Exploring the town!

Seth and I have gone to a few local activities around Urbana-Champaign. When we first got here they were having their annual Sweet Corn festival. There is so much corn here! Tons and tons of corn fields. No wonder there is a festival to celebrate. We didn’t actually get any corn but I did enjoy some delicious ice cream while the rest of the crowd adjusted their wigs.



And I felt bad for the poor ponies. It was so hot that day! You can just see how much they are enjoying their job.



We also went to Quad day at the school. That is sort of like PioFair where all the groups and organizations have a booth and try to get you to join. There are hundreds of groups!! I guess with 40,000 students there are a lot of interests. We walked around for almost 2 hours and saw a lot of them. Seth pretended to be a student too and signed up for a few things. He saw an opportunity to get a free t-shirt so he couldn’t let that pass him by…


He is so proud!

It was really neat to see so many people passionate about so many different things. Here is a shot of some of the groups:





Back to class

Now I am officially back in class. This is week 3 of school. I missed most of the 1st week to go back to Portland for Jet’aime and Othel’s wedding. Then I spent week 2 trying to catch up and now week 3 I’m getting into the swing of everything. So here is a little bit about the classes I’m taking:

1.  Software Engineering I

This is by far the biggest class I’ve ever taken. There are 240 students enrolled in the course this semester. It is crazy! Most don’t attend, but there are still a large number. The lectures are Tuesday and Thursdays for an hour and 15 minutes and are video recorded so you really don’t have to go to class. The basic overview of the course will be covering different methods for software development (the process developers follow to create new or update existing software) such as waterfall, eXtreme, rapid and so on. We will be working in groups to practice the eXtreme programming technique. We don’t know exactly what the project will be, we find out later on in the semester. Before then we have smaller programming assignments and we are working with a partner on those. A good portion of the course so far has been review from what I learned in my Software Development course at Lewis & Clark and just from working at Columbia.


2.  Socio-Computing

I missed the first week of this class so I didn’t get a great grasp of what the course will be about but I think now I’ve gotten it. This class is much smaller, just around 40 students I think.  So far we have been looking at user interface design for different applications. We have been looking at different processes to create the designs and challenges designers face during creation. The most exciting part of this course is the class project. We are going to be working in groups to develop a social mobile app (think twitter, match, tinder, facebook, pintrest). I’m really excited about this because I haven’t done any mobile programming yet. My group seems pretty cool so I’m looking forward to getting started!


3.  PhD Seminar

This is a required 1 credit course for 1st year PhD students. The purpose of this course is sort of a semester long orientation. Different speakers will come to talk to us about different aspects of the program and give the students a chance to ask questions. This week the head of the Computer Science Department did a Q&A. It was pretty interesting. Next week will be a graduate student panel Q&A. 


4.  Independent Study

My last class is an independent study with my advisor. All PhD students choose/are assigned an advisor who they will do their research work with over the course of their study. My advisor is not in my research interest field, but he is excited about my research ideas and I’m looking forward to work with him. During my independent study I will be exploring different research options, seeing what is currently going on on campus, and identifying resources on campus. Hopefully through this I’ll figure out what my research will be.

Welcome to grad school!

Yay! I’m back in school. I’m at first year Computer Science PhD student at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. It is a huge school!! Lewis & Clark was about 1800 students I think when I was there, University of Illinois has 40,000 undergraduates and around 6,000 graduate students. It is big! That was my first impression! The campus is about 8 miles long so it can be a long walk to get to somewhere. Luckily all my classes are in one building.


This is my building! The Siebel Center for Computer Science. It was donated by an alum and built in 2004. It is a really nice building and also really big!

I’m taking three classes: Software Engineering, Socio Computing, and an independent study. So far they are good. It is a lot of group work and reading which is different than my undergraduate cs experience. Anyways, I’ll post more specifics about my classes later.

So far everything is going well. I’m getting back into the swing of school. I’m hoping this blog will let everyone who is interested know what I’m up to and also to give future grad students an idea of what to expect.