A Year1 in Review

Kicking off this blog with my first2 post. I was convinced to write this after seeing keur's.


My Internship

This was my first foray into the "real world" (and my subsequent realization that I was a dirty ivory-towered snob). I worked at startup named ScaleFT doing some minor work with React and Go. Amusingly, while I was visiting family in Korea, I received an email from my boss that we had been acquired and upon my arrival back to the States, I found myself an employee of Okta. I learned a healthy amount of Go (and React, against my best efforts). For reasons unbeknownst to me, I was given a return offer and am working there once again in the fall.


I visited an old friend in Chicago with my partner for a weekend. The most notable place was probably The Art Institute; I managed to view more pieces of art than I could possibly remember. Of course, it is impossible to talk about Chicago without mentioning the food: We visited Manny's and to this day, it still remains my favorite pastrami sandwich I've ever eaten. Roister's Michelin star is a well-deserved one, with the food we ate riffing off Southern and Korean influences. Finally, Unicorn Vs. Zombie is a Chicago IPA I've missed dearly.


I went to DEFCON for the first time with fellow members of the Open Computing Facility. The talks were enjoyable, although that was when I realized I was a bit too dependent on the 2x speedup option on YouTube. The best part of DEFCON was definitely the villages3 as you can get hands-on experience with pretty much any security-related thing you can think of. I ended up purchasing a lockpick set from the lockpicking village and it can in handy a few times when I forgot my keys. Downsides included the absurd number of people (affectionately dubbed "linecon") and the Vegas heat. As with Chicago, Las Vegas has an abundance of amazing food, and what else could better match the decadence of the city than uni cream pasta? Near the end our trip, after dragging the others, we found ourselves sitting at Momofuku, eating oysters, pork buns, ginger scallion noodles, and David Chang's modernization of bossam.


OCF DeCal Head Facilitator

Unfortunately for my students, I have some interest in teaching and I became a head facilitator for OCF's Linux Systems Administration DeCal4. I wrote the security and introductory lecture along with the corresponding labs. If I could change one things, it would probably be to not use Piazza and instead rely heavier on email, staff hours, and getting students to use OCF's Slack / IRC rooms. Piazza is sufficiently removed from most of our workflows that answering questions on there tended to happen rarely. All in all, the incremental improvements are there and I'm excited to see it grow next semester as well.

OCF Family Head

This semester, I also was a small group leader within the OCF, helping newer members becoming closer involved. This led to the creation of my onboarding document.

Teaching Assistance for CS 161

Finally, I also became a teaching assistant for UC Berkeley's computer security course. The reason the previous two entries are rather sparse was due to the large amount of time this ended up involving, along with my two other math and computer science courses. I was hired to work twenty hours a week and took on the additional duty of creating homework. This quite possibly may be one of my biggest regrets during my entire undergraduate experience, as my mistakes were not kept to myself, but affected those I taught as well. I learned a very valuable lesson that semester: Even with my experience and knowledge, practicing communicating effectively while teaching was incredibly important. I did not do that and my early discussions failed miserably as a result. Secondly, while I enjoyed answering questions on Piazza as a student, the added stress of my answer being the instructors' answer produced enough anxiety to where I would constantly write and rewrite my answer, to the point of usually deleting it after half an hour. Lastly, multiple incidents occurred with a student that I've encountered before (with those encounters ending up with my friend filing a report to the Office of Student Conduct). While it would be inappropriate and incorrect to say that he was the sole reason for my poor experience as a teaching assistant, it put a damper on the semester as a whole. However, good things did emerge: Watching a concept click in a student's head is undeniably one of the best feelings on earth; the professor, Nick Weaver, was a pleasure to work with and his mentorship was invaluable; I'm fairly certain a few of my fellow TAs were probably going to become professors at whichever university they desired; and I was able to meet the amazing folks over at UAW 2865 and seeing them fight for student-workers' rights. Solidarity forever!


Wherein I become a humanities student.

Everyone, no matter their field of study, should take this course. It's an amazing primer into legal scholarship, starting with philosophy (Foucault, Judith Butler, Utilitarianism, Natural Law, Intersectionality) and slowly moving towards analyzing court opinions and cases. Professor Katyal is a hilarious5 and amazing teacher who cares deeply about her students. One issue I wish that was discussed more is how "biological sex" is a rather fraught term6 (much like how species is). This was probably well-understand by my classmates, but I wasn't too familiar with this and would have benefited from a more thorough explanation. This nit is tiny compared to how great the rest of the class is however. It truly is comprehensive in its coverage and I was incredibly lucky to have been able to take the course.

Korean 7B: Introduction to Modern Korean Literature and Culture

I could talk about the duality of immigrants and their constant struggle to understand a culture they don't completely belong too, but it's boring to literally everyone else but immigrants, so I won't. That being said, this class with Professor Jinsoo An was a favorite of mine at Berkeley. I enjoyed his sense of humor and the historical context in which the literature existed was interesting as well. He was also a fan of using psychoanalysis to closely read the text, frequently drawing from Lacan. While I don't completely agree with it, it's a useful lens of analysis that I'm glad I was able to learn. The stories themselves aren't too foreign either, as the style remained mostly accessible (compared to older Korean literature). ✧・゚✧・゚As a STEM Student・゚✧・゚✧, I don't often get the chance to closely read and explore literature and having the opportunity to broaden my experiences was wonderful. Stories I particularly liked were Ch'oe Yun's The Grey Snowman7, Ch'oe Illam's Ballad8, and O Chŏnghŭi's Wayfarer9. Ch'ae Manshik's satire was always enjoyable to read as well.


EFA Conference

As the OCF is part of the Electronic Frontier Alliance, I was fortunate enough to be able to visit the EFF offices and meet other tech advocacy groups over a long weekend. Discussion and workshops were varied from direct action strategies, to legislative advocacy, to software philosophies. It was an amazing and formative experience that I was able to learn from. I particularly want to thank the following: A friend from Future Ada an organization based in Spokane, Washington for providing materials on online harassment and mitigation techniques, which I was able to adapt for the campus community; the amazing folks at the Lucy Parsons Labs for their FOIA wisdom; our comrades from the IWW GDC for the voices and inspiration they provided during discussion; and of course, EFF for hosting this workshop and building the EFA. I would implore everyone to donate if they can; the work EFF does in protecting our digital liberties is incredibly important.

Law School Admissions

These last two are a bit cheating, since they're things I'm currently doing rather than things that I have done. This blog was also written as a bit of a break from working on my application to law school. My summer-time has mostly been consumed by preparing for the LSAT and writing my personal statement along with a variety of essays.

Technology and Ethics Reader

During the spring, I attended CS 195: Social Implications of Computing. Professor DeNero is many things: literally one of the world's best at computer science pedagogy, a genius professor and researcher, and from all accounts, an incredible mentor. However, he is not an economist, legal scholar, nor a philosopher. This was painfully clear during this course. While I realize the place of this class holds minimal value to the average computer science student, I've been building a better set of resources for those who would be interested.

  1. As a student, my "year" is more appropriately marked in the summer months. And my birthday is around this time anyways, so technically, it's accurate.

  2. My middle school one has been appropriately retconned and any insinuations of it existing is fake news.

  3. Villages are spaces in DEFCON for a specific topic (lockpicking, voting machines, social engineer, etc).

  4. A DeCal is a course taught by students at UC Berkeley.

  5. While talking about her parents' opinion of her career path: "Our mother wasn't very supportive. But I ended up teaching here, which, not to brag, is not a small feat, and my brother also became a decent government lawyer. She still thinks we would have been better doctors though." One day, while googling professors (as a Berkeley student does, since Berkeley professors tend to be literal gods in their fields) a Wikipedia article of a Neal Katyal appeared. Now you might ask why a government lawyer has a Wikipedia article. This is because if you have been the Solicitor General of the United States of America, chances are you will have a Wikipedia article about you. I guess that position is at the very least "decent."

  6. Explaining this probably would fill a multiple blogposts in of itself, so the TLDR is that there are multiple metrics for "sex" (external genitalia, internal organs, hormones, chromosomes, etc) and that while they are correlated with each other, trying to create two categories of sex in a space with multiple axes is rather difficult. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has a more thorough explainer.

  7. The Grey Snowman (Hoesaeng nunsaram) is a short story describing a woman's experience at the peripheries of a subversive leftist organization during South Korea's dictatorship period.

  8. Ballad (T'aryŏng) is a series of five short vignettes of the poor in the marketplace, depicting the social relationships within.

  9. Wayfarer (Sullyejaŭi norae) is a short story detailing how a middle-class woman navigates being a social outcast.