NOVA, Stanford, California Senate, and Italy
Letter? I Hardly Know Her! - January/February 2023
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 bowl of pasta—I’ll never get tired of seeing you in front of me.
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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 happy new year, Hardly-Knowers! I hope you’ve had a wonderful start to the year. 2023 has been kind to me so far—I just got back from Italy (which is why we’re skipping to the February update)! Time passes fast, huh? On that note, let’s get right into it.
Interview with NOVA | PBS
PBS’s NOVA is an award-winning documentary series that teaches science and mathematics by examining its history, nuance, and applications. I remember watching NOVA when I was younger, fascinated by its crazy range of topics and in awe of all the incredible people on it who had been in their respective fields for decades.
So, I was obviously super excited when their team approached me to do a short interview! I had such a great time talking with them about my love for abacus & math (and it was tons of fun revisiting my Genius Junior days).
You can check out the short interview below!
Accepted to Stanford!
I applied early action to Stanford (which meant my college decision came out on December 16) and was accepted! I haven’t committed yet—I plan to wait for all my college decision results before carefully deciding—but twas very exciting! I’m incredibly grateful for all my teachers/mentors, family, and friends who have shaped me and who I have learned so much from—it goes without saying that I would not be where I am without them. And this is just the start—I can’t wait to see where the next 4 years take me.
Commendation from Senator Dave Cortese
It was a tremendous honor to receive a commendation from California State Senator Dave Cortese this past month. Growing up in Evergreen and San Jose has shaped my love for service, learning, and research, and I can't wait to continue helping the people in my community and beyond. A huge thank you to Senator Cortese for inspiring and encouraging public service in youth!
Top 300 Scholar in the Regeneron Science Talent Search
In early January, I found out I’m one of this year’s top 300 Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholars! Regeneron STS is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. If you’re in the US and have done/are doing research in STEM, I absolutely recommend you apply for this when you’re a senior! It’s a wonderful community of young people who are passionate about making tangible change in the world. (I’m also super proud of the 29 friends from RSI who were also named scholars for their research!)
San Francisco Hot Chocolate Run
To start off the new year, I ran the 2023 SF Hot Chocolate Run 10k!! I had originally planned to run the 15k, but I got COVID around mid-December and my training was impacted :(. Since I was planning to travel two days after the race, I thought it would be safer to just do the 10k and still get to enjoy the delicious hot chocolate.
It was such a beautiful day to run, it was cool, sunny, and a little cloudy. As always, everyone there was so supportive and amped up—I love the atmosphere and energy at races. This is very possibly my favorite race yet because they gave out little cups of DARK CHOCOLATE and HUGE MARSHMALLOWS at the aid stations!! And, of course, the hot chocolate was to die for (or run for?).
!! ARTWORK ALERT !!
My last expressive painting of the year! This one was tough, but a great experience painting an older subject who aren't often represented in art & media. Turning 18 in 2023 has me thinking about getting older, and I wanted to express the dynamism, excitement, and vibrancy of it that can sometimes be overlooked.
This past year has been a wonderful year of artistic growth and experimenting for me, and I can't wait to see what 2023 brings.
The Fun, the Fresh, & the Funky
Some of the fun-nest, freshest, and funkiest things of 2022 happened in the past few months!
My sister, Anoohya, graduated from UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry!! It was such a proud moment for our family, and we celebrated with food, laughter, gifts, and many many pictures. I can’t believe my big sister is done with her undergrad years, and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
As mentioned, I visited Italy in January with one of my closest friends! I got to stay with her and tag along while she taught physics at a STEM high school in the beautiful Brescia. After school, we explored North Italy and went to Florence, Rome, and Milan. I loved every minute (even on the four hour train) and ate so much pasta it’s unreal. Picture time!
We saw some spectacular views…
…ate amazing food…
…got rained on while posing in front of history…
…and saw many stylish birds!
Okay, that’s enough pictures. Just kidding, one more! Probably my favorite picture from 2022, one that I’ve thought a lot about while reflecting…
Soju the corgi! The cutest corgi in the entire world.
Coming up next on Keeping Up With (K)Apoorva…
What’s brewing in February?
I’m working with my friends, Rachel and Graeme, on a project creating a database/problem memo on malnutrition for every single country, as a place to easily reference to learn and understand the magnitude of this issue and how it differs geographically. I couldn’t have asked for a better and more dedicated team to do this with, and we’re part of a larger group of wonderful people creating similar databases for the “World’s Biggest Problems (WBPs)”. We are currently in the first stage of compiling data, and I’m looking forward to learning throughout the process and contributing to a better understanding of malnutrition worldwide.
Reinforcement Learning Project
I’ve recently gotten the opportunity to work with my electrical engineering professor from the last semester on a reinforcement learning project on controlling drone swarms (with an example application of monitoring wildfires). I can’t wait to see where it goes, especially since it’s my first time doing research in programming/engineering.
Global Indian Feature
I was recently interviewed by the Global Indian, and I’m excited to share the article with you next newsletter!
18th birthday + Victory Half-Marathon
Adulthood approaches…I’m turning 18 this month! What better way to avoid an existential crisis than to run head-first through it? I’m planning to run the Victory Half-Marathon the morning of my birthday (which is actually around the time I was born), and it’s going to be a ton of fun (and maybe pain). I’ll keep you updated!
Gems in STEM
As always, there will be more articles published for my column on Medium, so feel free to follow me on Medium to stay updated!
2023 International Women’s Day
As is tradition, this International Women’s Day (March 8) I will be auctioning a portrait of a trailblazing woman, and all the proceeds will go to charity! In 2022, I painted a portrait of poet and activist Maya Angelou to honor her her rippling impact on storytelling and society. With the portrait, I ended up raising $7,000 for Nova Ukraine's Humanitarian Aid Fund to provide aid and emergency care to refugees and citizens in the war zone in Ukraine. The portrait and cause for this year will soon be revealed—stay tuned!
GLAM Event with the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG)
On March 18, I’m hosting a GLAM Virtual Event with LSEG, a partnership born for Women’s History Month! It’s going to be a blast—I’ll make sure to keep you updated.
A Quarter for Your Quote?
Here’s our quote for this month! I love the last line especially, and I think it’s a good reminder to start the new year with an open and flexible mind while learning and teaching.
Richard P. Feynman
(You can read the whole essay here.)
That’s it from me, Hardly-Knowers. I hardly know how it’s already February, but I wish you the most wonderful month ahead. I can’t wait to see you in March. Ciao!
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