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Posts Tagged ‘Cornell’

  1. When class doesn’t feel like class

    March 11, 2014 by Ian Perry

    This semester, I’m taking a class in the Information Science department called Introduction to Rapid Prototyping and Physical Computing. So far, we have been introduced to programming with Arduino, and have been learning to use different sensors through a variety of projects. Prior to this class, I had experience with software, but had never really explored the world of hardware. It was something that I was interested in learning, and something that I would have probably wanted to pick up on my own anyway, even if it wasn’t offered as a class. The work does not feel like work as much as just something interesting that I’m learning. For me, it’s a class that doesn’t really feel like a class.

    This week, we had an assignment due in which the only requirement was to use a certain component in our design, an RGB LED light. Other than that, we were encouraged to be creative and have fun with whatever we designed. Some students, maybe even myself in the past, would cringe at such an open-ended assignment because there are no clear requirements, other than the one. One thing that typically causes worry with such open-ended assignments is grades. During my time at Cornell, one thing I have learned is that I usually have more fun, and learn more if I keep grades a secondary thought with these kinds of projects. Yes, they’re important, but if you create something you’re proud of and learn throughout the process, shouldn’t that count for something? Also, from my experience, focusing on having fun and learning, often results in good grades anyway.

    As an example of the kinds of things that we get to design in the class, below is the video from my assignment. I combined two of my passions, running and technology, to create a running light which is designed to be attached to a runner’s sneaker. The runner can change the color of the light by pushing a button, and the light changes brightness depending on how bright it is outside using an ambient light sensor. I also used a gyroscope to make the light blink when the runner is moving.


    If you couldn’t tell, I’m really excited that I’m taking this class. We’ll be continuing to work with Arduino, and also get to do some laser cutting and 3D printing. We also have a very open-ended final project, in which my group and I are designing and building a basketball-shooting robot. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out, and will post a video of the final product in a later blog post. If you ever have the opportunity to take a class like this, even if you have limited software or hardware experience and it seems like unchartered territory, I would highly recommend taking it. You will learn a ton about the way things work. More generally, if you find a class that doesn’t feel like a class, you’re probably in the right place.

  2. Running towards a SMART goal

    November 20, 2013 by Ian Perry

    It’s almost that time of year when everyone starts thinking about their New Year’s resolutions and setting goals for the coming year. Before thinking about goals for 2014 though, I wanted to write about one of my goals that I set for myself at the start of 2013.

    At the beginning of the year, I decided that I wanted to get back into running. I say get back into running because I had run track in high school and cross country in middle school. However, I stopped running after my sophomore year of high school, and hadn’t really done any form of running since. So, I set a goal for myself that I would get back into running in 2013. Conveniently, during the time I was setting this goal, I was helping out at, where the founders, Reece and Dan, were stressing the importance of setting SMART goals, not only for the company, but for everyone on the team. SMART = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Clearly, my goal was not very SMART. It wasn’t very measurable or specific. How far was I going to run? Was I going to run a certain number of times a week? In other words, how could I set myself up to successfully achieve my goal? Thinking about this a little more, I ultimately decided on a very specific goal. What started out as “start running again in 2013” turned into “run a marathon before the end of 2013.” Unlike the original goal, the new goal was very specific, definitely measurable, and definitely timely. Now, as I said, I ran track in high school. More specifically, I did sprints. So, the farthest I had ever run at once was probably no more than five or six miles. So, setting a goal for myself of running 26.2 miles at one time may seem like it didn’t qualify as attainable or very realistic. However, I felt strongly about setting a goal that wouldn’t be too easy. I wanted to challenge myself and really get back into running. I knew that training for 26.2 would help me do so, so I decided to go for it.

    The first thing I did was head to the Niketown in New York City and invest in a pair of running shoes and a watch which would help me track my running. Next, I did what I knew would keep me motivated with my running: I registered for a race. I set my sights on the Skunk Cabbage Classic Half Marathon in Ithaca during the month of April. It seemed like a great first step, and I had about three months to get ready. Then, I started running. I did the majority of my training in Ithaca, running all over Cornell’s campus. Training during the winter months in Ithaca was definitely not easy, but I was able to stay motivated, and ventured out into the snow and cold week after week to make sure I’d meet my goal.

    In the beginning of April, I accepted an internship offer to spend the summer at Nike working on the Nike+ Running team. I would get the chance to work on the very products which I had been using to work towards achieving my goal. Excited by the opportunity, I became even more inspired to run. I successfully completed the Skunk Cabbage half in mid-April. 13.1 miles was now the furthest I’d ever run. I was so caught up on reaching this first milestone, that I stopped running. End of semester excitement, and schoolwork contributed to this stoppage, but it was no excuse. I didn’t run at all in May, and I definitely wasn’t on track to meet my goal anymore. Not to mention, I still hadn’t chosen a marathon to register for. I kept telling myself I was just too busy, and that I’d return to training once I started my internship. Being too busy is not a good excuse, and I’ve come to realize that it should never keep me from doing things I love, like running. I was right, however, that I would return to running once I got to Oregon for the summer.

    Skunk Cabbage Classic Half Marathon

    One of the coolest things about working on the Nike+ Running app, a product which I use, was being able to go for a run with the latest build and test out the newest features. The culture at Nike made me really want to make sure I was running regularly, but the hectic-ness of being an intern also sometimes made it difficult to find the time. I’ll go into more detail about my experience as an intern at Nike in a later post, but one of the main takeaways for me, with regard to running, was that I wanted to be more than just a runner. I wanted to be a part of the community of runners that exists all over the world. This really helped inspire me to get back to running. I ran when I could over the summer, but also really loved what I was working on, so it was often difficult to choose between the two. However, once I got back to school in August, I made sure I was running as much as possible. I finally chose a marathon and registered for it. I had my sights set on the Philadelphia Marathon on November 17. I grew up about 30 min outside of Philadelphia in New Jersey, and my Mom now lives in Pennsylvania about 20 min outside of the city. So, I knew it would be easy to arrange travel plans, and I knew that in a little less than three months, I’d be running my first marathon.

    Training did not go exactly as expected, as I got injured in the beginning of October, but I was determined to do my best to stay on course. I kept on path to meet my goal, and this past Sunday, I ran and finished the Philadelphia Marathon. It was a really great experience, and completely worth every second of effort I’ve put into running over the past 11 months. It’s really amazing how many complete strangers cheered me on, and helped keep me going throughout the race. Some of the highlights for me were high-fiving the Mayor of Philadelphia at the starting line, and then crossing the finish line 26.2 miles later.

    Philadelphia Marathon 2013

    Not only was I able to achieve my SMART goal of running a marathon in 2013, but in the process, I also achieved my goal of “getting back into running.” So, what’s next? I definitely plan on running more marathons in the future. I not only want to improve my time, but explore other cities around the world by running 26.2 miles through their streets. I also have my sights set on my first triathlon sometime in the near future, although I have a long road of training ahead of me for that. Something makes me think it’ll be worth it though.

    Below are some pictures I took while running on campus.

    McGraw Tower

    Beebee Lake

  3. One last hurrah

    October 7, 2013 by Ian Perry

    Well, now that we’re already about a month into the fall semester, it’s probably about time I started blogging again. The usual start of the semester craziness coupled with the job search has prevented me from starting sooner, but I plan on getting back to blogging regularly starting now.

    After spending the summer in Portland, Oregon interning at Nike (more blog posts to come about this), it was a little strange coming back to Ithaca, although I’m happy to be back. Actually, Ithaca kind of reminds me of Portland in a lot of ways. There are a bunch of similarities between the cultures, there are a lot of outdoorsy things to do, and there’s tons of good food to be found. Now that I’m back for my final year as an undergraduate, I’ve started thinking about all of the things that I haven’t yet experienced at Cornell and in Ithaca. There are so many things that I have yet to do, and I want to make sure I don’t miss anything.

    It’s really easy to get very focused on your school work at Cornell, and it tends to happen often. This makes it easy to come up with excuses for not doing things. In my opinion, “I have too much work,” is never a good enough reason for not going on a hike, not going for a run, not exploring the Ithaca Commons, or not heading down to the Farmer’s Market on a Sunday morning. Yeah, school work is important, but the experiences that make being a Cornellian what it is are just as important. So, this year, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure I explore everything that Cornell and Ithaca have to offer, and not get caught up in just doing school work all the time.

    I’d say I’m off to a decent start. This weekend, I finally made it to Cornell’s golf course for the first time and I also went to Apple Fest for the first time. It only took me four years, but hey, better late then never.

    I’m looking forward to getting back to blogging, and plan to cover many topics. I’m also hoping to get Hanging with Cornellians started up again, so if you have any suggestions for who I should interview, let me know in the comments.

    Oh, and if anyone has any suggestions for things at Cornell or in Ithaca that I absolutely must do before graduating, feel free to leave a comment.

  4. Hanging with Cornellians – Gabe Corredor

    May 2, 2013 by Ian Perry

    The latest Hanging with Cornellians interview features Cornell alum Gabe Corredor. After graduating in 2005, Gabe worked in the finance industry for six years. He then started his first company, and has since started another company called Artissano. In the interview, Gabe talks about starting a company in New York City, what he misses most about Cornell, and more.



    To see all of the videos in the series, visit

  5. Hanging with Cornellians – Alex Payne

    April 29, 2013 by Ian Perry

    The latest Hanging with Cornellians interview features Alex Payne, Cornell ’09. After graduating from Cornell, Alex joined Teach for America and then went to graduate school at Syracuse University. Alex is now working in Washington, D.C. at the Partnership for Public Service. While at Cornell, Alex was also a student blogger, and his blog can be found here.



    To see all of the videos in the series, visit

  6. Thoughts on Hanging with Cornellians

    April 5, 2013 by Ian Perry

    This last week was busier than usual, and I didn’t have time to interview anyone. So, instead of a video, I’ve decided to discuss some thoughts I have about the Hanging with Cornellians series so far.


    At first, the idea came from my desire to want to meet “interesting” Cornellians. I wanted to interview people from all different backgrounds about their passions and interests. One thing I’ve learned is that the term “interesting” is very loose. What you and I consider interesting is different than what someone else considers interesting. Therefore, one way to look at it is that everyone is doing something interesting.

    I think the main value of the series so far has been to showcase different aspects of life as a Cornellian. This is why I think it’s important to have students, alumni, and faculty on the series. Students give a unique perspective of what it’s like to be at Cornell right now, alumni can share their journey since graduating from Cornell, and faculty can share what they’re working on at Cornell.

    I’ve also really enjoyed asking everyone what their favorite thing about Cornell is, or what they miss most about Cornell. I think this really helps define the Cornell experience, and how people value being at Cornell differently.

    I also want to draw attention to, which in addition to YouTube, is another place that I’ve been putting all of the videos. It’s essentially a “channel” of video just from Hanging with Cornellians. As I interview more and more people, this will be an awesome place to go see all the videos. It makes it extremely easy to find the latest interviews, as well as the earlier ones.



    I’d really love to hear what you think of the Hanging with Cornellians series so far. Feel free to let me know in the comments.

    Also, if you know someone who you think should be interviewed, or if you yourself would like to be interviewed, you can reach out to me at hangingwithcornellians (at) gmail (dot) com.

  7. Hanging with Cornellians – Daniel Somekh

    March 29, 2013 by Ian Perry

    This week’s interview is with current Cornell student, Daniel Somekh. Daniel is a freshman majoring in computer science and minoring in business. He is involved in many groups on campus, such as CUAir, and is also interning at Vimbly, a New York City startup. In the interview, we talk about getting involved on campus, what Daniel has enjoyed most about Cornell so far, and more.



    To see all of the videos in the series, visit

  8. Hanging with Cornellians – Sam Lundin

    March 22, 2013 by Ian Perry

    This week’s interview is with Cornell alum Sam Lundin. Sam majored in applied economics and management and entered the world of finance after graduating. After spending several years in investing, Sam made the transition to the startup world when he co-founded Vimbly. In the interview, we talk about switching from finance to startups, the idea behind Vimbly, and what Sam misses most about Cornell.



    To see all of the videos in the series, visit

  9. Hanging with Cornellians – Clayton Dubin

    March 15, 2013 by Ian Perry

    This week, I was excited to interview my first current Cornell student, Clayton Dubin, as a part of the Hanging with Cornellians series. Clayton is a senior from outside of Seattle, Washington and is double majoring in government and philosophy. In addition to being on the sprint football team, Clayton is also involved with Greek Life, and has been a part of a number of groups/organizations on campus including Cornell Racing. In the interview, we talk about Clayton’s process of deciding to pursue a career in finance, getting involved on campus, and what Clayton enjoys about the environment at Cornell.



    To see all of the videos in the series, visit

  10. Hanging with Cornellians – Chris Kurdziel

    March 8, 2013 by Ian Perry

    This week’s interview is with Cornell alum Chris Kurdziel. Chris studied computer science as an undergraduate, and worked in corporate America before deciding to go to Cornell to get his MBA. He graduated from the Johnson School in 2012, and now works at in New York City. In the interview we talk about startups, the NY tech scene, and what Chris misses most about Cornell.



    To see all of the videos in the series, visit