Monthly Archives

September 2015

Students

In which David McKinnon uses “Tracky Dacks” in every day conversation

Beth went to UNSW with David, running into him in different classes here and there, but she properly met him over Southern Summer last year when he interned at Microsoft (with crazy blue hair, of course!). His willingness to climb trees and show off dramatic cinematic poses made this shoot exactly the kind of thing Beth loves doing (Dona – you’ll be glad to hear I didn’t climb any myself!).

Tell us a little about you.

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Coat: Vakko (similar here) / Shoes: Doc Martens (similar here)

I’m in my fourth year of university, studying Computer Engineering and Mathematics at UNSW (where I’m in our Robocup SPL team, aiding the robots in their inevitable revolution against muggle humanity). I saw the UNSW robolab during an Engineering open day shindig when I was in high school, and fell in love with robots. To be stuck in a lab playing with robots all day is literally a dream come true – my degree is currently at the best it’s been yet and I love it. Robots are just so cool – mechanical, electronic and programming challenges all mixed together in a package that looks so freaking awesome when it works.

Outside of uni (university) I am a bagpiper and a unicycler, and before you ask, yes, I do do those things simultaneously. Two of my life goals are to

a) become a famous bagpiping unicycler with flamethrowers (I’ve met the Unipiper, and he is my inspiration)
b) create a bagpipe rock band.

I also enjoy reading, learning about rationality and psychology, mountain climbing, snowboarding, swordfighting and acting.

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

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Sneakers: North Face

For years I searched for a long black leather coat before finding this one in an op-shop (thrift shop, for our American readers) just next to Microsoft’s Bellevue campus, and I just had to have it. Whilst the Australian heat renders it mostly impractical, in winter it

a) keeps out rain, wind, knives, bullets, …anything, and
b) just looks awesome and makes me feel like I’m in a movie. (Something similar here)

The boots are Doc Martens, and also came from an op-shop, but this one in Nowra, Australia. These are yet another piece of my “I’m in a movie” winter ensemble. Sure, they look chunky, heavy, and are hell to lace up, but I still take any excuse to wear them. (Something similarly bad-ass here)

Everyone seems to have a huge problem with wearing cargo pants instead of jeans, like that they look bad or make you lose friends or whatever. IMO they are the most comfortable long pants aside from tracky-dacks, and since they have so many pockets and are still nice and loose, they go perfectly with the coat. They’re Eddie Bauer, and like the coat I got them in Seattle, from the Redmond outlet. (Something similar here)

My friends have this joke that I own no plain t-shirts – they are all movie/book/STEM jokes/references – and, well, this is true. I have an enormous collection of joke shirts, and am proud of what it has become. The black knight one is one of my two favourites, and came from Redbubble (who are going to get so much money from me when I get a job).

The Ring – well, it’s the One Ring. ‘Nuff said.

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

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Pants: Eddie Bauer / Boots: Doc Martens / Shirt: RedBubble / Coat: Vakko

I used to just stick to black everything  – hoodie, pants/shorts, plus the joke shirt – but then when I got to uni and started expanding my movie character costume wardrobe I discovered that there were other fun things to wear – like long coats. Nowadays I’m going to second Matt McEwen – Form Follows Function. My clothing tends to be based foremost on what is most useful (hence the cargo pants – enough pockets to hold anything and everything I own), and then secondly on what I think fits the mood. Bright, sunny, day? Shorts, perhaps, and a Hawaiian shirt, or white joke shirt. Dark and gloomy day? Coat, cargo pants, darker joke shirt.

More recently I’ve discovered the joys of styling one’s hair, and trying to fit a deliberate look – like you’re from a movie. Currently my hair is blonde-streaked, which is the aftermath of purple dye. Previous hairstyles I’ve been through are a massive ponytail, then that all blue, a Ned Kelly-style beard, various goatees, plaits, etc. My hair is now really where my style shows.

Watches are something I’ve always felt are fantastic – far quicker to check the time than getting a phone out of your pocket. As a teenager I always just had cheap digitals from a department store, but now I’ve moved to something with a bit of quality. All my joke watches have died, so now I’m in a mechanical watch phase. Why? They are excellent in every way: batteryless, wind-up, with a flywheel so that wrist motion recharges it – excellent efficiency – but they also look swanky and awesome.

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?

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Watch: Sewor

Create your confidence

Don’t say “I’m not good enough”! I suffered for years from a lack of confidence in my abilities, but interning at Microsoft did a lot to bolster my confidence – firstly just receiving an offer, then being thrown in the deep end there with a mentor who took no excuses; I just had to knuckle down and solve problems.

This I got through, and now I hear many of my friends say, “Oh, I don’t think I’m good enough for that”, or “that sounds really hard, I couldn’t do that”. You know what? Maybe it is hard, but giving up early isn’t going to help! Try things, be ready to learn, and don’t be afraid of failure.

Most importantly, take the opportunities. You’ve got to be proactive for this, it’s not enough to just wait for things to come to you.

Don’t let poor experiences deter you

It always saddens me when I see someone not enjoying what they work on – I’ve friends at uni who do not enjoy some of their elective subjects. I’m fortunate to be incredibly and deeply motivated to work in robotics, and further robotics research, and to see others come into what is my passion and just be crushed and disappointed is really saddening. The worst part is that generally their poor experiences stem (hah!) from poor teachers, awful projects that are just not fun, or other people at the time giving them a bad experience.

I’ve had many a poorly taught class on a subject I love, so I’ve learnt (the hard way) to not let that stop me – sometimes if you push through and get past that bad teacher, or that awful project, the area can be amazing. I love computer vision, but that was one of the worst-taught classes I ever had. So, please don’t let a poor experience define a field/topic/area – you may really love it beyond that one bad teacher or project.

What is a really common misconception about tech or STEM fields that you’d like to clear up??

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Glasses: Tiposi

I’ve had a lot of people seemingly put off my field of CS or mathematics after they see me geeking out over something or remember what they’ve seen on The Big Bang Theory or The IT Crowd, and then think we’re all specky, pasty basement-dwelling anti-social geeks who don’t have any other interests. That impression is just blatantly wrong, and this blog is living proof!

I thoroughly enjoy my work – getting robots to do things is hard work, but very rewarding when you see it move and talk to you. But I also have many other interests that are far from STEM – mountain climbing, snowboarding, parkour, bagpiping, acting- as do many of my STEM friends. Tech is a passion for many, but it is not the only defining thing in someone’s life (if it’s defining for them at all)

We are diverse people who exist outside of our work. Don’t let stereotypes let you think otherwise.

What would you say is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?

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Boots: Doc Martens / Pants: Eddie Bauer / Shirt: RedBubble

Hmmm, tough one. One of the ones I’m most proud of and think I can go far with is the tune I helped arrange for me and my band. After many an hour watching the same youtube clip, and then more work with one of the band members with a good ear for tone, I managed to write the theme song for Game of Thrones for the bagpipes, and now play this, whilst riding a unicycle.

Another is my bagpipe cover for Muse’s Knights of Cydonia, which will be one of the star songs when I start my own bagpipe rock band.  To see one of my pet projects (that started out as just a laugh) be a tune that my current band plays at our gigs is fantastic, and the cheer that we get for those tunes is immensely gratifying.

What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?

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That sick braid.

Facebook is the best way to actually contact me, but I also have a blog of my internship adventures that may well be filled in more in future, as well as a small-but-very-slowly-growing youtube channel of my unipiping adventures, The Bagcycler.

OMG, how can we resist a man who uses the word “tracky dacks” in every day conversation. From his unipiping to his say-it-all t-shirts, to his awesome hair choices, to his vintage hunting, we are simply enamored by David’s style and awesome storytelling prowess.  We also thank him a million times over for proving again that just because you love STEM does not mean you’re a “specky, pasty basement-dwelling anti-social geeks who don’t have any other interests” — though that is just fine too!

Love,

Dona & Beth

Students

Petra Ronald Has More Fun

Petra Ronald will get into your head. In fact, not only will she get into your head, but she will beat the pants off of you in sports, while schooling you in behavioural science.

In heels. 

We loved meeting Petra this summer as we were kickstarting Fibonacci Sequins. The tiny, blonde PM showed up in heels so high that it made Dona nervous, and she navigated the rocky path we wanted to take pictures expertly, ahead of the two of us.  During our photoshoot, we got to know Petra a bit more and absolutely loved her quote  “Well behaved women never make history”. 

No danger of that here at Fibonacci Sequins! Read on to see more of this awesome young woman who is definitely out to make history. 

Tell us a little about you.

Blazer: / Top: / Jeans:

Blazer: Express (Similar here)/ Top: Express (Similar here) / Jeans:  Express (Similar here)/ Shoes: Jessica Simpson (Similar here)

I am currently a computer science major at Duke University, but I first fell in love with computer science when I was a freshman in high school. My teacher was amazing and crazy: the kind of crazy that walks around with a light saber during tests and dances on desks while singing the Pokemon theme song.

Craziness aside, we always made GUIs with our projects, and I loved the creativity of making the layout and designing the user interface. Today, I am still interested in user experience and hopefully will be able to make a career out of it as a PM.

Outside of computer science, I am a movie buff-Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd are my absolute favorite actors, and I can watch Old School and Role Models ten times in a row without getting bored. Besides being lazy though and binge watching Netflix, I love playing sports. In fact, I have always described myself as a tomboy – well, a tomboy whose favorite color is pink and who has a passion for heels because, come on, I think we all know throwing a football in heels is much more impressive anyway.

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

Romper: / Shoes:

Romper: (Similar here)/ Bralette: Victoria’s Secret

The jeans+blazer combo is an outfit that I would wear to work; it’s a little dressier and more polished than the usual T-shirt and jeans combo of a software dev.

As for where the clothing came from-I’m pretty sure the whole outfit with the exception of the heels is from Express, one of my favorite stores. The shoes are from Jessica Simpson’s line. (Note: Dona has almost the same ones and they are *freaky* comfortable for being so high!)

The second outfit is new but already a favorite of mine. I love rompers because they work for any occasion. With flip flops, this romper could be extremely casual, but with heels, the outfit turns into something I feel sexy in and wear when I am going out. I don’t know where the romper is from, but the bralette is from Victoria’s Secret, and I mean, you can’t go wrong with anything there.

The Tiffany necklace I paired with the romper is important to me;  it was a gift when I was about ten or twelve,  and it continues to be my favorite necklace now.

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

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Since I went to Catholic school for elementary and middle school and had to wear a uniform, I didn’t really follow fashion trends. It wasn’t until I went to public school for high school that I finally was able to dress the way I wanted to.

My style then, however, was definitely a little out there. My wardrobe was made up of bright colored Abercrombie or Aeropostale clothing, and since I was so small and everything still fit me, some outdated clothes from when I was probably 10. Yet, I always dressed for success and heels were/are my absolute favorite. In fact, I remember people repeatedly asking me why I wore heels to school, but I would just think, “Well, why not.”

In college, however, Victoria’s Secret became my favorite brand. I mean rolling up to class in sweats and a T-shirt just seemed like the biggest time saver. I still like to dress up though, and when I’m not in sweats or yoga pants, I’ll usually be in heels.

Do you have any style icons or favorite brands?

Shoes:

Shoes: Jessica Simpson (Similar here)

My favorite stores now probably would include Guess, Bebe, and Express.

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?

Top: / Blazer:

Blazer: Express (Similar here)/ Top: Express (Similar here) / Jeans:  Express (Similar here)/ Shoes: Jessica Simpson (Similar here)

My all-time favorite quote that I try to live is “Well behaved women never make history”.

Don’t ever let anyone deter you from what you’re passionate about, but, at the same time, understand that there will be obstacles. For me, in particular, I feel like my obstacle is that I am constantly trying to overcome the dumb blonde stereotype. Because I am aware of this stereotype and because women are such a minority in the CS field, I find myself not speaking up in class and not contributing as much as I could be. And guess what? A lot of women feel the same way. I don’t understand why I get so nervous to voice my opinion or to ask a question, and I get angry at myself for feeling this way. I guess I feel that I need to be right all the time in order to prove that I, a woman-a BLONDE woman, can be just as smart as any other student. But this kind of thinking is a disadvantage. I learn so much more when I ask questions and actively contribute to discussion.

Thus, my advice to you girls is to never doubt your worth and your intelligence. You are in your position for a reason. Your questions and opinions are just as reasonable as any other. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “What could we accomplish if we knew we could not fail?”

If you see other women struggling, help each other out! When women really stand by and team up together, we can overcome any obstacle.

What would you say is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?

Romper:

When I was in high school, I was in a program that required us to do 360 hours of scientific research at a nearby college. I’m deeply interested in behavior and oppose the sexualization of women in the media and so I did my project on how the media affects an adolescent’s perpetration and acceptance of sexual harassment. I looked at how often an adolescent watched television and what types of television they watched, and I found that the more reality television an individual watched (Jersey Shore type television), the more likely an individual was to accept sexual harassment as normal, perpetrate sexual harassment, and believe in gender stereotypes.

I had a great time researching this subject because I feel that a lot still needs to be done about how women are presented in the media, and (not to be nerdy) I placed 4th in the Behavioral Sciences category at Intel ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair). When I received that award, I was just astonished and amazed. It was really rewarding to know that other people were listening and cared about this matter.

“Not to be nerdy”, she says. 5 seconds after meeting Petra,the concept of a “dumb blonde” becomes laughable.  We love her daringness with her career choices, her life and her fashion.  We love that she reiterates what has quickly become the motto of Fibonacci Sequins: never doubt your worth and your intelligence. You are in your position for a reason. Your questions and opinions are just as reasonable as any other.

We absolutely cannot wait to see what she does this year!

XOXO

Dona & Beth

Students

Vivienne Jaehn-Kreibaum in Wonderland

One day Beth and Dona were nonchalantly strolling through the woods when, lo and behold, we encountered the one and only Alice.

“Where are you going?” we asked.
“To Wonderland, of course!” she replied.

Okay, so that didn’t actually happen, but when we met Vivienne Jaehn-Kreibaum this summer, we were struck at how very Alice in Wonderland-like this lovely young woman was. Adventure on to discover her story, her ambitions and how a pair of knee-high purple boots plays a very important role in her life!

Tell us a little about you.

Dress: / Earrings:

Dress: H&M

I entered the tech industry to develop skills that I can use to hopefully revolutionize the clean energy industry. I have a vision of integrating science with art: to engineer a world that uses its food, water, and energy resources more intuitively, while showcasing STEM design through edgy film documentaries and art exhibits.

Working for a company like Microsoft that is always pushing innovation has really set me up for that “hack” mindset I need to put my ideas into action. I hope to work with imaginative filmmakers, technical designers, and brilliant entrepreneurs to bring more than just the functionality—but also the beauty—of engineering projects and design to the public. Check out what Vancouver’s eatART Foundation is doing to raise energy awareness through art!

When I’m not driving my mentors crazy with questions, I love to dance! I am training in ballroom dance (think Quickstep, Waltz, Rumba, Tango, etc.) to hopefully compete at a professional level one day, but I also like to let loose with Salsa or Swing at the local ballroom on weekends. Dance is what ignites me, and I hope that I never stop learning and practicing.

My other interests include scuba diving, rugby, hiking, reading (voraciously!) and tinkering with my Arduino kit.

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

Baby Blue Dress

Dress:

This baby-blue dress is from H&M—a simply modest and flattering piece that suited my student budget. It’s actually the first piece of brand new clothing that I bought from a chain retail store in over a year (I secretly dread clothing shopping!).

Last fall, my back to school wardrobe update consisted strictly of vintage and consignment finds that I picked up at a flea market that regularly visits campus. However, when I realized that I needed more office-appropriate summer threads, the flea market wasn’t my first stop (…because I couldn’t find it!). I love how lightweight this dress is, and how it could take me from office to school, or from a networking event to a wedding reception (expertly paired with some nude pumps, of course).

My pearl-toned earrings are from my local Salvation Army thrift shop, all the way out in Trenton, Ontario. If I’m not wearing these, I pair the dress with my retro red plaid earrings. I bought the lace hair accessory from a freelance vendor who makes her own hats and hair clips.

Black Salsa Outfit

Dress:

I like to think that Macklemore is my personal style icon, because that vest came straight from a thrift shop (#itwas99cents), and the skirt is actually a bathing suit cover-up in disguise! It’s one of those reversible dresses that can be worn many ways – I have taken this thing from white sand dunes in the Caribbean to high school semi-formal dances.

You can’t really see it, but underneath it all I am sporting my favourite black bodysuit – a steal from Momma Jaehn-Kreibaum’s 70’s-era closet. Bodysuits are so versatile, and are especially great for nights when you’re dancing for hours on end.

I wore my favourite earrings here because they add a pop of colour and wildfire to the otherwise dark outfit. They remind me of a tiger—though tigers do not live in the savannahs of Africa, where these earrings were purchased (Moshi, Tanzania).

Alice-in-Wonderland traipsing through the woods

Dress:

Can you guess who designed this dress? I can’t! It was a lucky find at the Eastside Flea Market during one of its many visits to UBC’s Vancouver campus. Whoever it was originally designed or manufactured by, their brand has since been revitalized into a reworked piece of recycled fashion. I love supporting local vendors, flea markets, and consignment stores to give old fabric new life; I believe that there are more than enough quality pieces of clothing out there to suit my every need—it’s just about finding the right way to reuse what is already available. It is also a great way to reduce consumption of raw materials and ensure that I’m not supporting unethical labour.

Sheer fabric is intriguing, and I use that feature of the piece to take the outfit from work to date night. Floral is not to be underestimated, because it really changes the mood of an outfit and makes me feel like I fit into the natural environment.

The earrings that I like to match with this outfit remind me of a solar system, or a beautiful illustration of centripetal force. But I digress… it is amazing what you can find when digging through your mother’s or grandmother’s collection of jewelry!

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

Earrings:

Earrings: bought in Tanzania

Back in elementary school, I definitely went through a tomboy and punk-goth phase. High school saw me grow into a more classy and modest individual, but I definitely explored some questionable outfits along the way. Now, working at a tech company allows me to lounge in jeans and a sweater on those cold rainy days, or playful summer dresses and bright skirts when it’s 30+ degrees outside (in Celsius, because I’m Canadian).

I am not one to wear heels or makeup because I find myself most comfortable in my knee-high purple boots, a casual dress, and lazy air-dried hair – I actually use baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and coconut to clean my hair, and so long as I am sporting a tasteful coffee (or spicey wood) scented perfume, no one complains about the vinegar smell.

I like to think that my style is classy bohemian (see how I just put two fashion-forward words together to invent a style on the spot?), with bonus points if I can dance or do yoga in it.

Earrings are typically my only accessory, and I love lace and high-waisted or high-collared pieces.

Do you have any style icons or favorite brands?

Earrings:

Since I mostly shop consignment, I don’t often purchase from big brands. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t cultivated an indulgent Instagram following for companies like Kit and Ace (ethically produced cashmere), For Love and Lemons (abundantly lacey clothing and lingerie), Freddy (jeans that are girl’s butt’s best friend), ALO Yoga (great for working out, dance, and… yoga!)

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?

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  1. Do not be turned off by the words “boring” or “difficult”; frankly, working in STEM makes you feel like you can do anything! STEM is a field based upon service, and chartered by innovation and creation – the products we create empower people to push the boundaries of achievement. After all, Engineering is just a fancy word for ‘inventing’ and Technology is just a fancy word for ‘cool gadgets powered by math and science’.
  2. If you feel that you would miss out on your artistic side by pushing yourself into STEM, think again! There are many examples of visionary organizations who are out to change the world by using STEM design to reach out to people through art.
  3. Always listen to feedback with an open mind. Those that take the time to suggest opportunities for growth, whether it be on your communication skills or your method of problem-solving, are doing so because they care enough to want you to improve. Taking criticism is tough, but it is one of the most valuable byproducts of being in a team.
  4. But most importantly, please explore. Attend hackathons: two- or three-day events of intensive project “hacking” in teams. They are a great way to get ramped up on new technology and subjects quickly, as well as to meet new people, including mentors that can help you with a project or be a useful contact later in your career.
    Always ask questions, and never stop creating! I recommend websites like Instructables to get the creative juices flowing – projects like building an aquaponics system, or programming your Arduino to turn on the Thermostat when the house gets too cold.

What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?

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For professional purposes, feel free to check out my LinkedIn account; I follow a lot of companies in the tech and renewable energy industry, and am always updating my profile to reflect the kind of person that I envision myself being. I get a lot of great inspiration and ideas from other professionals.

For my more personal side, I am on Instagram (@vivienne_jk), and I use Twitter (@vjaehnkreibaum) for a mix of both professional and personal interests.

Did we not promise an amazing woman? It’s rare that you meet someone who you feel like you’ve known forever, but also feel like you’d happily cross country lines to go hang out with them and get to know them more. Vivienne, we are dying to road-trip up to UBC to come vintage hunt and woods-traipse with you!
Love,

Dona & Beth

Students

The Sparkly, Superhero Tanya Talkar

This summer, we were delighted to meet Tanya Talkar, a MIT student with the Most. Awesome. Sweater. Ever. who talked about combing her love of tech with her desire to better human-kind.  How? Oh, only working on a cancer vaccine, helping autistic children and enabling nursing home citizens to communicate more easily with their care-givers.  You know, NBD. 

Tell us a little about you.

Shirt:

Shirt: The Limited (Very Similar here)

I’m a rising senior at MIT getting ready to finish my Masters and head out into the real world. I’ve always been drawn to technology – finding ways to make school projects easier by writing a short program or exploring the new applications of computer science in biology and linguistics. Over the summer I worked in the OneDrive Mobile team, which was a great experience.

We were super impressed to find out that Tanya spent the year working in MIT’s Speech Communication Department, where she analyzed speech waves to identify differences in speech modification between children with autism, typically developing children, and children with a specific language impediment to be used for diagnosis of autism. This is an incredibly important field and a wonderful application of using tech to better other industries. 

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

Shirt:

Shirt: The Limited

I pretty quickly realized that I wanted to dress in things that made me feel comfortable and fit me well, even though they might not be the ‘right style’. I love solid colored tops paired with more subtle bottoms. But of course, I can’t resist the occasional print or sequined item (we loooooove sequined items!).

We loved Tanya’s practical, yet chic style. This amazing, sequined,  sparkly sweater that was exactly the right thing for the warm summer morning but also for the day spent inside an air-conditioned office as well.  We were very excited to hear that she had interned at ShopStyle, one of our favorite sites, the previous summer!

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?

Shirt: / Shorts

Shirt: The Limited / Shorts: Ann Taylor Loft

Experiment. Go and explore the field to see what exciting new things are happening. If you find yourself wanting to just read more and more, then you know that STEM is for you. After all, you want to make sure that you’re really passionate about whatever you choose to follow in life.

Tanya lives this motto. For the past few years, she has been fully immersed in one very important cause: using tech to diagnose and treat cancer. She spent almost two years working in the MIT Chemical Engineering department to create a cancer vaccine using a device to deliver proteins to immune cells, causing an immune response against tumor cells.

What would you say is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?

Shoes: / Shorts: / Shirt:

Shoes: Anna Klein (Similar here)/ Shorts: Ann Taylor Loft (Similar here)/ Shirt: The Limited (Very Similar here)

As part of an assistive technology class at school, I worked on a project which brought a nurse call system to a residential nursing home in Boston. We were able to create an iOS application that worked on iPads and would enable residents to call for help from anywhere within the home, not just within their rooms, so that they could get the aid that they needed.

Talk about an understatement! A few years ago, Tanya put her passion for bio + tech into practice by working with people at a nearby assistive living facility + few other MIT students to create InstaAid, an iPad app that allows the residents to communicate their needs and emergencies with the nursing staff. 

The residents at the home all had call buttons in their apartments that allow them to seek help from on-site nurses. However, since most of them have limited mobility due to conditions such as advanced multiple sclerosis or other progressive neurological diseases, it made reaching the buttons a challenge. Also, what had to be kept in mind was that the residents weren’t necessarily in their beds the whole time. A much more “mobile” solution had to be built for the active group!

Since so many residents used iPads attached to their wheelchairs, the idea of making an IOS app was a great one, and something that was adopted by the whole facility!

Dona’s excited to run into Tanya again at an MIT event she’s speaking at this week; this sparkly superhero eally stole our hearts with her passion for bettering the medical field with her expertise in tech. We hope you enjoyed getting to know Tanya as much as we did!

To find out more about Tanya, you can connect with her on LinkedIn

Love,

Dona & Beth

STEM Retirees

The Hundred Shades of Happy

Today’s post is incredibly special to us because not only is Happy the creator of the stunning Fibonacci Sequins logo, but she is also someone Dona has known since the beginning of Happy’s career as a Microsoft intern. This incredible young woman lives a life of style and art that is entirely her own and we are very excited to showcase the hundred shades of Happy to you. 

(All photo credit in this shoot goes to Tian Luo)

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Tell us a little about you.

Happy dressy close

Tank: Urban Outfitters: (Similar here) / Kimono: Nordstrom Rack (Similar here) / Necklace: Love Culture (Similar here)

My name is Happy and I have quite a unique story, perhaps impossible to sum up in a little one paragraph intro, but I’ll try my best. I guess you could say I’m retired from the STEM field (so weird to think about at the ripe age of 25!). My life up until last year revolved around the fast paced glimmer of the tech industry, but now I am an artist supporting myself by selling my paintings. Days once spent 9-5 galloping towards the nearest spec deadline with a feature crew of engineers and designers are now spent alone, hermit crabbing inside my studio and painting all day burning through gallons of coffee.

I studied computer science at the University of Washington, and then worked in the tech industry as a Product Manager for over 3 years, first at Microsoft on the Windows UX team, and then later at a startup in San Francisco. I’ve had an extremely positive experience learning and working in tech, and have built friendships and mentorships that have lasted to this day…

However, I couldn’t ignore the fire in my heart that propelled me to follow my true passion – art. A year ago, I gave up a tech career in order to become a full-time artist, and it’s been the most exciting and fulfilling adventure ever since.

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

Overall, I’m a pretty frugal and laid back person. I don’t think too much about outfits – I just wear whatever tickles my fancy at that particular moment, and I always love a good deal. In fact, all of the pieces in the following outfits are under $25. I’m the opposite of shy, so I often experiment with weird colors, patterns, and statement pieces — life’s too short to play it safe! :)

Casual outfit:

Tank: / Flannel: / Shorts: / Socks:

Tank: Forever21 (Similar here) / Flannel: H&M (Similar here)/ Shorts: Similar here/ Socks: asos  (Similar here)/ Necklaces: io collective + Forever21/ Bracelet (Not Similar but Awesome Anyway)

This outfit is something I usually wear on a day out in the city; it’s a great San Francisco outfit because SF’s weather can be quite bipolar, so I always bring extra layers with me. This flannel shirt was actually purchased for my boyfriend, but I’ve kind of stolen it over the years. The knee high socks are also to counter the fluctuating temperatures in San Francisco: during the day when it’s sunny and warm, I roll the socks down to my ankles, and once the fog rolls in and the temperatures drop a good 30 degrees (not even exaggerating), I bring the socks up to mid thigh.

One lesson I learned from wearing this Guns ‘n Roses shirt is that you should probably know the band whose logo you sport… Otherwise you can offend some pretty die hard fans when they see you in public, recite song lyrics to you, and you have no idea what they’re talking about. I’m still a Guns ‘n Roses noob, but this tank remains one of my favorite staple pieces.

I love this skull cuff that I got from Love Culture. It’s super bold and dark, and a great way to edge out any bland casual outfit. I’m also a fan of layering necklaces instead of just wearing one to add some extra dimension. The top necklace was a handmade gift from friend who is a jewelry maker (Check out her awesome stuff at iocollective.co), and the bottom necklace is from Forever21 – people are always surprised to hear that I got the bottom necklace at such a popular store, but you can find some really affordable and adorable costume jewelry at Forever21 :)

Dressy Outfit

Shirt: / Shorts: / Scarf:

Tank: Urban Outfitters: (Similar here) / Kimono: Nordstrom Rack (Similar here) / Necklace: Love Culture (Similar here)

This outfit is something I would wear if I was going out at night or to a music festival (of course, I would exchange the shoes for sneakers in that case). I am in LOVE with this space kitty tank top, and it’s so comfortable I even wear it to sleep sometimes. I got it for a freakin’ steal during an Urban Outfitters online sale… It was only $2.50!!!

I am also equally in love with this super trippy and artsy kimono. Every time I wear it, I bask in the compliments I receive. It’s one of those things that look SO uncomfortably gaudy and bright on the rack, but if you pair it with the right outfit it can be a blessing. In this case, both my space kitty tank and kimono are loud statement pieces, but worn together they balance each other out.

The skeleton choker creeps most people out, but it was love at first sight for me! It completely aligns with my love for the weird and dark and unconventional, and I simply think it’s quite pretty. :)

Grunge Outfit

Hat: / Shirt: / Skirt:

Hat: Forever21 / Necklaces: H&M

This is an old outfit from 3 years ago, but one of my favorites so I had to share. It was during my hat wearing phase, particularly this bowler hat from Forever21 that I wore with EVERYTHING. I loved the classic nostalgia this old design brought to a simple t-shirt and shorts outfit. (Also notice the layering of necklaces again, a habit I carry to this day!)

It was also during this time that I first started wearing bracelets, and so I ended up wearing every bracelet I ever owned all at once haha. I thought it spiced up my arms and hands with some interesting bling.

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

Shoes:

Shoes: DB Shoes

Growing up I had zero – no, probably negative – style. I was a proud tomboy who hated anything girly or feminine, and eventually as I matured, I started embracing my feminine side – but my tomboyish tendencies still left traces in my style today; I like to mix and match feminine and masculine elements in my outfits to create edginess and androgyny.

These shoes are a perfect balance of style + comfort & also feminine + masculine: I’ve had female friends tell me they look too masculine and ugly, which just makes me love them even more! I love the buckles, the platform, and the sweet cut outs.

I have a strong and open personality, so I’m also not afraid of wearing several statement pieces. Recently, as I have started exploring more psychedelic themes with my paintings, my outfits have followed suit and became more colorful and patterned. I’m currently obsessed with mixing two bold patterns that might seemingly clash, but somehow make them harmonize.

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?

Be open to all possibilities, and don’t be too rigid about the type of career you think  you want, or you think is right for you. Most of the classes you take in school will be heavily focused on the software engineering/programming aspect of a STEM career, but in reality you will have a plethora of roles and skills available to choose from when you begin your career.

When I struggled in some coding classes in school, I felt this tragic hopelessness that I was guaranteed to fail in my career, because I thought that the only option once I graduated was to become a developer. But once I discovered the PM role (which was never mentioned in any of the classes I took), I realized it was way more fitting for someone like me who enjoyed innovating and building fun projects, but didn’t particularly enjoy coding for 10 hours a day.

I also know tons of developers who later became PMs, PMs who became designers, and even PMs who decided they loved coding and became developers… So really, anything is possible and you will eventually find the role (or roles) that are suited for your particular skillset and interests.

What is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?

Happy art

Fairytale, by Happy D.

This painting (“Fairytale”) is the project I’m most proud of! :) With tech, I had never really done any projects on my own in my spare time. Most of the most successful projects I’ve worked on was as part of a team, and though some of those projects were influential and reached a wide audience (like system controls on Windows 8), I always had an extremely talented feature crew working alongside me, so I couldn’t attribute their success to only me.

However, this painting marks a huge milestone for my personal and career growth as an artist. It is the first painting of mine that will be shown in an acclaimed art gallery in San Francisco, the Modern Eden. I had been applying to galleries for the last two years, and none of my emails were ever answered. So I just kept trying – I practice for several hours a day, I’m constantly pushing myself to try new concepts and challenge myself with more intricate subjects, and finally this year a gallery accepted my application! It was actually the first gallery I had visited when I moved to San Francisco, and many of the artists who have displayed there are some of my biggest role models. I’m indescribably excited and honored to be showcased next to them in October. :)

What is really common misconception about tech or STEM fields that you’d like to clear up?

Bracelets:

An old and popular misconception about tech is that everyone in tech has a “geeky” lifestyle and interests – sci fi, video games, Mountain Dew, comic books, etc. This, of course, is all thanks to the dramatization of tech and “computer geeks” by the media and pop culture. And that is definitely NOT true. In my time in tech I’ve met both men and women who have an eclectic range of interests that are often not even in the same ballpark as technology.

For many people, tech is a career, not their entire lifestyle. So when I hear young people who are discouraged or anxious about entering tech because they feel they don’t fit into the “geeky” character mold, I always bring up examples of my STEM peers who are artists, jewelry makers, hockey players, fashion bloggers, authors, etc.

A new misconception about tech (that I’ve seen increase in parallel with the popularity of those 3 month “coding academy” schools) is that it’s an easy career option to switch to for someone who wants a lucrative pay check. Many of these coding academies advertise six-digit job offers after only 12 weeks of training — and yes, there are definitely success stories like this out there, but it is far from just a simple career upgrade for someone who needs some extra cash.

One thing I’ve learned from being in school for computer science and also working with some people who have actually successfully switched from a non-tech field to a STEM career, is that it takes a lot of PASSION and genuine INTEREST in the tech industry. If you’re just attracted to the financial benefits of tech, then it’s likely going to be a very tedious 12 weeks of staying up late in the labs working on your coding projects. The only fuel to get you though these vigorous programs and stressful deadlines at work is an authentic love for innovating technology and building software.

What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?

I’m extremely active on social media, so feel free to follow me on all these platforms!

How many ways can we say it? We LOVE this girl! We love that this smart, technical, artistic, hermit crab has a crazy social media life where she embraces all the girly, non-girly, bohemian, techie, weird parts of her life with such passion and abandon. We also love that we have a crazy talented artist friend to call on when we need exactly that right one-of-a-kind logo or gift! And if you’re in SFO, you must absolutely go check out Happy’s painting “Fairytale” at The Modern Eden. 

If you (or someone you know) would like to be profiled for Fibonacci Sequins, please get in touch!

Love,

Dona & Beth

Students

The Dancing Diva That Is Mahak Mithani

Mahak Mithani danced her way into our lives this summer in a whirlwind of energy around everything she touched from tech, to dance, to cooking to fashion! We loved getting to know this tiny powerhouse and hearing about her Canada to Texas to Canada to Texas moves and how she uses her creative outlets to cope with change and to stay in touch with her community.  What Bollywood star did Mahak dazzle with a dance performance? Read on to find out! 

Tell us a little about you.

Dress: / Blazer:

Dress: H&M (Similar here, here and here) / Blazer: Plato’s Closet (Similar here) / Necklace: Divine Jewelry

I’ll be a sophomore at Texas A&M University in the fall. I was born in Toronto, Canada, but I now live in Houston. I study Computer Science, but I have many interests outside of the classroom. I’m a dance teacher and choreographer at Bollywood Shake, as well as a captain of the A&M Bollywood dance team, Akh Mastani! Dancing has been my passion for many years, and I feel that choreography requires a lot of the same skills and processes as engineering. When I graduate from college, I hope to have an awesome job in the tech field, and attend culinary school after work. I watch Food Network religiously and love to cook for my friends and family!

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

Shoes: / Pants:

Shoes: Unlisted / Nails: Ipsy (4 Alarm Fire)

My mom got this shalwar kameez for me from Pakistan. It’s a traditional dress, comprised of a long top (kameez), pants (shalwar), and a scarf (dupatta). I love wearing it because it looks so elegant and the length gives me another excuse to wear heels. My culture is a huge part of who I am, and I embrace it every chance I get, whether it be through dance, food, or clothes. In my imaginary world, I’m a Bollywood star, so I take any chance I get to dress like one!

Shoes: / Dress: / Blazer:

Dress: H&M/ Blazer: Plato’s Closet / Shoes: Rampage Jayney / Anklet: Hand-made by Mahak’s Dad!

This outfit brings back memories for me because I wore this dress (similar here, here and here) on my three-year anniversary with my boyfriend. I got it from H&M, which is one of my favorite stores, because it’s cute, affordable, and the name is my boyfriend’s and my initials! The watch (similar here) was a gift from him on our one-year anniversary. He got down on one knee and held up the watch as a prom-posal. I paired the outfit with a blue blazer for color and cream-colored heels (similar here) because I’m in denial that I’m 5’3”.

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

Watch: / Ring:

Watch: Fossil  (Similar here)/ Treble Clef Ring: Something Silver

My dad is a software engineer for a chain of department stores, which is where I get my passion for coding as well as access to clothes (yay, employee discount!). When it came time for me to decide what to do for the rest of my life, I knew I wanted a career in which I could express myself through the clothes I wear. No uniforms, no strict dress codes, and no scrubs.

Business casual is probably my favorite way to dress. I love going to thrift shops and buying fun a-line skirts and dresses (as vintage/thrift addicts AND a-line dress fans, we say, hallelujah!) Blazers are my favorite thing to wear because they make me feel confident, professional, and provide warmth in a cold office!

Do you have any style icons or favorite brands?

Dress:

Earrings: SW Warehouse / Glasses: Wayfarers

I love wayfarers. I prefer glasses to contacts – they are a sort of security blanket for me, and I find myself reaching to slide them up to the bridge of my nose during awkward situations. (Sometimes I use a specific finger to slide them up when I am particularly angered by someone, but want to be as subtle as possible.)

People wear 3D glasses on Halloween to resemble a nerd. I wear them despite already being one! I have pairs in tortoise, black and white (I’m very proud of the trifecta).

My nail polish was delivered to me in my first Ipsy cosmetics bag subscription. I’m not too adventurous with makeup (I wear enough to not look dead in the mornings), so I decided to give Ipsy a try. It’s customized to your facial features and personal preferences! I usually go with nude shades or French manicures, so when I received the Aurora Gel Effect Nail Polish in 4 Alarm Fire, I was a little apprehensive and thought it would make me look unprofessional. And then I said “LOL” and promptly applied two coats.

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?

Glasses:

Glasses: Wayfarers / Silver earrings: Stage Stores

Don’t think twice, just go for it! Embrace all the different aspects of you that make you different from everyone else in the field, because that’s how innovation happens. When I first started coding, I was intimidated by everyone else who had been doing this for years. Don’t lose the faith you have in yourself. You’ve gotten this far, why not see what else you’re capable of? We live in an era where technology is continuously evolving and impacting billions of lives every day. Seize every opportunity to contribute to it!

What would you say is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?

Dress:

Shalwar Kameez: brought from Pakistan (not very similar here)

Choreography has become a creative outlet for me over the past several years. I’ve pieced together dances for kids as young as three, to adults older than fifty! I love when my dance company puts on a show, as it gives me an opportunity to showcase all the work I’ve done in the recent months. The greatest moment for me was when we were able to fly Bollywood actress, Preity Zinta, in from India to watch our show! We were able to dance on stage with her for a bit, and our performance was featured on Fox News! It’s a cool feeling to stand next to someone you’ve only ever admired on screen, and sort of reverse the roles, so now you’re the one performing while they watch and applaud!

What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?

Necklace:

Check out my personal website(mahakmithani.com) or my facebookinstagram or youtube :)

Mahak, you are already a Bollywood star in our eyes!  We’re so glad we got a chance to meet you before Bollywood snaps you up as its first CTO/actress/choreographer. Thank you for sharing all of these amazing facets of yourself with us, and see you on the big screen! 

If you or someone you know want to be featured on Fibonacci Sequins, please contact us and we’ll figure out a way to make it happen!

Love,

Dona & Beth

Students

Getting Stuck In with Matt McEwen

Beth went to UNSW with Matt and took advantage of being back in Sydney to hit him up a photo shoot. Matt’s a fast-talking quantum physics and theatre nerd who embodies the idea of form-following-function; his outfits don’t just have to take him from the office to dinner, but also to messing with hardware and running rehearsals.

Tell us a little about you.

Coat: / Shirt:

Coat: Esprit (Similar here), Shirt Similar here

I’m a 4th year Physics and Computer Engineering student at UNSW in Sydney, Australia, spending far too much of my time on totally unrelated pursuits.

In my physics work, I’ve focused heavily on non-traditional computing paradigms, especially Quantum Computing –  I work for the CQC2T here at UNSW as a research assistant and traveled to Canada this year to do postgraduate coursework in quantum information theory. I aim to do a PhD in quantum computing architecture after I’ve finished my current degree at UNSW.

In computer engineering, my focus has been on architecture and electrical engineering, but recently I’ve become more interesting in the cryptography and security application of computer hardware. I’ve firmware hacked several USBs, written my own bootkit, and had some awesome fun with thunderbolt devices recently.

My other hobbies include dirt biking, arc welding, guitar playing, building computers, reading books (about 1 a fortnight during semester) and writing.

But I spend most of my time doing theater; I’ve taken two major lead roles in musicals since starting uni, as well as filling production roles ranging from stage manager, to technical officer, to vocal director to director – I’m directing my second major show this year :) (Matt’s directing Into the Woods, which is on stage in Sydney from the 8th-12th of September! We’re super sad we won’t be around to watch it).

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

Headphones:

Headphones: AudioTechnica

The shirt is a good example of how I buy new clothes – I wandered past a pop-up factory clearance in the city years ago and it was on special, so I decided I needed another shirt.

The coat is Esprit, I bought in the UK about 4 and a half years ago. It’s totally falling apart at this point, I’ve resewn probably most of the seam and about a quarter of the buttons. It’s not honestly that warm either, but it has 7 or so pockets. (Only one of which I added myself!)

For someone who carts around as much random stuff as I do, that is all the reason I need to wear the jacket – when I was at the photo shoot, I had in my pockets:

a leatherman, a screwdriver, a USB cable, 2 USBs, 3 bandaids, nurofen, a knife, about 3 foot of paracord, several guitar picks, 4 pens, 2 pencils, 3 sets of keys, my phone, my cards and cash.

It’s also got huge lapels, and I have an entertaining tendency to hang my lanky ass arms off them like I’m a Texan.

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

Jacket:

Jacket: Billabong (Similar for men and women)

With very little prompting or effort – it’s all very Form Follows Function. This is not to say that form is unimportant (people who think it is tend to look silly, and that has its own disadvantages), but things should look and be the way they are for a reason that’s more than just lone aesthetics.

I tend to end up in coloured shirts+jeans+boots+jackets a lot because it’s the most comfortable combination, with plenty of layers for temperature adjusting, and generally looks smart enough that I can afford to wear the ensemble wherever I go with no maintenance or thinking about who I might run into. This comes in handy when you can go from taking a fridge apart with a shifting spanner to meetings with the Australian Research Council to a rehearsal with a whole bunch of really fashion-conscious media students.

Do you have any style icons or favorite brands?

Shoes: Palladium

Shoes: Palladium

I’d like to specifically point out my boots and my headphones –

The headphones are AudioTechnica M50x’s, and they’re fantastic. They’re studio/DJ headphones, which is funny because I don’t record music or DJ, but they come with cables which can let you plug in a 5mm jack, and the audio reproduction is Really Nice and Flat.

One particular point worth mentioning is that they’re the first pair of over-ear headphones that are comfortable over my ear piercings – I am always listening to music, so I have them on my head more often than not which makes this really important. I’ve got two helix piercings, and most headphones aren’t super nice with clearance at the top of your ear.

My Palladium boots are, in my opinion, the greatest footwear possible. They’re waterproof leather gussets, and I’ve had this particular pair for about a year and a half now.

  • Boots are the best kind of footwear because they’re comfortable/grippy/have ankle support, which is generally helpful when you’ve got to be able to climb scaffolding or a tree at short notice.
  • Leather is the ideal boot material, especially if you take care of it. The leather these are made from is really nice too; it comes soft and is always comfortable, (unlike DMs for example, which are generally super stiff).
  • Waterproofing is an absolute life saver on a regular basis – nothing beats having the ability to talk through puddles with impunity, and when it rains at uni, I am one of the only people capable of walking between buildings.
  • They are really comfortable. Between the soft leather and the nice interior, these boots are the most comfortable things I own to put on my feet. I’ve been hiking in them. I walk around daily in them. When I’m traveling and spending 6 hours a day walking around cities, I wouldn’t wear anything else.
  • They Don’t Look like Combat Boots. This is a big one for me. the vast majority of boots that tick all the other categories above are either hiking boots or military issue, and they look like they’re aimed at tactical response.

The one thing I will say about them is that the laces on my original pair were shit, so I replaced them with paracord. The laces on my new ones were fine though. I still replaced them with paracord.

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?

Shirt: / Jeans:

Jeans: Just Jeans

Get Stuck In Immediately!

Nothing is more impressive as a person than being able to say that you’ve built a thing, or gone and learned a language by yourself, or done your own physics experiments – that’s what will convince important and successful people to let you in the door, because they’ve all done stuff like that themselves at one point or another.

People sometimes say that finding opportunities is hard and that’s kind of true, but finding them becomes A Lot Easier if you’re okay with going up to the aforementioned successful people and asking for an opportunity especially for you.

If you can show them that you’re keen and that you’ll work hard and learn, they’re usually more than happy to give you one. The first step’s the hardest though – you’ve just got to start doing things yourself.

Don’t wait till you’re rich, and don’t wait till university. Start doing cool shit immediately.

What would you say is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?

Jeans: Just Jeans / Jacket: Billabong / Shirt: ThinkGeek / Boots: Palladium

Jeans: Just Jeans / Jacket: Billabong / Shirt: ThinkGeek / Boots: Palladium

Definitely working at the quantum computing center.

I went to a presentation night at UNSW, and I saw a talk by Michelle Simmons who runs the quantum computing center. Afterwards I went up and introduced myself, and asked her if I could do a project at the lab, and told her that I was good at getting stuck into things. So she said I could, and I started doing work with them immediately, and have been since.

It’s a little mean to call it a ‘project’, but it’s also the only thing I’ve done so far that’s made some definite positive difference to humanity in general – Advancing Science! Progress! Tally Ho!

Collaborating with the lab postdocs and PhD students is hugely fun – the kinds of challenges we face are on the edge of human understanding, and we’re often just guessing and trying things out.

I fell in love with the cutting edge of applied physics the moment I started working in a lab – it’s a hilarious combination of ludicrously difficult physics, seat-pants engineering, creative tinkering, serviette calculations, professional coffee drinking, very detailed computer simulations, presentations to executives, writing code that needs to be accurate to the nanosecond, and performing percussive maintenance of million dollar experimental set-ups.

Casual afternoon tasks at the center include attempting to become a semi-expert in microwave frequency circuit design, translating a physics paper from Japanese, learning a new computing language, learning the WHS for liquid nitrogen handling, or fixing some piece of electronic hardware that was custom made at the center and has no manual.

What’s a misconception about a STEM field that you’d like to clear up?

Jeans:

Jeans: Just Jeans / Coat: Esprit

QUANTUM PHYSICS IS NOT ABOUT CATS.

QUANTUM PHYSICS DOES NOT MEAN CATS CAN BE ALIVE AND DEAD AT THE SAME TIME.

Well, actually, you can think of it that way if you like, technically, but only once you have a bachelor in physics and understand which misconceptions to avoid when you’re using the Copenhagen Interpretation.

In my view, the entire benefit of doing a STEM degree is building up a strong vocabulary of ‘everyday experiences’ that aren’t everyday at all – for physics that includes relativistic frames of reference, black holes, plasmas, superconductors, strong magnetic fields, indistinguishable particles and other magical things.

Every single step along that path adds a whole range of new and super cool situations to your list of ‘everyday experiences’, giving you a whole new set of ways to understand the world and how things work. And only once you’ve gotten that understanding can you amuse yourself by making silly arguments about QM Interpretation using cats.

It’s the same with

  • maths – gaining a new structure to understand the relationships between things, rather than just pushing numbers around
  • programming theory – learning a deeper appreciation for the structures that underly communication, thought, knowledge and language, not just facts about bits and bytes
  • theater – memorising, analysing and performing a character in a show gives you a depth of emotional vocabulary that is non-typical
  • reading – experiencing the lives of other characters expands your understanding of people’s lives, their experiences and how the world works/could work

and with music, and most kinds of art, and so on.

There is actually nothing I enjoy more than when these vocabularies overlap and mix – realising that a certain chord progression has a similarity to the Fourier transform, or that an emotional bind that a character in a book is in is really a lot like a physics experiment you’ve studied, in a weird kind of way.

Those cross-discipline isomorphisms are super cool, but also are really interesting in the way they shed light on really strange problems and let you find really weird solutions.

What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?

Jeans:

Jeans: Just Jeans / Jacket: Billabong

I write blogs and other things but haven’t unified where I publish them yet. When I do, it’ll be located at doublestruck.me 

This was definitely a post of firsts! A huge thanks to Matt for being our first Australian, our first guy and our first Science feature! We hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed putting it together. If you’re in Sydney, go and see Into the Woods and say hi for us! Also, please keep in mind: Quantum Physics is NOT ABOUT CATS!

xoxo,

Dona & Beth

Students

The Adventures of Karla Larriva & Sophia Pandey

We reached out to Karla Larriva to do a photo shoot with us and she brought along her friend Sophia Pandey as moral support and personal stylist. These two met while doing internships in Microsoft’s IT department and immediately became good friends.  We had a really fun photo shoot showing off both of their passions, talents and well as penchants for awesome cocktail rings! 

Tell us a little about you.

Karla on the right:  Shirt: Worthington (Similar here)/ Karla’s Necklace: Ecuador  (Similar here)/ Karla’s Jeans: Target  (Similar here)/ Karla’s Shoes: Payless Shoes (Similar here, here and here) / Sophia on the left: Sweater: Nordstrom (Similar here)

Karla: I was born and raised in Ecuador, although I’m currently living in Utah pursuing a Computer Engineering degree at Brigham Young University in Provo. This Summer I’m a Program Manager intern for ECO-Operations under MSIT, where I’m in charge of the well-being of a project which will be used to report service health of systems in our organization.

I chose Computer Engineering because I like software and hardware – I get to do the fun part of both worlds. When I’m not in school or working I love to go dancing, especially bachata, salsa and merengue.

Sophia: I’m about to start my senior year of college at Western Washington University, but this summer I’m doing a 2nd Microsoft internship as a Business Program Management intern in ECO under MSIT. I’ve been working on the Windows 10 launch, focused specifically on the internal and customer-facing support tools – it’s been an amazing experience to have been a part of!

In my free time I’m passionate about capturing moments through photography, creating art with watercolors, attempting to master yoga, hiking, baking delicious desserts (I’ve mastered a killer macaron recipe), and finally traveling the globe.

I love being able to go to new places around the world and embrace new cultures and have memorable experiences by getting out of my comfort zone. This year I’ve started going on new adventures that I’ve been putting off for far too long; I went skydiving this spring, tried paddle boarding, attempted the flying trapeze (running away and joining the circus is no longer a viable career path), and my goal is to go bungee jumping and parasailing before I graduate in June!

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

Shirt: / Necklace: / Skirt:

Blouse: H&M (Similar here), Skirt: Similar here / Necklace: Forever21

Karla: My jewelry is made of Tagua nut (aka vegetable ivory), a common type of jewelry in Ecuador (similar necklace here).

My more formal outfit is something that I usually wear for big meetings or Church. The high heels I am wearing with it are my “trooper” heels! They are my go-to heels when I need to go dancing, church or presentations. (Similar super comfy heels here)

Sophia: My rings are souvenirs from trip to Greece and are great mementos – I love being able to get clothing and accessories from various place I visit because they’re great reminders of fun trips. Among my favorites are a leather jacket I got in Venice, a bomber jacket from Barcelona, and a beautiful hand-embroidered bag from Jaipur.

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

Jacket: / Shirt: / Jeans:

Jacket: Purchased in Venice (Similar here) / Shirt: Nordstrom (Similar here) / Jeans: Seven for all Mankind  (Similar here)/ Shoes: Joe’s Jeans (Similar here and here)

Karla: I went through different phases of style throughout High School until I found the type of fashion that I like: playful and chic. Two examples;

For my sweet 15’s (Quinceañera), the party decorations were Turquoise and light green, and that’s how I realised that they’re two of my favorite colors – the colors that speak to you and about you.

In addition, I love pokemon, digimon, anime, etc. I always carry with me my pokemon wallet – I find my style by just being myself.

Sophia: My style has evolved with me over time. Lately I’ve started experimenting with bolder, more expressive, statement pieces – having a job has certainly helped with that evolution too :)

Any advice for a young person thinking about getting into a STEM field?

Shoes:

Shoes: Payless Shoe Source

Karla: Get into the field! If you have passion, STEM isn’t as hard as people think – so don’t let what society says define you :)

The number of girls in STEM is getting bigger and bigger. Be a part of it – don’t miss out!

Sophia: I didn’t take my first coding class until I was in my sophomore year of college – I had always talked myself out of trying a coding class because I had a preconceived notion that people who loved computer science had to fit a certain stereotype. I also assumed that I wasn’t smart enough to be a engineer/software developer, and it wasn’t until I finally got the nerve to sign up for a programming class that I learned to love it.

My overall advice – don’t make assumptions about what you like and dislike before you try it, and don’t limit yourself because of your own fears. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish if you get out of your own way.

What would you say is the project you’ve done that you’re proudest of?

Glasses: / Headscarf:

Glasses: Dolce & Gabbana / Headband: American Eagle

Sophia: I couldn’t narrow it down to just one, so here are my two proudest project accomplishments thus far:

  1. This spring I applied for the VP of Operations position in the Student Marketing Association of Western Washington University and was thrilled to be selected for the role. I’m already having a blast reaching out to marketing professionals across the industry and recruiting them to come and share their insights on campus.
  2. I’m also proud to be teaching myself all about Tableau Software this summer. I’m not doing it to get a grade in a class, and it isn’t a requirement for me to graduate – I’m doing it because I’m fascinated by data science and decided to challenge myself.

What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?

Karla's Ring: / Sophia's Ring:

Karla’s Ring (bottom): ABSADITagua

And there you have it! We loved spending the afternoon with Karla and Sophia and hearing about their friendship, their Microsoft IT internships as well as their adventures dancing, hiking, baking, yoga and …jumping out of planes!  We loved this friendship post so much that we’ve decided to make it a thing and will feature many more groups of friends :)

Fashionably yours, 

Dona + Beth