Last summer I worked on an app that uses acoustic sensing for indoor floor mapping. In other words, I was helping make the phone act as a bat and use echolocation. This was super interesting and I learned how Android Studio (the software to make phone apps) worked, which helped me on my robotics team as well. It was a highly independent endeavor, however. I spent hours on stack overflow every day. This can sometimes be frustrating, but it is very rewarding when the app finally works. I was lucky to have two other high school students in my lab, one from California and one from Brooklyn. Although they were working on other projects, we had plenty of time to talk at lunch and in the lab. By the end of my five weeks we got to know each other pretty well. This summer, in 2018, I did research with the Garcia Center for Polymers at Engineered Interfaces at Stony Brook University. I tried out materials science this year because I had recently become interested in 3D printing and the plastics used. I worked on improving PLA (a commonly used plastic in 3D printing) by making it biodegradable and flame-retardant. I did this research with a partner, Albert Tian, one of my friends in high school. I really enjoyed working with a partner this year; I enjoyed talking out things that were confusing, and working through tough spots together. The project I worked on in 2017 was accepted to MobiSys: an annual conference for mobile systems. You can read the paper here. There is a video here
This summer, I had the opportunity to work at a Fortune 500 company. CA Technologies is a company mainly distributes infrastructure security applications and technology to other businesses. I helped with the intranet redesign for their GIS team. The intranet is the network that helps connect people within the company and give employees information.
This was my first ever work experience and it was all very new to me. I walked in the fancy glass doors all dressed up. I had a cubicle, a laptop, and a boss. Surprisingly, the oddest part about it was calling all the adults by their first name. I had to speak to people three times my age comfortably, eloquently and formally. I had to make phone calls, and be able to explain what I wanted in a very clear and direct manner. I had to manage my time and make sure I got to meetings. I also learned how to sign off emails with the proper formalities. These seem like trivial things but a small “looking forward to meeting you” changes the receiver’s view of you in a heartbeat.
Watching my boss interact with people and his social adeptness made me realize that the things I learned are incredibly important in my career.
I have doing science olympiad for the past three years. I have always done the flying events. Last year it was elastic launched glider. This year it is helicopters. Here is a picture of the last one I built.
Throughout my years, I have found a large myth in flying about lift. It is floated around in textbooks and online.
When I was younger I believed in this myth too. Only recently I found out and it has helped me to improve my flying contraptions. The common myth is the Equal transit Theorem. This states that when air passes over an airfoil the air above it and below it must reach the trailing edge of the airfoil at the same time.
Therefore if the path along the top of the airfoil is longer than the path below the airfoil the air on top will flow faster. Due to Bernoulli’s principle this creates an upward force. What most people don’t realize is this would be the full story only if the wing span was infinite.
Think about a paper airplane. The top of the wing is not longer than the bottom of the wing yet it still flies. So the reality is lift comes mainly from more fundamental origins: Newton (then again, doesn’t everything). His third law states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This is the more complete reason for lift.
Air is pushed down and therefore the vehicle goes up. In the example of my helicopter, when the blades spin due to the wound rubber band (put between the two horizontal sticks), the air is pushed downwards by the blades and then the helicopter goes up. This is also the reason that I curved my blades. With a curve, the air is pushed down at a steeper angle which produces a stronger force upwards.
So while Bernoulli’s principle does apply, it is not nearly the full story.
When the ice cream truck came singing into our community I was always the one that let everyone go in front of me so I could decide. At a restaurant, I was always the last person to pick a dish. In sixth grade, I was always the one still rummaging through the bucket of lollipops when the bell rang.
As you can see, I am not very good with decisions. I weigh every little possibility before I decide. That may allow me good decisions but it also makes me appear indecisive.
Over this past summer I had to make the biggest decision of my 15 year life. I had to decide what I wanted to keep: soccer or drums. It may not seem like a big decision, but to me, it meant the world. Both are near and dear to my heart so this was one decision that was most definitely not quick. I have been playing soccer since I was in kindergarten, and many of my friends play soccer as well. I have been playing the drums since second grade and I love just sitting at my drumset and playing for hours.
I made this decision over several weeks and contemplated my future in both of these activities. I first thought about how much I love soccer versus how much I like my drums. It was pretty close. Then I began to realize that I probably won’t continue playing soccer in college. I would love to join an intramural league, but if I want to pursue a degree in STEM, I probably won’t be able to fully dedicate myself to a college team.
So this year I am leaving my favorite sport in favor of the pre-college division at Stony Brook University. Luckily, it is a slow transition as I was still able to have one last year as captain of my school soccer team.
Below is just something fun I figured out in the cmd. It's ASCII Star Wars!
Just download it below, extract the file, and run it! Unfortunately, it will only work on Windows machines due to its nature.
It is a batch file so if you do not feel comfortable running it I have included a way to exit.