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Fall 2022 Shipping Log
Woodworking, webapps, labor reporting and more
hi friends! the year and the semester have drawn to a close. my year in review is coming soon — in the meantime, here’s a recap of five things I did last semester.
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1. political and engineering theory
I took some cool classes and wrote some cool papers this semester! you can read my full semester in review here — here’s the quick version:
MS73: Technology, Capitalism, and Race — lots of frameworks (capitalism, accumulation, labor, exploitation, race) and readings (Marx, Du Bois, McLuhan, Winner) that feel like they should be basic knowledge, like reading political theory in Comparative Politics last semester felt. The theories on technology interest me the most (key takeaway: consider the social logics that produce and are (re)produced by technology), though I’m left with big questions.
MS148: Powers of Pleasure — psychoanalytic (Freud!) ideas about why we believe what we believe, especially re: hegemonic power structures and resistance to them.
POST124: Chinese Politics — learning about Chinese political history and present structures, and also new general political theory.
ENGR79: Engineering Systems — applications of physics principles to mechanical systems: Laplace transforms, transfer functions, step and sinusoidal responses. Very cool foundational engineering techniques!
PHYS101: Modern Physics — confusing quantum class with very nice profs. I didn’t enjoy the quantum but I learned a lot about error analysis and experimentation in the lab component (which was almost completely unrelated content-wise).
2. supporting labor organizing
Pomona dining workers get paid a minimum wage of $18.60/h. Negotiations between their 10-year-old union and a new treasurer stalled. Energetic organizing by workers and supporting students led to a huge strike. Weeks later, Pitzer organizers fought to fend off the college’s efforts to get their newly formed union de-certified through intimidation and harassment.
I participated in student organizing and documented the fight through a new publication, Undercurrents, learning what I never could from classes and getting to know the students and workers that make up the campus community.
A student organizer said it well: “[Workers] set the example for what leadership, for what strength, for what fortitude, for what resilience looks like each and every single day. [The colleges are] trying to take advantage of them. But each and every single day they fight for each other and they fight for us. They fight for their kids and they fight for their community. They are the example. They are the leaders. And we follow by their lead.”
3. furniture and trinkets
Did you think furniture and the beginnings of an electric scooter would be on this list?
With E4 having trained me up last semester, I spent many hours in Harvey Mudd’s machine shop this semester building a stool, a shoe rack, two pencil cases and a custom gift box. In Pomona’s basement I’m also working on an electric scooter, funded by a small grant.
These projects have all produced tremendously useful items for me, while I’ve learned new woodworking and machine shop skills with each one. I expect to report on more such shenanigans at the end of next semester, in which I’ll be a machine shop proctor!
4. webapps as always
I joined a Pomona AI team — as one of two team leads under a project lead — to create a course recommendation website:
Over break, I made a course planning website:
And I also made some interactive portfolios for journalism internships that I thought were pretty cool (I’ll update if I actually get any internships 😭):
5. the yappie
The Yappie won a huge grant, restructured, restarted its newsletter, began paying its writers, and made me one of its editors this fall.
There’s a lot I’m working on, and hope to do more of this next semester, but in short The Yappie continues to be a space I love, one that has fostered and continues to drive my growth as a journalist and community member.
That’s it for now!
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