UCLA Brain Mapping/Neurology: The Last 2 Days :(

Oops! I realized that I did not click “publish” and this saved as a draft.

Here’s Friday’s post:

It feels weird that today’s the last day, because I’ve actually settled in and become part of a research study. While I hate not finishing what I’ve started, it will be nice going back to not having to endure traffic and paying for parking (I know I mention that a lot, but $12 a day definitely adds up and cuts into my burrito funding).

I have learned a lot here at the Brain Mapping Center– my slight “fear” of intricate software has become more of an intrigue, my neuroscience terminology has expanded, I have seen a transparent mouse brain and spinal chord, and I know what it’s like to analyze data for a research study. However, I’ve decided that the cubicle life is not for me. While I’m a decently patient person, the level of patience that 5 (more if I were to actually be employed here) hours of sitting and constantly moving figures around on a computer screen demands far more than what I can offer. Nonetheless, I am extremely grateful to have had the experience of working with peoples’ brains and to have this connection for the future.

The past two days have entailed more work on the study, and of course, goodbyes. I gave Marissa and Dr. Shattuck whimsical thank you notes along with a Starbucks card (they are always drinking coffee, so we bonded immediately). AND they gave me a thank you card and some bruin gear as a gift, which I showed utmost gratitude for.

The really awesome thing was that they invited me back in the future if I needed undergraduate/graduate work, so it’s incredible knowing I have these connections for the future.


What I’ve learned

My overall senior project experience was a lot better than I was expecting. I got to learn about cool computer software like Revit that make building plans a lot easier. Back then everything was done in paper and pencil and now with the help of computers, the plans come out a lot cleaner and easier. This has really helped me explore an aspect in which I can see my self working in. And also got to see how architecture and engineering got to relate to each other. I am now certain that I am on the right track to a career that I will enjoy.

My Last Day at BF+DA

The last day of my internship started off with quite a hectic morning. Since it was my last day I wanted to get something for the team I had been working with so I stopped into this place called Gorilla Coffee, which is a very popular coffee shop in Brooklyn. I grabbed some pastries and then headed over to the bagel shop next door to grab my lunch for that day. After about ten minutes of walking and almost reaching the subway I realized I left my bagel at the shop. Even though I had all my heavy luggage with me, I decided to go back and get my bagel adding another 15 minutes to the time I was supposed to leave. Then once I walked all the way back to the subway stop I ran in to my one of my supervisors who was getting on the same subway. When I saw her the train approach, we both hopped on. I was pretty sure that that it was the wrong train but I assumed she knew better than me since she lives in New York. Although when the next stop came and we realized we were going the wrong way, we got off as fast as we could and had a good laugh about it.

That day at work I finished up my project that I was working on. Later at lunch some of my co-workers (other interns from Pratt Institute) were talking about going to a cool place for lunch the next week and it made me sad to realize that I was leaving and wouldn’t be able to join them. I made so many great new friends and learned so many new things through this experience, and although it was sad that I had to leave, I am glad to be back in California.

Front Office

On Wednesday, I spent some time with the people in the front office of the practice. I had no idea how much behind the scenes work went into running a successful practice. I learned a few things.

1. The people at the front desk have to be very familiar with dentistry. It seems obvious now that in order to work at a dental office you need to know about dentistry, but I never really thought about it.

2. There is always something to do. Everyone in the office is constantly working, even when there are no patients there to see the doctor.

3. Insurance is complicated. And boring.

I definitely would not be good at this job and I now have more respect for the people who take on these responsibilities.


On Tuesday, I got to observe two surgeries. The first was a tooth extraction which was disgusting because of the condition of the tooth. I won’t get into too much detail, but the tooth fell apart after the surgeon applied very little pressure. I walked out halfway through. The second surgery was way better. It was the first step of an implant being put in. This involved putting a screw into the bone where the missing tooth was at one point. I liked this a lot more. I have been thinking about going into oral surgery, but I’m not sure how I feel about it. I think I would be able to do it, but I’d have to watch a lot more surgeries to be sure.

End of Week 3

This weekend I got to shadow a meeting in which the client was flipping house and need to get the existing house drafted. This client was very laid back and had great ideas for making the existing house look better. Basically when some flips a house it means that they buy a house and then fix it and make it look prettier and then sell it for a higher price. So then while at the house I helped measure the dimensions of the house and sketch it out on paper. Once we got back to the office I got to see the drafts of a previous house that was also flipped and it was really cool to see the before and after drafts. This house used to be 2 beds and one bath but they remodeled it to be 4 beds and 3 baths. I then learned that a flip is always more difficult when you are adding more square feet to a house rather then just moving the rooms around an existing house because you need to get a lot more permits for adding square feet. And also when you add a room, depending on the city you may also need to provide another spot for a car on the property. So that means that you need to make a bigger garage and that will take more money.
This internship has really helped me a better understanding of the many aspects of architecture and how it compares to engineering. Drafting plays a really big role because it is the structure of the building process. I am excited to share what I have learned during my presentation.

Working with Plastics and Metal

The guys down at Deezmaker began to trust me more on my second week (third senior project week.) They began giving me more important duties such as assembling the various kits included in each purchased printer. The company doesn’t just ship out printers, it ships out the components in a DIY style to allow customers to construct it themselves. A smart practice, as the assembly process equips the customer with a good base of knowledge about the inner workings of the printer before they even use it. Therefore customers are far more likely to be able to identify their own problems when they arise and not clog up the phone lines with questions. Anyway in the beginning of this week I was entrusted with assembling these kits as well as soldering some of the circuit boards that control the x,y, and z axis movements of the printer’s extruder. I’d never really soldered before so starting on company property was mildly unnerving, but I got the hang of it. The most challenging part was getting the solder to go through the board at certain points called contact pins. There was a certain type of finesse required to melt it through but I ended up doing over 70 pins. Woo.

The last couple days of the week I came in I was taught how to use the industrial laser cutter Deezmaker uses to cut their acrylic, material used in various shapes as components of the printers. My instructor is named Metal (listed on the website too, I have no idea what his real name is, he’s a cool guy) and he walked me up to the printer and said “Okay so it’s easy all you have to do is set the origin point using the z axis controller and by hitting return three times, then just hit datum and set the magnet on the acrylic, DO NOT FORGET THAT, then hover over stop and allow bonding contact, go into the program and position the cuts appropriately, you may need to perform some rotal adjustments for efficiency but that’s not super important, then just hit test to outline your area, scroll down twice on the control to ensure you’ve selected the latest file, then hit escape to deselect and slam start then you’re cutting away. I’m gonna be outside talking to a customer, I’ll check in later, holler if you need me!” This was all said in the space of 20 seconds and the visual cues didn’t really help. He left and I spent about 3 minutes staring at the display visibly sweating before the CEO and owner walked in, glanced over and said hey, then double took and ran over before warning me about using the machine unsupervised and informing me that if it broke the business was screwed, then he immediately excused himself to talk to a client. After a couple more minutes of sweating Spencer (God bless) came over and broke down the process for me in a long lesson. So now I can use laser cutters. Ayo.

Working with a New Intern!

A new intern started working during the end of my second week. I was really nervous at first, because I was worried we weren’t going to get along or it would be awkward. I started talking to her on our long car ride to the PDC (yet another trip there) and we actually have a lot in common! She plays volleyball at Brown, so we had a lot to talk about. She also gave me a bunch of tips for college, which was incredibly helpful. She made my job a lot better because I was able to finish boring work while chatting with her. She is also better than me at seeing what fabrics go together and what certain clients will like, so she gave me a few pointers on that as well. As we continued over to the third week, we split up different tasks and worked together on sketching out furniture and fireplace plans, searching for concept pictures, and researching materials for clients. Overall, I found my last week to be the best because I felt comfortable at that point and more confident with what I was doing.

Relationships in Interior Design

Over the course of my senior project, I found that my mentor Valerie makes her job so much easier by building relationships with people she works with, whether that be clients, workers, and even interns like me. Building people’s trust is key, so that way people are more willing to do favors for you or are more efficient because they want to maintain a good relationship with you. I also built relationships with people on the job site I was working on, and I earned the trust of a hard to please client, which helped a lot when it came to presenting ideas to them. On top of that, she has a wonderful personality that benefits her work because people enjoy working with her. On the job site, the construction workers strike up conversations with her, and offer to help her with things she needs. It’s much easier to work when you get along with the people rather than butting heads with them all of the time.

Keystone: Week 3 (Days 3-5)

As my time at Keystone came to an end, I was finally given the ultimate task. I had to put together a package for a client…all by myself, well almost. I spent the entire day finding the information I needed and entering it into the company’s template. Once I finished with that, I had to re-check my work and then add visuals to make my work appealing. On Friday, I went in to add the finishing touches before telling my mentor I was finished so he could look it over. He made some slight changes before saving it so he could send it to the client later on. I was happy with what I had done because it felt as though I had actually contributed something meaningful. After I was finished, the office took me out to lunch to celebrate my last day. I was lucky to work with people who went out of there way to make me feel comfortable and I enjoyed my (short) time at Keystone.