopoulos of Sun Microsystems, and Justin Rattner of Intel. Kate Greene of MIT Technology Review moderated. Each panelist had a fabulous story and a great personality. I really enjoyed the laid back atmosphere with these leaders and hearing about their experiences. It was great to hear that each of them started out like many new hires and just worked their way up, demonstrating that anyone can make it to the top if they apply themselves and prove worthy.

(Myself, Margot and another lady working on our Snap Circuit, Jr. project) I mingled and networked with other attendees, causing me to miss the third session. That led into a break and then the fourth session which I thoroughly enjoyed: Inspiring Girls in Technology: How to Make Every Outreach a Success. Panelists for this interactive discussion and forum included Linda Kekelis of the Chabot Space and Science Center, Shannon Madison of Google, Reena Singhal Lee, also of Google, and Marie-Ange Eyoum of Intel. These ladies were so energetic, had valuable insight and creative ideas that got me thinking ahead towards coordinating with Lockheed Martin and working with young girls in the Orlando area. I had the great pleasure of meeting a fabulous lady, Margot Miller of Sun Microsystems, who became my partner for the exercises the audience took part in. One really cool thing we did was that we learned about voltage, current and resistance using a fantastic kit called Snap Circuit, Jr. I don't know where this kit was when I took ECET 214, but, man! It was so cool! Margot and I also did a drawing activity that represented giving instructions to a computer. Both of us, and several others, I'm sure, walked out of the room with tons of great ideas for engaging young girls into the field of Technology.

After the fourth session I saw that I had an hour of downtime during which I chatted with Adam. He's doing well back home with interviews and exams. A change in the GHC schedule was that the big sit-down dinner was moved from tonight to Friday night, and since I was already back at my suite by the time I learned this, I skipped dinner to nap (although it was more tossing and turning). I woke up and tuned into the VP Debate re-run on CNN. That's over now (more on the debate in a later post), I'm warping this post up, and heading to bed. Check back again for a post on tomorrow's events at the GHC!


30 September 2008

Off to Colorado

GHC08 - Wednesday, 1 October

Yesterday at a ridiculous hour of 5:30a, Adam and I headed to the airport. I was quite sad to part from him for what will total to four nights (possibly three = ), but the trip (the GHC, details in a moment) I was embarking on has already changed my life as a woman in a technical field. The trip to the Keystone Resort in Colorado was smooth, but long: to Indy airport, to Denver (no lay-overs!), shuttle to resort, shuttle to room (because the resort is enormous). The suite I am sharing with Jen Russo is extremely nice; I was particularly impressed with the well-equipped kitchenette (they even had salt and a dishwasher!

My networking started early on during my trip. At the airport while I was waiting for the shuttle I met a Sowmya (IBM, India), and Shanna (Ph.D. Candidate, Berkeley, CA). I was pleasantly reminded of Australia when Sowmya said "haytch" for the pronounciation of the letter "h" - that would be British English, which is spoken in India and Australia alike. I also met and chatted with three women from IU (woo hoo, Indiana folks). I explained my idea of the difference between CS and C&IT, shared my Study Abroad experience with them, and learned that IU was working towards making an abroad experience a requirement for degrees there.

(Photo of Rear Admiral Grace Hopper) For those who are unfamiliar with the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference (GHC), let me tell you about it: Grace Hopper was an extraordinary woman. She was a Rear Admiral in the US Navy, and was quite a spunky woman. Here is a clip of her that really expresses her wonderful personality. She worked on Mark 1 at Harvard, the first computer in the US. Grace once said, "it is much easier to apologize that to get permission." That is one of my favorite quotes, and it is very Grace Hopper. Another fascinating lady involved in the GHC is Anita Borg. She founded the Anita Borg Institute (ABI) with Telle Whitney. This not-for-profit organization works and succeeds at promoting women in Technology and connecting women to Technology. The ABI puts together the GHC, the first conference of which was held in Washington, DC in 1994 with 500 women attendees. The conference now caps off at 1400!

This year's conference is held in Keystone, Colorado at the Keystone Resort. The theme is "We Build a Better World." The word "we" was chosen specifically to demonstrate unity; and the focus is on women's contributions to a better world in all kinds of ways: psychologically, environmentally, and, of course, technologically. In fact, the reason Keystone Resort was chosen as the facility is because it's excellence in recycling and green efforts.

On the way to the resort I noticed some brilliant gold trees speckling the mountains. These trees are known as Quaking or Trembling Aspens. One of the IU ladies explained that the trees have great root systems that aid them in fire disaster recovery. Pretty cool, and very beautiful. Also on the mountain and among the Aspens are pine trees. It is very unfortunate that an insect known as the Mountain Pine Beetle has been sweeping through. The same lady informed me that in New Mexico the same pines have been wiped out entirely. I have witnessed the dead grey and dying brown pines in the Colorado mountains, and it's pretty sad, even with the sunny-hued Aspens sprinkled in.

(Top: Slope Side suite building that I'm staying in, Middle: a beautiful view outside my suite, Bottom: a view of the ski slopes behind the suite building) After I got settled in to the suite, I was planning on going for a run around the resort. Unfortunately it didn't happen, thank you, high altitude of almost 2 miles. I was winded after hauling my duffle bag up some stairs... hmph. So no run yesterday. And, no run today - what? I couldn't sleep last night - I tossed and turned more than ever since yearning for Christmas morning presents as a child. I think it's because I was dehydrated and my body was coping with a rather large change in atmosphere, so I didn't run this morning. There won't be time through the day either. I'm planning to run tomorrow morning, pending a decent night's rest.

After deciding against a run yesterday afternoon, I met up with Candice (a first-timer GHC attendee) and Julie (the professor who is taking me, Candice, Stephanie (second-timer), and Jen (also a first-timer). Stephanie was interviewing with Lockheed Martin (woot!) while Candice and Julie hit a grocery store for a few things, and I grabbed some tasty soup and a jalapeno bagel at a marvelous little coffee/book shop called Inxpot. I fell in love, and I really hope I have an opportunity to visit again before the trip concludes. Once Stephanie was finished interviewing, the three of us headed to Julie's suite to kill some time before the New Comer's meeting.

We shuttled to the conference center, checked in, and browsed the company booths, picking up gobs of SWAG (stuff we all get), and mingled with other women. This was my third New Comer's meeting, so I knew what was going to be said, but I always enjoy going because it keeps me focused on why I'm here, and that is to network with other women in Technology. And that's what makes the GHC so cool for me: it's all about socializing with people who know where you're coming from, who can support you, who can learn from you, who can grow with you. It's very cool.

Next up was the Poster Session. The first two years of coming to the conference I just looked around at the posters; maybe I stopped to hear about one or two. Not very effective, really. This year I took a different approach. The posters are outlined in the GHC booklet, and I looked through and made a list (complete with check boxes) of the posters I was interested in. They were all very cool to learn about. One lady from New Zealand (awesome!) spoke about "Engendering" Technology and how women perceive the challenges of being a woman in the field. For example, one group of women say it's not worth the effort - obviously they make no progress. A second group looks at it as a challenge and finds drive in that idea; these women also resist giving up and are very resilient. The final group prospered because they welcomed the challenge and had the best attitude, and that's what I took away from her poster: it's all about attitude. = )

When I was done browsing the posters and snacking on the delicious hors dourves, I shuttled back to my room, got ready for bed, had a lovely chat with Adam, and, like I mentioned earlier, tried to get a good night's rest. Check back for a post on Thursday's happenings!


28 September 2008

Summer 2008

As overdue as this post is, I really want to recap my Summer 2008, starting with my return to the USA and ending just before the start of school.

I flew back into Indianapolis on Sunday, 29 June. It was the longest flight journey I've ever had, but more on that in my Australia blog that I've yet to finish. By the way, there's a perfectly good reason why I've not finished the blog yet, and that reason is that I don't want the trip to be over; I'm just not ready for that right now...

So I get in Sunday evening and am greeted warmly by my parents and Adam. I can't put into words the wonderful wave of happiness I felt when I saw them for the first time in so long! They had flowers for me, and took me to the one place I wanted to go upon returning to the USA: Steak 'N Shake. I had a delicious meal, great conversation, great company and an unbeatable, dearly missed milk shake. The evening was a bit sad when I had to say good-bye to Adam: he had a full-time job to attend to, and I was heading up to Anderson to visit with family and friends in that area. In just a few days I would be visiting him in just three days' time, so the first few days back were set for catching up with family.

Monday I slept but not as much as one might expect. I was up around 10a every day of my first week back. I had a lot to do in the next three weeks. A LOT of laundry and packing/unpacking. It really sucked when I realized I'd be living out of a suitcase for the summer after having done so as often as I had in the last half-year.

Mom and I spent a lot of time together while I was readjusting to life at home. I helped out with the daycare (man, I'd missed those little buggers), and we did yoga and ran. Daddy took me to the Texas Roadhouse for our evening together (mmm, cinnamon butter). I had a delicious steak that I'd been craving for several months. It was splendid to catch up with my parents in person. Skype is nice, but it's not the real thing.

Finally, Thursday arrived and I went to Indy to visit Adam! I can't tell you the joy I felt when I was able to spend time with him again. Oh, how I had missed him! That evening we hosted a party at his place, themed around the Fijian drink called Kava. We did drink some of that dirty, tongue-numbing water, haha, and we played beer pong, had some hookah, played some cards, and had a wonderful time. It was fun to catch up with his crew.

Friday was the Fourth of July. Adam and I celebrated with his family at a park. It was a lot of fun: great food, wonderful company, his nieces were warming up to me by then (they enjoyed catching the frisbee I'd toss to them), Adam and I lost at the egg toss right off the bat (in our defense we DID have a broken egg to begin with), and the weather was lovely. That evening Adam and I met up with a bunch of his friends downtown to watch the fireworks. Afterwards we celebrated Ryan Sexton's long-awaited 21st birthday. It was a great evening spent at the Claddagh Irish Pub. It was also the evening that someone snapped my favorite photo of me and Adam.

Saturday morning we drove up to Salamonie to camp with my mom's family. I enjoyed sharing Salamonie with Adam as he'd never been before. My mom and I got a run in while we were there, so that was nice. The weather was fair, and I was glad to visit with Brady, Tiffany and the girls. Hayley had grown up so much, and I got to finally see Lily for the first time - oh, she's a sweetheart! Both girls loved their souvenirs from Australia. I'll never forget when I gave Brady a lighter souvenir, and my realization that he'd recently quit smoking, haha. Tiffany liked the shell earrings I got her, though. Seeing Darin, Barat and their girls was pleasant, too. Gracie was doing so well, and Abby and Lexy were such cute little girls as they always are. And that was my first week back in the USA.

Monday I kept working on packing and unpacking and laundry. Tuesday I took a quick trip up to Purdue to visit with friends up that way. I met up with Nick See for some lunch, then Pirita joined us. We were supposed to see The Wanted, but Pirita had caved in and seen it without me, ergh! Instead, we had Sean over, watched a movie and had a couple drinks. I crashed at Nicks, and the next morning we had breakfast at Christo's. I'd never been there before, and I was very happy with the place.

By Thursday I was back in Anderson. Mom and I ran together at Shadyside with the Anderson Road Runners - SO much fun! I wish I'd ran with them while I still lived in Anderson, but I'm truly happy that my Mom has taken to running as well as she has. She makes me so proud! And now my Dad is into it, too - so good for both of them! What a great way to spend time with one another and socialize and keep healthy! After running with Mom that night we had dinner together at The Olive Garden - mmm! We are suckers for the unlimited soup and salad deal, hehe!

Saturday I had the great pleasure to spend a week at Dale Hollow with Adam and his family. The annual trip is Adam's very favorite, and I was glad to be a part of it. We stayed at Wisdom Dock in a cabin, but most of the time was spent relaxing, having fun, eating and drinking on the boat rigs (we had four boats strung together). The weather couldn't have been more perfect, the water was just right, and we had a blast! Adam and I jumped off the cliffs - that was a crazy fun thing we did, haha! Very thrilling, though! It was a lot of fun to have the pontoon with a slide - Adam absolutely loved doing wild jumps. Karen got some great photos! Ah, what an awesome vacation!

We returned to Indy after quite a fun drive, and that Friday we went to Dick's pool party at the West Chester pool. We started the evening off with a few games of bags. I was doing really well for some reason, haha. Pat let Adam and I try out some Red Hot hot dogs - pretty tasty! For the majority of the evening Michelle and I held the hookah table down with ease while the men battled it out at beer pong. It was a nice, laid back evening with friends.

By Sunday Adam and I were back in Anderson to wind things down before I flew out for my Orlando internship with Lockheed Martin. He and my parents saw me to the airport Sunday, and Jason Brooks, the friend from Purdue I would be living with for the duration of the internship who works in my office, picked me up that evening. There wasn't much settling in to do since I was living out of a suitcase for the next month (by this time I was really looking forward to moving in with Nick Peelman for 6 months).

Monday kicked off my first day of work. During the first half of my first week I did the basic intern/new hire stuff, some orientation and compliance training. From then until the second week I did some inconsistency discovery. I'll admit that it was tedious work, but I did a fantastic job and enjoyed those I worked with. My team was virtual, and so I gained some valuable experience in working in virtual environments.

From the second week and on I did the aforementioned project and a second, more enjoyed project: I coordinated the implementation of a team's resources onto a website. For example, the team had several documents they used, but these documents weren't in a central location. I worked with the website's technical team and the team with the documents to figure out the best way in which to implement the documents, etc. to this website. In the end the team had all of their documents in one place, allowing for better performance, money saved, and positive results all around. Working with people is what I enjoy most and do best, so it was a wonderful project fit for me.

During my stay in Orlando Adam visited me for a long weekend. We rented a car and checked out some apartments I'd hunted, and spent a day at Cocoa Beach. We had delicious pina colada's on the pier - mmmm!! I took him to a favorite restaurant of mine, Bahama Breeze, were we enjoyed a few drinks, a fantastic dinner, and later went on to City Walk for some night life fun! It was a great visit, and, as always, all too short!

The following weekend my mom, grandma and Aunt Dawn visited. Talk about an awesome girls' weekend! We rented a car and hit the beach at Melbourne. We spent a while searching for beach gear: mugs, booze, rafts, a new bathing suit for Aunt Dawn who figured out the secret of packing light: don't bring anything at all! Haha! Grandma brought back a shell pasty, haha, and my mom stated that she was surprised that she could retrieve that information in her current state when asked about a ride in a mall out at a previous residence. Oh, we had a great time. One night we even stayed out until 3am at City Walk, after a detour through downtown Orlando in search for Pleasure Island Drive DISNEY, not the neighborhood street, haha! It was a fantastic girls' weekend!

While I was in Orlando the Summer 2008 Beijing Olympics began. Phelps rocked the world when he broke the record for the most gold medals won for any one individual. What a way to go down in world history! He had some amazing races. I remember one commercial that demonstrated how super-human he is - that guy has a huge wingspan and is just engineered for speed. A human torpedo. I also remember a lot of hype about the age of some Chinese gymnast girls. The American gymnasts did very well this year, too. I loved the phone carrier commercial that had one of the top two American gymnasts as a butterfly; very cool.

When I flew in to Indy on the last Friday of my internship I was just stopping through Anderson because Saturday morning I borrowed my grandpa's Chrysler Sebring convertible to drive up to the Indiana dunes to camp out with Adam and his crew for their 6th annual trip up there. It was a blast! We had Top Dog hot dogs, flew off sand dunes, sculpted Egypt in the sand, played frisbee in the water, drank and gambled at the casino (Adam doubled his money!), and roasted marshmallows. It was a great trip with some great people!

During the next week Adam and I moved ourselves from Anderson and Indy up to Purdue for another semester of school. Adam now lives at College Station with 3 potluck guys who've turned out to be pretty cool. One is quiet and to himself, another is a friendly couch potato, and the third is fairly sociable - Jeremy. He's tossing around the idea of doing a work-study in Australia. Of course, I've told him to go for it a billion times.

I'm now living with Nick Peelman in a house just past College Station. It's really nice to live so close to Adam; it makes things a little easier, especially with having only one car between us right now. Ashes and McKenzie (Nick & Kelly's kitten) have been getting along famously, which I'm very happy about. The kitchen is huge, too, so it's perfect for me and Adam's fancy dinner nights on Wednesdays.

And that's my recap on the Summer of 2008.

24 September 2008

Black, Gold & Green

With the environmental crisis the world is in, I'm very glad to see that Purdue University is making headway in becoming Green. Upon my return to school in August, one of the first things I noticed was the number of recycling receptacles - but not just the number of them, the variety of them! The units have a section for newspaper, office paper, plastics and aluminum items! I think that's fantastic!

A couple weeks ago Purdue promoted being Green for a week, perfectly named Green Week at Purdue. I also think this is great. However, why just one week? Why not all the time? Clicking the image below will take you to the Green Week at Purdue website.

An article from a Green Week at Purdue Exponent paper listed several suggestions on easy ways to be Green. I'd like to point out a few:

*switch from standard light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs; this can save you ~$30 over the course of each light bulb's life because they use ~75% less energy than standard light bulbs

*avoid driving as often as you can; carpool to save money on gas and catch up with a friend; go in to get your fast-food instead of idling in the drive-thru line

*unplug when possible; energy is still drained when plugs are left in the outlets (BTW, in Australia the outlets have an on/off switch so you can leave the plugs in but not drain energy - pretty clever)

*use reusable grocery bags; they're light-weight, durable, roomy-when-used but still space-saving, and inexpensive (~$1/bag); if you prefer plastic bags, find ways to reuse them (small trash can liners)

*if you're not using something, turn it off; don't leave the kitchen light on if you're on the other side of the house

*avoid bottled water; purchase a few reusable water bottles (I'm in love with my RubberMaid Chug bottle! Click the image below to check it out.)

*see how fast you can shower (my record is 2:15 (that's minutes:seconds) - I'm serious, really!)

I'd love to hear your tips on how to be more Green - post a comment!


06 August 2008

World on Fire

Ever get frustrated about how much stinking money musicians make and how they spend it on pampering their dogs in pet playhouses, buying out Gucci, Prada, owning 10 hot rods and clubbing all the time?

Sarah Mclachlan has made a stand against frivolous spending as a popular musician. The image below is linked to her official website.

In her World on Fire music video, which earned her a fortune as they usually do, it shows why it only cost 15 bucks.

Watch this video to see what I mean.

This post came about from a conversation I was having with Adam a week ago. We were talking about our top favorite celebrities, and Sarah happens to be one of his. Her generosity and charity has made a difference in the lives of many, and he - and I - think she is awesome for that.

For more information on Sarah, visit her Wikipedia article.

29 July 2008

Internet Biking Maps

As a health-consious person I am always up for healthier ways to do things. That along with the price of gas has given me thought to riding my bike to work. As it turns out, more and more biking and walking routes, maps and services are being published online!

"As more commuters consider ditching their cars to save money on gas, Internet mapping services, cities and community groups are being pushed to lay out the best routes for biking and walking -- just like drivers have found online for years."

Clicking the image below will take you to the Orlando Sentinel article.

Generation Text

In this day and age, it's happened to all of us: be it a stumble, bumping into a stranger or walking smack into something - the tragedies of texting-on-the-go happen everywhere you look. We are Generation Text (don't laugh at me; I didn't come up with it).

Texting-on-the-go (TOTG), however, is slightly different than stationary-texting. I can't count the number of hilarious instances I've witnessed when someone is TOTG and they walk right into a wall, a stranger, door, you name it. I, for one, like to learn from other people's mistakes, thus I very rarely TOTG. When I do, my trick is to hold the phone up at eye-level; this way you can still watch where you are going.

The article linked to the image below is pretty interesting. One guy
almost ran down a bride at a wedding due to his TOTG. Several TOTG-ers have had
facial and other injuries from falling down due to TOTG. By far the most outlandish thing related to texting that I've ever come across is the National Texting
Championship. It's pretty lame in my opinion, but hey, the $50K reward is $50K.

28 July 2008

Afternoon Naps

Like most children, I dreaded taking afternoon naps when I was young. I imagined all kinds of thrilling fun that adults had while I slumbered away. I couldn’t wait until I turned 5, that magical year when my mother freed me and all the kids she’s ever taken care of from our daily drudgery.

Then, as a college student, my attitude turned an about-face. I came to cherish naptime, whether it was mid-morning, after lunch, or early evening – and sometimes all three. When I began working after college, one thing I sorely missed was that freedom to lie down and steal a half-hour snooze whenever I wanted. Still today, many moons later, I miss that freedom and love when I can indulge in the bliss of a wink or two.

On the days I am not working, I always set aside time to rest. Whether I actually fall asleep isn’t the point. It’s th act of lying down, curling up with a mom-made afghan, closing my eyes, and letting myself think or dream of anything I want. I don’t have to do any figuring or complex thinking. I can listen to music, turn on a daytime talk show, or count the sparkles in my ceiling if I want to. I can even imagine the thrilling fun other adults are having as I lie there at peace with myself.

That afternoon nap is the one time of my day when I can be private and keep to myself – and remind myself what good company I am.

By Jennifer S. Kushnier

27 July 2008

Miscellaneous Photos

New photo albums up on Facebook:

Kava, Picnic, Fireworks

Sexton's 21st and Dan's 18th

Camping, Purdue, Grandparents

Running, Pool Party, Lilies

New Random in Australia

Tamara's Visit 21JUN08

26 July 2008

The Six Sacred Stones

I am currently reading this Australian novel, by Matthew Reilly. The first Aussie novel I read was Picnic at Hanging Rock, by Joan Lindsay, and I could tell the difference in writing styles between the US and Australia. That difference is even more visible in The Six Sacred Stones.

The difference in the writing style isn't easy for me to pin-point, but it's there. Basically, it's a story written in a different culture with different points of view, and that right there is what I contribute to the differences in the way a novel's story is told.

The Six Sacred Stones' story is quite engaging so far - a race to find ancient international artifacts and use them to save the world (think Indiana Jones and National Treasure mixed with Bond and Bauer since the main character, Jack West, Jr., is an agent type guy). I'm a little hung up on Reilly's writing style, but I'm getting into the book more and more. I'm about 1/3 through it so far.

Click the images to see Matthew Reilly's official website and the Wikipedia article for the book, respectively.

Baldwin Park

Where in the world is Amanda Bennett? Orlando, Florida! Specifically, Baldwin Park. I really lucked out this summer for my Lockheed Martin internship accommodation. I'm living with a Purdue friend, Jason, who graduated from my major last December and also works in the same office I worked in last summer and am working in again this summer. It's a gorgeous area - plus it has a very chic and hot spot feel to it. The first photo is of the outside of Jason's apartment (he lives on the first floor). The second photo is a shot of some nearby apartments/condos along the way to the pool.

Right across the street from the houses is a green where I imagined tossing around the frisbee with Adam. He didn't pack it when he visited but we did enjoy an afternoon at the pool just behind the green. Here's something cool: the gym is near the pool, and it's called The Hopper Hall, named after Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. She's the woman who coined the phrase "computer bug" and whom inspired the Grace Hopper Women in Computing Conference.

With regards to apartment hunting, I'm considering living at Post Apartments in Baldwin Park. It's a close one between Post and Tortuga Bay. Post has a little more to offer (a running/biking trail around a lake, villiage center, etc.), but Tortuga Bay is less expensive and a lot closer to work. Hmm... lots of factors in this decision.

I am very thankful for Jason's hospitality. I'm not sure what I would have done about accommodation had it not been for him. Thank you, Jason!

Adam Sent Me Flowers

Adam didn't send me just any flowers, though. He sent me stargazer lilies - my favorite! These ones are white, and they are so elegant and lovely!

He bought them for me for my first week back as an intern at Lockheed Martin. He's so thoughtful and sweet!

Click the image below to see the Wikipedia article on the Stargazer Lily.

Thank you, baby, for the beautiful bouquet! I stop and smell them every morning before work and think of you. I love you!