Dr. Joy Johnson is deeply interested in the full stack of engineering electronics: from particles to products. An alum of North Carolina State University, and a graduate from MIT with her doctorate in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Joy led mobile development at an MIT-founded music technology startup, AudioCommon. She currently works at Apple in their Special Projects Group and is on the Alumni board of the GEM Fellowship Program, and other STEM-related non-profits focused on providing technical, and research experiences for minorities and women. In this chat Joy tells us about persistence, and finishing well.

Listen here – https://theinteresting.simplecast.fm/005
iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/…/pod…/the-interesting/id1433174918
Pocket Cast – https://pca.st/fDR7


Summer Research Programs Joy recommends:

(MIT MSRP) https://oge.mit.edu/undergraduate/msrp/

(NSF NNIN REU) https://www.nnin.org/research-experience-undergraduates

(iTrek) http://www.i-trek.org

(Promise AGEP workshops & SSI) https://promiseagep.com

Fellowships Joy recommends:

(NSF GRFP) https://nsfgrfp.org

(GEM) http://www.gemfellowship.org/gem-fellowship

(Intel PhD Fellowship) https://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/corporate-information/phd-fellowship-provisions.pdf

Articles written on or by Joy:

(MIT MLK Celebration) http://news.mit.edu/2009/mlk-johnson-0218

(Vanguard STEM) https://conversations.vanguardstem.com/wcwinstem-joy-johnson-ph-d-d7277d74da90

(Wogrammer) https://medium.com/wogrammer/joy-johnson-d75a4a362fe9

(Park Scholarships) https://park.ncsu.edu/joyjohnson/



arthur musah

Arthur Musah is a filmmaker from Ghana, Ukraine, and the United States. His first documentary NAIJA BETA premiered in 2016 at the Pan African International Film Festival in Cannes, and has won several other awards. He studied filmmaking in the MFA program at the University of Southern California as an Annenberg Fellow, and holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. He continues his exploration of African identities in a globalized age through his upcoming feature ONE DAY I TOO GO FLY. In this chat Arthur tells us about the power of having good mentors, the importance of failure, and trying.

Listen here – https://theinteresting.simplecast.fm/004  

or on iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-interesting/id1433174918

Arthur Musah – http://www.arthurmusah.com/

Ways to watch Naija Beta Film:

AMAZON – https://www.amazon.com/Naija-Beta-Obinna-Ukwuani/dp/B07BCCFD3B/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1523033923&sr=8-1&keywords=naija+beta

ITUNES – https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/naija-beta/id1356372517

VHX – http://naijabeta.vhx.tv/

VIMEO – https://vimeo.com/ondemand/naijabeta/

One Day I Too Go Fly – http://www.onedayitoogofly.com/

Kickstarter Campaign – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arthurmusah/one-day-i-too-go-fly-documentary-post-production


Dr. Niaja Farve is a researcher, software developer and entrepreneur. A graduate from Morgan State University and MIT, Niaja pursued her studies in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She is a software developer at a Startup, and the C.E.O of i-Trek, a non-profit that seeks to create outreach opportunities that steer students into Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and other associated fields of study. In this chat she tells us about “reaching back to help others.”


Subscribe on Pocket Cast – https://pca.st/fDR7

Subscribe on Google Play – https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Isawkwfr4juaa2qnlgml5nihzne

Stitcher – https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/vernelle-noel/the-interesting?refid=stpr

The Interesting – Episode 001 – Edson Breedy

Edson Breedy is a medical student, Taekwondo athlete, and coach from Trinidad & Tobago. He has garnered numerous competition medals and continues to demonstrate his drive and dedication to the sport of taekwondo. In this chat he talks with us about focused practice, overcoming fears, and reframing obstacles into advantages. Have a listen.


Subscribe on Pocket Cast – https://pca.st/fDR7

Subscribe on Google Play – https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Isawkwfr4juaa2qnlgml5nihzne

Stitcher – https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/vernelle-noel/the-interesting?refid=stpr

It continues to be my desire to encourage and motivate others (both young and old) to do the best they can. To engage in hard work, and to ACT. I often encounter persons (young and old) who feel lost, who are unaware of the many amazing things they can do in their lives, who feel held back, who are scared to fail and/ or scared to try. Who seem scared of hard work, or are unaware of what hard work really looks like. Persons who say, but never do. I wanted to do something about this. I wanted to ACT, to reach persons beyond the classroom, beyond my papers, beyond borders. I wanted to find a way to jump over the academic paywall and give back. To share. So, I decided to make a podcast. I call it – The Interesting. I reached out to some of my amazing friends who continue to do inspiring things!

In this first season, I chat with my guests about “Crafting knowledge, skill, and expertise.” I hope they inspire you, and persons you know too. Hope you enjoy!

Here’s a link to The Interesting – https://theinteresting.simplecast.fm

Link on Google Play >>>

Link on Pocket Casts >>> 

A Tale of two WASPs by The Thinking Insomniac

Vernelle Noel, thinking insomniac, writing, non-fiction, Vernelle,

Image Copyright Vernelle Noel

Is the sky really the limit? Your sky, is different from someone else’s sky. No two skies are exactly the same because no two pilots are exactly the same. This is the story of two pilots. For one, the sky was the limit, for the other, the sky was a dream.

Anne Noggle was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1922. After seeing Amelia Earhart at an air show in Chicago, she set the goal for herself to become a pilot. At the age of seventeen, her mother agreed to let her take flying lessons. Four years later at the age of 21, she traveled to Texas to train to become a WASP, one of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). WASP was a civilian women’s pilot organization attached to the US Army Air Forces to fly military aircraft during World War II. They had no military standing but trained male pilots in combats missions; transported military aircraft; towed targets for live anti-aircraft gun practice; simulated strafing missions and transported cargo. After the war and the disbanding of WASP in 1944, Anne became a stunt pilot in an aerial circus at 25, and a crop duster at 26. In 1953, at the age of 31, she applied and became a pilot for the US during the Korean War, retiring as a captain in 1959 at the age of 37. These experiences gave Anne confidence and emboldened her to believe that the sky was the limit – literally and figuratively. She could do anything!

While in the Air Force, Anne was stationed in Paris and visited the Louvre, one of the world’s largest art museums. Like she was inspired to fly after seeing Amelia Earhart, she was inspired to be an artist after visiting the Louvre. In 1966, the former pilot enrolled in the University of New Mexico earning her bachelors in fine arts at the age of 44, then her Master’s degree in art at the age of 47 in 1969. She developed her skills as a photographer, and like she was influenced by Amelia, and the Louvre, she was also influenced by female photographers like Julia Margaret Cameron and Diane Arbus. (Julia Margaret Cameron’s niece would become the mother of one of the most important modernist 20th-century authors – Virginia Woolf). Her photographs displayed femininity and sexual energy, and in 1970 at the age of 48, she had her first one-woman show at a gallery in New Mexico. She then produced her most famous series of photographs of herself in 1975 at the age of 53 (she photographed herself after receiving a facelift). When she was 60, she was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, and at the age of 69 the former pilot earned an honorary doctorate from her alma mater.

For Anne, the sky was the limit. She lived several lives – military pilot, stunt pilot, crop duster, artist, professor, and recipient of an honorary doctorate. She was born in 1922, joined WASP at 21, retired from flying at 37, flew a total of 6000 hours, then the former pilot went on to live her life as a famous photographer.

At the beginning of this story, I said this was a tale of two WASPs, one for whom the sky was the limit, for the other, a dream. The other WASP was Mildred Hemmons Carter. Born in 1921 (the year before Anne) she earned her pilot license in 1941 at the age of 20. She too applied to join WASP in 1943 but was asked to withdraw her application. Two women, born the same time, both pilots. One able to join WASP, the other not. Why not? Well, Mildred was black. She was THE ONLY black applicant, and because of her race was rejected. She was also rejected from flying with the Tuskegee Airmen – black military pilots – because she was a woman. She faced the double-edged sword of being black and being a woman. (Her husband was Lt. Colonel Herbert Carter the last surviving Tuskegee Airman from Mississippi). Seventy years after earning her pilot license, at the age of 90, Mildred was recognized retroactively as a WASP, and took her final flight. She flew a total of 150 hours.

Anne and her dreams soared in part because she was able to achieve her first dream, which then empowered her to find and achieve other dreams. Mildred on the other hand was never allowed to achieve her first dream. Her dream was rejected. Mildred’s son, Herbert Carter Jr., said his mother often regretted that she came along a little too early and couldn’t achieve her dream of becoming a WASP. A tale of two WASPs. For Anne, the sky was the limit. For Mildred, the sky was but a dream.


In a few days I will be starting a Podcast Fellowship (will share more details later). I will be learning with a great group of people who have great ideas, under the guidance and coaching of one of my favorite writers and teachers. In our online discussion community, someone asked us all to post our blogs – for those of us who blog. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, partly because I post my drawings on Instagram. I do a lot of writing for work, but maybe I will get back to writing about what I draw…or drawing about what I write. I thank the fellowship for reminding me of this again.

From this Fellowship, I hope to share and be generous with others as they have been with me. I also look forward to learning the technical and creative aspects of podcasting so that I can share it with my students and others.

Now, about the drawing above, I called it “Tentative 01”. I love lines in every form and this is one of my drawings. The patterns, geometry, texture, color, physicality, and more. I look forward to continuing to share again.

– Thinking Insomniac

No, I’m not the one flying… I would like to see or sit in a cockpit on day though.

I sketched my Makerbot yesterday.I have used it in several design projects, design experiments, and even 3D printed little toys for my friends’ kids.

Have a good one! 

vernelle noel, thinking insomniac, photos, photo journal, architecture, food, beauty, photography

Today I was leaving NY again heading back to work. This building under construction is coming along quickly.

vernelle noel, thinking insomniac, photos, photo journal, architecture, food, beauty, photography

I like accidental photos

vernelle noel, thinking insomniac, photos, photo journal, architecture, food, beauty, photography

Because the buildings, the sky, the reflections, all beautiful.

vernelle noel, thinking insomniac, photos, photo journal, architecture, food, beauty, photography

Lovely skyline, part of which has been taken away by condos. Ughhh..

vernelle noel, thinking insomniac, photos, photo journal, architecture, food, beauty, photography

Saw this sign at Zapata’s Tacos.

I have a busy day tomorrow… I am thinking of something new to do with my photos. A new topic, subjects,… If you have any suggestions, please suggest away!