Noah’s End Of Year Reflection

Hello! I joined the DHAs in January of this year and over the past 5 months, I have learned so much and gotten much-needed experience working in a professional setting where more was expected of me. This has been a great experience and I am glad I got to do it with such nice people. There were a ton of things I learned with the DHAs and a lot I know I can grow from.

Firstly, learning how to communicate formally and do that well. Never in my prior work experiences did I have to connect with professors and other students. While it may be intuitive for others, I found it challenging to send formal emails and also follow up with them and keep communication strong. I got to teach a class of mostly seniors WordPress when I had only started learning how to use it a few months prior. I was extremely nervous, and although I personally thought I could have done better, according to Em I did a good job. I also learned how to communicate with my coworkers too. Throughout my time here, I worked on projects mainly with other DHAs or on projects overseen by my supervisors. I learned to ask questions whenever I got stuck instead of trying to overcome it stubbornly and to continuously check in with my team members – particularly when it came to working on the CARCAS project. The CARCAS project was what I spent most of my time working on with Erin and centered around uploading and maintaining 3D scans of various carcasses on the CARCAS website.

Screenshot of the poster-script I wrote for CARCAS using Node.js and Puppeteer running locally.

Another skill I got from working with the DHAs was how to learn new technologies quickly. Git, Conda Environments, Node Scripts, Puppeteer, DataLad, Model-Viewer and WordPress are just some of the technologies I had to learn on the fly while working with the DHAs. At first, I had a lot of trouble reading documentation, and trying to learn so many new technologies and applying them on such large projects like CARCAS. However, I got much better at it, and in my other classes like CS 347, I start to realize that part of being a great Computer Scientist is being able to learn new technologies quickly – as technology is always advancing. The skill of learning new technologies is definitely not something I have mastered yet – particularly with reading large volumes of documentation – but is something I definitely can say that I got better at; and being with the DHAs definitely made me realize the importance of it.

Finally, another skill that I can say I learned is how to manage time effectively. The work with the DHAs was very independent. We would choose a task and it was up to us to take the necessary steps to get the task done. Em or Austin never would remind me to do something at a certain time, it would all be on me. This requires a lot of self-control and responsibility to make sure I send the emails to the right people on time or take the necessary steps to get the poster script on the server by a certain date. I also had to balence working with the DHAs while taking up a lot of high level classes this term. I had to learn to say I was too busy when offered a task – which was something I used to find difficult – especially at the start of my time here where I would accept any and all tasks presented to me.

Unfortunately, with the swim season starting again next fall and me taking even more difficult classes next term, I will be making the apt decision to step back from the DHAs for the time being as I focus on my academics and the swim season. Being a DHA has been a wonderful experience that I will forever be grateful for as my first comprehensive work experience and I look forward to working with the DHAs in the future.

Goodbye for now!

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