Writing Wednesdays // Wonder Women

#WritingWednesdays #WonderWomen #WednesdayWiSDom on Mentorship #ModelMen

I decided to try to make writing a new blog post a habit (like what Sister Anne used to wear). If you read the comments of my post last week (or follow me on Twitter), then you already know that Sister Anne, one of the most influential people in my life, died after battling cancer (and little troublemakers like me). She put me on the line (stand on a line for the rest of recess) once for not obeying the rule of staying off the snow/ice. I just wanted to pick up and throwaway trash…

https://twitter.com/cchristinektang/status/1204548379910512641

Prof. Saeed built a system dynamics (SD) cancer model. He wasn’t able to attend the discussion on ethics but he and I have talked about whether or not it is ethical to prolong person A’s life/death in order to transplant into person B.

Sister Anne was very strict. She would be have scolded me for all the grammatical errors I have made…especially in a paper I submitted to a journal. She also would take points off if we had too many sentences that started with nouns. After I graduated 8th grade, I rebelled and would start a lot of my sentences with pronouns or nouns. My preferred voice is active! 😉

I call that paper my “Given a problem, what method(s) should we use?” paper. It is a review and a methods paper that has been driving me crazy since Prof. Radz asked me that question in…2014? 2015? I forgot when exactly. I submitted it before I felt ready (and got mixed but very useful reviews). Prof. Konrad gave me a deadline (time constraint) to push me to write. I also needed/need more feedback on that paper. Prof. Konrad knows discrete-event simulation (DES). Prof. Radz knows SD and enough about agent-based modeling (ABM) to teach an intro class (using Railsback and Grimm’s Agent-Based and Individual-Based Modeling: A Practical Introduction) but most of that paper I got inspiration from my idol Prof. Nate Osgood. There are also many wonderful folks in the dynamic computer simulation modeling field whom I’ve talked to but he made a bigger impression on me.

Random aside: Prof. Konrad is from Canada and moved to Massachusetts (MA). Prof. Radz is from Wisconsin and moved to MA. Prof. Osgood is from MA and moved to Canada. He stopped by WPI to meet with me once while visiting his family in MA and lets me know whenever he is visiting so we can set up a time and place to meet. It is a privilege to be able to have such wonderful women and model men in my life. We aren’t perfect though. No one is. We are human and make mistakes. Patience. Understanding. Love. Compassion. Empathize!

OK. Back to writing about writing. I have struggled with reading and writing ever since I was young. I enjoy reading. It just takes me a lot of time. I tried speed reading techniques before but I just would not remember what I read and get eye/headaches. Punish #publishorperish. Fix the system.



Select WPI folks, my friends, and of course my family have been aware of my May 2017 manic episode/nervous breakdown/stress/whatever you want to call it (aside: I want these folks to expand their models for me “Modeling the Biological Mechanisms that Determine the Dynamics of Stress Response of the Human Body.” but will wait until I meet them at the SD conference before pushing for that). I called/emailed my loved ones from the hospital. I spent a week in a voluntary inpatient psych ward. I joke that I got PTSD from working on a project about PTSD for my dissertation. Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) doctors diagnosed me with bipolar disorder I. I tried to continue writing the “Given a problem…” paper and that project with the White River Junction VA folks but I clearly was not able to. I needed to heal first. I am still in recovery and working as much as I can. It is better to keep working. Prof. Greg McHugo has some study on that. I remember his mentioning it in the seminar series he taught/I sat in on. The VA sent me to Dartmouth to study survey methods, qualitative methods, etc. He also visited me while I was in the hospital and had a book (was it Business Dynamics? I forgot) on SD in his office. #modelman

My struggle with depression and anxiety started much earlier than May 2017. Prof. Konrad and select WPI folks have known since winter 2014-2015. I have had mild to severe depression (lots of guilt and anxiety) every winter since then. The problems (why we always talkin’ about problems [talkin’ ’bout practice]?) I choose to try to model are also difficult for me emotionally (as well as intellectually). It is tough trying to push through it (e.g. in the winter of 2018 at The 37th MIT-UAlbany-WPI Colloquium where I presented the opioid model that Saeed helped me with. I did much better in my presentation in a WPI Collective Learning Meeting prior to that colloquium) but I fight for myself and my loved ones. My method is to use logic/reasoning to rationalize myself out of my vicious cycle into a virtuous cycle. Or just simply…(Dare you to) MOVE! I used this song in the playlist I made for my informal presentation on 2019/10/04 WPI Collective Learning Meeting (CLM): CT’s PhD Journey: Given a problem, what method(s) should we use?

Keep it simple stupid = KISS
Keep it operationally simple ‘kay? = KIOSK (I thought of this)

I most likely had a hypomanic episode/creative streak when I wrote The WPI SD Song and various other songs, poems, jokes, etc. It was very hard for me to sleep this past fall when I was traveling (i.e. my Vancouver, Canada -> Seattle trip and New Mexico Trip) and when I was home with my parents. People and things make noises and I have trouble falling asleep/staying asleep/wake easily. I don’t blame the construction workers building new homes in our new community. They need to use all the daylight they can. Studying systems and Operations Research/Industrial Engineering make us think about a lot of things. iThink. iSee. STELLA! Stella Architect is an SD software I should be learning. I want to convert my opioid model (which is currently in Vensim) to Stella for various reasons…such as storytelling (by Karim “The Dream.” Basketball is my favorite sport. I associate Karim with Kareem Abul-Jabbar then jump to thinking about the “Dream Team.” I call isee systems folks “The Dream Team.” Karim is an adjunct prof at WPI).

I like ending this post thinking of “The Dream Team.”

Sweet dreams (or good morning, afternoon or evening) to you!



3 comments

  1. Oh yeah. Prof. Konrad said that if I can find someone to take over “Given a problem…” then I can “walk away.” This paper really drives me crazy. Prof. Osgood said it should be a book chapter. I told him that he should be the one writing this but he said he is very busy and someone would have to lock him in a room for like a week or something if he were to write it.

    Like

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