Design Brief Portfolio

After taking the strengths finder test, (see my results/reflection here) we were assigned a deceptively simple task: to demonstrate the cohorts strengths as a whole. A graph of all the cohorts strengths is below.


Joining up with Melina, Nina, Kiki, Robyn, and Maya, we then began the job of both brainstorming and choosing an idea. We finally settled on an eye, in order to create a sense of uniqueness and uniformity. However, we has slightly different variants of this seemingly-simple ‘eye.’ One idea was to project everyone’s eyes onto a piece of wood shaped and colored like an eye, with everyone’s names under each projection. Another idea was to have everyone’s iris in the shape of an eye, blending the colors as one big eye. As one can see below, the ideas were numerous.IMG_0102

Eventually, after much tweaking, we decided to have a hand-drawn picture of an eye with a photo of every cohort member’s eye, pictured below.


We also narrowed the strengths down into four groups (individualization, strategic thinker, executing, and relationship building) so that someone did not have to click on 34 different strengths.  Their name would be under their eye, and would remain open when that strength group was selected. Anyone who does not have a strength in one of those four strength groups, their eye would close. After finally deciding upon our task, we then set out on bringing it to life. Nina was voted as our leader, Maya was volunteered to use Scratch, in order to code the requirements of our project, Kiki and Robyn became our on-call artists, and Melina jumped around from place to place, Photoshopping one minute and photographing irises the next, with Maya’s help. As for me, after bouncing around for a bit, I ended up doing the majority of Photoshop, which I actually really enjoyed. We continued to work on our projects, taking pictures (see example below), cropping them, then placing them in the hand-drawn eye, as well as coding the software and designing the physical aspect of the project.

The physical aspect is a box that houses the controls to select an eye group, allowing the user to easily view the different people in each strength group. There is a MakeyMakey inside that changes the images based on the strength group selected. The strengths are written on the top of the box, with the touch pads underneath the writing. As the pictures show, the box houses the wiring and electronic aspects, hiding everything from sight.

After quite a few weeks of hard work and learning, it was time to present to the Art class, who were coming to critique our work. We were able to look at the other group’s project as well, a creative montage of floating balloons with each strength written on a balloon that also contained the names of the people who have that strength. After that, we presented our project to the art class. (see below)

Unfortunately, we were not able to make the eyes close when they were not part of a strength group, only disappear due to time constraints. However, it turned out beautifully nonetheless. Overall, this was a project that was enjoyable, stretched my creative abilities, helped me learn to work through difficulties easier, and taught me a few new skills in the process, notably learning how to Photoshop. I hope to be able to implement these skills in my life soon! Below are some more photos of our final project.

My Strengths Portfolio

Until a few weeks ago, I thought I knew myself. I believed I understood my inner thoughts, my strengths and weaknesses, and was convinced I knew myself inside and out. Then, I took the strengths finder test through StrengthsQuest. I actually found uncanny how accurately they were able to assign my strengths; a lot of what they said resonated strongly in me. The strengths finder test has a total of 34 strengths, and gives assigns each person their top five. My top five were deliberative, competition, intellection, futuristic, and individualization. All of these strengths came with descriptions about how they related to me personally. While the descriptions were not 100% accurate, they came pretty close.

Deliberative is, in my opinion, my strongest strength. I am the type of person who will research a choice thoroughly before making a decision, who will usually remain silent during discussions until I feel I have an important point to make, and who prefers to be reading a book or working on an art project rather than socializing. Deliberative also ties in with my other strength, futuristic. I enjoy visualizing the future; thinking about how my life will be, or the decisions I should make to arrive at a certain goal. My nature to carefully make a decision, my deliberative nature, helps me to think through different decisions to arrive at the best choice in the future. However, my normally cautious nature wars with my competitive, thrill-seeking side. I enjoy winning, that feeling of exhilaration with adrenaline pumping through my veins. This conflicts with my careful, deliberative, slightly OCD nature: my competitive side involves taking risks and making impulsive decisions whereas my more cautious nature involves planning ahead and taking precautions. Both are situational-dependent; depending on the time and place, one will win over the other. Intellection blends nicely into all three, however. My love of knowledge and learning helps me to make informed decisions, and influences my impulsive nature, tempering it with logic and reason. My intellectual nature encourages me to fully research a topic, absorbing the knowledge, then spouting off facts to my friends and family. I have also found that my intellectual side is passion-dependent; the more love I have for a topic, the more work I will put into learning as much as I can about it. Individualization is the most interesting. It focuses on details and being precise in one’s work. Due to my perfectionist nature, this fits perfectly. However, it also mentions being able to see specific traits about people, and understanding how they work together. While I do not agree with all of that, there are certain aspects I do agree with. I find that I am able to read someone, see their motivation behind a decision, understand their nature, find out why they are who they are, and then be able to mentally perfect their nature, realizing that if they changed a few things about themselves, they would ultimately be a better, happier person. Because my ability to read people, I am also very skilled at persuading them. I can read certain people and find out how to appeal to them so I can turn them to my point of view. Individualization shows up on a daily basis, but very subtly. On all of my projects, papers, etc, I strive for perfectionism. I pay attention to the little details, wanting them to be just right. This can also lead to delays on my work, due to my perfectionist nature not wanting to turn in something I can see “obvious” flaws in. One example would be my history journal, on the Crusades. I actually dismantled my journal because it did not meet the standards I held it to. I have been behind in actually transcribing my journal entries onto paper because my nature wants everything perfect.

Deliberative and intellection often go hand-in-hand. For example, I am on route to getting my driver’s license. This is something I am very passionate about, which has led me to research it very thoroughly. I have combed through website after website, figuring out the requirements, documents I will need, courses to take, and the exams I will need to pass to achieve this goal. My deliberative nature forces me not to take this decision lightly; I consider all the aspects of each of the options before choosing. My intellection has led me to research far beyond what is required because I am passionate about the topic. Even my futuristic and competitive nature play a role here as well; futuristic allows me to visualize the steps and outcomes of each decision, and competition is my motivation as I have a love of being first, and succeeding. Competition pushes me to do better so I will not fail and I can be the first to get my license. Individualization is present here as well, making me pay attention to every little detail so I do not overlook something.

My competitive nature does not just focus on winning and excelling at everything I do; it also is the basis for my reckless, impulsive, thrill-seeking side. This has come out many times in my life, usually resulting in some of the best memories of my life. One of the many memories I have that have been a result of an impulsive decision was the time I went to Six Flags with my friends. My deliberative nature had kicked in, so I had been on the edge about if I should go up until the day before. Finally, my impulsive (and thrill-seeking) side kicked in and I went, ultimately joining in the sleep-over as well. Those two days were some of the best of my life; I had a great time with my friends, rode roller coasters, bonded, and just had fun.

Recently, we completed a project that showed each person’s strengths throughout the cohorts. All of my strengths played a role in this project. Our idea was to take pictures of each person’s iris, then photoshop it into a sketch of an eye. Finally, we would use a coding program to be able to click on a strength group, and every eye with a strength in that group would stay open, while the rest closed. Each person’s name would be under their eye to help bring an individual part to the unity. My deliberative and futuristic natures helped to plan ahead and make informed decisions. I ended up doing most of the photoshop, which I learned quickly and efficiently due to my intellectual side, and because I enjoyed it. My individualization helped pay attention to little details to ensure perfection. My competitive nature also helped to make quick decisions and to provide motivation to succeed. My team also used their strengths to help make this project a reality: Nina took on the role of leader, encouraging everyone, and overseeing the work. Robyn and Kiki used their artistic talents to whip up eyes and the box for our project. Maya put her computer skills to use, coding the model for our design. Melina and Maya both used their photography skills to take the iris pictures, and helped out in each mini-project going on.

To read more about this awesome project, and see some pics of the final product, click here!




Signs of Second Largest Black Hole

According to ScienceDaily, there have been Signs of Second Largest Black Hole in the Milky Way. “Astronomers using the Nobeyama 45-m Radio Telescope have detected signs of an invisible black hole with a mass of 100 thousand times the mass of the Sun around the center of the Milky Way.” This black hole is actually located only 200 light years from the center of the Milky Way, which is very close in galaxy terms. The team of scientists who discovered it performed a simulation in which they flung gas clouds at the hole, discovering they picked up speed the closer they got to the hole. This theory also helped scientists “open a new way to search for black holes with radio telescopes.” I really found this interesting, the multiple types of black holes. I also feel like this could go a long way to understanding black holes and how they are formed. It is also very interesting the suction the black hole has, causing the clouds to reach maximum speed when they reach the hole. My only concern is how do we close them?


Weekly Summary 2/1/16

This week in Bio, we started off with a quiz on Meiosis. It was hard, but I felt like I tried my best. Tuesday, we were able to work on our cancer projects, and I enjoyed the time to really dive deeper into the project. I accomplished a lot, and will hopefully finish soon! Thursday, we started a lab on sea urchins! We injected the live sea urchins with a formula that would cause them to release their sperm or eggs, then viewed the sperm & eggs under a microscope. Ours were (unfortunately) rather dead, so it didn’t go quite as planned. However, it was still very fun to see sea urchins! Friday, we presented our cancer projects, learning all about the different types of cancer.