Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hot, Hot Day.

In class, Ms. Hall gave us our figure presentation topics. They all are derived from the science articles we've been reading. I received "somatic mosaicism." I had no idea what it was until I went to the library to do research. I was instantly interested. Somatic mosaicism occurs when a person has two different genotypes at the same time. It is commonly seen in chimerism.

Enough of my research topic; class was interesting as well. In class we performed two protocols. We took our DNA and placed it in three different Polymerase Chain Reactions. This will amplify our DNA, specifically parts that we want to compare. We will later compare everyone's DNA to see similar patterns and genetic similarities. It's exciting to see your DNA alongside others on an agarose gel.

We also used our DNA to finish making microscope slides. We were able to look at the slides to find our lymphocytes, and--with some luck-- our chromosomes. Our DNA that we've been using all came from the blood we drew a week ago! The class is accelerating as it quickly comes to an end.

In other news, I visited the music library today. It had hundreds of music scores, and a lot on the history of music. In the basement, there was a practice room with a piano. I found out that one of my friends has amazing relative pitch, which means he can play songs just by hearing them. The amazing part is that he doesn't play any musical instruments.

Other than that, the day was just another fun day at Brown. I'm excited to see the Brown II cohort tomorrow!

Greetings From Rhode Island!

I got no sleep on the night of July 4th, not only because of the fireworks but because I knew I wasn’t going to get any sleep. Rather, I made plans to catch up on my sleep during my 6-hour plane ride to Rhode Island. I spent the whole night packing and mentally preparing for my journey to the East Coast.

The meeting place for my cohort was El Cerrito High School. My mom, brother, and I arrived at around 3 AM, as the shuttle was expected at 4 and we still needed to receive loaner items from Don. However, two other people were there before us: my friends Vincent and Jaskaran. They got up at 2:30 and drove out to EL Cerrito just to say goodbye to their De Anza friends!

As we boarded the shuttle and said goodbye to our friends and family, we realized there wasn’t enough space for one of our fellow flyers, Ms. Madeline Kronenberg. She ended up finding a way to the Oakland Airport by the generosity of Mariko’s parents.

After checking in our luggage and a quick breakfast, we boarded Southwest Airlines just as the sun began to rise from the horizon. This was my first time on a plane since last year, and I admit, about 80% of my time was spent with me looking out of the window fascinated by the clouds.

At 4 PM, we finally arrived at Rhode Island. The first thing I noticed, for unknown reasons, was the fact that the airport was carpeted. The next thing I noticed was how incredibly humid it was outside. One could feel the moisture in the air as they breathed in, and unlike in the West Coast, hiding in shade wouldn’t make the temperature any cooler. After a small incident involving a change in rental cars, we were on our way to our hotel, Hotel Providence. It’s the fanciest hotel I’ve ever stayed in, and Cynthia, Rebecca and I had the honor of staying in the Samuel Mark Twain Clemmens Suite.

An hour after arrival in the hotel, we met up in the lobby and headed out to Capital Grille, an elegant restaurant in Providence. There, we met and dined with two admission officers of Brown University and our Women and Leadership teacher, Kisa Takesue. I had the meal of champions: Lobster bisque, Filet Mignon, and side orders of Lobster Mac’n’ Cheese, a medley of mushrooms, and potatoes au gratin.

We’re back in the hotel now, and after our first meeting with our chaperone, the girls and I shared our opinions and insight of what happened today. It’s been less than 24 hours, and after bonding in our pajamas in the lobby of our hotel, I look forward to spending 3 weeks with my fellow Brownies even more. We all have different personalities and different ways of expressing humor and comfort toward each other, but we all get along extremely well and there is no doubt that we will all be like sisters by the end of this trip.

36-Hour Day

Day 1 of my Ivy League Connection experience has been the longest day of my life. This is actually not an exaggeration, as I woke up on July 4th at 9 AM and decided not to even bother sleeping that night because I had to be at El Cerrito High School at 3:15 AM. I assumed that I could just sleep on the plane, but I had forgotten about our layover in Chicago, which broke up the flight into a 3-hour ride from Oakland to Midway Airport, and then a 2-hour flight to Chicago. So, other than a few 10 minute naps, I have essentially been awake for 36 hours.

Our cohort had quite the journey before even flying across the country. Once we arrived at the school, we weighed our bags, listened to a very thorough and informative speech on loaner items presented by Don, and then took a group picture. When the van came to pick us up, we said goodbye to our loved ones, loaded our bags, and boarded. However, the shuttle service was misinformed about how many people they were to take, and Madeline Kronenberg was unable to fit. Luckily, Mariko’s father David was extremely kind, and gave her a ride to the Oakland airport, where she met with the rest of us. After a long checkout, we finally boarded the plane. The flight itself went quite smoothly, and we arrived in Providence right on time, where we were greeted by Mrs. Larson, the chaperone of the Brown I group.
After some trouble with the rental cars, we finally drove to Hotel Providence. I was pleasantly surprised by downtown Providence. I found the narrow streets and brick buildings to be quite charming, and the town definitely had a distinct character. We arrived at the beautiful Hotel Providence and were greeted by a warm staff and truly luxurious rooms. My roommate, Ava Burnell, collapsed on her bed from exhaustion, while I stared out of our window at the breathtaking view of Providence.
We then had an hour to get ready for our first dinner at Capital Grille. There we met Kisa Takesue, who will be teaching the Women and Leadership course in the upcoming two weeks. We also were joined by two Brown Admissions officers, Mercedes Domenech and Elizabeth Hart. I was lucky enough to be seated next to Mercedes and across from both Mercedes and Kisa. I found out a lot about the course and about the entire Summer@Brown program from Kisa, and was able to talk about to Mercedes and Elizabeth about admission to Brown. When I asked about what she looked for in a Brown application, Mercedes told me that she looks for an application that is fresh and unique, not one that sounds like it “came from a textbook”. This response was extremely refreshing to me, as the college application process seems to become more and more competitive and impersonal.
The dinner itself was spectacular. Mr. Ramsey ordered about five sides for the group to share, each of which was delicious. I ordered the crab and lobster stuffed shrimp, which was beyond decadent. The conversation at the table was excellent. Although much of the discussion was about Brown, our class, and the application process, other conversation topics included books, movies, and our high school experiences. I had some especially interesting conversations with Mercedes. A native of Spain, she was interested in my plans to visit Spain later this summer. We talked about the different customs and food of different cultures, and she insisted that I tried her lobster bisque. I then gave her one of my lobster-stuffed shrimp, and soon the entire table was sharing their food. She also gave me advice about college and selecting an area of study, which has been a topic of concern recently. She was also the neighbor of the restaurant owner, so we got free dessert, which was espresso cake, crème Brule, and berries. Topped off with a cappuccino, and I was in heaven.
Overall the dinner was a success. I learned so much, had a fantastic meal, and bonded with my cohort. When we got back to the hotel, we decided to have a group blogging-party. However, when we checked our emails, we were shocked by an angry email from one of the Ivy League Connection administrators, who was concerned that we were segregated by school. This was actually quite hilarious to us, as we were all squeezed into a couch having a great time. Either way, we hope that there is less of a concern at this point with our group “attitude”.
Day one is done, and has been a blast. I have positive feelings about the rest of our trip, and can tell that this will be an incredibly enriching experience. Tomorrow we will be touring both Boston University and Dartmouth, and have to be ready to go at 7:15 AM. So now I need to rest up, and get ready for a full day tomorrow. Ciao!

1st Day at Rhode Island!

After a long but exciting day, I am now sitting in the lobby having a blog party with all 7 of our Women and Leadership students from Ivy League Connection. We’ve concluded that the major review points of our day.

We met at ECHS at 3:15 where we got a useful briefing about our trip and we took a group photo. We took a shuttle (with a very nice driver) to the Oakland Airport. We took two flights to get to Rhode Island and they were both quite pleasant. We mainly slept through the flights.

We checked into our amazing hotel at about 5:30. We went to our rooms to get dressed for our dinner and then we met back down in the lobby at 6:45.

We ate dinner at Capital Grille with our cohorts and chaperones. We were very lucky to have Kisa Takesue, Elizabeth Hart, and Mercedes Domenech join us for dinner. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to speak to Elizabeth or Mercedes. However they seemed to be very warm, friendly people. I was not uncomfortable speaking with them at all because they were so open and easy to talk to. I was able to relax and have a nice dinner with intuitive conversations without panicking or being preoccupied with sounding collegiate. I spoke with Domenech about many topics ranging from the questionable twilight movie series to racial cliques in our high school. I greatly enjoyed our conversation and I look forward to having class with her as my teacher!

At the end of this tiring day, I absolutely adored gathering with my other Women and Leadership buddies. We are all becoming close and shared some great laughs during our blog party. It’s really nice to meet people from other schools and to get the chance to know each other. Every one of these girls is very sweet and considerate and they all took care of me this morning when I wasn’t feeling well. I think we will be best friends by the time we leave and I hope those friendships last my entire life.


A Day at the Arnold Lounge

I woke up this morning thinking about Cohort #2! They are finally in Providence.

After a three day weekend, it was difficult waking up at 7:30AM again. Nonetheless, I felt better about seizing my day. Our group met up during class and we made an outline of what we needed to do for our project. I made a list of what each person in the group needed to do and what statistics we needed to support our main points. I was in charge of covering our introduction and definitions. Jose focused on introducing the debate topic: the best way to deal with the California budget deficit will be to raise taxes opposed to cutting spending. Andrew covered our solution, which was to raise taxes. As a group, we looked at solving the problem of a $25.4 billion deficit from both sides of the debate. Cutting spending seemed like a good idea in the short term, but we found that raising taxes would have less of a negative impact on the GDP and would slowly but surely generate revenue for California. This project made me look critically at the situation and develop a strong argument based on statistics and the interest of the people. We worked a little in class before Professor Coleman gave his lecture on aggregate supply and demand curves.
Andrew, Jose, and I met in the Arnold lounge to swap research and finalize the PowerPoint presentation. Andrew and I have a lot of public speaking experience from Forensics Speech and Debate at school so filling our 5 minute intervals of the presentation was relatively easy. We helped Jose with some bullet points to cover in his part of the project. He was uncomfortable with talking in front of us in our mock presentation. After running through our slides and speeches, we all felt better about presenting tomorrow. As a whole, I'm satisfied with my project and with the people in my group. I've worked so well with Andrew this summer and I'm glad that I had the chance to work with another student from another state. Andrew came up with an impressive quote that we are using for a strong concluding statement.
Later in the night there was an art class in the Arnold Lounge (that was a hot spot today). A dual majoring Brown/RISD student, Josephine, held a small discussion seminar with a small handful of Summer@Brown students. We had to express a random word that we picked from a basket in art form. My word was "humble". I really could not think of anything so I made simple designs and tried not to get too fancy. There was one guy there, Zach, who I met from the first RISD tour. He is an amazing illustrator. We are going to hang out and draw tomorrow. He also gave me the website for his sister's art, who is currently studying at the University of Southern California (one of my top choices for college).
I cannot wait to meet up with cohort #2 tomorrow. It is always nice to see some familiar faces. Skype has been great. I have been able to web cam my friends and family to rave about Rhode Island. Adapting to the east coast was not that hard for me. My floor mates have rated my room "most homey" out of the entire basement of Jameson. Visitors often stop by to look at all the mail on my wall. All the postcards and letters are wonderful and fun to receive.
I'll expand more on my presentation tomorrow. Professor Coleman has a lot in store for us! He is the same professor for Game Theory so he told us to bring in our laptops so he can show us some of the material he is teaching his other class. Time to rest up for a great day tomorrow.

Day 1: Up All Night Before The Flight

Because of the fireworks from the fourth of July, I could not get to sleep. I stayed up until I had to leave at 2:30AM to get to El Cerrito High School. We took many pictures until the shuttle pulled up, which unfortunately was a seat short. Ms. Kronenberg found a ride and eventually showed up at the airport. When we got on the plane, I fell asleep. I felt really subconscious until I saw Cynthia Yip asleep, too. When we got to Chicago, I got some nachos and chowed down until the plane pulled up to the gate. After a confusing mix-up at the gate, we got our seats, and quickly fell asleep for the entire two hour flight to Providence.

We pulled up to the gate at 4:00PM and the first thing I noticed was the air. The moist air quickly made it too hot to withstand. Mr. Ramsey got our rental cars checked out and we were on our way… until our second car suffered a button malfunction. After a while, we were on our way again and got to Hotel Providence where we were greeted by bellhops. The bags were taken up to our rooms where we changed for the dinner at Capital Grille.

I was pleased with our seating arrangements as I was seated between Kisa Takesue, the Woman & Leadership teacher and Elizabeth Hart, an Admissions Officer at Brown University. Mercedes Domenech, another Brown Admissions Officer, sat across from me. We had a very delicious dinner and the dessert was better. Afterwards, we chatted about movies, books, and colleges. After the bill was paid, we took more pictures and our guests gratefully took us home.

When we pulled up to the hotel, we went up to our room and changed out of our formal wear and (for me) into pajamas. Then we went into the lobby where we started our blogs. As I sit down to write this blog I realize that I made so many new friends and today wouldn’t have been as great without them.

Patience Rewarded

After a long process of degrading proteins and purifying DNA, I have seen my chromosomes—if small dots surrounded by cytoplasm are considered chromosomes. I was actually surprised that I saw any chromosomes, partly because I had to stay after class and rush to get it finished and half of the slide was covered in glue. Even after this anticipation, I have only “seen” the chromosomes, there was no analysis done to it that can tell me anything about what is coded inside or how those genes are expressed—that is saved for tomorrow.

Probably the hardest technique to master is patience. While viewing my slide, I saw next to nothing; there were a lot of lymphocyte nuclei, but none had ruptured and released their chromosomes. Ms. Hall and her TA have repeated several times to me that when your patience is done that is when to move on. Most students had left the lab before seeing their chromosomes because they didn’t have the patience to find one ruptured nucleus amongst tens of thousands of nuclei. I stayed a while after class and found my chromosomes with the help of Ms. Hall.

In a final test of my skill, I will be expected on Friday to present a subject that I randomly drew today. It will not only test whether I retained my understanding of the analysis of the techniques I learned, but if I can put all of the activities Brown is offering aside until I finished researching my subject and organizing my presentation.

Bonding At Brown

First of all, I would like to apologize for the misleading title. The Brown Session II cohort has not yet entered the dorms. However, we are now in Providence and if all goes well we will begin classes next Monday!

My dad woke me up around 2:30 AM, which is much too early for me. However, I knew that this amazing ILC experience would be worth every second of lost sleep. Brown Session II met at El Cerrito High School a little after 3. After the distribution of loaner items and obligatory picture taking, we all bade our families farewell and headed off to the Oakland Airport.

I attempted to sleep throughout our five hour plane ride--with limited success. When I finally gave up the battle for slumber, I ate the scrumptious blueberry muffins that my mother had packed me as a makeshift breakfast. 

As a side note for the plane ride, I was absolutely awestruck by the view–the Bay Area looked beautiful this morning, shrouded as it was by thick fog banks.

Once we arrived in Providence, Ms. Larson met us at the airport. After a mix-up with the rental vehicle the ten of us headed off to Hotel Providence, where I indulged myself in the luxury of a shower. We met in the lobby and took a short cab ride to the Capital Grille, where we met Mercedes Domenech and Elizabeth Hart, two admissions officers from Brown University, along with Kisa Takesue, our Women and Leadership instructor. I sat across from Adrianne Ramsey and next to Ava Burnell; I was also close to Ms. Takesue, who sat across from Ava. She gave us some excellent insight about Brown in general and the Women and Leadership course in particular. I am eagerly looking forward to moving into dorms on Monday!

After our delicious dinner, we seven W&L girls had a blogging party in the hotel lobby. I had always known that I would enjoy myself on the East Coast and at Brown, but I had failed to anticipate how much I would bond with my new friends from De Anza. I am so happy that this trip has helped me to form connections with girls from other schools in our district! Josie, Cynthia, and Rebecca are the friendliest, sweetest people I have ever had the pleasure of traveling to the other side of the country with! I know that after our incredibly successful first day we will all have a blast in Rhode Island!

A last, celebratory comment–we didn’t get stuck in Chicago!

Making Progress

Today’s class covered the important concept of the AD-AS curve, which stands for the aggregate demand-aggregate supply curve. This curve that compares demand and supply in terms of the aggregate price level and real GDP is a vital tool when talking about the macroeconomy. Mr. Coleman discussed the distinction between long-run aggregate supply and short-run aggregate supply and the output gap that can result from the difference between actual aggregate output and potential output. Even though the economy is self-correcting in the long run, the government can enact fiscal policies or monetary policies to speed up recoveries. We also learned about money, a seemingly simple idea but is actually quite complex. The United States now uses fiat money, money that has value because we agree upon it, as opposed to commodity-backed money, which was used in our previous gold standard system.

We covered a ton of material in our class time so Mr. Coleman rewarded us by letting us finish Blood Diamond. I became very emotional at the end of the movie, but I tried to shield my tears from my classmates because from what I could tell, the boys sitting next to me weren’t crying. I really enjoyed the movie, but I’m disturbed by the horrific diamond wars in Africa.

Our group changed our presentation day to Thursday to give us more time to work on our project. We met in the SciLi at 4 PM to discuss our plans. Ellen didn’t show up because she was not feeling well, but Tomas, Johnny, Emily, and I were ready to work. We created a Google Doc PowerPoint presentation so that we can work on it individually. I’m almost finished with my section titled “China’s Economy: why do we care?” I still have to complete the evidence page after everyone gives me their sources. I am quite happy with the progress we’re making. We’ll be ready to present on Thursday.

To Brown Session 2: welcome to Providence!

Family Connections at Brown

Waking up this morning was much anticipated because I was looking forward to attending class, as well as Brown session two’s arrival in providence. In class we discussed aggregate supply and demand and these are just either the amount of finished goods desired by the consumers, or the amount of final goods supplied by the producers. It was fairly interesting, but not as interesting as other days. Tomorrow is our final group project and I am very excited to present our findings. As just a fun fact: if one person were trying to pay off California’s debt individually they would have to pay one dollar every second for over 850 years. This is just to put the debt into more relatable terms.
After class I was able to meet with my mom’s cousin, who is my cousin as well, Rolland Murrary. He is an English professor at Brown University focusing on American literature of the 20th century as well as literature from the Black Power movement. I had never met him previous to today so seeing him and talking to him about our large family and the differences between the family dynamics now and when he was growing up was very interesting. We ate lunch together and then afterwards he toured me around the English department area of Brown. Even though I had never seen him before today, to talk to another family member was a true treat for me.

After this amazing experience I met up with my group one last time before our final presentation tomorrow. We did mock presentations, modified our power points, and lastly made some additions. I am very confident that tomorrow my group mates and I will do an astounding job on our presentations. Our basic plan to reduce the budget deficit is to raise taxes on things such as alcohol, cigarettes, property, services, and other goods. The major income taxes will be placed upon the more wealth California citizens. We figured that if we cut spending’s you would cut too deeply into education, the long term driving force of any civilization. College students would receive less financial aid, and the primary and secondary schools would lose beneficial programs such as the arts or sports.
After completing this, my roommate, some friends and I had a cultural dance gathering in which we all listened and learned dance moves to each other cultural music. It was pretty interesting to see all of the dances that people do across the globe. I believe that you can tell a lot about certain cultures via their dance and song traditions. All in all today was a rather productive and interesting day. As the days get shorter here I am already beginning to miss this whole rollercoaster. Brown is truly amazing.

Finally Arrived in Rhode Island!

I awoke at 2 in the morning, and I automatically smiled - it was time to go to Rhode Island! I added a few more items to my suitcase, said goodbye to my mother and sister, and was taken to El Cerrito High School. I was excited to see everyone, even though we all looked really dreary! After being talked to by Don about loaner items and what we are expected to do on the trip, we all took the obligatory group photo. Just putting our arms around each other and smiling bought us closer.

After taking the shuttle to the airport, it hit me: we are almost here! We're really getting closer! We checked in our luggage, went through security, and got a quick breakfast while waiting to board the plane. Since our plane departed at almost six in the morning, the plane was not very crowded. I sat next to Josephine and we had a really nice conversation for the three hour plane ride to Chicago (plus taking multiple naps to catch up on sleep).

Our one hour layover in Chicago went by very quickly, and soon enough we were on our plane to Providence. The flight was only an hour and forty five minutes, so it went by pretty quickly. I sat with Josephine and my dad, and we had a nice conversation. All three of us held hands as our plane touched down on the runway - we were officially in Providence!

After taking a bathroom break, we quickly went to gather luggage, and then meet Ms. Larson! It was really great to see her again. She looked so happy, and told us a bit about how Brown Session 1 is going - I can't wait to see them!

Ms. Larson, Ms. Williams, Caroline, Rebecca, and I crowded into Ms. Larson's rental car while my dad took Josephine, Ava, Mariko, and Cindy. We had to wait for a while because there was a problem with my dad's car, but the problem was quickly solved and we were off to Hotel Providence.

The minute we stepped in the hotel, I was in awe. The lobby shone with gold and brass, marble floors, and beautiful tapestry. We waited for our luggage to be loaded while we received our roommate situation for the next five days. My roommate is Mariko! I am excited to be rooming with Mariko; ironically, we both have Macbooks! We were then informed by my dad that we would have an hour to dress for a formal dinner with our W&L teacher and Brown admission officers!

Our hotel room is absolutely gorgeous, small, but with all our assets. Mariko and I quickly cleaned and dressed for the dinner. The whole group met downstairs - everyone looked so fancy and nice.

Dinner was at the Capital Grille, and I ordered dry-aged sirloin steak with a side of mashed potatoes. I also got multiple Shirley Temples! I sat next to Kisa Takesue, our Women and Leadership teacher! She was so enthusiastic, energetic, personable, and very sociable. The table was seated a certain way: the sophomores had majority of the opportunity to talk to Kisa, whereas the juniors sat more centered around the two admission officers, Mercedes Domeneck and Elizabeth Hart. I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Ava, Caroline, Mariko, Rebecca, and Kisa. Dinner was lovely and desert was delicious. We also sang happy birthday to Josephine, whose birthday is tomorrow.

Currently we are having a blogging party in the lobby! The internet connection is very sketchy in our hotel rooms, and although we have ethernet cables, connecting to the ethernet was hard as well. Fortunately, internet connection is perfect in the lobby. I'm glad I remembered what Brown Session 1 said!

Tomorrow, we will visit Boston University and Dartmouth College. I haven't seen Boston University before, but it will be exciting to see Dartmouth for a third time!
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