Starting New Contract Work in May

Posted Wednesday, May 3, 2023 by Sri. Tagged JOURNAL

Continuing my daily journal posting schedule, I have news on ending my sabbatical so I can start a new freelance project: I'll be working with my friends at Inquirium to support researchers from Indiana University in their new research grant to support data literacy for middle school students. The grant builds on a collaborative network analysis tool named Net.Create, which we also developed.

Screenshot of the Net.Create 'network graph analysis tool'. This particular shows a portion of the network graph that maps my interests relative to other team members, which was a fun way to get prepped for our kickoff meeting!A network visualization connecting interests of Sri with linesA network visualization connecting interests of Sri with lines (full size image)

For these kind of projects with Inquirium, I typically write code that supports the research questions being explored. This usually requires different work priorities that don't result in polished applications for end users, but for this grant we will get a chance to improve the software so students can better interact with the data in real-time. I'm looking forward to interacting with the researchers and grad students too...they are all super-nice and supportive of each other, and it feels good to help provide support to further research goals that benefit learning.

I also have a few personal goals that I can develop just by working on this project:

  • Defining a vanilla HTML/JS user interface framework so we can move away from ReactJS, which does not suit our simulation-driven control needs.
  • Refining methodologies for defining software for the priorities of academic studies, while still being able to produce robust code that "make sense" on the modular level even to non-technical members of the research team.
  • Observing how my autistic traits manifest themselves, as this is the first project since diagnosis that will help me understand what it means. I already know that the way I think fits patterns reported by other autistic programmers. I also am more aware of what creates situational frustration, also corroborated by reported lived experiences of other autistics. I'm hopeful that working with my mental processing sensitivies rather than fighting them will be good for me.
  • Maintain momentum on my Groundhog Day Resolutions, particularly for product development and its prerequisite creative community development as these are long-term financial and mental health goals. I'm feeling optimistic about finding a sustainable quality of life balance.

I am curious whether I can maintain all of these while under project pressures. I think my current energy management routine will be up to the challenge, but I'll find out how deluded I am in a few months 😀