NJ, NYC, DC: Fall Break 2017

This Fall Break, I got the chance to explore a few East Coast cities.

I kicked off Fall Break watching Miss Congeniality and eating Tiffin takeout with my teammate Sydney before she went back home to Boston. The next morning, I left for New Brunswick, New Jersey to talk at and judge HackRU, the Rutgers hackathon. I represented Twilio, the company I interned at last summer. While there, I enjoyed meeting programmers both new and old from different colleges. I also met up with someone from the team I interned on this past summer. Together, we judged some of the final projects, and announced some winners on stage, as shown below.

After HackRU, I went to New York City to stay with my aunt and uncle. I was in NYC for most of this previous summer, and used this week as an opportunity to catch up with people I’d met. I walked, ate, and shopped a lot all over Manhattan, exploring Chinatown, Little Italy, Central Park, Korea Town, and the Flatiron District. I saw Wicked with my friend Prince, and also did work on my thesis at my old office and at the New York Public Library, so I did have some productive moments this break!

Friday morning, I left the Big Apple to head to Washington D.C. to mentor and speak at the Tech Lady Hackathon, again for Twilio. I gave my best demo there, and really bonded and learned from the hundreds of amazing women who attended. I had some free time to explore the Air and Space Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and the National Museum of American History.

This was the most fun and packed Fall Break I’ve had here at Bryn Mawr, and I feel so lucky to attend school so close to major cities like NYC and D.C. I also love how I can continue to work (not a work-study job!) during the school year, especially in one that lets me travel. It was interesting to travel alone, but also neat to say, “I’m here on business.”

Exploring different cities this Fall Break has reinvigorated me so second quarter of my senior year…here I come!

Playing with Professors: Faculty Tennis

Choruses of “Mine! can be heard all across the Bryn Mawr College tennis courts each Wednesday afternoon. This year, college faculty can join the team for an open hit with doubles games or Queen/King of the Court.

It’s been fun seeing and getting to know professors from different departments in a unique setting, one that most students (and faculty and staff) are not used to. This is due in part to our coach Doanh, who came up with the idea and is the force behind this now weekly event.

This week, I had fun with my doubles partner, first year Hannah Sherman, playing doubles with chemistry professor Susan White and physics professor Mark Matlin. In between games (we had to keep it serious on court, this was practice for us!) there was discussion about the new Battle of the Sexes tennis movie about Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, California and Iowa (my and Hannah’s home states), more remote locations of different colleges (like Professor White’s alma mater Dartmouth or Kenyon, which both Hannah and I briefly considered attending), and more.

Other professors included sociology professor David Karen (known to the team as DK) who was our volunteer assistant coach for the past two years.

I will never forget when the tennis team went to his home (the picture below shows the team en route there) my sophomore year for a dinner he cooked. It was so homey, and is one of my best tennis memories.

You won’t find professors and faculty playing tennis with college teams at most schools, even other small liberal arts colleges. This is one example of the intimacy and tight-knit community that is fostered here at Bryn Mawr. How many students can say they’ve drop-shotted a professor, or that they themselves have been drop-shotted by a professor?

Fun was had by all, and I hope to see you out on the courts.

How to Use Twitter to Network, Get a Job, and Sell Yourself

My parents used to tell my twin brother and me that social media was a waste of time. However, they no longer say that because I’ve found that so many professional people (in a variety of industries) are on Twitter, making it a lucrative social media platform.

Here’s how you can optimize and build your social media presence to find jobs, scholarships, conferences, contests, workshops, online classes, and network.

  1. Follow people in whatever industry you’re interested in. Sure, I follow celebrities, but as a computer science major, I also follow engineers, developer evangelists (my specific career), founders, venture capitalists, and tech journalists. They occasionally share opportunities like jobs or scholarships, provide advice on their journey and life, and share relevant news and their opinions on said news.

    I followed my old manager and mentor Tomomi because she is an accomplished engineer and saw her tweet looking for an intern for her team. I responded, and I’m guessing it didn’t hurt my job-getting chances

  2. Keep your bio short and sweet. I include three things I like (with alliteration, to keep it fun), my two most recent or current jobs, my Myers-Briggs personality type (it gives more background information on me), a fun “fangirl” bit to keep it not too professional, and a link to my newsletter to help increase subscribers. I also include my current location and link to my personal website (see #3 for more on that.) 
  3. Have a personal website that includes links to each social media platform you’re on. Websites like Weebly or About.me let you get your own site without writing any code. Most platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram also let you link to your own site.
  4. Use the same picture and same username for each social media account. This helps people link each account to you, and, like your username, is how people recognize you. Product Hunt founder Ryan Hoover explains why he does not change his avatar here. In the left sidebar of his personal website he sums up what he does, links to his different accounts, and shares an opportunity he thinks people who follow him would like.

    Ryan Hoover knows how to build a personal brand.

  5. What should you share? To build your brand, you should mostly share personal opinions on news and happenings, as well as opportunities your followers would like. For example, I comment on diversity in tech like the recent Google anti-diversity memo and share conferences, scholarships, and interesting tutorials. I also occasionally share what’s happening in my Bryn Mawr courses, events I’m attending, sports commentary, or funny things I hear.

    Share a book list, or ask for book recommendations!

    This lets followers feel like they know you on a more personal level, and provides good conversation-starters.

  6. Start conversations. Tweet at people or comment on their pictures. I’ve learned more about software, jobs, tutorials, and books to read just by responding to what others post, and have also networked with people by later connecting with them on LinkedIn.

    Twitter conversation with a CEO

  7. Meet up with people in person. I love taking online relationships offline.

    I did an online tech training program and met some in-person a few months later. Of course, we took a picture and shared it.

  8. Use hashtags for exposure. People search hashtags of events like sports games or conferences and also trending news.
  9. Sell yourself! If you do something cool, share it. I share blog posts I write, like a post on how to build an app to parse basketball statistics from an Excel spreadsheet.

Questions? Comments? You can find me online here. Now go build that personal brand or get that job!

Mawrters take America’s National Pastime

On Friday night, I ventured out to Citizen’s Bank Park to watch the Philadelphia Phillies take on the New York Mets. I hadn’t been to a baseball game since Bryn Mawr Activities took a large group last year, and I remember going when Activities took a large group in my first year. It was fun to reflect on the similarities and differences of each of my Phillies game experiences.

My friend Devica, a former Banter Blogger, is a huge Phillies fan, and I’ve gone with her to a game every year. She’s the one who organized this trip! The rest of our group included my tennis teammate Mariam Haider ’18, and also Zhoe Rub’18. Our seats were located in the second row in the Bleacher section, and we were surrounded by other college students — I’m not used to such good seats!

Though I’d been to Citizen’s Bank Park twice before, I hadn’t explored the stadium that much. A small bucket list goal of mine is to visit each professional baseball stadium in the country and Canada. If you have or had a similar bucket list goal, please post your travel recommendations in the comments below!

The summer before our first year, Devica and I started talking online (Twitter, specifically). In the incoming students Facebook group, we both found that we enjoyed following sports (Devica follows Philly teams, I follow San Francisco teams.) That’s continued over our years here, and still connects us.

It’s interesting how baseball, and sports in general, has the power to connect us. Baseball is a sport that has connected me and my parents, me and my brother, me and family members, and me and other Mawrters. For example, my dad coached my softball teams; I played baseball with my brother for a few years; I used to watch Giants games with my grandfather; and in October of my first year of college, Baseball helped me acclimate to Bryn Mawr. I wanted to watch the playoffs and World Series (the Giants were good that year!), and planned on watching them alone. However, I remember walking into the Pembroke East TV room and finding my Peer Mentor and her friend from my hall on the second floor there setting up a playoff game on the TV. They were both from the Bay Area too, and were also wearing their Giants gear. Then, we watched each following game together, with others joining as well. It was a surprise to see so many Giants and baseball fans, and it reminded me of home; it was welcoming.

Yes, the Phillies won on Friday (beating the Mets 7-4!), but this game was more for the soul. It was fun to explore the stadium with friends, see other college students from the area, and reflect on the role of baseball in my life and college years.