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Students

Alex Kearney shows us the dapper side of practical

Beth met Alex when she was on a trip to Edinburgh with Microsoft – Alex’s style is both unique and deliberate, which is always a joy to hear about. We traipsed around Edinburgh as the weather changed from sunny to blustery and drizzly; and her outfit performed exactly as well as she said it would! (Unlike Beth’s….).

Tell us a little about you.

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Part way through high school my parents wanted me to get a job. I’d just finished a computer science class which prompted me to look at working as a programmer. My local university happened to have research-based internships available to high school students, which gave me a chance to try out some of the things I’d been learning in school.

I had done First Lego League as a kid—a competitive robotics competition using Lego—so I was put with a group that was working with robots: the Reinforcement Learning and Artificial Intelligence lab. For six weeks I sat in a pen full of robots, making them learn from interacting with the world around them.

After the internship was finished I decided Machine Learning was pretty neat, and maybe I didn’t really want to study economics in university after all. I wanted to continue playing with AI, so I left Canada to study Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Even though I moved away, I come home every summer and work on biomedical robotics at the University of Alberta.

Basically, I’m a computer scientist now because my parents told me to get a job.

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

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The weather in Scotland is variable. One minute it could be a beautiful day, the next you could be struggling through gale force winds. Dressing for the elements is your number one priority. To keep cozy, I’m wearing a wool peacoat from Calvin Klein, Eddie Bauer Jeans, and a pair of obscenely comfortable Green Doc Marten 1910s. They’re all practical student-staples for traipsing across the city.

When you’re limited by weather, prints and patterns can make practical outfits more interesting. I’m wearing lord and Taylor blue button down and an outrageously bright Au Jour La Jour jumper. The sweatshirt is one of my prized finds: It’s funky and unique. The combination of sunshine-yellow and printed hyenas makes this my favorite piece.

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Continuing with weather considerations, in my second outfit I’m Layering. To keep the chill off I’m wearing a checked Uniqulo flannel shirt and an Eddie Bauer vest. The best part of that vest? It has pockets: so many pockets. Underneath, I’m wearing an Apollo 13 printed tee I got on a visit to the Kennedy Space Centre. Just in case the weather gets a bit testy, I’ve brought a scarf along that I nicked from a family member.

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

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Western Canadian style can be described as “whatever’s appropriate for the weather”: it’s very
Practical. What you wear has to withstand the elements, whether that’s protection for wading
through snowdrifts at forty-below, or something to keep cool during heatwaves. What you’re wearing has to fit your environment.

Weather also plays a large role in Scottish style, but it’s a touch less casual than Canadian. I try to balance the two by mixing casual and formal pieces.

Do you have any style icons or favorite brands?

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I’ve been enjoying the androgynous trend in mainstream fashion. My favorite manifestation of this is Esther Quek; an authority on all things menswear and fashion director at The Rake. She effortlessly blends street-style with spectacular suits. Not only that, but her command of structure, wild prints, and popping colours is unparalleled. She has a fresh street-wear meets dandy style which you don’t often see.

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

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There’s no harm in exploring tech to see if you like it: give it a try. Check out your local community, hit up a few meetups, find a hacker-space, talk to people. If there’s anything tech people love to do, it’s help people that want to get started.

f you’re wary of heading out to events, the internet is your friend. Asking questions with a few well placed hashtags on twitter will garner an outpouring of support and advice. That’s how I started learning about interaction design.

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

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Over the past few years, I’ve spent my summers working with myoelectric prosthetics—or bionic limbs. When someone has an amputation, they have the option of replacing their missing limb with a robotic prosthesis. I’ve worked on ways of improving control of these limbs by developing methods of anticipating user control signals. If the arm can anticipate a user’s intentions, it can partially take control, improving an amputee’s speed at completing tasks.

Watching an amputee wear a limb made by a team I was working with was incredible. A device I contributed code and research to was a literal extension of a person: a bionic replacement for their biological limb. It’s the ultimate example of wearable tech.

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

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People often seem to be wary of tech-related geekery; they avoid it because they don’t want to associate with its basement-dwelling anti-social stereotype: a very limited view of tech. Technology touches everything; its influence is far-reaching, impacting up and coming fields—like digital humanities—and established fields—such as medicine. STEM fields can be mixed and matched with anything you want to do. In that sense, STEM is the opposite of its reputation: it’s a liberating field with almost limitless opportunities.

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

I’ve got an indieweb blog, but I can be found on more traditional social media. My handle on most things is Kongaloosh, including twitter and instagram.

The work Alex is doing with bionic limbs is so fascinating – definitely follow her advice and ask (her) some questions on twitter if you’d like to learn more about it! Wearable fashion is fascinating to us, and we’re grateful to Alex for letting us showcase the more altruistic side of it :)

Love always,

Dona & Beth

Students

Global Lisa Talks About the Most Creative Industry of All

Our 4th Edinburgh profile is Lisa Xie. Definitely the bubbliest of the bunch, Lisa was entirely in charge of showing Beth around the city while she was there last November – including gems like a Frankenstein-themed restaurant! We were fascinated by Lisa’s global background that spans Germany, Taiwan, Canada and the U.K and to hear about what brought her into computer science in the first place–creativity! 

Tell us a little about you.

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Heya, I’m Lisa. I’m studying Computer Science with a minor in Management Science at the University of Edinburgh in my second year. I grew up in Germany, but attended High School in Canada and Taiwan. I dropped out of my first degree of International Studies in the Netherlands after two months, as I couldn’t find any enjoyment at all in the courses I took and then found my calling when starting my degree in Computer Science.

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

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The first outfit is a combination of different red and pink tones. The pink hoodie is from Only, a white loose mandarin-style shirt from Forever 21 underneath and a color-blocked pink and purple scarf from my mother’s shop. The skirt is a floral print from H&M. My shoes are oxford style heels from a thrift shop.

For my second outfit I got the turtleneck knit dress from Zara. For one of the pictures I stole Harry’s overcoat.

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

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You don’t have to be a prodigy in Math to be able to make it in a STEM degree. You will be fine even if you haven’t started coding when you’re 12. You will be fine even if you haven’t taken a radio apart out and managed to put it back together when you’re just a child.

If you’re interested in science and want to learn about the world around you STEM is for you. It’s a very creative field – Computer Science especially – even though it’s really not known for this.

(Can we just make this paragraph into a poster and put it up in every HS in the world? KThx)

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

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I am teaching an evening course for girls who are students at my university but don’t study Computer Science. It’s the most rewarding time of my week when I get to see how excited the girls get about simple things like getting a website to display their names.

We’re on the second session of the course now and we had a lot of girls continue on from the first one we taught about WebDev to Python. A lot of them even brought friends to the new session which was really humbling to me.

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

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After being in a Humanities degree (for a short time I admit) and then changing to Computer Science I found that one has much more creative freedom in CS. Knowing how to program is really enabling in our digital world. It allows you to reach people and promote causes you’re passionate about.

Quite a few people I’ve met in my degree are proper nerds and love technology – however they’re always happy to explain and they’ve never made me feel stupid because I didn’t know as much as them about a topic. However, most have hobbies that lie outside technology so you don’t have to worry about not being able to find someone who shares your interest. Not all of us are complete technology geeks.

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

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I thought dropping out of a degree might be one of the worst decisions in my life. However, it turned out be the best thing that could happen to me. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing now you probably won’t 10 years down the line.

I choose International Studies because I wasn’t sure what to do and it was a popular choice among my peers so I assumed it would be safest to go with the flow. Pretty early into my studies, I realized there were few people I could help if I stayed on this degree even in the long run. Technology however is becoming more and more important every day – there are great charity projects out there which use technology to try to raise people out of poverty by giving them access to the internet and tech skills.

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

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You will find my Facebook profile here – feel free to shoot me a message! My Snapchat handle is ‘rawkward’ I try to add interesting stories on there!

Taiwan, Canada, Germany, The Netherlands and now Edinburgh – what a crazy traveller! We think dropping out of a degree takes a lot of courage, and it’s awesome to see where it’s taken Lisa (in life, not just geographically :P). We can’t thank Lisa enough for taking the time to talk to us about creativity in STEM. That is the kind of diversity we need to ensure that the next generation of products we are building are truly inclusive and global, just like the lovely people we feature here on Fibonacci Sequins. 

Love,

Dona & Beth

 

Fashion Post

Some Valentine’s Day Drama

Here at Fibonacci Sequins, we’re all about recycling. After all, we’re Seattle-ites (sometimes). We have to pass the recycle test before we’re allowed to live here! (That’s not true, but it might as well be). We’ll come back to recycling in a minute.

For Dona, every day is Valentine’s Day.IMG_8285

Indulging in wine and chocolates? Daily sustenance! (What are we, barbarians?)

Wearing red on the regular? It’s a neutral!

Expressing her affection for the ones she loves?  Yes, every day!

Since every day is Valentine’s Day, why relegate wearing a good Valentine’s Day outfit just once a year?  Fashion is one of the biggest industries to cause waste in the world and we’re big fans of finding multiple ways to wear our fanciest and most casual pieces.   This red beaded vintage 20s flapper dress is no exception: perfect for both day AND night!

What? There’s no way you can wear a red, beaded flapper thing for work, you say? WRONG, we say!

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How about with a boyfriend blazer (to exhibit some law & order in meetings), fingerless fuzzy gloves (to keep your fingers warm in the subzero office temperatures) and a scarf? So pro.

Dress is vintage from Pretty Parlour in Seattle. Something similar is here. The jacket is by Theory and the scarf is a find from one of the thousand plaid shops in Edinburgh.  The boots are the trusty Stuart Weitzman Highlands which Dona literally lives in (an almost duplicate one that all of our blogger friends love are these)  and the fingerless gloves are handmade in Seattle. IMG_8306

For an evening event, date night, girls night or just brunch, the white cape is the perfect topper during this chilly season. This specific one was was negotiated in a vintage shop in Paris many years ago but this one is quite awesome too. Dona is pretty proud she not only haggled en francais but also got a price 1/4 of what was quoted. Vintage AND haggling? Oh mon dieu!

If there’s anything Dona loves almost as much as her people, it’s haggling a great deal.

And Beth? How does she feel about Valentine’s Day?

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Ah…Valentine’s Day. What better day for flower crowns than valentines day? Consider taking a break from indulging your inner ironic hipster and find a suitably revealing dress to pair with it.

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Featuring the Microsoft Band of course, because how will you judge the quality of the date if you can’t keep constant tabs on your heart rate??

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Dress: American Apparel. Shoes: Ecco. Flower crown: H&M.

Haha just kidding. This Valentines Day, show your distaste for american capitalism/consumer greed by going the full IDGAF. (PSA: Dona did not approve of Beth climbing up into this sketch fire escape thing)

Shirt: Forever21. Jeans: Dr Denim. Jacket: Carrie Hoxton.

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Yes, sheis sitting on a barrel….because Valentine’s Day.

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day friends. Thank you for showing us so much love this year! 

xoxo

Dona & Beth

 

Students

Harjyot Singh is an Artist in a Lab Coat

Harry is the third of our five Edinburgh students in this series. When Beth asked around at the CS events for who she should profile, the unanimous response was for this guy right here, so you can guess how much fun the shoot was! Read on for sentences like “So naturally I play Guitar for an Indie/Alternative Rock band here.” (Gosh, naturally!).

Tell us a little about you.

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I’m from India, I moved to the UK about two years ago and I’m currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at The University of Edinburgh.

When it comes to how I spend my time, my hobbies are all over the place! I have been into music and art since I was 8, got into it because I was a very introverted child, spent most of my time reading (Still do, not often as I would like though) or picking up instruments! So naturally I play Guitar for an Indie/Alternative Rock band here. I like to believe that I fall somewhere between the artsy and nerdy types.

I’m also a lot into the fitness scene so you’ll always spot me either at the gym practicing for my upcoming kickboxing match or down by the canal trying to improve my rowing split (Dona’s gonna go ahead and act like she knows what this means)!

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

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For my first outfit, I am wearing slim fit black jeans from Lee, A plain organic cotton t-shirt from h&m and some random overcoat I picked up at the thrift store.

For the second, the overall things are the same except the shirt – It’s a black Zara’s stretch shirt:For the accessories, I’m wearing Brown Chukka boots from topman. A Skull Bracelet from Topman, a Beads Bracelet from Topman, a Harley Davidson Belt…and some random scarf.

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

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To begin with, when I was back in India, I never really paid attention to how I dressed or what I looked like. However once I got to UK, I saw how people expressed themselves with their clothing. I started exploring, and as a firm believer in the italian saying of sprezzatura, I really loved the elegance of 3 piece italian suits but also the care-free look of the street hipster style.

After that I filled my wardrobe with classic shirts, to a few plain t-shirts, venturing out to more unusual patterns/styles at times (once I tried to wear red trews – didn’t really go well!) and from there it has evolved into a mix of the two, where one side overshadows the other depending on my mood.

A thing I never really understood up until maybe a few months back is how important accessories are and how they can bring together a look! Belts, watches (I am quite proud of my collection), bracelets, scarves and boots, I have variety again for whatever goes with how I am feeling that day!

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

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Don’t let what people tell you deter you! You might find people who are better than you, know much more than you, or spend most of their time just doing STEM related things. Don’t let that make you think that you aren’t good enough!

Bring what you have to the field, give it your best, learn all you can. Remember this is a field of thinkers and innovators – we are artists in lab coats, everyone is bound to be beautifully different!

Oh, and don’t forget to live.

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

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I haven’t had a chance to really work on too many projects during my short term at university, but the one that comes to mind is GreatUniHack in Manchester, early 2015.

GreatUniHack  is a 36-hour long hack that I and some friends decided to embark on. After much debate we decided to build a simple client that allows you to summarize and forward your emails as text messages. We wanted the basic functionality of being able to send/receive, but we also added in some cool features like being able to see the trend of emails you receive.

The idea stemmed from recalling times we’ve had to monitor emails in a place without internet – I remember once my mother got really upset because I didn’t respond to her emails for a week…

The best thing about the weekend was that I was able to help make my teammates’ first hackathon experience a good one – it really made me happy to see that they learnt something useful and enjoyed it as well! The project won an award I think :)

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

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I have often come across people who tell me I talk a lot for a computer science guy, and I think that’s a big misconception. No, we don’t all spend our lives in front of a computer screen, no we don’t all obsess over the same pop culture things (anime, star wars, etc pick your poison), nor do we wear the same hoodie to lectures for a week!

Everyone is different, what field you like to study doesn’t affect how you are as a person or what your interests are, people who are in my field can be interested in fashion or music or sports, and yes we are social (I could party better than the next guy haha!)

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

The best way to follow me would be to add me on facebook or follow me on instagram. If you want ridiculous selfies, my snapchat handle is harjyot7. You can find me on github too!

Gosh what a fun interview, and educational too – Beth learned a new word! (sprezzatura). 

To echo Harry;”Oh, and don’t forget to live.”

Dona & Beth

Students

Rachel Painter Brightens Our Day

Welcoming us back to our series on the fabulous students at the University of Edinburgh we have Rachel Painter (she actually does paint!). Rachel warned us that she wore primarily dark colors, so Beth and Rachel met up in the Grassmarket to use the colorful doors as backdrops (and take advantage of the cute coffeeshops to change and buy tea, because gosh was it cold!).

Tell us a little about you.

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Hey, I’m Rachel. I’m a second year student at University of Edinburgh studying computer science and I’m from America (small town in eastern Massachusetts specifically). I do art, play videogames, enjoy fashion, and am slightly obsessed with my cats (and cats in general).

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

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As a plus sized person, especially shopping in female oriented lines, there aren’t a ton of options compared to straight sizing so about half my wardrobe is from Asos’s Curve line which I really adore. It is modern and interesting and my cropped top, jeans, and long cardigan are from this line (not currently available).

I also really love Loft’s Lou & Grey line although I’m not wearing any of their pieces in the photos. I do shop a bit in the men’s section – my favorite is H&M, specifically their “divided” line where my hat is from.

For shoes I particularly gravitate towards the brand Vagabond which in terms of quality have been outstanding to me, and I really abuse my shoes. I like that they offer a range of very pristine menswear inspired shoes to punk type flatforms to high top sneakers. My chelsea boots are from them and the loafers I’m wearing is the modern loafer from Everlane. Everlane is also the makers of my backpack (their classic modern snap backpack in reverse denim). For makeup I tend to fill in my brows, put on an interesting lip color, and sometimes I do some foundation/concealer/blush. Most of my lip products, and the ones I use the most, are from MAC (my orange-red lipstick is So Chaud by MAC). (How great is it that Rachel changed not just outfits but also lipsticks for us? *swoon*).

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

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Oh god, my style used to be all over the place. I’d like interesting “edgy” items but then flip back to super feminine dresses and cardigans to jeans and tops. Teenage years were an odd slightly embarrassing mix of hot topic and the local department store.

When I was seventeen I started really getting into online fashion communities (specifically the subreddit /r/femalefashionadvice) and trying to narrow down what I really wanted in my wardrobe. I decided I didn’t like traditional feminine silhouettes, that I love high waisted things, and trying to step away from black was a huge misstep. Now my wardrobe is about 75% grey. I love grey. A lot. I find it has the nice neutral tonality of black without the harshness and the lighter nature of it really allows for textures to pop.

Lately I’ve been re-incorporating some more feminine elements into my style but I try to avoid anything twee, cutesy, or retro. I’ve particularly been taken with body con dresses, especially midi length ones.

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

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Don’t be intimidated. This is obviously easier said than done but there is a huge misconception that STEM is only for geniuses who know exactly what they’re doing and what they want to pursue. All throughout my childhood and high school I had an affinity for the humanities but it was certain aspects of science and math that really interested me and with my love for computers I decided to challenge myself and major in a subject that I’m passionate about, even if it doesn’t come naturally to me.

I came into this major with no real background in programming, just a vague idea of how computers worked from my personal usage particularly from gaming. It isn’t easy, of course, but I’m doing it and I’m no super genius.

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

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No specific large project stands out in my mind but I get a lot of satisfaction and pride out of the art I create. I rarely share it, and if I do it is usually with a couple close friends, so it is purely just for my benefit. I love being able to create and express myself and I find it a more unlimited and personal expression than fashion.

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I’m mostly self taught when it comes to art and have about zero experience drawing people and so I’m largely intimidated by it. This  piece started as an easy way to dip my toe into drawing a person without crashing into the uncanny valley, by using a self-portrait as reference. I didn’t want to get caught up on all the nuance of color that people have in their skin and eyes so I just picked some colors that were vibrant and I liked and mixed and matched. I actually tend to shy away from mixing in so many different hues but I felt like it worked in this loose and quick self portrait. Fun fact, in the reference image I took I am wearing the same dress as in my first outfit (photo above. I think this took me roughly 3 hours to complete.

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

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To be honest I think most of the stereotypes associated with computer science have a basis in reality but it isn’t nearly as overwhelming as portrayed; You won’t be the only not white/cis/straight/dude, you won’t be the only one who isn’t consumed by the newest technology or nerd culture, and you won’t be the only one who does or doesn’t like video games.

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

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Don’t take yourself too seriously with clothes, or in general really. Have fun, experiment, try really hard or don’t try at all. Clothes are like fun playgrounds that you get to show off to everyone so wear what you want unapologetically.

We love when people share their art with us, and it’s so perfect that this piece of Rachel’s features the dress she wore on our shoot! Traipsing around Edinburgh with Rachel (and hiking up those crazy steps she sat on to see the upper street layer) was so much fun, and her elegant but playful style is everything we love.

Keep creating,

Dona & Beth

Students

Lina the Stereotype Slayer

Beth was lucky enough to go on a whirlwind recruiting trip to Edinburgh in November, where she met some fabulous Comp Sci students – you’ll see their profiles over the next few months.

For this shoot she hung out with Lina Andersson  in Old College- the part that looks the most like Hogwarts. Unfortunately the CompSci kids don’t actually do any classes in here – much to Lina’s disappointment – but it was a great place to squeeze a shoot in between rain showers.

Tell us a little about you.

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I’m a second year student at the University of Edinburgh, originally from Sweden and Finland but I grew up all over. I’ve lived in France since I was 12.

I study Computer Science, but I also take classes in Economics and Maths – I still haven’t decided quite what I want to do yet. Right now, I want to get more involved with art and theatre, something I did when I was younger but that ended up kind of fading away when I got to university.

Five things I love are Matt Corby, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, sushi, the beach, and dogs.

Tell us about what you’re wearing.

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In this outfit, I’m wearing a vintage wool cape, a thrifted silk blouse, and a denim skirt from Monki.

In my more colorful outfit I have a old Petit Bateau raincoat (thrifted), a navy sweatshirt (thrifted), the same silk button-down shirt (thrifted), running tights (H&M), and shiny black Doc Martens. My backpack is from Jansport and I got the hoop earrings at Topshop.

How did your style evolve to what it is now?

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I got really into thrift shopping when I was little – I’d say around age 11. I’ve picked up some pretty interesting pieces over that time; my favorite is an old belt with gold Egyptian landmarks on it that doesn’t close properly so I’ve never worn it.

I’m pretty into art, so I’ve always wanted to have a unique curated look. I’ve never managed that – all I really wear is a stained navy sweatshirt and jeans. I like the kind of clothes you can just throw on and go, very laidback and easygoing. My ideal look would be Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon.

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

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Before I came to university, I hadn’t done any programming or really anything related to Computer Science. I based my decision on the fact that I really liked math and I really liked sci-fi, which in retrospect was not the best idea.

I found the first year rather intimidating, which was mainly because I didn’t put in a lot of effort. Now that I’m more confident, I’m really excited about it, although my programming skills are still not great. I would advise anyone to try some programming beforehand but not to be nervous – it looks complicated from the outside but it’s all very logical and everyone’s here to help out.

Also don’t base your degree choices on your favourite TV shows.

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

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I wouldn’t really say there’s any one thing I’m proudest of, but I’m pretty excited about lots of things!

I’ve recently moved into the Edinburgh Student Housing Co-Operative, which is a set of apartment buildings run by the students that live there. It’s a very cool project and we’re the largest co-op in the UK. I also volunteer at Food Sharing Edinburgh which is about reducing food waste.

I worked last summer at a nature reserve teachings kids about wildlife conservation, and I’d really like to do something next summer that would combine my experience with tech and economics with conservation work.

I think STEM fields have a massive impact on the world and it’s really important to think about what the consequence of that impact is.

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

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I’ve gotten a lot of weird reactions when I say I do Computer Science – sometimes even disbelief. One guy told me to switch course; he thought I’d do better in journalism or something like that. There’s a lot of stigma around studying Computer Science, and the stereotype that it’s very antisocial, geeky field is something that I was worried about when applying.

However, I’ve met so many super cool people, and I’m really happy I chose it. There’s so much support, and University of Edinburgh has two great societies that I’ve made so many friends through – CompSoc and especially Hoppers.

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

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I’m not super active on social media, but you can follow me on Instagram (1996anders) or find me on LinkedIn! I also have a pretentious Tumblr.

Picking her degree based off her favorite TV show seems to have served Lina alright so far – and Beth’s definitely used similar decision making methods in the past!

All in all, meeting Lina was a blast. She’s a great example of how diverse the University of Edinburgh is – everyone you meet is from somewhere interesting, but not from Edinburgh! Stay tuned for 4 more Edinburgh profiles.

Love,

Dona & Beth