I got a chance to go to Griffith Observatory a little over a week ago at night with this social organization on campus called TAO, the Taiwanese American Association. It was a weekend night so the city lights were mostly turned off. This photo was a long exposure photo at F/22 and 30 seconds. We then followed up with a trip to JJ Cafe in Monterey Park; it was nice to use Cantonese, even though I was surrounded by Mandarin speakers.
I apologize for my recent inactivity even though I said I would try to post around once every two weeks. I have many things that I want to post about, ranging from the Hyperloop that Elon Musk brought up a little over a month ago to the many interesting topics being presented in my Power Systems Technology class this semester. However, I cannot seem to find the time to write thoughtful posts about these topics; this semester definitely is a heavy workload semester with four upper division electrical engineering classes and the upper division writing class, totaling five classes for sixteen units. When I do get the chance, I will definitely get back on track with this blog as I have much that I’ve thought about, usually right before I fall asleep, and much that I want to write about.
Dear Financial Aid Offices,
Times are tough for many people; not everyone can easily afford college and thus try to find ways to fund their journey. Thank you to those colleges that offer financial aid packages to support students that need it. You are giving those students an opportunity of a lifetime that is hard to repay. One way is for the student to work hard through that opportunity and represent their alma mater well.
Sometimes that hard work pays off and gets noticed by groups that want to reward scholastic achievement. Those students that are getting financial aid that earn scholarships are indeed representing their alma mater well; I congratulate all of those students, both those on financial aid and those that do not require it. It pains me to know that some college financial aid offices deduct the grants they give out for those that earn these merit scholarships and are on financial aid just because those students seem to have some extra money to spend. Does that not sound a little like a punishment to those whom are not financially well off?
Some of these students are motivated to apply to those merit scholarships because they want to help out their family situation. Then, they find out that there is zero net gain because the school’s financial aid department deemed that a scholarship means they can deduct an equal amount of financial help from that student. Put yourself in that student’s shoes and ask yourself, what is it like for a student to feel so ecstatic to know their hard work paid off somehow only to find out what they earned was nothing other than a fancy title? Would they have the motivation to keep trying to help their own situation, or will they simply accept the fact they do not need to try to get the same amount of support?
Now, scholarships worth little to nothing aren’t the only things that can cause students to feel dejected. I recently read a blog post called “I cannot afford to go back to engineering school,” a post that you can find here: https://medium.com/p/4ee09a99696e, that describes how a student tries so hard to make ends meet but gets nothing out of it. Again, it pains me to know that there are situations like these. Indeed, an experience like Ingrid Avendaño’s is great in what it is worth; it is much more than just money. However, her attempts to cope with her situation ended with little financially. She has spent so much, yet she cannot seem to finish what she started. It is a shame.
May I propose an idea? May those in charge of determining a student’s financial future identify which student efforts are attempts to improve their situation through merit or hard work prior to determining what happens to a financial aid package? It is quite likely that these financially struggling students are not doing this simply to have some extra spending money. I ask that those in charge try to avoid eliminating those students’ hard work; at least offer them a little more than little to nothing. If the financial award a student gets happen to be due to financial need, then it is understandable it has to come out of school provided financial aid. What if it is not? Times are hard; there are people out there trying their hardest to make ends meet hoping to make things better in the end. They worked hard and they deserve better.
A College Student Who Does More Than Just Listen To Stories
I found this little guy floating around when I went outside with my camera. My goal was to get some photos of the birds that kept flying around, but this one was just as interesting. Hello macro photography! ISO400; F/8.0; 1/2000s
This topic is a topic that really hits home with me. Not only is this a school fairly local to one of the places I call home, the Bay Area, but also, one of my college-bound friends is directly affected by the invalidation of her scores. To read more about this situation, please look at the “Related Articles” section below or just click this link to the ABC News coverage of this situation. You can also find the students’ responses to the situation at whyweneedourscoresback.com. To summarize, there was a complaint, from whom I do not know, regarding a few irregularities during the testing period. The Educational Testing Services (ETS) took those irregularities seriously as we should expect them to. However, their severe punishment is targeted at the Advanced Placement (AP) students of Mills High School of Millbrae. Many students around this time wait for their AP scores – I know I did after I took these tests a few years back – some even waiting to send them off to college to earn the credit that they worked so hard to deserve. That waiting soon turned into a nasty surprise; most if not all students that took the AP tests with Mills High School got their scores invalidated/cancelled. They have the option of taking the test again during the second week of August. Many of these students rely on these tests to sign up for higher level classes at their future school. If they do not take the test again, not only will they not get their scores, they will not get a refund for all the money they spent on the test.
The violations by Mills High School can include students sitting to close to each other during test time, having too many students per table, having the desks too close together, and/or not having desks facing proper directions. The only people that really should know about these specific regulations are the test proctors and administration. When I took those tests in high school, I do not recall knowing the specific seating regulations; all I recall is sitting in a spot where I was assigned. Putting myself back into the testing situation, I only cared that I was not sitting directly next to someone and I could not look at anyone’s test nor let anyone see my test, because that clearly would be a violation. Put short, the knowledge of the exact requirements simply cannot be the student’s responsibility. It is someone else’s responsibility to ensure that the testing environment follows proper testing protocol. In the end, it is the student that faces consequences for something that would not know without looking at the testing requirement specifications. These students work hard and put high levels of stress on themselves around this time to do well; what a relief it is to realize that this stress period is over. Summer mode essentially starts and vague versions of the material remain only to be pulled up again when the college workload requires it. Who knew that they would be punished by an irregularity that they had no true control over?
An incident like this, a seating irregularity, is something that a student cannot control unless they blatantly decided to disobey the protocol and sit side-by-side with their best friend – maybe in a testing situation their best friend is their most intelligent friend – during the test. Even though the students have no control of the situation, they get the severe punishment of losing something the worked so hard for, pass or fail. What is the reasoning behind harming the students for what seems to be administrator error? It is like blaming the passengers of an airplane for a flight accident that seems to point to pilot error. The victims suffered enough stressing through tough tests; yet the thanks that they receive is the blame that they are the reason for their own loss of scores. The ETS, I am certain, does not directly state that, but actions do speak louder than words; in this case, their action to punish innocent students is in essence blaming them for the irregularities. The students should not have to suffer another round of testing that they are in no way prepared.
I support the reinstatement of these students’ scores. If there is someone that benefited from the irregularities and someone knows about it, let that person face the cruel punishment. If someone did benefit and no one knows, well, no one should face the punishment for it; just give the school a severe warning. I do not know if you are familiar with Blackstone’s Formulation, but it is “Better that ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer.” In this case, it is not one innocent student suffering for the mistake of few, but a couple hundred students suffering for the mistakes of the same few. To the Educational Testing Services, please reconsider this severe punishment on these students; they do not deserve this. I am speaking as a current college student that has once been through the rigor of AP testing just a few years back.
- Calif. High School’s AP Test Scores Invalidated (abcnews.go.com)
- Mills High School’s AP test scores invalidated, students cry foul (mercurynews.com)
On my Contact Me portion of this blog page, I have links to my LinkedIn and my Twitter, but I never put links to this blog on those websites. I intend on completing that loop of hyperlinks. I wanted to get the ball rolling on this blog before I put it out there, so it would not simply be a blog that someone can see promising to be filled with content, but a blog that already has something on there and one that will continue to add content as ideas come up. As I said in my About the Blog page, there will not be content revolving around a specific topic, but just a general flow of thought (and maybe it will inspire conversation too!). My goal is to have a post at least once every two weeks, but I might just have more when I have more things to say (that might be easier in the summer) and less when that comes around (or if I have less time). Here is to a-little-over-a-month of switching blogging platforms!
One thing that I have really paid attention to since I started my internship at Enercon Services is how there is always someone in the office that has something they specialize in while still having a very good knowledge of everything else that goes on in the office. If anyone has a question that another person has more experience in, it is just a simple walk down the hall to that person’s office/cubicle to find out more on that part of the project. For example, given that we are working in California, a state that has a large earthquake risk, anything that needs to be installed has to be qualified by people on the civil engineering team. Of course, that is not the only time that members of various teams do cross-consulting. It is really just another eye looking at your work to see where it can be improved or how it needs to be changed.
In terms of the project that I have been helping out on, there have been countless times that I have gone by myself or with the lead engineer of this project (or even witnessed others working on the same project) to consult the expertise of other people in the office. In fact, I have not only asked for feedback from people within this office, but also some people down at the site when I visited to present the original design of panel that we will be installing. The biggest problem with our panel that we knew of before was the sizing and how much it would restrict a not-so-tall person from using control switches behind the addition. While it worked, the shortest operator that they had test the panel was at his limit. The reason for this test in the first place lies in the early realization that size could be a problem by someone down at the site. Simply being an “expert” in that area through experience allowed him to see that before a design was even conceptualized; when I first laid out the panel, others in the office thought it should be fine but should be tested anyways. The feedback from those at the site was used to create a new design that guaranteed that someone on the shorter side could still use the control switches in the case that such switches needed to be use. I cannot tell you the new design that we intend on putting it; regardless that is subject to change when we are scheduled to meet with engineers down at the site next week. Well, I’m not going, but the new design sketches has already been sent to engineers down at the site; a walk down of the plant will be done to see how this panel and other panels that I laid out will fit in the proposed locations. Feedback, information regarding things such as material or even possible placement, from people that consistently are in the plant will help us understand the necessary changes that need to be made such that it will not create new hazards when we are trying to minimize hazards.
All of the panels that I am designing have to be checked for seismic quality, something that I really have no true knowledge about. For example, did I ever know the frequency of an object in order for it to be rigid? I know now, given that I’ve heard it so many times. But of course, someone else had to look at it to tell that to me; there was no way of me knowing that looking at it with my own two eyes (before that is). There simply is no way for one person to know every small detail about a project. There is a certain person I can ask about how conduits will come into my panels, another person for various details about electrical equipment within the panel itself, so forth and so on. While all those people know snippets of the other’s work, there is that one thing that they have down. Through that kind of distribution, there is always someone that can point out a flaw in a design; it is kind of like a devil’s advocate in debate preparation. Through that, little kinks in designs can be caught early on. As I have learned about the nuclear industry, paperwork is plentiful and a design change down the road is a long process. It is better to have it caught early than late, or worse, never. I wonder if it is the same for other industries.
Long story short after my little anecdote is: Have someone there to challenge you every now and then, not only for work but for all sorts of things. There are simply things that you cannot catch without someone else keeping an eye out for you. I understand it is a cliche of some form, but it is worth mentioning.