Monthly Archives

November 2015

Students

Meera Parat has a hella good time

We hella loved meet California native Meera Parat in her fave place: the outdoors. We took advantage of the spectacular day to photograph this awesome lady. During this session, we learned that Meera is not just an accomplished computer science student, but she’s also very interested in machine learning and its applications to the field of medicine. Read on to find out more!

Tell us a little about you.
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I  am born and raised in Palo Alto, in the sunny state of California. For reasons people don’t understand at first, I decided to go to school in the harsh, cornfield-flooded midwest at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. I will be entering my third year in Fall 2015, and I’m currently studying Computer Science hopefully with concentrations in Big Data, Machine Learning, and their applications in Biology. I love the outdoors more than anything, driving and talking cars, and I believe a good cup of coffee can make any day better. I say “hella” a lot, so spend a lot of time around me and you’ll start to realize the greatness of the word. Last but not the least, I would be lying if I didn’t mention that half the time I do not know myself if I’m being sarcastic or not.

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

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I’m wearing a sleeveless, v-neck flare dress from Loft. It’s white with thick black lines pattern all across it. It has pockets on both side which you can’t tell they are there unless my hands are in them. The pockets are actually super useful for my necessary chapstick, bobby pins, phone, and work badge. I compliment it with silver flats and either a gold or white necklace (haven’t picked yet), and a maroon sweater. The maroon is perfect for my style because I’m normally a very colorfully dressed person, so the white and black dress makes me a little uneasy unless complimented with a colored sweater!

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

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I’ve never been one to dress up a lot, change my earrings more than once a week, or consciously pick out jewelry every morning. Through the end of high school and the last few years in college, my style has been (in colloquial terms) very chill. Recently, I wear flannels or any button up shirt unbuttoned instead of a sweater, jeans, and a simple shirt.

I have fake white Airwalks (which are already fake Vans) on which a friend drew adorable Calvin and Hobbes graphics. I wear those a lot, along with my extremely colorful belt to add a little spice to my outfit. To stress how much I’m a fan of flannel, I’ll wear a white and dark blue plaid flannel over a bright pink chiffon dress with my Calvin and Hobbes sneakers.

I dress slightly different for work. Even though there is no dress code at Microsoft, at least amongst the engineers and as far as I have noticed, it’s my only chance to dress up a little and not be out of place. So I take advantage of it – I like to dress simple, but classy. I might wear a respectable dress with flats or sandals, jean/ white crop business pants with a business casual top, and if I’m feeling it I’ll change my normal small heart pendant on a thin silver chain to a light gold or white statement necklace. Dress well, feel well, right?

Also, as a rule of thumb, never underdress – you have nothing to lose by being best dressed!

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

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Do it if you have the interest.

Do it to satiate your curiosity, and don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way.

Be confident, be humble, don’t be a hypocrite, and always, always do your best.

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

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Last summer I interned at a startup as their first and only intern. It was an amazing experience in the sense that the team was really cool, super helpful, fun, and the smartest people I’ve ever met. I felt extremely privileged to work with them, even though I did my own projects.

My mentor entrusted me with building an Authentication Module for integrating the company’s product — which was an SDK for communication, in simple terms — with Parse for app developers. I needed to use that module in my own app that I was developing so I had to tackle that challenge one way or another. I built the module in a language I had never learnt, using libraries I’ve never used before in ways I’ve never done before. I wrote the README for it, put it up on GitHub as an official page under our company’s GitHub projects, and it went public. We offered it to basically anyone who was integrating Parse and our SDK into their app, which is quite a few people!

Even after a year it is still on the company’s page, being used by many developers, and has barely been edited by full time employees at the company after I created it. It’s so fulfilling to see one’s own product, built from start to finish by myself, open to the public and being used by many, especially noting that my initial code and documentation is still valid and working.

What is the best way (if any) for people to follow you on social media?
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My Instagram account is the most representative of me, in my opinion. It highlights the parts of my life that either astound me to jaw-dropping reactions, make me really proud or happy, or hit me with a wave of nostalgia. It’s the quickest way to get to know me and what I believe in.

We loved Meera’s simple but elegant style–very increment of a modern Audrey Hepburn. We also highly recommend checking out Meera’s similar Insta where she showcases every day things with a slightly different lens. We can’t wait to see what she does next. 

Love,

Dona & Beth

Early Career

The Seven Seasons of Devin Sinha

After a bit of a hiatus due to a heavy travel fall, we are back! And we are back with a vengeance with one of the most talented tech dudes we know! Devin Sinha is not only an awesome software engineer, but also a hit musician, social media expert as well as being an all-around super friendly guy.  Dona loved working with him in Windows and when Devin brought his guitar into the office, team meetings were awesomely musical. We couldn’t resist the opportunity to kidnap Devin, drag him into a field and make him play a few of his hit songs for us while we did this profile. 

Read on to find out more about Devin’s musical adventures and more!  

Tell us a little about you.

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I’m 27, studied Computer Science and minored in Mathematics at the University of Kansas and graduated in 2010.  My first career job out of school was working as a Software Engineer at Garmin, helping create consumer automotive, trucking, and motorcycle GPS’s.  In 2012 I left the Midwest to come work at Microsoft on Windows Phone 8 and 8.1, before transitioning to work on Windows 10.  While I’ve been writing poetry and songs throughout college, it wasn’t until I moved to Seattle that I started to pursue music professionally, though that wasn’t the original goal.

After first moving up here, I got an apartment without roommates and did not know a single person in Seattle outside of work.  I found the city can be pretty insular, so to try and get out and meet people I started attending local open mic nights and playing cover tunes, but occasionally throwing in original songs as well.  I started hearing people ask who wrote the songs I was playing, and started hearing some really positive feedback to songs that I’d written, so in 2013 I recorded my first record, The Albatross, out of my apartment bedroom.  It was a very emotionally personal and cathartic album, and I included a mixture of poetry and songs as it bloomed into a 21 track LP.  After self-releasing, I continued playing shows around the city and meeting more and more musicians in the Seattle music scene, and in 2014 decided to begin work on my first studio produced LP, The Seventh Season.  Releasing two albums in one year was not an easy task, but in November 2014 The Seventh Season was released and was voted one of the Top 10 Northwest Albums of 2014 by the readers of Northwest Music Scene.

This year, I’ve been working on my second studio LP which will release in early 2016, and I continue to play around Seattle with my band under my name.  In the past year I have played local shows as well as taking a trip down to Austin to perform at The Outlaw Roadshow during SXSW, and we’re beginning to line shows up for the 2016 album release.

Tell us a little about what you’re wearing.

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I’ve never considered myself to be too fashion forward – I’ve always liked clothing that is comfortable, fits well, and helps me express myself.  As a performer and entertainer, I try to find clothes that will match my musical style on stage – something that I would call a more classic style, as my music is a mix between Americana, contemporary folk, and indie rock. Here I’m wearing something I’d wear for a performance: the shoes are Banana Republic, the cardigan is from Banana Republic’s Heritage line and the white v-neck shirt is from Nordstrom’s Rail line.

Off stage,  I’m just as happy wearing Pumas, jeans from Gap and a t-shirt. The blazer is from Guess.  The watch (awesome watch, he means) is from Fossil.

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

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Stem fields are exceptionally challenging and personally rewarding.  Oftentimes, engineering feels like you’re trying to solve a puzzle while at the same time building all the pieces.  You’ll be doing yourself a favor to study any subject that involves logic and analytics, but I strongly believe that math and science classes aren’t the only path you should take.  Some of my favorite classes in school were in philosophy, linguistics, and foreign language.

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

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Within my day jobs, my proudest product is contributing to the launch of Windows 10.  A flagship product at Microsoft, it’s used by literally hundreds of millions of people all over the globe (Understatement! Devin is one of the star customer engagement and social media champions in Windows and frequently tweets cool new functionality from this handle).  It’s amazing to think that I have helped create something the entire world uses every day.

Beyond that, the release of my albums is my proudest achievement, as it’s taking my creative vision and fully realizing it and sharing it with the world.

Are there any misconceptions about tech or STEM fields that you’d like to clear up?

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I think there are still stereotypes of what it means to be a Software Engineer, or in STEM at all.  Many of my coworkers are some of the smartest, most fascinating people I know with a wide range of talents in and outside of work, and the idea that everyone in STEM is antisocial and just wants to sit at a desk all day is far from accurate.

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

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I’m everywhere on social media!  Here are the places I like to hang out:

Anything else you’d like to share with the audience?

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Don’t limit yourself to one thing in life.  If you have multiple passions, as I do with technology and music, pursue them all.  You’ll be busy, but never bored, and you’ll discover that you can achieve more than you imagined if you just take the first steps.

At Fibonacci Sequins, we love a multi-hyphenate and Devin is one of our favorite stories to tell when people ask us, “Are all software engineers people who only code and play video games?” We love Devin’s music (Lone Elm Road is Dona’s fave song!), are absolutely stalking his fall/winter touring schedule and can’t wait to get a peek at his new album. Rock on, Devin!