Thursday, August 2, 2012

To PhD or Not PhD. That is the Question!

I haven't been posting as much lately, and that's probably due to the fact that I'm working full time (AND HAVE WAY TOO MUCH FREE TIME!). Hahaha, getting A's in school is much more difficult and time consuming than getting "Good Jobs" at work. I've been watching too much of the Olympics. hehehe

I'm at the end of my undergrad career, and I basically have 1 more engineering class to take which I'm super excited for. It'll be the only main challenge I'll have with an awesome professor I had during Winter Quarter. Other than that...I'm taking stupid general classes, and I'm trying to pick out the most "useful" so I'm not bored out of my mind this fall.

But, actually, I've been struggling a lot with whether or not to pursue a PhD program.  As many of you know, I will be applying in Fall for graduate school.  And I'm thinking of not pursuing a's how I did my research.  First, I thought about this blog, where I spill wonderful advice to current or future engineering undergraduates. I figured, "Well there's gotta be a few engineering-female-phd-professor-like blogs out there." Well I found several. And I realized that the PhD (and the later career) is surrounded by data. Creating data, analyzing data, finding more ways to create data. Which, it may be for some...but maybe not for me.

I was thinking about what I value in life... and I've seen myself promoting the creation of something "useful" from that data. That's the whole reason why I became an engineer! Notice: I know having the data is important...but I see myself using it rather than creating it. So therefore, I think having a research background is important. But I've seen the PhD in a new light, and it's re-affirmed what everyone's told me. The lead scientist I worked for at NASA said, "Serena, we need people who can find meaningful information and trends from data." I always saw the PhD as a stepping stone to doing something "useful" with that data. But I've realized...I can do something "useful" now, and the PhD would be superfluous for me.

I'm still on the journey of life...but these are my observations so far. :-D


Wednesday, August 1, 2012


So some of you have probably been thinking dang, Serena's been posting a lot. That Nassim chick is such a slacker. Well, I have an excuse haha. I've been taking summer classes and am now in training for my Autodesk Position in Chicago.

SO much has changed since lat year. Our numbers have gone from 30 to 150. We have 75 here this week. There's one more mech-E girl here! I've also gone from the bottom of the ranking to the top now with my role as Platinum Expert/West Regional manager.

So what do I have to share. I've been getting tons of goodies (maybe we'll do a giveaway!) and been learning new software to come back and share when I get back home. I've toured Chicago Architecture, I've successfully broken my favorite (new ><) bag. It's an amazing experience. I'm also getting two projects 3D printed right now!

Anywho, just wanted to check in, I'll be back with some meaningful posts whenever I get back to my nice California Weather.


N. Riazi