Category Archives: Growing Up

Natasha’s Graduation

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My sister graduated with her PsyD and is now moving to Seattle!  Yay Natasha!

Techsparks, Scripps Women in Technology, and Scripps Entrepreneurs

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On Wednesday evening, I drove a car full of college students from Scripps Women in Technology club and Scripps Entrepreneurs to a Techsparks mixer in Pasadena.  There, some of them experienced their first networking event ever, and passed with flying colors.  Techsparks created a comfortable and warm environment above Barney’s with plenty of food, drink, and conversation. We were the youngest group there, but the tech professionals welcomed us with open arms, and allowed us to join their conversations with ease.  I look forward to exposing more club members to events like these, and helping them discover the wonders of the tech world.

Pomona Ventures Mixer

So Pomona’s entrepreneurship club, Pomona Ventures, held a professional mixer at the Sontag Rooftop Gardens.  It included mocktails, cheeses, and other delicious tidbits.  I met some ridiculously driven and well connected individuals (including the president of Pomona Ventures (Dani Van de Sande) who has already started a hedgefund for the club as well as her own business helping Hungarian Start-Ups) and had some wonderful conversations.  Dani (the president) encouraged me to apply to a program called Kairos Society and to grab dinner with her next week, and  I look forward to working with her and forming an alliance between Pomona Ventures and Scripps Women in Technology.

Food!

Learning to Delegate

So I am now the head of IT for faculty at Scripps College, and crazy enough that now means I do more delegating than work (especially since I have less hours since I’m in LA a lot of the time).  I’ve had to learn to let go of projects I don’t have time for, and trust that the people I give the project to will do well.  Trello has been especially helpful for this, it’s a wonderful online program used for project management.  It’s been an interesting experience learning to let go, but I think I’m better for it.  I’ve also learned to created ‘Project Leaders’ so that every single person working under me doesn’t constantly ask me questions, but rather asks the Project Leader who gets to make most of the decisions, but can always turn to me for major ones.  Here’s what I ended sending out in my weekly update:

Welcome to another week.  We have some shifts in structure at IT-FITS.  I have now started delegating projects to people.  Some notes about it:

  • The initials next to the project name designates the project leader.
  • If you are not a project leader and have any questions, email the project leader (not me).
    • The project leader will make any decisions regarding the direction of the project.
  • If you are a project leader, be prepared to update me every Monday at the IT-FITS meeting on your progress.  You can also use this time to ask for input or people to claim tasks (or you can send out emails earlier).
    • If you (the project leader) have any questions, call or email me, but you have full power to make executive decisions about your own project.
      • Feel free to delegate work as you see fit (including to me).  For example, send an email to the next person in office asking them to print and cut out flyers, or ask someone to post daily on twitter, or to create a photoshop banner for something.  You can also send out a general email and ask someone to claim tasks.
    • Project leader just means you are in charge of the project, it doesn’t mean you do it yourself.  Please delegate so we can get tasks done ASAP.
  • If you have any questions about the project structure in general, have complaints that a project leader isn’t doing her job or abusing her power, have complaints that someone you delegated work to isn’t doing their job, etc., email me.
    • Likewise, if someone is doing a great job on a project, please tell them and also email me so I’m aware of it.
  • If anyone has any ideas for new projects, please email me or bring it up in the meeting.
    • It’s perfectly okay if you are busy and don’t want to be project leader of that project, we’ll give it to someone else who doesn’t have a project.
  • Project leaders, please keep me in the loop at all times, but feel free to make your own decisions.  

Figuring Out Twitter

For some reason I recently had an revelation where I finally get Twitter and use it frequently and learned to connect with others on it.  Is this leveling up in real life?  Follow me at https://twitter.com/alicen_lewis

Summer 2013 Recap

Well, things got a little away from me this week…  Things that have happened these last few weeks alone:

Other things this summer: I went to Vidcon 2013.  I went to Fanime 2013.  I got a Disneyland pass.  I worked for SLK.US doing web design.  I explored Youtube Space LA.  I went to SeaWorld with Kelly.  I went to Comic-con 2013. I went to a Steampunk Festival. I made a vlog.  I went through an Animal Crossing phase.  I did Karaoke for the first time.  I went to Anime Expo 2013.  I started a Scripps Women in Technology club.  I went to the MOCA for the first time.  I went got summoned for jury duty (but didn’t need to serve).  I think that’s all the major events?

I’m ready for school 🙂

 

Vidcon 2013

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So, I attended Vidcon 2013 this weekend, and it was absurdly educational.  I checked in with Taryn at our hotel at the Sheraton (right next to DISNEYLAND, I was able to see the fireworks from outside) on Thursday night, and we wandered over to get our community passes.  First thing we noticed was we were in the middle of the road in terms of age.  There were 14 year olds running around and filming their escapades with their iphones as well as a good number of 25 year olds doing the same.  The second thing we noticed was everyone was fashionably dressed, and most had brightly colored hair.  The last thing we noticed was at least 60% of the con was female.

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Day 1 (Friday) dawned bright and early, and I headed over to the exhibition hall.  It was jam packed with people promoting their products, shows, and services, but also had a very nice play area and arcade for some needed decompression time.  I went to two panels that day, Creating a Hit Show on YouTube: What’s Working and Why in 2013 and How I Make Videos.  At the first one we got a physical copy of the Youtube Creator Playbook (which I highly recommend checking out), and the second one just gave me a taste of what it’s like behind the scenes.  The rest of the day was spent networking (I met a really cool Let’s Play youtuber) and wandering around.

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Day 2 (Saturday) I went to Meet-Up: Geek & Sundry Vlogs (I’m actually planning on applying to intern for them in fall), How I Make Videos with Kevin Tancharoen: Creator of Mortal Kombat Legacy; 5SecondFilms; Wong Fu Productions; and Chris Thompson: Creator of SupRicky06, and finally The Tipping Point which taught me about how to keep increasing your audience.  Commence more networking, watching Steam Powered Giraffe perform *swoon*, and a new drive to create a video.

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Vidcon has inspired me to explore vlogging on my own, and you should see a new video coming out soon enough.  I highly recommend the con to anyone who enjoys youtube, or wants to break into the blogging world.

TechSparks

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This Thursday evening I attended TechSparks, a monthly mixer for Tech Professionals in the Pasadena area.  Their focus is on the Social Spark Theory, which says that ‘when driven, smart people play games and socialize, they will spark big ideas that change the world’.  This particular event was for Pasadena interns to network with local professionals, and I got the chance to meet a bunch of cool people.

The venue was at Barney’s Beanery, a hip little bar with a nice upstairs area with a second bar, tables, and pool tables.  Interns were handed raffle tickets at the door that they could give to professionals who talked to them, so I found myself very quickly being included in conversations and asked about my own experiences.  I met a Pomona alum, a psychologist interested in researching usability, and many other IT people.  It was a great chance to hear about what was happening in the tech industry, as well as many offshoots and tangents to traditional tech businesses.

Unfortunately I am a bit young to be attending any more of these events, but I’m contacting them in the hopes of being able to volunteer or help out.  Currently Pasadena is in the middle of a tech revolution, spearheaded by the Innovate Pasadena movement.  I want to be at the top of the wave, hopefully getting my hands dirty while the movement is just budding, helping to make my hometown a hub of innovation and technology.  Wish me luck!

Dead Serious

Reality and Sexism

sexismHere is an absolutely incredible piece by Megan Petersen about attending Scripps College, a women’s college.  It’s like someone climbed into my head and pulled out all the reasons I love going here.  If you don’t want to read it, the rest of my blog post will still make sense, but I still highly recommend it.

So here’s a little context for Petersen’s blog.  In December, a Scripps College student, Elizabeth Pfeiffer, wrote an article for The Huffington Post entitled Don’t Like the Gender Gap? Women’s Colleges Might Just Be the Answer.  In it, she talks about how Scripps helped her develop into a stronger leader and student.  She in no way shames co-ed colleges, nor really says anything negative about them at all.  She simply expounds upon the merits of Scripps, trying to break down some of the negative stereotypes and preconceived notions that surround women’s colleges, refraining from denigrating a co-ed educational style.

In February, a Claremont McKenna (co-ed) College student, Shannon Miller, wrote a response article for the CMCForum called Don’t Like the Gender Gap? Don’t Encourage It.  In it, she directly attacks each of Pfeiffer’s arguments.  Pfeiffer believes that being surrounded by strong women helps her develop leadership skills?  Miller believes that being faced with ‘the practical challenges that women face (culturally embedded gender roles, male dominance, etc.)’ will allow the women of CMC to challenge ‘those notions by giving women the opportunity to work directly alongside men in prototypical boys’ clubs—something uniquely unavailable at a women’s college’

I think The Golden Antlers, a CMC satirical news source, summed up the argument most effectively in a series of photos with captions, my favorite of which is:

CMC Admissions Office Touts “Real World Sexism Experience”

So is real world sexism really necessary for stronger leaders?  I believe that there are many, many benefits to a co-ed education, but Miller doesn’t tend to argue anything beyond ‘we mirror the real world in terms of gender gap and sexist practices’ (obviously not a direct quote).

This is where Megan Petersen comes in with her own personal blog response to Miller’s article.  Petersen argues that Scripps isn’t important because it mirrors the real world, but rather because it teaches us the language to dismantle the sexism in the real world, and helps ‘me put these constructions (and their dismantling) at the top of my priority list’.  She recognizes that she’s ‘going to be hit head-on with all the patriarchal bull shit’ once she exists Scripps, but now ‘I’m armed. I can identify the subversive tactics typical of the patriarchal structure. I can articulate not only that something is “sexist,” but I can make a point about the discourses surrounding it and propose alternatives.’

Surprisingly enough, the rest of this blog post isn’t going to argue that women’s colleges in general make better or more leaders, just that they make different ones (I’ll leave it to professionals to argue the better/more with facts and figures).

First of all, and I say this many times over to people in real life, just because I go to a women’s college doesn’t mean when I face sexism I collapse crying to the floor.  There is a difference between a college being a Bubble of Ignorance and a Bubble of Protection.  My high school was a Bubble of Ignorance.  I attended an elite private high school where although we were taught much of academics, very little was taught to us of social justice, privilege, sexism, racism, or homophobia.  We lived in our little bubble world where we all focused on getting into college, and although we were aware all these other issues existed, we very rarely analyzed them unless they were included in thesis such as ‘Shakespeare was misogynistic. Explain how.’  I knew so little about anyone else’s experiences in the U.S., and attended a high school with students who were so much like me (or were silenced), that I never really thought about what the world was like for people who didn’t have my privilege, or that privilege even existed.

Now, I’m not saying you can’t learn about privilege and social injustice and social structures at co-ed colleges.  What I am saying is that I did learn these things at a women’s college, even though it is a type of bubble.  The difference is it’s a Bubble of Protection and Education.  I am aware that men exist outside of Scripps. I know sexism exists. I know the patriarchy exists, and as Petersen says, ‘I’m armed’.   I can work around the structure as well as dismantle it, unlike my high school, where I was unaware the structure even existed.  College is not some strange development oven, where women need to be ‘cooked’ by misogyny until they are done.  We do not need to be exposed to a certain amount of hate and hurt before we are ready.  We need to be armed and prepared with the language to explain why what is happening to us is wrong, and to borrow Petersen’s voice again (she’s just so articulate), it allows us to find ‘the words to describe the experiences that used to be nasty memories, knots in my stomach’, and Scripps does just that.

Scripps is a college where deconstructing the patriarchal structures and analyzing gender relations permeates much of our learning, and I happen to enjoy that.  I enjoy it in the same way an environmental activist might enjoy a school with a focus on being greener, or someone interested in science might enjoy a tech college.  Does the environmentalist cry when she leaves her green college and realizes how much waste and pollution exists in the real world?  No, she fights to bring her green practices to all of America, not just the haven she graduated from.  Does the Scrippsie faint when she experiences sexism in the real world?  No, she fights to bring gender equality to all spaces, not just Scripps.  This isn’t to say that Scripps doesn’t have many other wonderful academic strengths, but many of those strengths can be found at other elite colleges.  What makes Scripps special to me is that it constantly teaches me to be a leader aware of structures (and not just the patriarchy), and arms me with very specific tools for fighting it.  I may have learned these tools in a protected space, but they will be just as applicable to the sexism of reality.  I’m about to make a unprovable claim, but I believe that if I were to have attended a co-ed college, I would not have felt nearly as comfortable identifying as a feminist, would not so readily speak up against what I perceive as injustice,  nor would I have learned to defend my positions as strongly. I don’t know if it’s made me a better leader, but I can honestly say I believe that as a safe space it has allowed me to develop a stronger voice.

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