Day 4

Today was an exciting day, as we finally got to meet our mentors and grad students that we will be completing our project with. It was the first chill day in the past week, which was super cool, and we got working time in our new assigned little cubicles where I sit next to Vanessa, which will be super helpful when working on the project.

So the day started out with me and Vanessa walking to the library to meet with our mentor, Prof. Patrick Shih, to discuss the basic overview of our research project, what our main role will be,  the times we will meet, and what our responsibilities were for the weekend. Prof. Shih was very cool = he had a TON of chocolate in his office and let us take whatever we wanted. And he had tons of Reese’s. I love Reese’s. Anyways, he offered a lot of suggestions as to certain authors he recalled that had studies that involved some kind of social matching. One author = Jeremy Birnholtz– has a paper about a social mapping algorithm used in dating sites. Another was Victoria Belloti – who did a study on timebanking (a type of support that involves the trading of favors with services between two people). Our goal for the weekend was to find/explore  more related works in the health community, different types of support that can be provided in the community, and basically how participant characteristics and user data can be used in an algorithm in such a way that it matches two participants with rare diseases to someone who could possibly provide a better and more adequate amount of support. See I think its pretty cool too since the project I’ll continue working on in the fall is trying to develop something that could help in furthering better support among those with rare diseases…which the Facebook app could potentially do. I”m also excited to work with Vanessa on this project, because I believe she’s also going to join onto the project on rare diseases in the fall with me as well. And it’s awesome because we get along really well, both have experience with research at IU, and live together this summer. In the meeting we also discussed when we will be meeting next, and our required deliverables. Prof. Shih seems very easy to talk and was able to answer all of our questions.

After that meeting, we headed from the library to the school of informatics for our Pro-Health Design meeting. I’ve attended two of these during my research last year since I am Haley’s undergrad researcher, so I knew the gist – everyone does a slide on what their progress has been the past week, what important things or achievements maybe occurred, and what is the next things on their todo list. They also have funny themes/questions you have to answer so the meeting is very chill and interesting, as you get to update everyone on your progress,ask questions, and get updates on everyone else’s projects.

After that, me and Vanessa and a few others headed down to the 3D printing/laser cutter lab and used the time to make our nametags. Mine came out like so:

IMG_3135 oh, so sophisticated

Then since we didn’t have any more workshop sessions, we took a lunch break from 12-1 and headed to Qdoba (I call it Dobes because it holds a special place in my heart) – so that made it an even better day. Also I got to discuss with the group what kinds of websites would be useful for me to look at to refresh my mind on some coding skills next week.  They mentioned these websites that could be super super useful if interested:

Then I got to claim my own cubicle *woohoo!* which is super cheesy but like look I have my own desk space…makes me want to be more productive! Here’s a pic:


After that we were required to have an elevator pitch for our Pro-Health Tea this afternoon, which I was fine with until I practiced and kept losing my train of thought and getting all nervous. I totally thought I flopped the presentation part (which I guess in a way reminded me of what I should improve on), but I tried speaking with confidence and explaining my concepts pretty clearing and suggesting to the others I was passionate about what I was doing. Turns out I won a prize!! YAY for amazon giftcards, am I right?


Turns out my fellow roomies also claimed the top 3 prizes! Devon and I tied for 2nd, Olivia for 3rd, and Vanessa for first. Since Prof. Patrick hosted the Tea and brought donuts I was super nervous to get up and talk in front of him since we had learned about his project a couple hours ago – but I’m glad that both members of our project’s team claimed a prize and that my roommates also did well. We’re the power group! Here was my elevator pitch:

Hi, I’m Grace Bastin. I’ll be a sophomore at IU this fall, and I’m originally from Greenwood, Indiana. I’ve always had an interest in health and the well-being of others, especially because I have multiple chronic conditions myself. I have previously worked (and will continue working in the fall) with Haley MacLeod on a project involving people with rare diseases and how they struggle to find an adequate amount of support from their caregivers. This summer, I’m extending my research with the rare disease population with Prof. Patrick Shih and Fernando Maestro by studying what social characteristics or user data can possibly match those with diseases together to provide a better facilitation of support. Hopefully, by the end of this project we can develop a Facebook app with an algorithm that matches people together in a way that best fits their needs, similar to how a dating website connects those with similar interests. THANK YOU!

So over this weekend, other than visiting my boyfriend who drove into town, and FINALLY sleeping, I will be working on my professional twitter/website/linkedin and finding a good set of related works. Me and Vanessa will try to find different related works and put their name and summary into a google doc so we can cover more material yet still know the overall picture of other related studies.

Happy Friday everyone!