Claiming Your Expertise: How to Choose a Dissertation Topic

This topic is close to my heart, because as a Ph.D. Candidate these are the crossroads that I currently find myself at. I’ve done a little research to save you the time, dear reader, and help you on your journey. However, lest I remind you that I am but a lowly Ph.D. Candidate, my unsolicited advice is best taken with a dash of salt and a hearty conversation with your advisor/reading committee members. Below, please find information broken down into three main categories: 1) things to know upfront before starting, 2) potential sources for “free” dissertation topics, and 3) criteria to evaluate topics selected. Continue reading

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Want to Change the World? Just Show Up.

paul quote from oprah

It’s so dastardly simple that it’s also a bit hard to accept as an answer. But so much of what we need to do in life can be boiled down to just showing up. Bringing all of your attention, heart, and body into the space where you’re working. Relationships, presentations, acts of service would all be radically different if people just vowed to do this one act.  Continue reading

How I Got Into Stanford…I Think

This is the age-old question that I ask myself and constantly gets asked of me. I would like to believe that it was my strategic foresight, research and leadership experiences, and all of  my ambition. And while that may be part of the story–a large part–it it still far from complete. When I originally wrote this post, I started by listing all of my accomplishments, things I had done,  started, and won. The ways I had forged this path ahead of myself on my own. Upon reflection, I think it could be more useful to emphasize a different perspective; a maxim I learned from my improv class, “Dare to be Average.”

Disclaimer: this post is not a short-cut substitute, or alternative for hard work. It does not contain mystical wisdom about the admissions process or the formula for the perfect introductory email. These are my compiled mistakes, blunders, and near-regrets that also contributed to me getting where I am today–a Ph.D. Candidate at Stanford University in Mechanical Engineering. I won’t, however, make you wait too long for the answer to the post title’s question. I got into Stanford…I think because of Continue reading

F.U.B.U. Advice to Demystify Grad School

CONGRATULATIONS on deciding to pursue a graduate degree at (INSERT name of your dream graduate program here). We are so looking forward to having you here to (INSERT project/idea that you believe deep down will fundamentally change the world). There are a few things you should know to get started with the waterboarding–whoops! We meant “onboarding” process (NOTE: we totally meant “waterboarding”).

Look familiar? Not sure where to start? Below, you can find a short list of tips to help you start your graduate school journey strong so the above no longer looks familiar. Continue reading

New Year. New Attitude. New ME.

The first day of fall ’16 quarter (yesterday September 26, 2016) was a beautiful day on campus. Bright eyed and bushy tailed freshmen and first years hustled and bustled to classes and learned just what a quarter system is all about. I cannot believe that the year has passed by so quickly–though going through it at the time, it felt anything but quick. So much about me and my perspective on life has changed. Having come back from a trip to my alma mater, University of Maryland College Park and performing in Washington D.C. I feel ready to take on the world again. My skin is thick, my chin is held high, and I finally have a plan.

I envision a world where Continue reading

POEM. Open letter on behalf of Brock Turner’s“20 minutes of action”

*In a June 2016 letter to the judge, Dan Turner, father of rapist, Brock Turner, wrote:

“His life will never be the one he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve…He’d never even expressed violence before the incident in question…That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action. Out of his 20+ years of life.”

Open letter on behalf of Brock Turner’s“20 minutes of action*,”

Continue reading

D282: Just Keep Swimming (Recognizing the Strength in Consistency)

Today marks ~3 weeks since I completed my first year of graduate school, putting me an entire academic year closer to earning a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. I wanted to post this on my last day of school since I started blogging on the first day—but I was exhausted. I mean completely wiped out. This year was full of meetings no one should have, of heinous crimes against black, brown, and female bodies no one should see, of a world being strewn about and reassembled in a fashion no one would dare accept. So forgive how lackadaisical I am about concluding one of several years. Despite this, everyone, and everything that threatened to deter me from my trajectory, my consistency has been my greatest asset. Of course, this is yet another learned behavior from my parents, echoed in the sentiment of Dory’s favorite song, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”

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True words plastered on the walls of gyms nationwide.

My year taught me that the most difficult part of falling down is Continue reading

D217: How Beyoncé’s Lemonade Motivated Me to Keep Pushing

I have to be honest: 1) 2016 has already earned its place as the most challenging year of my life  (I can’t believe it’s only April) and 2) I’ve never been a die-hard, know all the words, go to all the concerts, Beyoncé fan, and quite frankly I’m still not. But I have the utmost respect for both the year 2016 and Beyoncé. I woke up this morning Continue reading