I'm a leukemia survivor (AML) and was diagnosed when I was 21 and in undergrad, roughly 8 years ago. I started www.cheekswab.org in 2012 to educate people, especially ethnic minorities, about the exact complications facing minorities who need bone marrow transplants. I also wanted to fill a need that I saw around direct communication around what it's like to be a donor, what the statistics are, what the process is like, and interviews with real people who have gone through the donation process recapping their experiences. I haven't done much with Cheekswab in the last several years but my new years resolution for 2015 was to figure out a path forward with it.
I live and work in NYC as a software engineer and have a lot of experience running these sorts of drives, particularly on college campuses. Feel free to reach out to me if you'd like to talk, whether about leukemia or bone marrow drives: username at gmail.
Holy shit this is amazing. And I'm so happy you have been event-free for so long! (To be honest, Wikipedia makes AML sound terrifying; I have ALL). I just looked over the site and the last post and accompanying blog made me feel better about jumping into this next round of treatment. Thanks so much. I'll definitely share this.
Uhh, people get an MBA to be something like a vice president at Goldman Sachs on Wall Street, or a consultant at McKinsey, or maybe even eventually a CEO of a major corporation with hundreds of millions in revenue, not to run a lawn mowing business.
I'm glad someone brought this up. Someone might be able to start a successful solo business venture without any formal training. But that is very different from being an executive or having some administrative job in a medium or larger-sized company (I am assuming). The guy that started the solo business has that experience, great - but he's only got that perspective of being a business administrator. Do you need formal training to do most of the jobs that MBA's do? Maybe not - but the person who has only done that one solo business probably does not have enough perspective on that either.
In this case, I don't know if the author is only talking about building that one first app, apps in general or programming in general (probably just apps, I reckon). But if the audience is non-programmers who gets the impression that programming is just about "winging it" and that formal education is totally optional#, then it only offers a perspective from a very limited vantage point.
#this could be a valid opinion, but only really interesting to me if it came from an experienced programmer.
I enjoy photography but not enough (at the moment and foreseeable future) to sink a lot of time/money into it. I don't even consider it a "hobby" as much as I just like to carry a camera around with me when I know I'm going somewhere interesting.
Marco mentions them towards the end of the post but I absolutely love my mirrorless, micro 4/3s camera (Panasonic GF-1).  It's small/light enough that it's not a burden to carry (form factor is somewhere between a point and shoot and dSLR) and the picture quality, at least to a novice like myself, is excellent. I'm a big believer in the idea that "the best camera to own is the one you have in your hand" and I really wouldn't want to lug around anything bulkier/heavier, despite the added functionality.
I am a pretty strong introvert, not in the sense that I have a problem socializing with others or even communicating in a leisure/professional setting, but rather that doing so takes a lot of energy. I don't actively seek out opportunities to get up in front of people and be the center of attention. Over the past year I've spoken a lot publicly for moderately lengthy periods -- maybe 45 mins at a time -- and I agree with the sentiment that you just get better/more comfortable with experience. If you feel nervous before you speak you are the norm and not the exception. To quote Jerry Seinfeld: "“According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
I prescribe to Malcolm Gladwell's method of preparation  in that I write out every single word of my talks beforehand and more-or-less memorize them. It's not my explicit goal to memorize every word, but I go over the words enough that that's essentially what happens. I actually end up memorizing key sentences and phrases more than words. Even moments that I seemingly "ad-lib" to the audience -- jokes, side comments, "random" anecdotes -- are written out beforehand. That way when I'm in the moment I can focus on delivery and not content.
I think the biggest driver to my anxiety of public speaking was the possibility of sounding stupid, but as long as I have the confidence that I've written out a good argument beforehand then that goes out the window. I stick to the script because I know the script will work.
As far as mentality goes, there is no better feeling than looking out into an audience of people and see them staring back at you, listening to every word. No smartphones out and no sleeping, just attention. While I still get a little nervous, it's nowhere near what it once was, and I actually look forward to connecting with those whom I've been invited to speak with. My excitement for that connection has started to trump my nerves.
Clearly I'm not in the camp of "don't prepare and just go wing it, it'll be more natural" because it really opens up the door for panic-induced disaster. And I really hate sitting in a talk that the speaker is clearly unprepared for. It's unprofessional and disrespectful. If people are going to give you the respect of their undivided attention, give them the respect of real preparation.
Seconding this. It's because I've been saving up for the past few years that I have the money to attend the summer batch. I didn't know that I was saving up for hacker school, but I'm glad I was saving :)
I'm finishing up the current winter batch, having started in a position similar to yours. I think you'll find that it's time and money well spent. I've been invited back for this summer's batch and will likely be back. If I am, see you in a month or so :-)
While it is a very easy "excuse" to hide behind, I believe in holistic admissions qualifications. I think charts of SAT score x race x admissions are as good of a metric of assessing a potential student as college GPA are of assessing a potential employee. To some degree there's a baseline expectation for the practical purposes of filtering (with lots of outliers for various reasons), but at the end of the day it doesn't say much about how intelligent or capable someone really is. Intelligence and capability can't be reduced to a test-taking skill.
I am Asian-American and I went to an ivy league university. I think (hope) that essays hold particular importance for admission to the most competitive schools because academically there's very little variability between most serious applicants. Everyone was the valedictorian, everyone had a 4.0+, everyone had 1500+ on the SAT (out of 1600). Everyone played an instrument, everyone was in every honor society, everyone performed hours of community service. When you get that far as an applicant you know how to play the academics "game." So in the midst of a lot of redundancy -- "“Another piano playing, hard working kid, with perfect SAT scores" -- you have to stand out for other reasons. Like the passions that will ultimately lead to a student body that enriches itself rather than one where everyone is constantly holed up in their room studying non-stop for the next exam.
It's an interesting counter-point. The allegation is that admissions committees are looking at intangible factors in order to discriminate against Asians. But it's possible that they're forced to consider these factors because so many students have "maxed out" the traditional metrics.
But the question remains, are admissions committees negatively weighting stereotypically Asian activities (e.g. violin) to reduce their enrollment? Anecdotal evidence is insufficient.
If the problem is simply that too many students are getting 1600s on the SATs (and similar criteria), it surely should not challenge the collective minds of the elite 1% of US universities to devise a more difficult test that has more room on the top end. As a matter of fact, as I recall, I took a number of such tests in high school.
This isn't the problem. In fact SAT scores were "re-centered" in 1995 to boost scores.
One problem is that too many people think the SAT is some amazing indicator of applicant quality. In fact it has biases. In fact it can be coached and responds to test prep and experience.
Another problem is that it's easy to lose the forest for the trees when you feel you're being discriminated against. There is a great society wide wrong that affirmative action is meant to partially redress. Some Asians having to go to Columbia instead of Yale is not an equal wrong to kicking in the doors to provide opportunity.
Finally, diversity does matter. I learned a hell of a lot from the hispanic and black students I lived with. And they certainly would not have been there without affirmative action. The same thing in classes (although there's less certainty on whether they were beneficiaries of AA).
"Does test preparation help improve student performance on the SAT and ACT? For students that have taken the test before and would like to boost their scores, coaching seems to help, but by a rather small amount. After controlling for group differences, the average coaching boost on the math section of the SAT is 14 to 15 points. The boost is smaller on the verbal section of the test, just 6 to 8 points. The combined effect of coaching on the SAT for the NELS sample is about 20 points."
(2) Many forms of "coaching" are lumped together here. In fact some may only add 30 pts or less while others add over 100.
(3) Controlling for self-selection is self-defeating here since poor black/hispanic/native american kids don't have the same opportunity to self select into say private schools with test prep programs.
(4) Taking post PSAT gains ignores coaching received prior to this.
(5) This only measures indirect coaching. The effects of a superior school itself could be large.
The effect "could be large". Do you have any data to support this?
Some forms of coaching "add over 100". Do you have data to support this?
Poor black/hispanic kids don't have test prep programs in school. So they are unable to get privately provided test prep or have no incentive to do so, and therefore receive a smaller amount of test prep than other racial groups. Do you have any data to support this?
The effects of a superior school "could be large". Do you have any data to support this?
You also say that you learned a lot from black and hispanic pupils. Would you have learned less from white pupils?
Do you really contest that private schools have better outcomes on the SAT? Or that poor kids have less test prep? Maybe you should do some basic googling on the subject before you start tossing around strident conclusions.
Having a worthwhile discussion requires a basic standard of reasonableness. Some of the perfectly reasonable claims I made could have also benefited from citations, sure. OTOH you've given me at least 5 data points that say you've just decided to be a pedantic troll about this topic. Good luck with that.
Participating in "red state" leadership activities in high school among white students such as ROTC or 4-H have been shown to reduce admissions rates in Ivy league by about 50%, all else being equal. More important than being smart is to be the right race (non-Asian, non-white). And most important of all is to be an urban liberal.
In a recent article, Ross Douthat claims that America’s elite private colleges and universities are discriminating against white, rural, working-class applicants, especially those from “Red” states, and he cites work that Alexandria Radford and I did on college admissions to support his argument. Douthat seizes on one relatively minor finding in the entire book to push an interpretation that goes far beyond the bounds of the actual evidence.
We find that applicants who demonstrate a strong commitment to career-oriented extracurricular activities while in high school have a slightly lower chance of being admitted to a top school. This outcome affects only students who have won awards or assumed leadership positions in these activities, not those known for their extensive involvement. These extracurriculars might include 4-H clubs or Future Famers of America, as Douthat mentions, but they could also include junior ROTC, co-op work programs, and many other types of career-oriented endeavors. Participating in these activities does not necessarily mean that applicants come from rural backgrounds. The weak negative association with admission chances could just as well suggest that these students are somewhat ambivalent about their academic futures.
... students who apply from “Red” states appear to have an advantage in the process. Compared to otherwise similar applicants from California, those from Utah are 45 times as likely to be admitted to one of our elite colleges or universities. The advantage for applicants from West Virginia or Montana is 25 times greater, and nearly 10 times greater for students from Alabama. Because top private schools seek geographic diversity, and students from America’s vast middle are less likely to apply, it stands to reason that their admission chances are higher. On the other hand, coming from such “Blue” states as Virginia or Colorado lowers the odds of admission.
Many state schools have geographic quotas also, which then heavily biases towards kids from rural areas (red states, or red parts of blue states). Being "urban liberal" is actually not that useful, since so many other applicants are "urban liberal." The only advantage to being "urban liberal" are better schools and more opportunities for academic enrichment, but as we all know, applicants in such a category are a dime a dozen these days.
I have no idea if the Ivy's aim for geographic diversity; since they are not taxpayer funded, they probably don't have that mandate.
Are you seriously going to 1) extrapolate graduate admissions to undergrad admissions, and 2) go against hard data with an anecdote?
For #1, grad schools are looking for extremely different things than undergrad. In fact, the plurality, if not majority, of grad admits at top schools are internationals. As another example, most PhD programs care about your research almost to the exclusion of all other factors. Extracurriculars? Don't matter very much.
Business school programs most heavily weight your work experience (followed by test scores, essays, and extracurriculars), which is why a lot of military officers get in, because of their impressive leadership-related work experience.
My point was to answer the comment that red-state extracurriculars serve as a black mark in the Ivy League. I think it's clear that they don't.
And data is not what you're basing your argument on. It's an interpretation of some data that might be flawed in collection methodology, reporting errors, false conclusions from over fitting and other common errors that occur in studies.
For the record, I served in the military, and earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard and know of many others who did the same. Painting the Ivies as somehow anti-military kinda rubs me the wrong way.
your argument hardly talks to the bias laid out in this article. The problem is not that a white student with perfect SAT's will gain an admission, but that the same student with a lower score can gain admission while an asian with perfect scores cannot. Essays are important , but they are a tool to hide behind.
if the existing tests are not good markers of excellence, why dont harvard and stanford have their own entrance examinations? it is a common practice in universities around the world.
Asian-born student life sounds like it involves a lot of after school classes, and group cramming sessions. Maybe this leaves less time for community service and class representative. If Asians do less of this they'd not be chosen compared to all the other 'equally' 'perfect' applicants.
The question I think is how we are weighting extra-curriculars. How does piano compare to... say.. windsurfing? I'd put both about on the same level as far as merit goes (one taxes the mind and dexterity, the other taxes the body and dexterity, both are fairly out of reach for the underprivileged).
If the "holistic admission" thing is being used to disqualify Asian candidates I would expect that two students with equal grades would be disadvantaged if they played piano rather than windsurfed.
From my anecdotal experience, I find this very plausible. (I'm a white guy who had extraordinarily poor grades in highschool yet was accepted to the school of my choice. My Asian peers almost universally far outclassed me in academic skill (proper student discipline in general); if you told me that I was accepted because I was on the swim team instead of another student with better grades who played the piano (both forms of self-improvement, not community service), I would not be surprised. Very disappointed, but not surprised.)
What about diversity of extra-curriculars? I don't know how it breaks down, but maybe they felt they had enough Asians (or anybody) who play the piano. Maybe you got in because they didn't have that many people who swam as an extra-curricular.
As far as I am concerned, a sport is a sport. I primarily swam, but I did some track as well, and did and continue to do casual weightlifting. They work different muscle groups but they are all fundamentally the same (all have very low leadership/teamwork opportunities, all require a decent amount of drive and dedication, etc. These are all fundamentally "selfish" sports; most participants will spend most of their time competing against themselves). The other class of sports, the "team sports", are fundamentally different of course but also essentially all the same.
So do universities honestly think they have too many classical musicians, but not enough casual athletes? I don't think so. That seems incredibly implausible. I don't think they are thinking anything at all along the lines of "we better introduce some athletic viewpoints into our student body, lest all the musicians dominate discussion."
I think they are arbitrarily classifying hobbies as "well rounded" or "square" to allow themselves to shape their student body demographics to their liking.
The problem is now you're stereotyping. It's like as if I said something patently untrue like "Black student life is just playing basketball" [and that's too "black" and not well-rounded] or something like that.
EDIT: Agreed with jlgreco, added  to what I said earlier.
As I understand it, the assertion is that admissions people are, in order to unfairly disqualify Asian applicants under the guise of "holistic application", negatively weighting stereotypical Asian extracurriculars.
If we are saying "Black student life is just playing basketball", then that is clearly an unfair stereotype. If however college admissions start disqualifying anyone who has ever played basketball, then I think it would be prudent to ask if perhaps the admissions people are attempting to disadvantage black applicants (particularly so if the "has played basketball" metric is accompanied by a series of other metrics that have a relationship to stereotypes).
There's an unbelievably popular froyo franchise in Northern VA called Sweet Frog that markets effectively enough to stand out among seemingly a zillion competitors. They have a religious angle (Frog standing for "Fully Rely on God"), frog mascots that make local community appearances, merchandising that young kids actively wear, and are cheaper per ounce than competitors while offering unlimited toppings.
I was always skeptical of cupcakes because they were (1) annoyingly expensive and (2) blatantly unhealthy, but SF seems to have addressed both of those concerns.
I've seen many a kid go nuts on the self-serve yogurt machine and topping buffet, turning a small cup of a somewhat healthy dessert into a $7 pile of M&Ms, gummy bears, and other calorie-laden toppings. There's a reason they charge by weight.
Cool idea. I'm a diehard Washington Wizards fan (sad, I know) and tend to unfollow a lot of players in favor of reports/beat writers/bloggers. The tweets are just more substantive for basketball junkies. A couple of random thoughts:
1) Remove the directed tweets -- i.e. "@user blah blah blah"
2) Beat writers/bloggers act as a filter and tend to retweet interesting player tweets anyway
3) It'd be awesome to see a real-time, in-game twitter dashboard like how you're displaying things now, but with those bloggers/reporters. It can be hard to keep track of it all on a single-line twitter feed... maybe a tweet that gets a lot of "action" somehow (retweets, replies, not sure how you'd measure it) could be displayed more prominently.
I'll definitely back up the desire to see feeds of reporters and bloggers rather than, or in addition to, players.
For example, I'm a Cavs fan. Big news right now is the Cavs' search for a new head coach. I'm much more interested in that than I am C.J. Miles' desire to get "custom car stuff" done, which is what his last tweet was about :) But players aren't going to be tweeting about the coaching search, most likely.