Archives For April 2016

My First Co-op

April 28, 2016 — Leave a comment

On April 20th, I finally started working my summer co-op. All through the year, I had been deliberating over where I would have my co-op; there were so many options. Ultimately, I ended up working with ENE Systems, a building systems technology company. They do more than that, but significantly more than I could say.

ENE has an excellent relationship with Wentworth, and an outsider could easily see that we have a strong preference for Wentworth alums. In engineering, the department I have most contact with, more than half the employees are Wentworth graduates, including the manager.

I had already interned with the company while I was in high school, so it was not difficult to convince them to hire me, but my work is not the same this year. I will be using many of the same technologies and methods, but I will be working in different areas. This afternoon, I finished checking and repairing an entire library of graphical components, generating well over a thousand by the time the job was done.

You may ask how this job is relevant to my major: what do graphics have to do with applied mathematics?

It is not so much the work that is mathematical so much as the approach. My boss more or less gave me an set of components, told me they were broken, and asked me to give him a fixed set quickly. My approach was wide open and I had freedom to tackle the problem any way I wanted. So  before actually setting to work, I analyzed a few possible methods and tried to figure out how I could approach the problem most efficiently – there is actually an immense mathematical concept devoted to this called critical path analysis. Then, I tried to figure out how much I could automate using tools I knew I had (like python, which I learned during math class) and how I would have to learn new things. Then I started. My supervisor allotted 2 months for the project, starting last Tuesday, and I am finishing up today, less than 10 days later.

Work is like this for many Wentworth students. They secure their job, come in, and apply what they have learned. The work ethic and skills developed during their studies at the institute astound their employers, and they are employed happily ever after.

Finals, Finally

April 24, 2016 — Leave a comment

Wow.

Exams are finally over along with the rest of the spring semester.

I had planned on writing a post about prepping for exams before exams, but I guess I got a little wrapped up.

The studying for exams was not too hard. I had paid enough attention over the course of the semester – not enough attention to know everything, but enough to know what I was missing. I knew what the professors wanted us to learn from the courses and where to find info I was rusty with. In short, I was prepared to prepare.
The question of whether I prepared enough will be reflected in my grades.

For me, the harder part of the end of the year was the projects. For a number of my courses, I had to complete major projects at the end of the semester. Completion of these projects would demonstrate a true mastery of course material. And, in my case, a few helped me to achieve that level of mastery.

I had projects in every class except physics. In English, we had an essay that tied together some of the major ideas from the term and included organized peer editing and a 1-on-1 session with the professor for guidance. In Operations Research and Linear Algebra, the professors let my friend and me combine projects for the classes to produce a paper on a particular method of optimization. In Foundations of Applied Math, my group wrote a paper about the Collatz Conjecture.

Lots of good stuff, and I know I learned things this semester.