CultureLearn

Today is National Pi Day, and we want to celebrate by highlighting some of history’s most amazing mathematicians (in addition to eating a big slice of pie!).

Some cool facts about Pi:

  • It has been represented using the Greek letter “π” for the past 250 years.
  • It is a mathematical constant that’s special, unique, and significant in its own way.
  • It is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.
  • It never ends or settles into a repeating pattern.
  • It is the most recognized mathematical constant.
  • Computing the value of Pi is a stress test for computers.

Five of history’s most interesting mathematicians:

DN-SC-84-05971Grace Hopper (aka “Amazing Grace”) was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. As a child Hopper would dismantle household gadgets, specifically alarm clocks, to figure out how they worked. During WWII Hopper decided to take a leave of absence from Vassar where she was working as an associate professor of math and was sown into the U.S. Navy Reserve as a volunteer. A pioneer in her field, she worked at Harvard University for the navy and was one of the first programmers to work on a computer called Harvard Mark I that was used in the war effort. On top of it all, she invented the first compiler for a computer programming language.

 

williamplayfairWilliam Playfair was the founder of graphical methods of statistics, in other words charts and diagrams. He was a Sottish engineer and political economist who invented four types of diagrams: the line graph, the car chart, the pie chart, and the circle graph. Born during the Enlightenment – a Golden Age when the arts, sciences, industry, and commerce were all thriving – Playfair was involved in many different careers. He was an engineer, accountant, inventor, silversmith, merchant, investment broker, economist, publicist, land speculator, editor, journalist, the list goes on.

adalovelace

Ada Lovelace is considered to be the world’s first computer programmer. She earned this title after working on one of the earliest mechanical general-purpose computers called the Analytical Engine. The notes she took on this project are recognized as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. This has earned her the title of “first computer programmer.” As a young child Lovelace showed signs of being highly influence by math and science, and her parents pushed her to pursue this talent.

 

 

 

isaacnewton

Isaac Newton is best known for having developed the theory of gravity and physics, but he also invented calculus (as did Gottfried Leibniz, who he had many disputes with over this topic during his life). This Englishman formulated laws of motion and universal gravitation using mathematical processes. Born on Christmas Day, Newton was known to be an independent person who never married. His work in science and math are some of the core foundations on which many other developments were made.

 

 

 

sofiamath

Sofia Kovalevskaya was the first major Russian female mathematician. She contributed major original advances to analysis, differential equations, and mechanics. She was the first woman to ever be appointed to full professorship in Northern Europe and was one of the first women to work for a scientific journal as an editor. Born in Moscow, Kovalevskaya studied in Germany by auditing courses at a German university. For a long time she tried to build up her career but because she was a woman she was unable to. Finally she was accepted as a professor in Stockholm, Sweden.

 

 

Which leaders in math and science inspire you?

Image: Flickr, Grace Hopper, William Playfair, Ada LovelaceIsaac Newton, Sofia Kovalevskaya

CultureEducation

When it comes to voicing opinions these days, our generation has become paramount in articulating difficult issues facing the world. However, due to corrupt and old-fashioned politics, there has been an increase in voter apathy and decline in voter turnout. With fallacious advertisements and discouraging structures like the Electoral College, young people today do not see the importance of voting anymore – oftentimes, they underestimate the power of their votes.

With the midterm elections this week, I hope to inspire a few more people to go out and make their opinions matter. For example, say you prefer ideology that is kinder to those of lower classes but you decide not to vote. Well, for the past few decades, statistics show that those of more affluent households have dominated the voting circuit, and though some of them may vote alongside your ideals, it is most likely that a large majority will not. Go out and stand up for your principles; no one else will.

For those of you who are like my roommate in the fact that you look at a newspaper and immediately shut down: do not be afraid to learn about the tough issues. My roommate justifies her desire to not vote through the fact that politics panics her; she does not understand nor does she wish to comprehend the bureaucratic system our country exhibits. And although I respect her opinion on this matter, this troubles me because people like this live in this country too, and it is vital to care about your country’s politics. What if you do not vote purely because you did not care to look at the platforms, and an abominable law is passed that affects your life negatively? Take the time to educate yourself on the candidates’ platforms and history as politicians so that you can make the best choice for yourself. Just because you do not vote does not mean that the political decisions made post-election do not affect you.

It is astounding how younger generations today are making films, writing songs, and creating art that explore tons of the social and economic concerns dealt with today, and still feel completely apathetic toward voting. For those of you on the fence about voting this week, your voice should not be reserved only to the creative ventures you have. Each candidate specializes in issues that cater to different demographics, so please look into them and discover what you need out of the American political system. Your opinions and beliefs are preeminent in a time struggling to situate itself with rising issues, therefore, take advantage of the chance you are given to express your beliefs.

To get started, check out these useful resources: 

1. Vote Smart: Just the Facts

2. On the Issues: Every Political Leader on Every Issue

Image: Theresa Thompson

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

It’s always great meeting ambitious youth because it makes us motivated to do more. One of these go-getters is Chris Morgan, a student at the University of Washington and the director and founder of HuskyCreative. Chris is a writer, a musician, and a constant learner. He not only runs HuskyCreative, but he’s involved with the Pearson Student Advisory Board, works as a programmatic media specialist at Drake Cooper, and he somehow manages to find time to complete his homework. Oh, and did we mention that he is also writing a novel? We were fortunate to pick up some time management tips from Chris (note to selves: stock up on legal pads!), discover how he balances college with his jobs and activities, and hear more about what his post-graduation plans are. Chris seizes his youth, and he does it with a can-do, positive attitude. Now, get ready to take some notes…

Name: Christopher Morgan
Age: 21
Education: B.A. in Business Administration: Marketing from the University of Washington
Follow: HuskyCreative | Twitter

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define ‘Seizing Your Youth’?

Chris Morgan: Seizing your youth is about action. It’s about doing something. I know a lot of people who have great ideas, but the difference between the people who are hailed as seizing their youth and people who don’t is just the fact that they went and did something. Millennials are the generation to not get a job, so we made our own. I think that’s really cool – not the part about us not getting jobs – but we have the most entrepreneurs of any generation and we get out there and do things with our own ideas. Seizing your youth is doing something now.

CJ: You are majoring in Business Administration: Marketing at the University of Washington. What does this major involve and how did you determine what to study?

CM: I was originally a Music composition and Creative Writing double major. I wrote music a lot and it was going to be my career for the longest time, but as soon as I tried to make money off of it, I started getting really stressed out. It was hard for me to do creative work and have that be the way to put food on the table. I looked for other occupations that had that creative influence but wasn’t personal or my work really, and that’s how I found marketing. I can be creative but I still have time to do my personal creative work on the side. I made the major switch in the middle of my freshman year. It was a natural shift for me and it felt right. I was writing better as soon as I took that stress off.

CJ: What has been your favorite college class?

CM: I have two, for very different reasons. One is a branding class that I took this past year with a professor who really understood branding and how to talk to undergraduates. It was originally a graduate course, but he wanted to teach it to undergrads. He showed a lot of faith in young people. He said that there’s no difference between graduate students and undergraduates students, we just know less. Graduate students are earning their MBAs and have worked in the field, so they think that they know a lot. The cool thing about the class is that he knew we didn’t have that preemptive knowledge. We didn’t start class thinking we knew everything. We had an open mind and it was a really fun class.

The other class was one I took in Singapore. It was hard and awful. I learned so much from failing. I was in a foreign country and didn’t know anybody, and I did horribly in the class. But I know so much about that topic now – it was about Game Theory in terms of marketing and using strategic negotiation tactics. It was way above my head. But now we talk about it in classes, and I know more about it.

CJ: You studied abroad at the National University of Singapore. Why did you choose Singapore and how was that experience?

CM: I was between two options – I could go to Singapore or Sydney. I thought that Sydney was too close to the culture I had grown up in, and the culture I had never experienced before was Eastern culture. It was really the only opportunity where I could dive in and experience it. I chose Singapore, and I think it was completely the right decision. You learn so much about your own country and culture by visiting another. I understand education a lot better, actually. I got to see how Eastern culture education differs from Western culture education. That was one of the coolest things that came out of my experience, learning how two people can learn so differently.

Chris Morgan

CJ: You can speak Spanish fluently. What language-learning tips do you have for those who are interested in learning how to speak another language? Are there any other languages you want to learn?

CM: Yes, definitely! I want to learn Italian. When it comes to speaking a language, the only way to succeed is to speak the language. It’s about not being afraid to speak in front of other people. When you’re more confident in yourself and practicing a language, you will speak the language better. I think classes are better than a book and a tape because in classes you can talk to other people. If you do use a book or tape, talk to a friend or to yourself alone a lot.

CJ: You mentioned you work with Pearson. What is your involvement with them?

CM: I work for the Pearson Student Advisory Board, which is a board of students from around North America who have been selected to advise on education. Pearson recognizes that education will be changing with the new generation and technology. They are bringing in students to advise their development and business. I’ve really enjoyed it.

CJ: You were a programmatic media specialist at Drake Cooper, a marketing services company. What is a programmatic media specialist?

CM: Programmatic media is new form of media buying that is more personalized and digitally enhanced so we can learn about impressions. When you click on an ad, I can tell where you’re from, how much money you make, whether you have kids or a family, what kind of products you buy, etc. It allows companies to save money because they can pick who they send ads to. It’s more efficient for the companies, and in my opinion, better for the consumers because you’re not being spammed ads for things you don’t care about.

CJ: You have had multiple marketing internships. What experiences have been your favorite, and what were the biggest takeaways from those experiences?

CM: One of the more defining internships was the one I had at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. It was one of my first internships, and the best thing that they ever did was let me have autonomy. They let me own something. They let me dictate the success or failure of a project. It teaches you a lot about taking ownership and being creative with your ideas. A lot of first internships entail getting coffee and managing a calendar. Having autonomy was important for me because it helped me understand how to be successful.

I worked on organizing events. I worked on live event marketing, and I got to take on projects by myself and have a real impact.

CJ: You are the Director and Founder of HuskyCreative, a not-for-profit advertising agency at the University of Washington AMA chapter. What responsibilities do you have as the Founder and Director?

CM: When I started HuskyCreative, I had worked in marketing but not advertising. I didn’t know anything when I started. I was the finance guy, the HR guy, and the Creative Director. It was such a growing experience. I was a totally different person then. It was such a ride. Our first client was Shell Oil, which was awesome and scary. We had no idea what we were doing, but we used that to our advantage because we created a campaign that nobody else had done.

We exclusively hire college students because their opinions aren’t tainted by past experiences. They have a fresh look, and that’s how we succeeded at first. Hiring the first people was new, managing finances, writing contracts, this was all new to me.

For what I do now, it’s pretty similar but it feels like less because I know what I’m doing. Instead of writing the first contract, I’m taking the contract I’ve already written. A lot of my work is managerial, and I don’t do a lot of ad work. But I love it, and it’s been really incredible. This next year we’re trying to build a collegiate network of creative agencies. We’ll be a support group for people who want to do what I do or who want a creative agency at their university. It’ll be a really exciting year for us.

Chris Morgan 2

CJ: You have one more year until you graduate. Is HuskyCreative something you want to do after you graduate?

CM: The goal of HuskyCreative is to be an experience for the students. The reason we started the agency is because of the first job paradox: “This is an entry level position, but we’d like you to have two years of experience.” When people graduate from school, they might not have that job experience and they might not have been taught the correct things about the ad world, so we wanted to create a place where students could get this experience.

I want somebody else to take my job because this experience shouldn’t just be my own. I hope that it continues on for many years. We built it to be sustainable over the years. We want to help people gain experience so that they can get a job.

CJ: Music is one of your passions. How does music play a role in your life?

CM: I started playing the piano when I was four, and when I was eleven I started playing the improv jazz saxophone. I write a lot of piano music, and I have written a symphony. I’m working on my second one now. A lot of my writing isn’t jazz, but it’s my favorite thing to play.

CJ: You’re a writer. Tell us about the novel you are working on.

CM: I am working on a science fiction novel. I’ve been working on it for too long now. With running the company, I haven’t had the chance to really sit down and write. I’m awful at just sitting down to write. I’ve heard many times that you can write a story as an architect or a gardener. As an architect, you write an outline and construct the character story arcs. Or you’re a gardener and you have an initial idea and just start writing. It’s hard for me to let things just happen, so I spent a lot of time building the story before actually writing it.

CJ: What is your favorite book?

CM: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.

CJ: What is your favorite magazine?

CM: Ad Age.

CJ: How do you balance being a college student with all of your jobs and activities?

CM: School comes first. You’re at school to learn. Passion helps with balancing. You’ll find that you’re more stressed out when you have obligations that you’re not passionate about. I wouldn’t try to fit in writing music or my novel if I didn’t love doing those things. Time management is awful, it’s hard, and there’s no one trick that I have. I just keep doing things because I love them.

CJ: How do you plan out your days?

CM: I plan things out on a week-by-week basis. I am notorious for making lists. I love legal pads. I carry mine around with me everywhere. I structure my calendar around my weekly goals. I like the structure and pre-planning for what I have to get done.

CJ: What does a day in your life look like?

CM: I work a 9-5, so I go to work. I have a separate to-do list for work, where I set up what I need to get done hour to hour. As soon as I get off work, I shoot off emails for HuskyCreative, sometimes I have meetings. I’ll have dinner, take some time to relax, and then I’ll usually do more work for HuskyCreative, and then write. I try to end my day with writing, it’s relaxing and is something I enjoy.

When school is in session, it’s a little more hectic because I’ll be running from classes to meetings. I’m usually working or in class all day. I try to finish as much as I can before dinner. It’s important to have an hour or two to just do whatever you want, whether that is writing or watching movies with friends. Whatever it is, you need that time.

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

CM: Have action. In high school I had a lot of time. I had the original idea for my book in high school, and that would’ve been a great time to get started writing it. I had a lot of hesitancy, and I thought the idea was enough. It’s hard to have that motivation all the time, but if you have an idea and are passionate about it, do something about it. Everybody has ideas, but not everybody does something about it.

LearnSkills

I recently just wrapped up my very last class in an 8-week series of Tango classes. For many years, I have always wanted to learn how to ballroom dance. I saw the movie Shall We Dance? and was in awe by how fun dancing looked. I am in no way graceful or coordinated, so I knew taking any kind of dance class would be challenging. I did some research, found an 8-week Tango class, and decided to go for it.

I ended up loving every minute of it, and even though I was correct in that it would be a challenge, I loved putting myself out there to learn a new skill. I can now Tango, and even though I am still at a beginner’s level, I am better than I was eight weeks ago. In addition to learning the steps and how to position my arms, I learned a lot about myself in this class series. There are aspects to dancing that are similar to life, and I made the connections as I was (awkwardly) gliding across the dance floor.

These are the 9 things I learned from Tango class:

1. The power of repetition.

At the beginning of every class, we would do exercises back and forth across the dance floor. Even though it got repetitive, the point was to take the next step better than the previous step. Dancing is all about getting the steps down, and through practice and repetition, the steps become part of your muscle memory. Through this repetition, my feet and body started to understand the way the dance was performed. After just two classes, I held my arms up in a different way than the very first class without thinking twice. As you do things over and over with intention, you get better at them.

2. Get in the zone and focus.

When you are dancing with your partner, it is important to be in the moment. The second your mind starts to wander, toes are stepped on and the entire rhythm is thrown off. When you are dancing, or working on a project or task, give it your 100% attention so you can do it well.

3. Embarrass yourself, and then laugh about it.

Staring at yourself dancing in front of a mirror that covers an entire wall is not easy, especially when you don’t actually know how to dance. When you’re just starting out, you are going to look silly sometimes, and you are going to make mistakes. When you feel embarrassed or bad about it, just look around you. Everyone else there is learning how to dance, as well. You are all in the same boat. Laugh it off, and move on. This applies to most things in life, not just dancing. Whether it’s public speaking, a sports game, or something you are learning by yourself, just know that when you can laugh at yourself if you make a mistake, you have already succeeded.

4. Learn from your mistakes.

Okay, so you embarrassed yourself and messed up on a step. Say sorry to your dance partner for stepping on his or her toe, and learn from the mistake. Focus, figure out what you could have done better, and then don’t make the mistake again. It feels so great when you get a complicated step right.

5. Quick-quick-slow.

There are a couple of steps in tango that require a quick-quick-slow rhythm. This means that you step quickly twice, and then take the third step slowly. Then repeat. As I was learning how to do the “media luna,” where you move around your dance partner in a quick-quick-slow circle, stepping forwards and backwards, I couldn’t help but think about how much it resembled my life at the time. A lot of things happened all at once, and then all of a sudden everything slowed down. Sure enough, the next week my life was back to being quick-quick, and then slow. Things will get hectic, busy, and overwhelming, but if you stick with it and keep moving forward, your life will calm down and you can breathe again.

6. Use feedback to your advantage.

When I was making mistakes with my footwork or body positioning, my teachers would identify what I was doing wrong and help me fix it. They are there to help me become a better dancer and to learn the proper way of dancing the Tango, so why would I get annoyed with their feedback? Use feedback to your advantage and excel.

7. Stay on your toes.

Not physically, but metaphorically speaking. There are routine steps that you will learn in dance, but every now and then, your dance partner will switch up a move just to keep you on your toes. It’s when you get too comfortable and your mind starts drifting that you will mess up the last-minute switch. Just as in life, get into a rhythm and routine that works for you, but every now and then, switch things up to keep life fresh. Stay on your toes and improvise.

8. Learn how to follow.

As someone who works hard to be a leader, it isn’t always easy to be a follower. When I Tango, I am the follower. I take directions from my dance partner, who is the Lead. At first this was difficult, and I would be pushing and pulling to try and move in the direction I wanted to go. However, when it comes to Tango, I had to learn how to trust my leader and follow his steps and direction. While the two dance partners are a team, one person takes more control of the situation. When I finally learned how to follow my Lead, we would be gliding across the dance floor. It was a pretty cool feeling.

9. Step outside the comfort zone.

None of these lessons would have been learned if I hadn’t stepped outside of my comfort zone in the first place. I signed up for these Tango classes without a friend or dance partner. I embarrassed myself in front of strangers, had no one to laugh about it with except myself, and I can honestly say it was awesome. These Tango classes were something that I did for myself, to follow through on my interest, and to learn a new skill that I’ve wanted to experience for the longest time. If you want to learn how to do something or if there’s a class you want to take but you can’t find anyone to go or do it with you, just do it by yourself! When you don’t have the distraction of a friend, you really can focus on personal growth and learning more about yourself.