Community Service

18 02 2006

Today was Intel Engineering Day at Montebello Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona.  This was my first day to serve my community and help those who are less priviledged than me.  While this was a function sponsored by Intel (my current employer), this was a very fun and gratifying experience. Personally, the day started off pretty good, although I was fifteen minutes late for the carpool, but thanks to those who waited so that I could ride in the carpool lane in relative quickness. Once we arrived, we Intel Engineers were greeted by the principal and some bagles.  Mmmm, bagels.

Our task was to lead our groups of little budding minds in building clay boats. The exercise was designed to encourage team work and to provide a real example of how engineers solve real problems.  The rules were simple:

  • One bar of clay to a team
  • You can test your design as many times as you want, but only the last official test counts
  • The boat that holds the most number of pennies at the official test, wins

We visited two classrooms of 4th and 5th graders.  The first moment I walked in, I was quite nervous to be in front of the kids and to be representing engineers and Intel, but after the first couple of questions were asked, things went pretty smoothly.

After 3 hours with two classrooms of great kids, the whole group of Intel Engineers gathered for lunch and were met by special kids from each classroom to compete in the classic egg drop competition.  This was my first time ever to participate in such an event, but it was great to see the kids so eager to learn. Our design made it to 10ft high before it broke, but there were several key learnings from this experience for all of us.  Next time I go into an egg drop competition, I should be more prepared with a good design. 

It was great to see kids working hard on solving problems that were fun to solve.  For as much fun and learning as those kids recieved designing, building and testing their boats, I think I had as much, if not more

As Intel Engineers, our service is to promote higher education and to reenforce the need for kids to stay in school and do well in Math and Science. I can only hope our visit helps get the idea across to the kids that they can be engineers, and its fun to be an engineer.



8 02 2006

My daughter recieved this toy as a gift from her grandparents. I was just watching it work and taken in by the simple complexity of this little toy.

Do I want an Adventure?

7 02 2006

I was riding my bike home today, and when I wasn’t dodging cars or obsticles in the road, I was thinking about things that I want to do in my life. After all, the whole meaning of life to me is doing fun things before your time is over. Alas, on this day, my thoughts meandered to one of the things that I have wanted to do, and hopefully will get a chance to do: take an extended trip over seas in a foreign land and experience life in a way I never imagined. It would be extremely scary for me. I am the type of guy who is more or less stable, and does prefer a stable future and environment to an unstable one. But, I want to take the plunge, so to speak, and dive head first into a foreign world to see and experience it for myself.

So, what’s stopping me, you say? Well, needless to say, I am living what most people would consider a dream life already. I have a wife, 2 kids, a house (no pets). I live in a quiet suburb in a quiet town, that has it’s own problems, but nothing that isn’t managable considering what problems can exist. I have a kick-ass job and work for a world-reknown company and treats me and my family better than any before it. I am the american dream. But, many days, it feels like it’s someone else’s dream I’m living in. Sure, I’ve a family to take care of and I accept that. I can’t help but feel like I’m missing the bigger picture. Day in and day out, I see my own little world, and as perfect as it is, I am willing to give it up for a while to experience something I have never experienced before.

I read about these people who saved up all their money for several years. Every last penny they earned went into a savings account. The goal was to quit their jobs, and bike across the world. These people started in Prescott, AZ, not too far from here. And from what I remember, they are somewhere in South America right now. Peru or Chile perhaps. They had plans to visit japan (via plane, then bike) and eventually travel across Asia and Europe. What a neat idea.

Sacrificing everything you have for one huge goal. Perhaps I need more discipline. Perhaps I need to get real. Perhaps I need something else I haven’t thought of yet. But, my deep thought for today was that I think I am in need of more adventures in life, a big one, or lots of little ones, an adventure to share with my family that is more than a trek across the state to Disneyland. Something we will treasure for our whole lives.