Ann Arbor State of Mind (Intern Files #008)

Cristian Guillen, Ripple Science, 2017 HF Intern

Cristian Guillen, Ripple Science, 2017 HF Intern

After weeks of interning with Ripple Science, I still had a ton to learn. Since my CTO lived in Detroit and Ripple is located in Ann Arbor, communicating with him is one of the most important things for me to learn. This was key for me to learn how to describe and explain all of my code that I sent for review. This made me think critically about how to write code and to do more research on building code correctly.

With only completing my Sophomore year of Computer Science at UMich, when I started did not know anything about the React which is a frame work of Javascript. This was mainly used to do more of the front-end development of our application. After tinkering and asking details questions to my CTO I was able to get the hang of the framework which allowed me to be able to work with our application more easily. Once I had a grip on React, Ripple allowed me to create some awesome features that improved our customer's experience.

Our office space is awesome as well since we are located in shared co-working space across from the Kerrytown Market. The building has many startups and venture capitalist firms inside which makes trips to the kitchen quite interesting -- constant transmission of ideas and conversation. 

The best part of working at Ripple is the location. With being in Kerrytown, there are many activities that I see each morning. For instance, each Wednesday, the Farmers Market takes place, selling fresh eggs, vegetables, baked goods and various cooking ingredients. If you're at all interested on my Wednesday routine, it consists of me grabbing a doughnut from the Farmers Market, eating it and then sitting down to code. 

Ann Arbor has an abundance of many cool locations like Zingerman's which has one of the best sandwiches in the city. I go their when I want blow my paycheck on some deli. 

I like exploring the city, reading books and usually find myself in many of Ann Arbor's bookstores. Roaming and checking out new books that I want to read and see, this helps with the fact that during the day I'm staring at a screen. It is refreshing to walk about the city and constantly find new attractions. 

There's an escape room in Ann Arbor called Decode Detroit -- definitely a highlight of the city for me. In the past, I've chosen the scenario of preventing the AI from escaping and going to the internet. It is a small space, which gives it a futuristic vibe. This is always a very fun focal point of Ann Arbor for me. I've gone a handful amount of times this summer with CS classmates and other Hacker Fellows Interns. It's fun to user our bizarrely analytical minds for unrealistic and cerebral games. 

During my stay in Ann Arbor I also searched for tech meetups to meet new people who are deeply interested in tech. I decided to join the Coffee House Coders. This meetup consists of local developers who meet up every two weeks and chat about their projects, give feedback to one another.

One of the side projects I’m working on is creating a social platform dedicated towards local artists and musicians. Coffee House Coders allowed me to meet approachable and talented developers who offer guidance and feedback. Beyond my project, I am able to engage with people who are deeply passionate in expanding the world of tech. Funny that I met a Hacker Fellow who goes there frequently. Cool seeing that we are a growing group and I can meet other Hacker Fellows who are in Ann Arbor not only through the program but via the tech community. 


Cristian Guillen, 2017 Hacker Fellows Intern, currently a rising Junior at the University of Michigan studying Computer Science. He is working with Ripple Science for Summer 2017 and beyond.