2016 Re-Cap

Not to get all high-and-mighty, but I believe that self reflection is one of the most important things an individual can do. Turning a critical eye on your  accomplishments as well as your personal failings give you a sense of achievement and can help motivate you towards improvement. I wasn’t always a believer in this idea; however, my MBA courses — where I had to deal with my personal shortcomings often — led me to realize the power such reflections can provide. So with that in mind, here is a listing of the major things, both professionally and personally, I was able to complete in 2016 as well as some goals that I fell short on (but hopefully can remedy in 2017).

Professional Achievements

  • Submitted patent for unique improvements to our facility’s linear accelerator (it was our facility’s first patent submittal in recent memory)
  • Submitted late news article, suitable for poster presentation, to the Hardened Electronics and Radiation Technology Annual Conference detailing extensive characterization efforts of said linear accelerator
  • Completed all work efforts to the facility’s and customer’s satisfaction (intentionally vague, I know…)
  • Was involved in higher-level business efforts concerning our facility such as constructing and refining RFI answers and determining lab usage rates
  • Began incorporating python and MATLAB learning into work tasks
  • Reacquainted myself with LaTeX and have been championing it’s use in the creation of technical documents
  • Graduated with my Professional MBA from the University of Utah (GPA of 3.90)

Personal (+ Family!) Achievements

  • Birth of our first child, Eleanor
  • Improved photography and photo-editing skills
  • Keeping up with training plan for 50-mile race scheduled in March
  • Created a personal website and re-evaluated my own personal value
  • Went to Seoul, South Korea for MBA International trip which was not only immensely informative but was personally rewarding in a lot of ways
  • Became a Professional MBA Ambassador which entails mentoring incoming students and promoting the program to prospective students
  • Became a board member for the University of Utah Business Alumni Association
  • Become contributors to a variety of personal causes

Where I Came Up Short

  • Did not take the Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam and receive certification which complemented some of my MBA coursework
  • Did not become a staple at regional IEEE events and volunteer opportunities
  • Did not become certified National Instruments LabVIEW Developer

Anyways, here’s to a very fulfilling 2016 and the hope that 2017 will be equally as beneficial!

50-Miler Ultra // 3 Months Out

We’re three months out from my ultra-marathon, so I thought I’d give a quick update on the training:

  • I’ve been using the Boise Foothills 50k Frenzy training schedule (speaking of a race I want to run…!) as a “loose guide” — I’ve never been one to follow strictly to a running regiment, but it does give you a little insight that you are (or aren’t!) at a point where you should be.
  • Been consistently running 5 – 6 days a week; averaging 25 – 30 miles per week. So according to the schedule, I’m a little ahead of what is required for a 50k trail run, so I’m feeling pretty good.
  • Longest run has been a 13.0 miles where I did it in 1:45 (it was under optimal conditions).
  • Lately, conditions in Salt Lake City have been snowy/rainy, so my trail times have slipped from ~8:30 min/mile to ~10 min/mile. I think I’m going to upgrade my YakTraxs to Microspikes to provide better grip on snow as this seems to be a reoccurring problem with my running.

Here’s a screengrab (since Nike makes it impossible to share your Activity Page) of my latest trail run on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail:

12-10-2016 Run

Anyways, looking forward to hitting the trails more in the winter!

UIL / TMSCA Auto-Generated Number Sense Test 2 // Future Work

The question pool that my auto-generated Number Sense test relies on has swelled to 1200 questions and is growing at a rate of about 500 questions per week. There might be some weird artifacts — like two Roman Numeral questions or three integral questions within the same exam — but these are attributable to fact that you are randomly selecting problems from the pool and is not indicative of some problem with the program. As a whole, I’d say I am about 90-95% accurate in replicating a competition exam.

Here is the second exam and its answer key. As always, you can find all the practice exams from my repository here.

Currently, the difficultly in the auto-generated tests are comparable to UIL Invitational through District exams. I plan on, separately, creating harder practice tests that replicate Regional and State competitions for those who want more advanced practice. (I didn’t want to discourage novice competitors by incorporating very challenging problems into the question pool that could be randomly incorporated into the practice tests).

As this project moves into the “auto-pilot” phase, I’ve been thinking about what I want to do next. One topic I am very passionate about is personal finance and the journey towards Financial Independence (or more commonly know as FI). One thing that has been helpful to both myself and my friends is a more “real-world” mortgage amortization table that I created which aids a future-homeowner with their decision of finding the right house to buy and the type of loan to buy it with. I’m beginning work on developing python code to generate this table from basic loan/house information as well as output helpful statistics (e.g. the amount of time where a 15-year loan is preferred to a 30-year, assuming a particular market return, etc…).