Here are some things I have done, am doing, and will do.

Some great opportunities I have shared in:

What am I doing now?

My plans for the future.

Some thoughts on math...

Math is truly ubiquitous: in nature, in architecture, in music. This indisputable fact is one that every high school teacher knows. However, as universal as these subjects may be, I don't believe that they come naturally. Mathematics isn't understood by intuition. I rarely walk into a building and comment on the architectural trigonometry that provides it structure. These are skills learned only by engineers and architects. To return to my previous claim, maths aren't intuitive, but I wholeheartedly believe that intuition itself is mathematical. As a programmer, both in a robotics team and as a hobby, I place a high level of importance on logic, what computer scientists might refer to as Boolean mathematics. Being able to construct a program that filters through true false conditions is the fundamental principle of computation. It's all math. It wasn't until my sophomore year that I realized maths could even extend beyond quadratic formulas and geometric theorems and into computer science on a deeper level. That year, I followed an independent study on data structures and algorithms. I realized that through concepts like Big-O algorithm complexity used high-level mathematics to determine the efficiency of the steps an algorithm takes to execute commands. Really, what this means is that we can use math as a tool to take an analytical look at how we (or computers) think throughout space and time. I was enthralled, enamored even, with this idea. Today I explore the wonders of data through a statistics and a computer science principles course. I aspire to become a data scientist one day, using machine learning maths to develop AI. I have a vast appreciation for how wondrous math can be and a gratitude that I was able to evade the public school misnomer that math was only plugging numbers into a calculator.

Some thoughts on tech...

I have always wanted to work in computer science, a fact which I attribute both to my love of mathematics and my love for my brother, who has always encouraged me to follow in his footsteps as a software engineer. However, I never fully believed my goals were possible until I attended Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization which encourages women to join STEM fields by immersing them in computer science projects and activities. Shortly after, in my sophomore year, I signed up for robotics. I met other roboticists, each of whom shared in my love for STEM. Soon I became a lead programmer, despite being one of only two girls on the team, a fact which was hardly felt due to the kindness and support of those around me. In fact, one of our team's sponsors eventually became my employer. In the summer of 2017, I was selected to be one of University of Idaho's Dig'nIT interns. Through this program, I spent my summer in the software engineering department of a motion controller and CNC company called ExtraTech. I learned to program human machine interfaces in Angular Javascript and was eventually hired on as an employee to work on developing new interfaces for their LCD controllers. From this particular experience, I feel fully prepared to enter the field of computer science. Today, as an Idaho Affiliate winner of the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing, I feel inspired to continue developing projects and exploring computer science over the course of my entire life.

Some thoughts on AI...

It wasn't until my robotics coach invited me to a two day event, entitled Intro to Neural Networks, that I realized artificial intelligence was something I could even do. I did not even truly understand what machine meant, but after attending this event, I developed a fascination with data technology. The following Christmas I received a stack of O'Reilly books on data analysis and machine learning. I found myself passionately exploring languages such as Python and R and religiously checking the "Mastering Machine Learning" blog for updates. From discussion boards in my statistics class to the semester "explore task" in my computer science class, I excitedly applied my research on machine learning into my coursework at every opportunity possible. I have started to seriously consider how this passion may influence my future career. My experiences in AI have shaped my aspirations to graduate from a technology institute with degrees in statistics and computer science. From there, I wish to enter a career at an AI nonprofit, using technology such as natural-language processing and machine learning to help mankind.

March 11, 2018

© Crista Falk