With the end of the year upon us, I wanted to take a little bit of time and look back. Overall, 2015 was a good one, with a lot of growth and learning taking place.
The Year Behind
Academically, I got quite a bit of research done and gave several presentations. From a poster at SQuInT to my first-ever APS March meeting talk, I made sure to disseminate my research. (As you’ll see from the sidebar, I have tried to be more social, branching out to Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.) I was also quite busy traveling, going to Berkeley, San Antonio, College Park, and Phoenix. Indeed, I have gained an appreciation for those who have to travel extensively for their work - it is rather hard to keep up with where you are, where you need to be, and where you will be going! In addition, I was also busy in the Albuquerque area, participating in the UNM Shared Knowledge Conference in April.
One of the highlights from my travels was to go visit the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS) in College Park, Maryland. It was my first-ever academic visit to another institution, so it was great to see how that all works out. I also attended the Frontiers in Quantum Information and Comptuer Science workshop put on by the Center. (Check out a review of some of the talks here.)
Professionally, I had an interesting time working at a small consulting firm for the summer. My work took me to the town of Casa Grande, AZ, roughly halfway between Phoenix and Tuscon. (Pro tip: Arizona is really hot during the summer. Plan/pack accordingly.) As you may have noticed, I wrote quite a bit during that time, particularly about business, technology, and other topics. The essential points of what I learned were summarized in a post written around September. The experience was a valuable one for me, as it helped me better understand the kinds of work I do and do not enjoy.
Personally, there were a couple of trips I took which stick out. One year ago, I flew to Korea to go see my sister. Prior to this, the only international travel I had done was to take a trip to Switzerland after studying French. How strange it was to go to a country where I could neither read, nor speak, nor write the language! Thankfully my sister is a good conversational speaker of Korean, so we had someone to translate! The food was wonderful, and I am looking to go back soon. The other major trip I took was to head out to San Diego in October to see my brother graduate as a Marine. I am glad to see him serving the country and am grateful for the service of people like him.
The Year Ahead
Looking to 2016, a few thoughts:
I will be giving a talk at SQuInT 2016 in February, my first ever at that conference! In the meantime, some research is going to have to be done to build off the work I presented at my Dissertation Committee update talk.
As a result, I will be wrapping up a paper soon. A wise man once informed me that you should be writing the paper in conjunction with doing the research. Recently I have appreciated how smart this is, since writing the paper forces you to think through your work, allowing you to more rapidly discern what you still need to figure out.
My work with Student Government at UNM will continue, hopefully yielding some positive results for students. As I noted in an earlier post I am interested in working on parking on North Campus, especially trying to do some kind of permit sharing program, as well as working to ensure the Pro-Rated Benefits (PB) funds are used appropriately, and thinking about the GPSA Grants process and how we could expand awards while keeping the program sustainable.
Here’s to a productive and innovative new year!