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Women in Crypto

By Aury Cifuentes

March 13, 2018

Cryptocurrency is considered revolutionary because it is a peer-to-peer network reliant on blockchain technology without a central governing authority. Besides its host of algorithms and ongoing debates about its merit as an asset class, the representative symbiosis between finance and technology is not going anywhere. Learning about crypto is also becoming increasing social as media giants like GirlBoss, started by Sophia Amoruso, have regularly published resources for women of all backgrounds to get involved either online or in person. 

Early last year, I kept hearing about crypto and how the speculation surrounding the hype was newsworthy. Although I did not jump on the bandwagon of crypto investing, I did invest some time with to a range of academic databases to start demystifying the headlines in the hopes of finding facts over bias. This research also overlapped with one of my other courses so I was not disappointed with what I found. In fact I was able to trace the original Bitcoin research piece published by a yet-to-be identified individual by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Depending on your interests the article, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”, has something for everyone as there is an emphasis on the mechanics, financial implications, and C commands behind any transaction. Needless to say there is a fixed amount of Bitcoin to be mined and the nuances of a fixed supply have a range of implications beyond the scope of this article.

Yet many women are already exploring those complex implications of a currency that did not seem feasible centuries ago. As college students were are constantly learning and becoming subject matter experts on anything including crypto is definitely possible. While there are many unknowns in a new industry, the benefit will go toward the pioneers who are trying to be one step ahead in thinking of the regulatory, entrepreneurial, and computational ventures within such a space. For example, Perianne Boring is an adjunct professor of Blockchain at Georgetown. She is also the founder of the Digital Chamber of Commerce in DC, which is focused on moving beyond the regulatory implications for business. For those in the area and interested, that could be a great place to start as well as the growing online groups on Facebook such as Ladies of Crypto. Another notable pioneering woman can include the online news hub co-founder Toni Lane Casserly. Before establishing CoinTelegraph, Toni had a vision to revolutionize regular financial journalism into a niche-reporting segment – cryptocurrency journalism. So whether it is in the media, financial service industry, or the tech space, women are changing the dynamic in a unique fashion that can benefit the relatively young and growing Digital Currency and Blockchain industry. 

The future for blockchain, barring from imminent regulations, has the potential to redefine relatively ancient industries like the media and music industries while changing the scope of social entrepreneurship ventures and technology among other things. All in all, whether you see yourself leading the next big ICO for your start-up or just adding a bit of background on the hype over brunch the future of finance is redefined everyday. 

Aury Cifuentes is a very bubbly senior at The College of New Jersey. As an Economics major with a concentration in Social Justice she is happily working on a capstone project, internship, and thesis this year. When she isn’t studying, Aury is actively participating in the community through the Bonner Service program and working closely with her E-Board as president of Women in Business this year.

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My 10 Day Adventure in Israel with Caravan for Democracy

By Megha Karthikeyan

January 30, 2018

Here is a group picture of some of the Caravan for Democracy participants at the Wadi Attir farm in the Negev Desert.

This winter break I had the opportunity to spend 10 days in Israel through the Caravan for Democracy Student Leadership Mission to Israel. It is a fully sponsored trip by the Jewish National Fund for non-Jewish students to understand the complexities of Israel as well as learn about the ethnic diversity of the country. Being a leader is important in any field, and having the opportunity to practice my leadership and communication skills in a global setting was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Participating in Caravan for Democracy gave me the chance to network with student leaders from all over the country. It is very important to develop a wide social network of individuals from many different fields, and this program gave me the chance to talk with pre-med, pre-law, business, and arts students. I was able to learn about what college is like in other parts of the country while simultaneously hearing from leaders in Israel about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as other domestic issues.

One of the most important concepts I learned on this trip was the idea that Israel is a startup nation. As a business student, I usually only think of companies in the Silicon Valley as startups. However, Israel is very unique in that it literally “started up” around 70 years ago from empty desert, to a thriving country. Through numerous presentations and meetings, I learned about how the entrepreneurial spirit and grit of the people coupled with innovation, allowed Israel to rise to the top and succeed in such a short period of time.

For example, Israel has world class irrigation techniques like drip irrigation. One of the places our group visited was the Netafim Factory where they make drip irrigation parts to ship all over the world. This factory is in a kibbutz in the desert, and the area where it’s located is quite green, although it is in the arid Negev Desert. A man from the kibbutz invented a special type of drip technology that then grew to a factory that has international clients. This type of drip irrigation is used in all parts of Israel to grow crops as well as in other parts of the world.

Another example of innovation is the start up culture in Israel. In Tel Aviv there are so many new businesses and tech companies that are gaining ground, and we visited one of them. We went to a maker space that allowed people to make and design their own furniture. Although this isn’t a tech start up, the entrepreneurial spirit in the company was still there. They have a maker space where people can make their own furniture and products with the help of the experts in the startup. We were able to get a tour of their space and equipment and it was cool to see how many unique ideas there were in one area.

When we visited Independence Hall in Tel Aviv where Israel was declared a state, our guide noted to us that the Tel Aviv was once just a tiny street with a few homes on it. It took years to build the city up into the metropolitan area that it is today, but that was done with the hard work of the people who lived there. However, just like any startup, Israel faced many difficulties including wars and conflicts. The people and government are still struggling with what to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some argue for a two-state solution while others think there are better ways to solve the conflict. One of the great aspects of this program was how honest we could be with our questions. We were able to ask the tough questions to the speakers that came to us, even if the topics were controversial ones. For example, we met with the designer of the security wall between the West Bank and Israel and went to the site itself. The wall itself is controversial because of the strict separation between the Palestinians who live in the West Bank and the Israelis.  Although I don’t have the answer to Israel-Palestine conflict, I have more background on the history and geopolitics of the region.

In addition to learning about the economic and political aspects of Israel, we also got understand the history. We visited Jerusalem and saw many of the holy sites as well as other historic sites near the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River. This program gave me the chance to get a well-rounded view of Israel and provided me the opportunity to make new friends from all over the country. For those who are student leaders on their college campuses who are interested in exploring other parts of the world, I highly recommend doing this program as it definitely impacted my way of thinking.

Megha Karthikeyan is from Vienna, Virginia and attends the University of Virginia. She intends to double major in Economics and Commerce at the McIntire School of Commerce with finance and information technology concentrations. Megha will graduate from UVA in 2020. She hopes to work in the finance industry as a finance or risk analyst, but is also looking at working in investment banking.

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An Unconventional Way to Plan Your Future

By Mairead Tuttle

January 11, 2018

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit my school’s career center on a class trip. I had, of course, been to the career center before, but only for one-on-one meetings with specific aims. Because I was visiting with a class of first year students as their writing mentor, I expected a generic presentation on how they can begin to plan for their futures, such as taking the first steps in applying for an internship or participating in summer programs that will give them an advantage in a job search or graduate school application process. When the career center staff member leading our session told us what we would be doing that morning, I was taken aback: we would be making “vision boards.”

Initially, I scoffed at the idea. The concept of a vision board was something that I had only ever seen in movies about vapid characters, none of whom seemed to have any intention of looking for graduate school programs or forging a bold career path. As each person in our career center session was sent to page through magazines and pick a patterned cardboard square to use for a background, I began to think about the other tasks that I could be accomplishing during the next hour. Why was I wasting my time cutting out pictures and inspirational phrases from magazines when I could be doing practice problems for my GMAT or finishing up a paper for another class?

To my surprise, as our session went on, I began to understand the value of creating a vision board. By the time I had completed my board and it had been framed, I felt calm and clear. However, it also led me to question why I had put certain pictures on my board. Looking at the image of the beautiful Irish countryside that I had positioned in the center of my board made me realize that international travel was one of my future goals. It also inspired me to research international entry-level jobs in my field of study. I could also point to different pictures and phrases on my board that confirmed my love for the fashion and beauty industries, which reassured me of my ideal career path.

Having my vision board displayed prominently in my room reminds me of my goals every day. When I am struggling with a difficult paper or fretting over my packed calendar, the board gives me a visual reminder of the place I am working toward. The career center staff member who led our session told us that she creates a vision board every season. This is a path I now also plan to take.

Winter break gives us much needed rest and relaxation, and presents the opportunity to think about our futures without the added pressure of classes. Taking an hour or two to create your own vision board can help to make your thought process clearer, and might even reveal an unexpected academic or career passion. While conventional methods of planning for the next semester or for life after college are incredibly important and useful, adding a vision board to the mix can inspire you in ways that you did not see coming. 

Mairead Tuttle is from Pennsylvania and is currently a French and Economics major at Mount Holyoke College. Through her economics classes, she found a passion for business, and hopes to someday work on the management side of the fashion and beauty industries.

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Three Personal Development Books to Spring You into Action This Year

By Hafsah Lakhany

February 27, 2017

As the New Year begins to unfold and the momentum for the realization of many of our loftiest goals declines, I often look to self-help non-fiction books as sources of information, inspiration, and most importantly motivation, to continue in an upward trajectory in an effort to constantly attain growth, progression, and success. So without further ado, here are three works that have profoundly impacted my approach to my academic, social and professional life:

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie’s world renowned classic delves into the process of cultivating personal practices which drive success such as mechanisms for transforming individuals’ perspectives to parallel your own, methods for increasing your affability, and altering the opinions of others without inciting animosity.  He acknowledges the inevitability of interacting with others, and leveraging the social component of success rather than allowing it to emerge as a hurdle in your progression.

2. Outliers: The Stories of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell’s avant garde book emerges as one of my most cherished non-fiction work to this date. Outliers methodically and objectively approaches the ostensibly subjective and organic idea of success.  Rather than emerging as instructive in nature, it explores inspiring anecdotes which reflect the overarching notion that success is not accomplished by serendipity, competence, or rare talents; Gladwell claims that the most meaningful metric for measuring success remains the time devoted to cultivating skills.  By substantiating his claims with anecdotal examples, he argues that people who succeed in attaining elevated levels of success dedicate more time cultivating the skills required for their success.

3. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck

This final gem is rooted in multiple years of Carol Dweck’s research regarding the concept of mindsets.The central notion underlying the work claims that our own mindsets regarding our capabilities and talents largely influence our abilities to the goals we aim to achieve. Her work claims that individuals with fixed mindsets who believe their predetermined traits determine their success fail to perform at the level of individuals who foster growth mindsets who maintain the belief that any skill may be enhanced through devotion and diligence.

Hafsah Lakhany will graduate in 2019 from the University of California at Irvine with a major in business administration. After college, Hafsah plans on going into consulting, health care management, and career development coaching/consulting.

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Get Career Ready: Be a Short Term Pragmatist

By Angela Guido

May 8, 2016

Got a big vision for your future? Awesome!!! Now you’ve got to be patient. Anything you can dream up, you can achieve, but great accomplishments take time.

So in addition to being a Long Term Visionary, you’ve got to be a Short Term Pragmatist. Recognize your vision for your career will take a few steps to achieve. Your first job, probably won’t be “it.” But even Rome began with a single stone. Take steps in the short term that get you closer to your long term vision.

For example, if your vision includes starting your own company and you are very interested in technology today, what are some steps you could take to get closer to being entrepreneur-ready and savvier about technology? You could…

  • Take a coding class
  • Do an internship with a startup
  • Start following the blogs of successful entrepreneurs
  • Consider a fulltime job in a bigger company that gives you a firm foundation of business skills (think consulting, product management, venture capital)

Weigh your short term options against your long term goals, and make choices that move you in the right direction.

Our career tips are brought to you by Angela Guido. For more timeless wisdom and bright ideas for your career, check out her website, Career Protocol.

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Wise Words: Christina Rossetti

“Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes; work never begun.” - Christina Rossetti

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Wise Words: Lynda Barry

“Expect the unexpected, and whenever possible, be the unexpected.” - Lynda Barry

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Wise Words: Jim Rohn

“If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” - Jim Rohn

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