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Tag: iFest2014

iFest Wrap-up

Even with classes, work and my internship, I was able to make it to a couple more iFest activites:

  • The Executive Roundtable was a great way to get to know local employers and their workplace culture. Though there were the general questions of the type of internships and positions available, what skills they are looking for, there was also constructive discussion of the type of environment and team dynamics. Anyone can learn and practice skills, however each professional drove home the idea of soft skills; knowing how to work in a team, standing up for your opinion, but still knowing when and how to negotiate, and asking the right questions.
  • The “Big Data in History: Creating a World-Historical Archive” presentation by Dr. Patrick Manning (Andrew W. Mellon Professor of World History and Director of the World History Center, University of Pittsburgh), sponsored by NDSA, illustrated the three missions of the Collaborative for Historical Information and Analysis, CHIA. It is an interesting research project for analyzing global statistics through data sets contributed by organizations around the world. Though there are still some issues concerning acquisition, assessment, and preservation, it seems to be moving towards a monumental goal.
  • The Career & Internship Expo brought together multiple employers to meet and greet with our students. Though it was not as person al as the Executive Roundtable, it was a great opportunity to share resumes with recuiters.
  • And, of course, the Books and Bots Design Challenge! Jourdan, Emily Mross, and I, as Team Notorious Cardigans, chose to create a “bot” that would embody the classic children’s book, Jumanji. We created the board game, in which a person would throw the dice, and the game piece would move magically move (spoiler: we used magnets), the center would light up with a quote from the book, and a corresponding audio clip would play. The dice can be thrown three times to move from start to the finish point at the center of the board. Though we did not place, we are pretty proud of what we created, and we did have a lot of fun working together.
The gang!

Day 2 of iFest – Arsenal Bowling

After my Human Factors class on Monday, I went bowling with my database management group mates from last semester, Sam and Xavier. The iSchool reserved lanes in the back room of Arsenal Bowling. We got there and met up with Mike (i3 Program Director), Lydia (MLIS), and Kelly (MLIS) and started up a game! Since there’s no footage of the hilariousness that took place, here’s some gifs in replacement:

So this happened to Sam and I. I’m the kid and he’s the mother. By “mother”, I mean the guy who tried to sabotage my turn. And by “kid,” I mean me trying to hurry  up and bowl before he could catch me.

Mike did amazingly and got 5 billion strikes, which looked a little like this (I hope I did you justice, Mike):

After a couple of subpar bowling games, we put the score aside and just bowled for fun.  Part of that was perfecting our trick shots. By the end of the night, we looked like this:

Just kidding….it was mainly granny shots (bowling slowly, with 2 hands). BUT! I did discover that I’m an ambidextrous bowler! I’m not too bad with my eyes closed either. And by “not too bad”, I mean that the ball didn’t immediately fall into the gutter; it made it at least halfway.

Overall, this was an awesome night and I think this was the first time I’ve really hung out on a Monday school night (yes, after years of college). It was great to be around people that I don’t get to see on a regular basis, especially MLIS! There was so much laughter and entertainment, the time just flew by! The iSchool should definitely do this again!

Arsenal also makes great chicken tenders. Just thought I’d let you know…

Here’s some pictures from the night!

Day One of iFest 2014 – TEC Conference

Sunday was the first day of iFest at the iSchool and we had our TEC Conference. Before I go on… if you weren’t there, you missed out, buddy.

TEC stands for technology, entrepreneurship and creativity. This conference combined these ideas and created a space for LIS and IS students to think in innovative ways. Pretty much…… was freakin’ awesome. I hate talks…and lectures…and seminars. But this was eye-opening and fun and sooooooo great. Let’s go through my day.

First, I hung out with my closest iSchool friends until 3AM, talking about life, so it started out like this:

……..exactly like this. But, I rolled out of bed at 8:45 and slowly got ready in the 30 minutes I gave myself (Sleep > Food+Beauty), met with Angela, and drove to the iSchool.


The event kicked off with Dean Larsen giving us the introduction to the iSchool. I always enjoy hearing the story, particularly because it mentions ideas coming together in a bar. Not to mention, Dean Larsen is an awesome speaker who can talk about anything impromptu and get back to his prearranged speech with such ease.

After the dean welcomed us, he gave the mic to our keynote speaker, Josh Sager. Josh is my inspiration for all of the gifs and visuals in this blog entry because that’s exactly how his talk went. He was so funny, entertaining, and had a great message about creative tinkering. I don’t want to write TOO much, so I’ll just hit you with the lessons learned: Don’t be afraid to work on ideas. Practice, do side projects that interest you, and learn from others. Doing these things will expand your knowledge, fill the gap between your skills and your personal expected quality of work, and open new worlds and opportunities you never dreamed of having. Your dream job doesn’t exist? Create it.

John Mahood, ImageBox

John was a pretty nice guy and wanted to make this talk more interactive, so he spoke to us about what we were all working on. I wish I wasn’t so shy because I was DYIIIIIIIINNNNG to talk to him. I wanted to tell him that I’ve been into visual and performing arts for YEARS and I couldn’t focus on one skill to be the starting point of my future entrepreneurship. When he talked about his life and how he came about creating ImageBox, the only thing I could think was, “OMG I WANNA DO THAT!!” John was interested in a lot of visual art, took as many computer and art classes he could, and began designing logos or whatever anyone needed. After years, ImageBox became a reality and his company grew to the awesome business it is now! My favorite part of the talk was when he said he wanted to impact the businesses that he served. So, a lot of his work is with small businesses who need a designer to enhance and assist in their success. I’ve always wanted to start a productions business and use my skills to help others realize their dreams, so I was so excited to hear John express the way in which he used his talents to change lives.

Lessons learned:
6 P’s (in the design business – what you need, what you provide the client):
1) Problem 2) Product/Service/Solution/Features/Benefits 3) Proof: Portfolio, Case Studies, Testimonials 4) Price/Fit 5) Process 6) Personality

Build a portfolio. Start a blog. Set an hourly rate for yourself (how much do you think you deserve for your skills?).
John hosts monthly design meet-ups in Pittsburgh. 2nd Tuesdays at 7pm, I believe?

Lunch with Les Gies, TechShop

Angela and I were being semi-antisocial…mainly my fault…because I still looked like this:

You like that cat meme? That was for my LIS friends 🙂 Anyway! Because I was still cranky, we sat at a table by ourselves. After awhile, Les Gies chose to sit at our table. I made the right decision to finally be social and ask how his presentation went. I wanted to see him talk about TechShop, but it was during John’s session. Basically, there is a shop in Pittsburgh (and other locations around the country) where you can use machinery, like 3D printing…and other stuff (my brain stopped at 3D printing because I was soooo amazed  after a Vice documentary I saw about it). It’s ran like a gym. You pay membership, you use equipment. They also offer classes on how to use the equipment. I loved this for 3 reasons: 1) This idea was built in CA out of a need to easily access tools and wanting to share this opportunity with the public. 2) I’ve been soooo wanting to do woodshop projects again, but I haven’t seen equipment since my HS engineering class in 2005 and I didn’t know where I’d find it again. BUT NOW I KNOW. 3) I can go and ask for a tour of TechShop whenever I want! Bonus) It closes at midnight EVERYDAY. Last minute project? Challenge Accepted.
In summary, this is awesome and I’ll be doing a tour…and possibly learning how to do 3D printing.

Traci Thomas and Becca Serr, MAYA Design

These two amazing ladies told me what it was like to work in human-centered design. I can end it right there by saying: I. Drooled. Traci and Becca work in the human sciences team, so they’re more so focused on going out and researching the user for their design. I’m a people person and I have a psychology degree, so this was right up my alley. But what made it even better was that they have visual design and engineering teams as well. This gives them the opportunity to work and see different viewpoints of a design and watch it come to life. I had NO idea that they even helped design! They showed us the suggested design and it was so interesting to see the similarities on the Pitt intranet compared to their presentation. A part of their session was a design activity using a creative matrix. We had to come up with ways to make Pittsburgh a better city. Becca and Traci asked us to individually write ideas on a sticky note and place them in a section (drawings HIGHLY suggested). The sections were categorized by certain aspects of improving  the city and by how we could enhance those aspects (see below for a picture of the matrix). The activity was great because I got to experience a way that MAYA employees design. It also opened my eyes to how much of a necessity design is to the quality of everyday life. For example, they are working on a project dealing with food deserts in the city and how to alleviate the issue. Community enhancing? Changing lives? YES.

Lessons Learned: 1) I need to find a MAYA equivalent in Washington, D.C. 2) I immediately looked for internships and there’s one in Visual Design and another in Human Sciences. 3) I feel like I need a better explanation of their food desert project. It’s called Food Oasis. Check it out.

Josh Sager, Smith Brothers

My day ended how it began, with awesome Josh. Only this time, I was in an HTML 5 and CSS3 workshop. I DESPERATELY needed this because my knowledge is super minimal. All I can really say is that he gave us so many cool resources for editing and learning HTML/CSS  from the basics, to cross-browser issues, to animation.

I was SO unknowledgeable about these things. The pic to the bottom left is totally how I felt by this point. The Pinocchio Paradox is just a bonus. I randomly came across that while I was looking for a “mind blown” gif. And my mind is now blown, again. Talk about ruining my childhood. ANYWAY!

My takeaway/list of resources: SASS, Can I Use, Google Canary, Modernizr, Polyfill, HTML5 Boilerplate, Code School, Code Academy (I knew that one!), Sublime Text, Refresh Pittsburgh, CodePen, and A Book Apart.

Lesson learned:  I need to read more books and code more for fun. Creative tinkering wins again!

At 4:30pm, I felt motivated and rejuvenated. I think THIS is what I’ve been waiting for. I knew I was in the right field, but I didn’t feel excited about it. I went to classes, learned what I needed to learn, felt a little accomplishment. I felt like something was missing. But, by then end of the TEC Conference, and Angela can attest to this, I looked like this:

I finally affirmed what I want to do with my MSIS degree. I finally knew why I am taking class and why I’m doing what I’m doing. I want to be creative; I want to design ways to impact lives for the better.

It feels so good to know! It feels even better to see that there’s successful people out there, happily living the dream that I have for myself! Ahhhhh such an awesome day!

My next moves: Building my personal website and portfolio. Start learning more web development/design languages and techniques. Go to tech meet-ups. Buy more books.

Relating it back to my observations of the iSchool:
Shout out to Angela for finding a relation to her track (Archives) in everything that she learned. While it seemed more of an IS day to me, she asked questions to each of the presenters that broadened my opinion of how LIS plays into design and technical work. I think that goes back to Josh Sager talking about creating your own place if there isn’t one (or if it’s not simple to find). I saw a lot of IS students and I think this conference would’ve influenced and benefited the LIS students as well. Sometimes, you just might find a gem where you least expect it.  Here’s a random Brainy Quote about gems that I think relates:

There are little gems all around us that can hold glimmers of inspiration. – Richelle Mead

Take advantage of everything the iSchool has to offer. Even I’m thinking about using the elective I have next year to take an LIS course! Don’t be afraid to go out and experience things that seem like they aren’t geared toward you.  Who knows what glimmers of inspiration that could catch your eye!

Other awesome workshops/sessions I didn’t get to attend:

  • Terry Clark, Terry Clark Photography: Creativity and Small Business
  • James McGee, MD & William McIvor, MD: Technology-enabled Learning – Simulations in Medical Education
  • Dmitriy Babichenko, University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences: Working with Arduino

If I get more info about these sessions, I’ll be glad to share!

The few pics I got from the day:


Dean Larsen


Creative Matrix activity with MAYA Design


HTML 5 CSS 3 workshop with Josh Sager


HTML 5 CSS 3 workshop with Josh Sager

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