Drifting Days: Feb 24, BUET: Part 1
Tanzi and Farzana have started this club for female students in CSE, BUET last year. Few alumni have been contributing immensely there. Mentoring students, help them come up with ideas, review their applications for conference fundings. I salute them. They are really paying it back. For the first time ever undergraduate students from BUET are attending conferences like Grace Hopper and High Performance Computing. I did not even know what conferences meant when I was at college. Now the students are doing it much of it themselves. They are researching the scholarship opportunities at conferences, they are arranging workshops. They are on a roll. Some bright little starlets are rising there.
I had sent a message on the Facebook page that I can meet the girls if they are interested. I felt guilty for not doing my share. But I also wanted to get the contact info of Dr. Kaykobad, my advisor. The girls were very enthusiastic, they wanted to know about writing essays. They let me know a day before the event. Monday night I spent collecting talking points. Looking at what I had written. Looking back at my experience being on the UofI graduate admission committee. Re-read essays I thought were good. I spoke to few faculty about what they look into an essay or a letter of reference. There were different views but there were some consensus, too.
I had slides but I ended up talking without them. I took pride in grad school in creating the best slides. But this was not a talk that I could wow the audience with animations and still be effective. I went back to my teaching techniques. I used the basics: involve the audience. Our attention span lasts only few minutes. It tried to add stories and anecdotes. The quality was not up to what I wanted it to be. But they seem to have liked it. They want me to do it again. Any tips? I am serious people, send me a note here or in a message.
By the way guys were invited to the talk. I had asked them to do so. But we observed a reverse only-girl-in-the-meeting effect. Very few showed up. No excuses next time though boys. Man up.