Women's Coding Collective On Finding Your Tribe, Expanding Your Skillset & Taking Risks

Posted by Magdalena Georgieva

Jun 20, 2016 11:52:33 AM

I recently had a chance to catch up with Susan Buck and Nicole Noll, founders of the Women’s Coding Collective, who shared the story of how the WCC came into existence and why. This interview was conducted for She Geeks Out, a community for women in the STEM field. Read the exerpt below or the full interiew here.

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Topics: science

Fashion Designer & Creative Director Angie Brutus on Juggling Many Side Projects & Staying Grateful

Posted by Magdalena Georgieva

Jun 15, 2015 9:11:22 AM

Angie Brutus is a 22-year-old jewelry maker, fashion designer, creative director and a student at Framingham State University majoring in fashion design and minoring in psychology. She recently got featured in New York Magazine for her jewelry design. Besides being an artist and a student, Angie works two jobs - she is a guest service representative at a Boston theater and serves at a family-owned restaurant in the area. I met up with Angie a few weeks ago in Jamaica Plain to learn how she manages so many projects at such an young age and how she stays positive and inspired.

What drew you to making art projects?

My dad was an engineer, and he taught me how to sew. I think that watching him build things and fix things inspired me to have that sort of fixing mentality. I was at work today and the doorstep kept falling and I told my boss, "I know how to fix it. Give me some pliers." And I just fixed it. I go around and fix things. I think this is where the seed was planted. I don't think my dad knew that just being an example, just me watching him, would inspire me to do all this.

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Topics: art

Children's Book Author Jef Czekaj on Doodling, Giving in to Goofy Stories & Cross-Disciplinary Passions

Posted by Magdalena Georgieva

May 7, 2015 8:30:00 AM

Jef Czekaj is a children's book writer and illustrator who works and lives in Somerville, MA. Among some of his whimsical books you will find A Call for a New Alphabet, Hip and Hop, Don't Stop! and Cat Secrets. In addition to drawing and writing books, Jef is also a musician and presents at schools and libraries. I got a chance to catch up with Jef at cafe Rustica and he told me about how he ended up in this space, where he gets his ideas from, and how you too can pursue something as colorful and goofy as authoring children's books.

How did you get into making children's books?

It's kind of a backwards story. I really liked to draw when I was little. I used to make books all the time with cardboard, fold it, and just draw. By the time I got to high school I was a super shy kid and really self-conscious, so I didn't take art classes. I was also really interested in science. I had a super heavy workload and played violin so I didn't really have room for art classes. I still drew with friends and stuff, but I had stopped doing art.

By the time I got to college I didn't take any art classes. I was pretty shy so I was scared of showing my work and I didn't want to take studio classes that were three hours long, so I ended up majoring in linguistics. When I graduated I couldn't find a job, so I just started drawing again and once again, it was just for me when I was making mini comics and zines. And I started selling them.

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Topics: art

Jewelry Designer Christina Tan on Constant Movement, Manipulating Jewelry, and Seeking Inspiration

Posted by Magdalena Georgieva

Feb 9, 2015 8:29:00 AM

Christina Tan is a Boston-based jewelry designer on a constant search for projects that further her design skills and add to her style. I had a great conversation with Christina at North End’s Thinking Cup, but only after listening to our recorded interview did I realize how much she had expanded my vocabulary. Read the highlights below to immerse yourself in the world of boho, round nose pliers, epoxy techniques, and jewelry manipulation.

How did you first get interested in designing jewelry?

Towards the end of senior year of college, I got a PR Internship for jewelry designer Tina Tang who owned a boutique in New York's Greenwich Village. The office space was very small and I'd be sitting at the computer writing blog posts and contacting magazine editors, and Tina would sit right next to me, designing and making jewelry. That piqued my interest.

After graduation I moved back home, to Boston. I had gotten a marketing internship at a textile design company but after a while, l felt that my heart wasn't in it. I left to pursue something that would make me happy. I ended up working for Talia Don, a jewelry designer in Newton. I was just manipulating; I wasn't designing but it was a stepping stone to something greater.

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Miriam Roure on Tech and the Future of Urban Design

Posted by Meghan Keaney Anderson

Jan 25, 2015 4:44:31 PM

Miriam Roure is a Research Fellow at MIT’s Senseable City Lab, an institute that studies how digital technologies are changing the way in which cities are studied and understood. Miriam, whose background is in architecture, has been working at the Lab for over a year and has also collaborated with the World Bank and the Area Metropolitana de Barcelona. During her studies at Harvard Graduate School of Design she co-founded Harvard xDesign Conference, which it’s now on it’s third year. I caught up with Miriam at Flour Bakery outside of Kendall Square Cambridge.

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Topics: science

Enter Alex Olivier's World: Floating Jellyfish, Controlling Music with DJ Costumes & Other Fun Projects

Posted by Magdalena Georgieva

Sep 10, 2014 9:23:00 AM

Alex Olivier is a Boston-based electronics tinkerer, installation artist, and an explorer of physical things that can be made to swirl, float, light up, and generally be interactive. Her work has been featured in various shows, exhibits, and international conferences. I had the pleasure of sharing a lemon pie bar with Alex at Union Square's Bloc 11 where she told me about her passion for the playful intersection between art and engineering.

How did you get into this field?

All through high school I really wanted to be a virologist, and work for the CDC (Center for Disease Control), and I used to read all these really dorky books. So when I got to Wellesley I was very set on majoring in biochemistry. My first semester I took chemistry and it was a good class, but there was something missing... I always wanted to have more of a hands-on approach. At some point I got this stipend to do research with a faculty member. We were encouraged to choose a professor to work with and I found this guy named Robbie Berg. He did a lot of very scientific things, like laser cooling of atoms. He also did less scientific things, like build robots that were made out of felt and perform a puppet show. So I was like, "OK, I will talk to this guy and see what he has to say."

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Topics: art

Scientist Edward Miracco on Biochemistry, Jazz and the Allure of Being First

Posted by Meghan Keaney Anderson

Aug 18, 2014 10:30:00 PM

To understand Edward Miracco you have to first get a grasp on the work he's been doing for the last five years in telomerase research.  

Here's the woefully simplified version. The cells in our body divide throughout our lives, but not endlessly. There's a timer called a "telomere" that's running and sets how many times they can divide.

As Edward explains it on his research funding site, "You can think of it like the little plastic tip that seals the end of your shoelace. This little tip, known as an aglet, prevents the shoelace from fraying; a telomere is the DNA "tip" that prevents a chromosome from fraying." Once the telomere runs out, the cell is unable to divide anymore and "retires." Now, here's where the study of teleomeres intersects with cancer. Whereas most cells have a limit to the number of times they divide and replicate, cancer cells have a little machine—an enzyme called telomerase—that elongates the telomere (timer). So they can divide forever and take over. Stop the telomerase and you could stop the slow spread of cancer.  

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Topics: science

Alex Tooke on Why Collision Detection & Playing Piano Scales Are Fun

Posted by Magdalena Georgieva

Jul 29, 2014 8:49:00 AM

Alex Tooke is a Sensor Systems Engineer at MITRE who works on radar and collision avoidance and plays the piano in his free time. Learn how he got interested in science and what draws him to music.

Why are you a science person?

I like math, and I like physics. Originally, I was going to do astronomy or astrophysics in college. I didn't know what engineering was, but I ended up on an engineering floor and was like, "Man, this is all stuff that I like...amplifiers and computers, and you can also do space stuff! Why wouldn't I do this?" And then I did that.

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Topics: science

Nanotechnologist Elbara Ziade and the Pursuit of Infinitesimal Things

Posted by Meghan Keaney Anderson

Jul 3, 2014 9:44:00 AM

What is nanotechnology?

So your hair is about 100 microns thick.

There's a meter, then there's a millimeter, then there's a micrometer. As you know, a millimeter is one-thousandth of a meter. A micron is one-thousandth of a millimeter. So your hair is 100 of those. Now a nanometer is a hundred thousand times smaller than that. Basically, it's the relationship between a meter and a strand of your hair, but even less. 

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Topics: science

Jon Walley on Filmmaking, the Value of Passing Skills Down & the Traits of Craftsmen

Posted by Magdalena Georgieva

Jun 26, 2014 7:30:00 AM

Jon Walley is a Boston-based independent filmmaker and video producer at Berklee College of Music. He recently launched a documentary series titled "American Hand" that explores the lives and work of local craftsmen. Take a peek into what Jon has learned from them so far and where he draws inspiration from.

How did you get into filmmaking?

When I was a teenager, 9th or 10th grade, I started riding BMX. I really wanted to film what we were doing. So I got a camera - which was crappy at the time; I think my first camera was a Sony Hi-8 Handycam. That was my first exposure to shooting anything, really. I'd take it home, and I'd try to edit it in Windows Moviemaker. I did an okay job for the tools that I had, I suppose.

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Topics: art

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