Editor's Note: Since the beginning of the semester, the D-Lab has benefited from the addition for four remarkable undergraduate students who joined our ranks as frontdesk staff. In this edition of the D-Lab blog, we hear from two frontdesk colleagues as they share short tidbits of memorable -- and at times disarming -- experiences from the frontdesk.

Hayley Laity: Diving Head-First into the Culture of D-Lab

Sitting at the front desk may seem like an unvaried occupation, until you start to tune in. Working at the D-Lab gives the perfect balance of a social and inventive atmosphere, from preparing and conducting research, to five-minute meditation groups to improve focus, I'd say the Lab keeps me grounded.

I've always been drawn to computer science and research in general, and Berkeley is certainly a pinnacle place to indulge in these two interests. The more time I spend at the Lab, the more motivated I become to fully understand the technical terms thrown around in the common room. Working at the D-lab front desk is a unique niche, for you're surrounded by a staff with extensive research and data experience integrated into their everyday life. I'd have to say the most memorable times spent so far involve getting lost in conversation pertaining to modern sociopolitical issues. It's refreshing to have a cooperative and enlightening staff, especially with being a new student on campus.

I also ran into a graduate student on the way to campus via bus. I was surprised she recognized me, but we instantly initiated conversation. We briefly discussed about her graduate study in history, and how the D-lab is helping her accomplish her research goals. She mentioned how getting one-on-one help from one of our staff members gave her insight on their expertise of data design. I replied by alluding to my admiration for their profession, and how I hope to be at least Python-competent by the end of Christmas break. Until then, we'll see where the lab takes me, but I'm happy to partake in its innovative growth.

Katy Pool: The D-Lab During a Power Outage

Should you ever find yourself in D-Lab during an emergency, the rendezvous point is across the street in front of the police station. This is where the half dozen D-Lab staff stood clustered around beneath the muggy hot sun, waiting to be let back into the building after the campus-wide power outage on Monday, September 30. I had been manning the front desk of D-Lab after a long day when the room suddenly went dark and the elevator doors slammed shut. I don’t know how many people were trapped in the elevator, but I am extremely grateful that the outage didn’t happen eighteen minutes later when I no doubt would have been among them.

The half dozen of us still in D-Lab amicably packed up and filed down to the ground floor as the emergency elevator bell rang out.vIt was . D-Lab closes to the public at When it became clear that the outage was campus-wide and that the power wasn’t going to come back any time soon, Dean Carson gave the go-ahead to take off. I waited a few minutes and then caught the bus to go home, but I was the only one. Everyone else seemed plenty content to stand around chatting with their coworkers and finishing their day’s work on the lawn.


Hayley Laity

Hayley Laity is a junior Economics major at UC Berkeley. Originally from Southern California, she is now a part of the Berkeley SAGE Scholars and the Cal Independent Student Network. She is pursuing a career as a financial analyst after receiving her degree from Cal.

Katy Pool

Katy Pool is a web developer and writer who graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in History and a minor in English. Her undergraduate thesis focused on representations of urban America in turn-of-the-century etiquette and conduct literature.