College Update by Ashley L.

by Ashley L. (former Gold Award recipient and STEM advocate)

Me Running the Orientation Blacklight Dance

Me Running the Orientation Blacklight Dance


What’s up everyone? Sorry that I haven’t updated on Facebook a lot, but it’s been quite a busy, and stressful, semester at college. I’d even argue it’s been the most stressful period of my life so far. It was rough, but I’m here to tell the tale!

So my semester started a few weeks before actual classes started. As a Resident Assistant (RA), I needed to be trained how to provide the best Care, Costumer Service, and Community for my residents. As an RA, I needed to be able to do basic administrative tasks for housing, like checking people into rooms, and making sure that they’re living situations are safe and clean. However, I also need to care for the residents individually and make sure they’re transitioning well to campus. To help them succeed on campus, I have to help them connect to the other people on their floor so that they feel comfortable in their living space. We had extensive training on how to accomplish all of this, while getting to know everyone on the staff better. So far the best experience of being an RA is having a new circle of friends, who help you with your events and help you solve problems you’re facing in your community.

All the RA's

All the RA’s


Sooner than I was expecting, fall orientation was finally upon us! It was extremely busy, but I met all of my residents and welcomed them all to the hall! That’s the most chipper I’ve ever acted ever. I was literally skipping around because I was excited to meet and get to know my residents. Orientation has always been fun, but as an RA I was a much bigger part of it.

Along with my Resident Assistant duties, I also had to help out with RHA with their orientation event (the organization that I was an executive board member of the previous year).

Toward the end of the semester, I started to build up my relationships with my residents. I really do like all of them, but it’s very hard to build a community on a floor so diverse! Out of my 30 residents, I have 3 international students, 4 flight team members (which is a big deal on our campus), 3 greek life members, 3 ROTC members (one of which is the only female cadet to make it into the Air Force Honor Society this year!), 1 Global Security and Intelligence Studies major, and a bunch of other engineers and pilots. So to address this problem, I had them all take a programming survey. I now have a more solid plan for the spring semester, but creating a community will be a challenge.

RHA’s Float for the Shopping Cart Parade

RHA’s Float for the Shopping Cart Parade

And that was only one side of the coin this semester! I knew being an RA would be difficult, so I decided to only take 13 credit hours. I ended up taking Thermodynamics (a study of energy conservation), Aerodynamics (how a wing is able to generate lift), Space Mechanics (learning to calculate the velocity needed to change a satellite’s orbit or send it to a different planet), Solid Mechanics (learning how to design something so it won’t fail), and a physics lab. Solid Mechanics was by far my hardest class this semester, but I am so glad I passed it! My gpa is still really good for an engineering major.

A Sample of Thermodynamics

A Sample of Thermodynamics

As for next semester, I’m looking at 14 credit hours, with really cool classes like Space Propulsion and Experimental Space Systems. I’m taking a light semester again because I’ll have a secondary job! This job is about 10 hours a week, grading homework for a digital circuit class I passed with flying colors my freshman year. Unfortunately, that means I won’t have time for SpaceGrant and RHA, so I’ve become pretty inactive in those organizations. But despite that, this is the first semester that I won’t have to pay anything out of pocket for! My tuition and housing are covered, thanks to a scholarship I earned.

This was a tough semester, but I have a feeling that this next semester will turn out much better! Hope you had happy holidays!

Girl Scout Troop 3113: Robotics Journey

Troop 3113 went on an exciting adventure this fall when they became TeamABC3113 to compete in the Central Valley Robotics First Lego League. ABC stands for Adventurous, Brave and Curious. The girls were so excited when they began to assemble the Nature’s Fury mission models and got the robot programmed to turn and go backwards and forwards. That was just the beginning. We started to meet twice weekly. We had a team working on the Project and another team working on the programming. When the girls wanted to switch and try something different, they let us know. We were in uncharted waters together.

cal fireThe 2013 FLL challenge was Natures Fury and our team decided that they would like to base our Project research on the Rim Fire. We visited the Cal fire offices in Sanger to learn about how fires are fought. We learned how the fire responders care for their equipment and how they work as a team. We learned about what kind of damage the Rim Fire did to the land and how it burned so hot it turned wooded forests into moonscapes. It damaged the habitats of endangered species. After several sessions of internet research the girls decided that they liked the idea of inventing a robotic mouse that was solar powered, programmed to detect smoke and lead animals away from dangerous fires. One of the girls took on the responsibility of writing the entire presentation skit and casted the girls herself. We found a younger brother to play the part of the mouse. The project play was a smash hit and so much fun.

We quickly discovered that programming was fun, but challenging. It was something that the girls had never done before, and it required a lot of patience because of the trial-and-error process involved in successfully completing each mission. First, it had to be decided what missions would be done, how the missions would be done, how to program the robot to do the mission, and finally how to fix mistakes along the way. Two or three girls worked together to do this. Sometimes it seemed like no matter what the robot would not cooperate- and why were we doing this anyway?? I told them that in real-life situations grown ups learn to solve problems by working together. That means they respect each others ideas, they listen to what other people have to say and they try out things. They recognize that problem solving is a creative activity and they learn to have fun while they work. They learned that problem solving was not easy, but there was great reward in achieving a successful mission. We hung out together, ate meals together, played together; We were like a family.GS working on robot - Cropped

Competition was exciting and scary. Our first qualifying round was tough. We weren’t sure what to do, and our robot went all sideways and wrong. No worries, afterwards we headed off to the practice table and refined our strategy. At the second round, success! We more than doubled our points! We headed back to the practice table again, and at the final mission we added ten more points to our final round totals. We were so proud to come in 13th out of 23 teams. We were so happy and had so much fun- we felt like we came in first.

During the day the girls were interviewed about me. I waited outside and afterwards they came out, ran toward me and gave me a big hug. Later on I found I won the Coaches Award. I could not believe it. I am still stunned and amazed that not only did I survive the crazy robot journey, but that I made a big enough impression upon my girls that I was recognized in this way. There is no better present under my Christmas tree than my FLL Coaches Award. I am so proud of my girls, and I can’t wait to continue our Girl Scout journey together.

(Tanya Desmond, Troop leader 3113)

Troop 2583 Celebrates International Girls Day

international-girl-dayDear Girl Scouts,

Troop 2583 (Kings County, Central California South, 9-10 year old GS Juniors) of Lemoore, California, celebrated International Girls Day at their meeting on November 7, 2013.

Through a variety of activities, the leaders of the troop aimed to build confidence among the girls and help them to know each other better.  The meeting started off with a collage of their baby pictures.  The girls had to guess which picture belonged to which girl.  Discussions about what their lives were like at the time the picture was taken and how their lives have changed helped the girls learn more about each other.  This discussion was especially interesting since many of the girls are military children and do not live in the same place they were born.

International Girls Day cards were given to each girl and they wrote positive, inspirational messages to each other on their cards.   Slips of paper were handed out with different questions for the girls to answer.  They took turns answering, What makes a good role model? If you were a superhero, what would your power be?  What qualities make a good friend?  We also discussed self-esteem and education with role models such as Condoleezza Rice, Marie Curie, and Malala Yousafzai.

The meeting ended with the Girl Scout promise and friendship circle.  The girls were given a copy of the confidence pledge, an International Girls Day certificate and patch, lifesavers, post-it note pad and pencil to take home.  The pencil is symbolic of the importance of their education, their friendships are their lifesavers and post-it notes with encouraging words were fun for them to write.  The girls enjoyed their meeting and were excited to receive their patch and certificate for participating in International Girls Day 2013.

Sincerely,

Ashley A.
Co-Leader Troop 2583