A few second-to-lasts

Today was rather full. I met with four people, went to two meetings, and heard a really good speaker. Her name is Shelley Brindle, and she was the vice president of HBO. Then they tried to promote her to president but she wasn’t super interested and felt a little bit strangled so she quit and now she’s running for mayor of her little town in New Jersey. She was so cool and I really resonated with a lot that she had to say–if our political beliefs were more in line then I would’ve been freaked out at our similarities. The only sour bit was that the screen behind her the whole time said “Braking barriers” instead of “Breaking barriers”. I really couldn’t unsee it and it bothered me for an hour and a half.

Today is my second-to-last day at Mastercard. I’ve been getting to meet with some crazy influential people, like the girl who negotiates with the Chinese government and is actively expanding the free market. Or the guy who is pioneering QR paying technology in sub-Saharan Africa so that micro businesses can have a financial identity.

Second-to-last moments are my favorite type of moment. They mark the last time that things are normal–by the time it’s actually the last people are so preoccupied commemorating it that it turns into a totally different experience. Therefore, ironically enough, rendering the second-to-last moment the true last moment.

That being said, this week also marks the second-to-last one in my project at the second-to-last school I’ll be at. In a year of lasts, it’s refreshing to celebrate these instead.  In a different turn of the phrase, I’ve gotten to experience a lot of seconds that felt like they lasted forever. Rushing to jump on a train. Talking to Pence on the phone. Watching a vote go through in the last seconds. I met a really cool woman in HR yesterday–we seemed to talk forever.

So today was good and stimulating and interesting as always, but I wanted to make a second last long enough to talk about these second-to-lasts.

Several generalities and a note about the future

I think I’ve probably mentioned this before, but this project has reignited and re-excited me. I honestly had thought that I’d lost the idealism and excitement and ambition that has so defined most of my high school years, but I think doing these different internships and city-hopping and being independent has totally and completely refueled me and made me so so excited for the rest of my life. Which brings me to today’s list–all the super practical, tangible, and useful things Ive learned throughout this that can really help me pursue a career in the future.

1. I have more information and experience to know what type of company I’d like to work at. I’d prefer a global, growing, innovative environment that isn’t very old. I love the startup feel and I absolutely hate the idea of going by old conventions purely for the sake of it. The values need to align with mine, something I hadn’t considered until I saw that Mastercard’s were practically taken from my heart, as opposed to Edward Jones, which I don’t disagree with, but I’m not passionate about.
2. If you’re working for a global company, it seems like you can just make the case for why they should move you somewhere else and they will. There are people here in New York who’ve moved five or six times just because they asked to. And this is for sure something I want to do.
3. The main thing everyone (that I’ve talked to, anyway) looks for when hiring is capability to learn. It doesn’t matter how specific your degree is, you won’t know how to do the job on the first day. A woman I talked to today said that she absolutely wouldn’t hire anyone unless she saw passion, fire, and an excitement for learning.
4. Confidence is so so so so important. If you think you’re not worth anything, the people around you will sense that. You get to set your own value.
5. It’s not so hard to get a job. You see all of these horrible statistics about unemployment in college graduates, but everywhere I’ve worked is actually trying to hire entry-level people but isn’t finding people who graduated from a respected university with a) a real degree or b) good grades. It seems like if you have those three things you’re all set. I’ve been offered three jobs as a kind of joke and one for real so far.
Yeah, so kind of a summary would be that from what I’ve seen, it’s pretty easy to be successful at a young age if you’re just quick and engaging. People are so excited to hire and get new ideas that they’re offering these amazing salaries and building cool offices in skyscrapers to garner young talent. It’s such an exciting time to be on the verge of the workforce.

5/8 Monday & 5/9 Tuesday

Yesterday morning I had really bad stomach which I didn’t plan to leave home until noon. I texted Nico about why I would be late to work today and she just told me to stay home and not come. I felt kinda bad but if she didn’t think I should come then what’s the point of me insisting? So I stayed home. It was nice.. I had a 3 day weekend.

Today I was better. I had a small project from John Meeks. He’s in charge of wealth management and family offices. He had a list of something like 50 leading women in hedge funds and my job is to search them on google or linkedin and run them one by one through our database. Either they are on S2 or they don’t exist and needed to be added. Sometimes their information like titles or companies might change so you have to make marks of that for the technicians to update. Beside that I got 160 companies off the find headquarters list. I tried to make up for yesterday but it honestly was so burning.. 60 was good enough.

wildflowers research

Researching wildflowers is all about finding unknowns and surprise.

This place is one of the place I went to check on. It got flooded later. The other place is the creek next to the school. I didn’t get a chance to get a picture yet.

  This are some wildflowers I found.

I got samples. I tried to get 3 samples from each kind of plants.

            Then I identified them.

There are the surprises I found. A bug and a future butterfly.

After all I pressed them. Hope they will turn out to be good.

My next steps after it is dried is to make it to a wildflowers identity book. It should be really good.

(This is 3 days of work, not one.)


Monday Workday

Today is a nice Monday and I’ll be back next week on Thursday. I have 2 weeks left for my senior project. When I have my free time that I don’t have works to do, I’ll start to organize the pictures and write down my experience to get ready for my presentation. I prefer to make a power point for my presentation.

Today we cleaned the work place in the garage in the morning. I helped to clean the floor and organized different materials according to the brands  of the cars. For the sales contracts I separate them with years and months. We ordered some Chinese food to eat. After lunch break I’m going to get some printing paper, notebooks, tapes, markers and pens in office max. I want buy a Starbuck on my way back.

Tomorrow I’m going to San Fransico to visit my university. It would be a 2-3 days trip and I’ll get in touch with the teacher who are working on international students there. I’ll ask her what should I do with my I20 and all those other thing I need to know before I go to that school.


Today was my first day at Mastercard. An ordered list of things I did today:

1) Went to Mastercard and had to spend fifteen minutes figuring out where it actually was because Mrs. Frank accidentally told me 114 Broadway (which is in south Manhattan) when it’s 114 5th Avenue, which is Midtown. Luckily I didn’t actually go to south Manhattan but I almost did.

2) Went to a presentation on how to apply for a patent and the incentives Mastercard offers with each filing and approval.

3) Went to sit in on a huge team meeting. They had people Skype in from Singapore, London, and Pune.

4) Had lunch with Mrs. Frank and one of her team members, Missy.

5) Met with a Tunisian guy named David Liscia who helps oversee the software development for Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay.

6) Even though my day isn’t over I’m writing this because I have an unscheduled hour and I don’t want to look like I’m not doing anything.

Some things I’ve learned today:

1) Samsung Pay works by simulating a card swipe and fooling the magnetic strip–versus Apple and Android Pay working via Bluetooth. This is why they’re not all available at the same locations.

2) Since Mastercard doesn’t actually issue their cards, they’re reliant on big accounts like Citi, Bank of America, American Airlines, and others to issue them. Each of those has a person here who’s job is literally just to serve them and make sure they don’t switch over to Visa or something. I’ve been thinking of it a lot like the paper accounts at Dunder Mifflin and how Mr. Deckert was a huge client for them. That’s made this all a little easier to comprehend.

3) Mastercard is heavily incentivizing the patenting process in an effort to create more patents, and it’s working. I just signed a super detailed confidentiality thing and now I’m paranoid so I won’t put the numbers on the internet, but they’ve had a crazy increase in the number of patents filed since they paid people extra to do it. And they’ve also made the process super easy for the employees to complete with a dashboard that shows what’s still  pending, etc.

4) There’s legal definitions for all sorts of things that I didn’t realize were legal terms, like inventor.

5) Each company has stereotypes, and everyone seems to be quite aware of them. People from Samsung like to launch things with minimal testing and then iron out the kinks once they’re already on the market (hence the exploding phones). This can make it rather difficult for those employees to transition into a career at a very precise, trial-happy workplace like Apple or Mastercard.

6) They have to be super sure that their stuff works perfectly. Because if you’re at the grocery store with fifteen things at the register and your Mastercard gets falsely declined, you’ll just pull out your Amex, and then Mastercard loses business.

7) Last thing–false declines cost them 13 times as much revenue as actual fraud does. They’re currently in the brainstorming phase to work on cutting down false declines and some pretty futuristic, biometric stuff is in the works. It’s crazy to hear about that stuff as realistic possibilities.




Slow Week

This has been a very slow week due to flooding in my area. I’ve had to manage downloading pro tools on my computer using my equipment at home to record. It has been quite harder than at the Fulton School. From what I’ve learned at school recording, it was easier to bring that knowledge home and use my interface and software to record instruments in, but the sound quality isn’t near as clear as the schools equipment. In vocals class we have been working on My Shot in the Hamilton play, it’s actually very fun because the vocalists are doing an awesome job replicating the song and Mr. Elder is on the piano and I’m on the bass. It’s an interesting replication, but reading music is a tedious task for someone who has always played by ear. It takes a while to get the hang of but if i can sit down and take my time going step by step in each sheet of music, I can usually figure it out. I’m excited to play in the Spring Concert which will be a bigger part of my project, also soon I am inviting my friend that plays guitar to help me record some songs I can share with you at the presentation;)

First day of the show

Today was quite exhausting. We worked for twelve hours–9:30 to 7:00 was the pre-show open to the press, but they actually ended up buying a ton of stuff which we hadn’t expected. This is the booth:

At 7:00 was a reception which was super cool to be part of. It was like Natasha’s Career As An Undercover High Schooler in the Adult World times eight. It was quite fancy and posh and like the parties that were on the early episodes of Gossip Girl. You know how that type of person who went to boarding school in Connecticut  and then took the predictable trust fund route from there speaks with a sort of British accent even though they’re totally not British? That’s how a lot of these people were. But there were also a lot of up-and-coming designers from Brooklyn who were really fun to talk to. It’s crazy getting to see the inside of this sort of art-dealing world–I don’t get the picture that many get to experience it.





5/4 Thursday & 5/5 Friday

Forgot to post yesterday. Yesterday was a nice day. I was told to go to the staples to get some compressed air. I had no idea what that was but Nico told me to get a box of it. I walked two blocks which was nice since the weather was perfect. And besides that I just worked on the “find headquarters” project until I got bored. Today after work they pulled out some leftover chocolate cake. It was other intern’s birthday yesterday and since I left early yesterday, I didn’t get to celebrate. So four of us, Stewart, Cassandra, Nico and I sat down at the conference room and fought for 1/4 of the cake. Nico was so funny. She said there are two things on her diet, one is brussel sprouts, another is chocolate cake..