A Year of Exploration

awesomizer graphic

This year, I had the opportunity to work as a Student Developer in the Shapiro Design Lab. In that role, I had a lot of space and resources which I could use to explore and create in various capacities; I took this year to explore mediums that are normally outside of my comfort zone. Through projects with the Design Lab, I got to learn about using audio/recording equipment, using a Raspberry Pi, and web design and development. A lot of this learning was hands on; I worked directly with the tools to learn how to use them. The rest was online, through the Lynda.com courses and research sessions.

This year, I primarily worked on the Awesomebox/Awesomizer project. Through this project I learned about web design and got to do some work with a database and the Myrlin API. Additionally, I had the chance to work with other students on the volunteer-based LibriVox project to record public domain audiobooks. I got to work with the other Student Developers on the library’s instance of the Measure the Future project and got to attend a talk by the project’s creator -- Jason Griffey.

Though, one unexpected thing I didn’t expect to do when I started working at the lab was presenting at a conference; I had the opportunity to present our lab’s work with the Awesomebox at Quasicon. Quasicon is an annual conference hosted by the School of Information’s chapter of the American Library Association which is devoted to discussing information, libraries, and archival. Through this project I got to do some public speaking, and through research for my presentation, learned a lot about the evolution of the modern library and different digital archival projects.

Using these skills I learned this, I was able to implement them in a class I was taking that semester on accessible web design; I was able to create my own online professional portfolio website. Also, I was able to learn a lot about libraries in general and how they are further evolving to contain makerspaces as well as other technology for its community though my inclusion in this creative space. In the future, I plan to put these skills and lessons I learned to use as a software engineer where I’ll use similar skills - working/creating with a team, presenting technical information to a non-technical crowd, and exploring the technical specifications for a possible project.