Above: Daria against the backdrop of Himalayas (I think) in Dharamsala, India during the spring of 2004
Hi, nice to meet you (even nicer to see you again), I'm Daria. You may regard this webpage as a walk-in closet where a lot of junk gets stored alongside a few useful items (like my resumes). When I've accumulated the critical mass of garbage here, I might add a little search engine to help separate the needles from the hay, but the old-fashioned browsing should do just fine for now. Feel free to click around and let me know if you find anything of value.
My husband Puneet and I have just come back to our home in Berkeley, CA, after a year-long vacation trip which has taken us around a good half of the world. In fact, the majority of this website is currently dedicated to "The Trip" as we haven't done much since getting back.
Now we are both looking for jobs in the software development field with preferred location in the East Bay or San Francisco. If this strikes a chord with you, please take a look at my resume below.
The employment situation aside, we are happily settled in the lovely college town of Berkeley (yes, that's where the famous UC campus is located). We go jogging and hiking, take capoeira lessons, get together with friends (long time no see), and read a lot (I'm on the Meyers' Effective C++ and the 6th book of the Dark Tower both of which are pretty good).
As mentioned above, I am now facing unlimited opportunities with regard to jobs (this situation is also known as unemployment). Before taking off to travel the world, I worked for nearly three years at a San Francisco-based storage startup called Scale8, quite successful while it lasted. Those years turned me from an accomplished business school graduate with multiple degrees (three and a half, and all in management!) into a decent software engineer with expertise in distributed systems, large-scale storage solutions, object-oriented programming, QA and other neat things. Alas, Scale8 is no more, as so many other dot-coms of that fairytale era. Before Scale8, back in Mother Russia, I had a couple of jobs more suitable to my educational background, including a year's stint with ERPs, but that seems like ancient history now. I am firmly set on continuing with the engineering route (project management in software setting is as far on the business side as I'd go) and can only wish my CS self would have woken up a few years earlier. Well, better late than never.
By the way, CS has gotten me a boyfriend who has since graduated to a husband. But that's another story...
Oh, let me explain the 3.5 business degrees: there's a bachelor's in management from Russia, a weird "specialist" degree (in-between B.S. and M.S.) from the same place, MBA, and an environmental management certificate (that's the extra half).
My resume/C.V. is available in the these formats:
This is the "tell me about yourself" section. Didn't you always hate doing that? My only less favorite essay topic is "What I Did Last Summer" but thankfully, that one is already covered in the "world trip" section of the website.
So... I was born and raised in the most beautiful city in Russia (may those from Moscow forgive me) - St. Petersburg, previously known as (in backwards chronological order) Leningrad, Petrograd and St. Petersburg. Yes, it got the original name back after the perestroika years. My birthplace counts over 300 years of sad and bloody history, 5 million people, and more culture than you could possibly swallow in a single lifetime. They call it a museum under open skies for its architecture, Venice of the north for the canals and bridges, and a hellhole for the weather. Imagine foggy, rainy Seattle that freezes over in winter and thaws out and then burns up in summer. Oh - it's located in the north-west of Russia, near the border with Finland, at the latitude of Scandinavia, which means the sun doesn't set at all in the month of June. The phenomenon is known as the "white nights" and constitutes a major tourist attraction, unlike its winter counterpart of, I suppose, "black days" when the sun only shows its bleak face for a couple of hours, and 4pm is nightfall. Does my description of St. Petersburg inspire ambivalent feelings in you? Well, now you know where Dostoevsky gets it from. I love the place with all my heart, by the way.
A few pictures of St. Petersburg can be found here, with more to come as soon as I get to scanning in old photographs.
I went to college in St. Petersburg as well, and got half of my business degrees from there. College in Russia is not too different from its American counterpart: hanging out with friends, parties, and yeah, some studies too. Same old, except most exams are oral, and they have never heard of Scantrons in Russia. I was an exchange student at the University of Vaasa in Finland for a semester and so can personally attest that Finnish college is more of the same, only they study harder and party even harder there. This topic really deserves some pictures...
As I was finishing the undergraduate program at the St. Petersburg University of Economics and Finance, it became clear that my prospects in terms of employment and securing a nice lifestyle there were pretty dim unless I was prepared to work for the mafia (I'm not entirely joking, unfortunately). Some thinking and my Mom's good advice, followed by a lot of paperwork and test taking, got me applying for MBA programs abroad. I got accepted into a few, and one (University of California, Riverside) offered full sponsorship which was a must for me, as my family barely had enough money for the airfare. And this is how I ended up in the sunny California.
By the beginning of the MBA program I had had five years of schooling in business administration and a year's worth of full-time work experience as a management consultant, and I was clear on one point: business was not my thing. However, staying in Russia was not my thing for sure, so I made it through the MBA program, teeth clenched, and picked up as many CS credits as the school would allow.
<side story> Those CS credits are ultimately responsible for my marriage, and here is how. I was taking a second-quarter C++ programming class and working on a final assignment on one long dark night of March 15, 2000, and as the shadows grew longer, my eyes grew more tired because the screen resolution under Linux was way low, the display kept visibly blinking, I didn't know how to fix it, and I went to get help. The help assumed the shape of a Mexican gangbanger-looking guy with the baseball hat on backwards who opened the door of the systems lab, listened to my description of the issue, and walked over to lab B252 to assist me. Needless to say, neither one of us knows to this day how to adjust screen resolution under Linux. Despite his glossed-over failure to solve the problem, the guy sort of hung around and kept me company while I was finishing the assignment, and appeared so helpful indeed that I offered him a beer afterwards as a sign of gratitude. The beer transformed itself into Starbucks coffee (which the guy didn't drink so I never actually paid him back for the help he had failed to provide), and the guy himself shed his Mexicanness and proved to be of Indian descent. Similarly, his impression of me being the "hot Scandinavian chick" was corrected, and we even sorted out the geographic location of St. Petersburg after a couple of months. Which should tell you that the helpful guy by the name of Puneet Mehra kept sticking around... so much so that we now carry the same last name. </side story>
Then I landed a programming job at a storage dot-com called Scale8 in San Francisco (first in disguise of a summer internship which I cunningly counted for MBA credits by submitting a report on the job market in high-tech areas) and started introducing myself as a software engineer. I stayed with Scale8 through the rest of my MBA program (yes, Riverside is near Los Angeles and I had to fly up and down weekly to make it to my classes and my part-time job) and onwards, all the way till the company closed doors on May 31, 2004, may its soul rest in peace on the dot-com graveyard. Scale8 had many good things going for it, including a strong engineering team, good initial business idea, some solid technology (and some patchwork, of course), and the sense of fun, at least in its ealier days. What it didn't have was lasting good luck, and we'll leave it at that. The demise of the company was not a big blow to me, as Puneet and I had by then already decided on taking a long trip.
And the trip was awesome. And long. And adventurous. And tough. And really, really cool. And boy, am I glad to be home!!!
<to be continued as life goes on...>
You'll find my e-mail address below:
This page actually changes... but rarely