10K, Fair Distribution, GLAM Ebay, and Stanford
Letter? I Hardly Know Her! - October/November 2022
Welcome, WELCOME to Letter? I Hardly Know Her! I’m Apoorva (the her in question), a 17 y/o researcher, artist, writer, keynote speaker, and advocate for youth and gender minorities in STEAM. This newsletter is a means for me to keep track of my personal & professional growth, and to share all the good stuff I’m working on! First-timers: it’s great to meet you, I’m so glad you’re here! For my regular hardly-knowers, here’s your promised, extra special greeting: welcome you spice of pumpkin—I love you all a latte, especially this time of year.
If you too want an extra greeting, you better subscribe:
As a heads up, I publish newsletters on each MONTH/MONTH, i.e. 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, … , 12/12. Is it the most efficient system? Frankly, no. But is it the most funky fresh? Absolutely it is.
Happy 11/11, Hardly-Knowers! I’m sorry that I left you alone during spooky season. But worry not! I am back after a busy couple of months. Let’s get into it.
Omar’s Dream Run 2022
I ran my very first race! In October, I took part in the 10K for Omar’s Dream Run, an annual run organized by Omar’s Dream Foundation where all proceeds enable hospitalized and medically supervised children to attend school and stay connected with their teachers and classmates.
What an experience it was! The weather was beautiful and the community was so incredibly welcoming and supportive. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for me—I accidentally took the 5k turn instead of my 10k turn for the loop. Needless to say, I was pretty confused and my horrible direction sense didn’t help, but I ended up just running the 5k again to finish my 10k. It was a bit difficult to gear up and do the same 5k loop again, but I took some time to shake it off and got moving.
Since I was doing the loop again, there weren’t many other runners around me anymore, and I realized how motivating the community aspect of running is. As I was jogging sadly, I ended up crossing paths with this guy who was walking his dog on the trail. Keep in mind, there was a large stretch of space before me and behind me with no runners, but this guy gave me a smile and cheered, “You’re winning!” I was so clearly not, and it made me laugh. It was such a kind thing for him to say, and it turned out to be exactly what I needed at the moment—I felt much better and lighter afterwards. It’s crazy the power that little comments have and how the kindness of strangers can make all the difference.
We powered through and I eventually got to the finish line, woo! Then, I found out that I was the third place finisher in the 10k for girls under 18, which was surprising because I wasn’t particularly fast. In all honesty, I felt like my biggest accomplishment of the day was just finishing the race, especially after that turning point at the 5k when I really felt like giving up and calling it.
Totally worth my legs being absolutely dead afterwards, and I’ll definitely be there again next year. (I’m actually now training for a half marathon in February!)
GLAM Virtual with Ebay
For some context, I am the Chief STEAM Advisor and global ambassador of the Girls Leadership Academy Meetup (GLAM), an organization that brings women leaders together to inspire girls to find their voice and take on leadership positions. I’ve been a part of GLAM for 4 years now, and so far I’ve mentored 500+ girls aged 8-12 from different socioeconomic backgrounds.
Last month, I hosted the 2022 GLAM Virtual Event with eBay!
I'm so proud of all the girls for tackling coding in Scratch, creating vision boards, asking thoughtful questions, and coming up with innovative ideas to lead world change for the issues they are passionate about. They learned all about he Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how to brainstorm and effectively pitch their own business ideas.
We had over 70 girls attend, and their enthusiasm and excitement was infectious. Huge thank you to all the inspiring eBay women leaders and coding volunteers who took the time to share their insights and advice about leadership, teamwork, and strategy, and to eBay for sponsoring the event!
I'm super happy proud of our team's hard work to make this event happen. Can't wait for the next ones!
!! ARTWORK ALERT !!
I recently finished this portrait, titled, “Destroyed.” I decided to go for a darker tone and mood after using palette knives to make it more expressive and less realistic.
As you can tell, I’m on a bit of a moody portrait binge, but I’m doing okay I promise! This is my most recent portrait. I’m deciding whether I want to leave it as is (slightly different style finish that I usually do) or if i want to add more. We’ll see!
This year, I’ve finally committed to posting art updates weekly, so if you’d like to join me, feel free to follow my art account on Instagram! It’s a good time. <3
Gems in STEM: Like Life, Distribution Ain’t Fair
You and I have struck gold. On a sunny day out in California, we found 4 gold nuggets. Obviously, we each get two—fair’s fair! But before cashing in, we spot a fifth nugget. Who gets the extra nugget? How do we split our gold fairly? This idea of achieving fair distribution is a crucial question to answer for government, politics, and life now and in the future. Does the perfect distribution even exist? Find out below!
Like Life, Distribution Ain’t Fair
iteach Interview with Eddie and Melissa
This week, I did an interview with Eddie Renz and Melissa Poliseno at iteach, and it was an absolute joy. We talked about the importance of fostering creativity, mentors, individualization in education, storytelling in STEM, and more. The interview isn’t out yet, but I’ll make sure to share it in the next one!
I submitted early application to my first college in October! Still chugging along for the rest, but we’re getting through it. I can’t wait for next year when all I’ll have to do is wait.
The Fun, the Fresh, & the Funky
I’ve recently started Rutger Bregman’s book, Humankind, and I love it so much so far. It’s a wonderfully uplifting book about how there’s a pervasive myth that people are innately evil/selfish, but Bregman uses examples from history and science that indicate the opposite is true: despite all expectations, people can be good.
I’m still reading it, but there’s this amazing story he brings up about a real life example of the fictional Lord of the Flies, except the people were not predisposed towards like evil and anarchy (the sort of darkness predicted in Golding’s novel), even in this incredibly trying and traumatic experience. It’s an inspiring and emotional story that made me tear up, I highly recommend you check out his excerpt about it here!
A few weeks ago, I swung up to Stanford to visit some of my favorite people!! I have a lot of old friends there from previous camps I’ve gone to, and it was so nice to see them after so long.
Here’s me with my friend Andrei from Mathcamp 2018 <3
At CVS with my friend Emma from Mathpath 2017 and my counselor/big Eli from RSI 2022! <3
And here’s the wonderful Claire and Sally from RSI 2022 <3
I also met up with another great friend from Mathpath 2017 who is the #1 Hardly-Knower: Alexandre! But we didn’t get a picture :(. Next time!
Such a fun day, even though I ended up walking 11 miles (I gotta learn how to bike for real).
Earlier in October, I went for breakfast with my childhood best friend, Emily! We grabbed bagels and caught up on our summers and life. My fav prom date. <3
Coming up next on Keeping Up With (K)Apoorva…
Berkeley 10K Race
I’m going up to Berkeley this weekend to do another 10K race! It’s bound to be a ton of fun, and the elevation means it’ll be a good challenge.
GLAM Virtual Event with Cisco
I’m hosting another GLAM Virtual Event this weekend, this time with Cisco! It’s going to be a blast—I’ll make sure to update you on it in the next newsletter.
Gems in STEM: “Just Keep Swimming…in Deadly Conditions”
As always, there will be more articles published for my column on Medium, and the next one will be about how machine learning can help save coastal dead zones. Make sure to follow me on Medium to stay updated!
Interview with NOVA
I recently did an interview with NOVA about my journey with math and abacus, so stay tuned for when it releases!
So excited to spend Thanksgiving with my family and friends (and also very much in need of a break).
A Quarter for Your Quote?
Here’s this letter’s quote!
You can always go farther than you think you can. Always.
This is the last line of a beautifully written and vulnerable article by one of my best friends, Rachel, about her experience running her first ultramarathon. If you read anything today it should be this—it’s an emotional journey of self reflection, pushing past doubt, community, and how someone approaches the hardest thing they’ve ever had to do. So proud of you, Sunshine!
That’s a wrap—thanks for sticking around, Hardly-Knowers. <3 I’ll see you next month for Mariah’s season! Winter is coming.
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Apoorva gives me life