Balloons, Balloons, Balloons!
Friday, 11 April 2003

In the parking deck this morning, I ran into a friend who rolled down his car window and said "Happy Birthday!" I was puzzled and said, "Today's not my birthday." He said, "Is there another Annie up there?" Me: "Not that I know of. I did make tenure this week. [pause] Are they planning something up there?" No response ;-).

I figured my good friend and colleague, Laurie Williams, had gotten our students together. Then, while walking to the building Aldo Dagnino (our ABB colleague) with whom we were meeting at 9:00 AM told me the front door was locked (or jammed?) and that we had to go in the other way. I believed him because it had happened to me a few weeks ago. We chatted along the way and when we arrived to our lab, I unlocked the door and found it packed with colleagues and grad students as well as red and white NC State streamers, "Congratulations!" signs and lots of good cheer! Right then, the fire alarm sounded and we all had to leave the building. Aldo immediately had me follow him out the door on the far side of the building (and I was still clueless). A short while later, we returned to our office suite to enjoy some bagels for breakfast. When I opened the door to my office to put down my laptop bag (which I was *still* carrying), I encountered the real surprise as chronicled below.

Today was most enjoyable and I feel blessed to have such wonderful friends, colleagues and students. As for tenure, I highly recommend it!

Annie I. Antón

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A fire alarm made us all crawl out of the wood work ... The NCSU Software Engineering Group: Nachi Nagappan, Prashant Baheti, Annie Antón, Mladen Vouk, Laurie Williams, Will Stufflebeam, Qingfeng (Frank) He, Aldo Dagnino and Hema Srikanth.
Upon opening the door to my office this morning (after the fire drill), I was greeted by a sea of balloons which came tumbling into our lab!

Laurie Williams was the mastermind of a beautifully orchestrated surprise! Here she is, with her assistants! L2R: Frank, Nachi, William, Jacqui, Mladen (behind the streamer), Prashant and Aldo.


Here I am, wondering where to hold all my back-to-back meetings on what was supposed to be another action-packed Friday. Instead, it was balloon-packed!

Will's wife, Meghan, even included Buzz in the festivities. A lovely reminder of my roots and those at Georgia Tech who inspired me to pursue a career in academia so many years ago!
The sea of balloons that engulfed me today, made it rather difficult to focus. Clearly, as evidenced by the smile on my face, I was saddened by the prospect of not being able to get a lot of work done.
Inspite of all the excitement, we did manage to have a productive day –– Frank successfully passed his Ph.D. Qualifier this afternoon!
Nachi, Frank and Laurie laughing at me as I climb my way out of the office!

The gang outside my office, admiring a job well done! The reflection of our assistant (and photographer), Jacqui Cox, is seen in the sign.
Windblown and stress-free for the first time in several years!
My friends, colleagues and students are both thoughtful and ingenious. I'm truly blessed!
The view from the corner.
Balloons everywhere! Each time I see this picture, I have to laugh :-).
The festivities continued at lunch time. Front row (L2R): Frank, Laura, Jacqui and Laurie. Back row (L2R): Jim, Franc Brglez, Matt Stallman, Annie, Nachi, Brent, Prashant and Will.
David Thuente, associate professor and associate department head, was also tenured this week.

We really did get some work done today. Here's Laurie working the phone!

Two of my GRAs / PhD Students: Frank (pre-qualifier exam) and William. Will managed to stay awake, even though he only had 2 hours of sleep last night.
Our weekly Friday afternoon meeting. Rain, sleet, snow, .... balloons?

Sitting at my desk to check my voice mail.

More evidence that we really did work today. Here I am, checking my voice mail.
Basking in a sea of balloons and looking forward to many fun-filled years in academia!
Three assistant professors (at least until August 2003): Peng Ning, Chris Healey and me, celebrating Frank's successful qualifier!
Newly tenured Chris Healey received some balloons of his own!

Is that Nachi or the software engineering lab ferret!?!?

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Evidence that software engineering at NC State is fun!

Laurie, project manager extraordinaire, ensured that our students learned about risk management and estimation. This project took >35 person hours to implement!
Nachi had been itching to dive in all day. Here he is enjoying a little swim!

Nachi, wading.

We've already begun to scheme (um, I mean, plan) for Laurie's celebration in a few years!
Frank and Nachi.

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© 2003 A.I. Antón