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Quarter 3 Journals

(21 Jan - Present)


|    1:45-5:45 PM    |    4 hours   |   Cumulative hrs: 4.0 (3rd qtr.)   |   un-stuck    |   21 January 2010    | 


              Today at APL, my mentor and another employee helped me become “un-stuck” on a MATLAB program that converts geodetic (latitude and longitude) coordinates to ECEF coordinates and displays 3 graphs of the data.  I was thankful that while helping me, my mentor and the other worker could see that I knew a good amount about MATLAB (from reading the textbooks and packets of information).  I got to show them my knowledge, which was exciting!  My mentor and I talked about some good topics to write about in my paper, like Differential GPS (DGPS) and some of the math involved in acquiring data from GPS (such as trilateration).  I took notes that will be helpful in finishing my outline!


29 January 2010: Seminar (+1 hour)


|    1:45-5:45 PM    |   4 hours   |   Cumulative hrs: 9.0 (3rd quarter)   |   Calculus & ECEF    |   3 February 2010   |


            At APL today, I began putting data from several of my experiments into the MATLAB program that converts geodetic (lat/long) coordinates to ECEF coordinates.  ECEF stands for Earth-Centered, Earth-Fixed, and represents positions as an X, Y, and Z coordinate.  (0, 0, 0) in ECEF denotes the mass center of the earth.  ECEF rotates with the earth around its z-axis, so coordinates of a point fixed on the surface of the earth do not change.  I am relieved that my background in Calculus can help me to understand some of the math used in ECEF coordinates.  I will be using some graphs from this MATLAB program in my paper and possibly my science fair board (although it is already almost full!), because it is an easily-readable graph of the data that often looks cluttered when displayed on Google Earth!  The diagram below illustrates the relationship between latitude and longitude coordinates and ECEF coordinates.  



9 February 2010: Seminar (+1 hour)


|   7:45-12:00 PM, 4:30-6    |   5 hours    |   Cumulative hrs: 15.0 (3rd qtr)    |   Sci. Fair & Awards   |    20 February 2010   |


        Today was the science fair and award ceremony, and they both went well!  I got to Long Reach early enough to miss the crowd (although there never did seem to be a crowd -- there were probably a lot fewer participants this year!), and I was relieved when Atholton students finally started to show up.  The donuts and juice were great (thank you!), and I was tempted to bribe judges with them :-).  My judges were all incredibly nice and supportive -- one judge gave me advice on college and how to get an internship at his company (Lockheed Martin) during college; he also wanted to give me his card, but he was not allowed!  He told me he was sure I would be successful one day and also told me how great it is to be a female engineer.  Besides him, I had a great amount of judges and parents that were not my official judges, but who stopped by my board to ask me about my topic!  It seemed to be a popular topic, and I heard many anecdotes from adults about their GPS not working well.  At the award ceremony, I was incredibly proud of the Atholton students who won awards! 


|   1:45-5:45 PM   |   4 hours   |   Cumulative hrs: 19.0  (3rd qtr)   |   Mentor Discussion   |  23 February 2010   |


            At APL today, my mentor and I talked more in-depth about my paper, although it was due last week in class (I had sent it to him in an e-mail and he had given me a couple suggestions, but I had not seen him in person to talk about it, because of snow storms!).  I believe he was impressed with my paper, and he was especially interested in the discussion -- the parts about recent unique applications of GPS -- because I had done that research on my own (through my annotated bibliographies).  There truly are very interesting new-and-upcoming applications for GPS.  I talked to my mentor some about the science fair, and he also asked about two college interviews about which I had recently e-mailed him (Carnegie Mellon University and Vanderbilt University).  He is very interested in where I want to go to college -- I wish I knew definitively where I want to go!  My mentor was impressed by the correct APA format of my paper, and I didn't tell him how many tries it took me to get it right :-)


25 February 2010: Seminar (+1 hour)


|   1:45-5:45 PM   |   4 hours   |   Cumulative hrs: 27.0  (3rd qtr)   |   (More) Pictures   |   4 March 2010   |


            Today, at APL, I did mainly two things: first, Mrs. Napolillo, who had e-mailed me earlier this week about taking more pictures for APL's "Mentor Program Booklet," came to my office and took pictures of me "in my APL setting" for the booklet.  She took pictures of me typing in MATLAB in front of my computer, and she took pictures of me holding up the GPS logging device that APL loaned me (but neither setting gave very interesting pictures).  Later, I worked on an m-file in MATLAB that not only displays latitude and longitude coordinates on a graph in ECEF form, but also displays the mean point of all of the coordinates (in a different color than the other points), and displays (in writing) the variance of both the latitude and longitude groups of coordinates.  I also talked to my mentor a lot about what one can do with visuals and images in MATLAB and some applications of this (face-recognizing programs, for example).


9 March 2010: Seminar (+1 hour)


|   1:45-5:45 PM   |   4 hours   |   Cumulative hrs: 32.0  (3rd qtr)   |   Image Processing   |   11 March 2010   |


            At APL today, my mentor helped me to experiment with different types of image processing.  Because my science fair project and paper are complete, he suggested I gear my work (and time spent at APL) toward image processing, which is a very interesting and up-and-coming topic about which MATLAB has a lot of great demos and examples.  I read about "Detecting a Cell Using Image Segmentation," which had visuals very similar to Michael Wei's work at APL (based on his Science Fair board).  I also talked to my mentor about college decisions, and he gave me some advice about choosing a college.


|   1:45-5:45 PM   |   4 hours   |   Cumulative hrs: 36.0  (3rd qtr)   |   Continuing Work  |   16 March 2010   |


            Today at APL, I continued my work on MATLAB with image processing, and found many applications to even my GPS project!  Had I needed to enhance any images for my science fair board, MATLAB could have helped me in many different ways!  My mentor was incredibly busy today, but I mentioned my recent college acceptance (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) and he talked to me about that school for a bit.  I started to code my own m-file with the help of a demo -- I am trying to outline shapes in an image that I found from Google.  This probably helps programs that aid in facial recognition (outlining of eyes, nose, lips, and other specific features), which is a very interesting topic!


|   1:45-5:45 PM   |   4 hours   |   Cumulative hrs: 40.0  (3rd qtr)   |   Reading    |   24 March 2010   |


            At APL today, I read through a few chapters of a MATLAB textbook.  I researched "Image Enhancement with MATLAB," and I continued to code my own m-file with the help of a MATLAB demo.  My mentor did not have a lot of work for me to do, but I did learn a lot today.  Reading rather uninteresting textbooks will most likely help me in the long run, because I am sure I will be doing a lot of that during college!  My mentor and I discussed colleges, again; he suggests I go somewhere cheap so that I am not in a lot of debt when I complete college.  Unfortunately, I only applied to one "cheap" college, which I will most likely not attend; however, I explained to him that I did apply for a few scholarships.


|   1:45-5:45 PM   |   4 hours   |   Cumulative hrs: 44.0  (3rd qtr)   |   finished   |   30 March 2010   |


            Today was an exhausting day at APL, but I got a lot done!  It feels great to finish coding something, and today I did just that!  With the help of a MATLAB demo, I completed coding an m-file that can outline shapes in a random image.  I feel like I am thoroughly experiencing the field of engineering, or, more specifically, Computer Science (although I will most likely end up in a completely different field of engineering in and after college).  Although I was planning to show my mentor my website that won an award at the FBLA State competition last weekend (my "Electronic Career Portfolio"), I did not end up seeing my mentor for a while and therefore did not show him. 


12 April 2010: Seminar (+1 hour)


|   1:45-5:45 PM   |   4 hours   |   Cumulative hrs: 49.0  (3rd qtr)   |   dessert   |   13 April 2010   |


            At APL today my mentor had very little work for me to do, so I researched Graphics and GUIs with MATLAB (with a textbook Dr. Samsundar had provided me), and I looked through a portfolio that my mentor kept from a class he took on public speaking.  My mentor told me the unfortunate news that he cannot attend the Mentor Dessert next week.  I was disappointed because he has not met my parents, and I feel as though they would get along very well (they all work with/studied computer science)!  I thought this would be a great opportunity for my parents to chat with my mentor.  Nonetheless, my parents and I are obviously still attending the event -- I am excited to see and meet other mentors, hear all of the prepared introductions, and eat dessert!

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.