MuSyC on the road
In August 2016, I took part in the conference of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics in Vienna, Austria. MHC backs students’ ideas with the resources to make them happen—my travel was financed by the Harap Scholarship Fund, the Margaret C. Gould Scholarship, and the President and Dean of College funds. I presented twice: to introduce MuSyC and to share a poster on facial disfigurement research I’d conducted during a summer at the University of Pennsylvania. (Tip: if you ever read about a professor doing cool work, reach out and ask if there is space in the lab for you. That worked for me!) I shared a platform with cognitive neuroscientists, art historians, and graphic designers. I was proud to win the Best Poster prize and the Robert Francès Award for most outstanding student research contribution.
In November 2016, I presented my device at the Tech Expo at MIT Media Lab’s Hacking Arts Conference. Then, armed with fresh suggestions for improvement, I went to the event’s 24-hour Hackathon. I teamed up with students from MIT, Rutgers University, and Washington University in St. Louis who had backgrounds in electrical engineering, music, and design. Together, we rebuilt the code from scratch and made it more dynamic and sensitive to acoustic frequency—and MuSyC.Mi was born! Our team was one of the Hackathon’s 12 finalists. Thank you, Stella Yang, Grant Falkenburg, Arushee Agrawal, and Aisvarya Chandrasekar!
Freedom and future
Seeking out interdisciplinary opportunities is an extension of my liberal arts education at Mount Holyoke. I feel equipped to approach problems from different perspectives and to take ownership of my learning. The Mount Holyoke community is not one to pigeonhole people into unmovable categories. I refuse to define myself as solely a scientist or an artist or a feminist. I know I can be all three. For someone who doesn’t want life to just fall into her lap, being part of this community is the best way to chart the future of my choosing.