Unpopularity, Posca Pens, Starbucks Business, and Driving
Letter? I Hardly Know Her! - Newsletter 02/2022
Welcome, WELCOME to Letter? I Hardly Know Her! I’m Apoorva (the her in question), a 16 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 so nice to meet you, I’m so glad you’re here! For my regular hardly-knowers, here’s your promised, extra special greeting: welcome again you unstoppable, free-flowing wind–seeing you again is like feeling the sun on your skin on a breezy day.
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 Lunar New Year, Hardly-Knowers! It’s the year of the tiger, which means it’s the year to be brave. Do the things you want to do, even if you’re scared to–what’s the worst that could happen?
The new year kicked off pretty lightly, but this month was good to set groundwork for what’s to come. Let’s get into it!
Davidson Institute’s eNewsletter Feature
Want to win $50k for doing math? Look no further–I wrote a couple words about my number theory research, my future plans in STEM, and my advice for students interested in mathematics for Davidson Institute’s bi-monthly eNewsletter!
You can check it out here!
(Applications for the 2022 Davidson Fellows are currently open, so if you’re a high-schooler doing research in STEM, literature, music, or anything else, I highly encourage you to apply!)
Gems in STEM: Why You Aren’t Popular
You aren’t popular. Sorry, but it's a mathematically proven fact...or is it? Read on to learn about the friendship paradox (and how it can help fight off infectious diseases)!
As a quick recap: my column, Gems in STEM, is a place to learn about various STEM topics that I find exciting, and that I hope will excite you too! The column is always written to be fairly accessible, so you don’t have to worry about not having background knowledge. However, it does occasionally get more advanced towards the end.
!! ARTWORK ALERT !!
Martin Luther King Jr. Day was on January 17th this year, so I shared this painting that I did as part of a commission of inspirational orators. The quote is a great reminder that the work for equality is not done.
Painting update! I’ve shared my progress on this painting for a while now, and it’s almooost done–just a couple details to fine-tune. Particularly, I want to figure out a focus in this painting because there’s currently a LOT happening. We’ll see how it goes!
ALL HAIL POSCA PENS. This is a still-life painting I’ve been working on recently, and I’m experimenting with the kind of styles I can do using my paint pens (i.e. my Posca pens). Needless to say, I’m having the time of my life.
You’ll get see to see all the finished products in the next newsletter (hopefully).
International Women’s Day: Art Auction
Speaking of art, International Women’s Day 2022 is coming up…which means my art gallery’s annual art auction (and alliteration apparently)!
As is tradition, this IWD (March 8) I will be auctioning a portrait of a trailblazing woman, with all the proceeds going to charity. In 2021, I painted a portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the “Notorious” RBG, to honor her revolutionary work for gender equality. As a feminist icon, she is a perfect example of what IWD is all about: women’s empowerment.
With the portrait, I ended up raising $4,000, thanks to the wonderful support of eBay and iTalent Digital! The funds went towards the Child Advocates of Silicon Valley to aid foster youth and support court-appointed volunteer advocacy to protect children who have experienced abuse or neglect.
For this year’s portrait, the change-maker of history remains a mystery…but all will be revealed soon (a promise to my subscribers <3).
Harvard Business Case: Starbucks China
This month, as part of The Knowledge Society (TKS), I had the chance to analyze an actual, real-life business case with my directors (i.e. Very Cool entrepreneurs who know what they’re talking about).
Basically, we were trying to figure out an innovative way to manage and maximize Starbucks’s growth in China with the tall order of having over 3,400 stores by the end of 2019 (twas an old case).
I’d never looked at these type of issues from a purely business perspective and got to crunch the numbers to see what kind of growth was possible in the given time-frames. It was crazy interesting to see how to reframe competitors’ success & situations as potential for company growth, instead of seeing it as a negative setback.
I got to give a closing pitch as to how “we” (Starbucks) could tackle this problem by first quickly expanding licensed stores (which are basically pure profit since Starbucks is essentially being paid to outsource work without losing money to set it up), incentivizing mobile ordering and delivery, expanding the Starbucks Premium experience, adding personalized touches and themes (especially in Q2 where profits consistently dipped), and eventually acquiring other companies to reach (and surpass) the goal of 3,400 stores.
All in all, a grande start to the new year!
The Fun, the Fresh, & the Funky
New semester, new classes. But luckily, fun & funky classes! I’m taking a course on the mathematics of politics, democracy, and social choice, which I’m pretty excited about. We’re currently discussing different types of elections (and how horrendous the electoral college system is).
I’m also doing Intro to Circuit Analysis, huzzah! I’ve waiting to get my hands on electrical engineering things.
I’ve been practicing my driving and drove in traffic for the first time today!! It certainly was a rite of passage being fed up by it.
I’m doing my behind-the-wheel test later this month (on my 17th birthday), so fingers crossed I have my license by the next newsletter. I feel pretty good about it because I’m basically a perfect driver (though my mom might disagree).
I visited my sister at UC Berkeley this weekend with my mom and grandpa (who is currently staying with us), and the campus is GORGEOUS. She was our tour guide and we took an ungodly amount of pictures. (My favorite tourist attraction was the whisper circle/bench, shhh).
What does the shortest month of the year have in store?
Coming up next on Keeping Up With (K)Apoorva...
This Weekend’s Hackathon: Gene-Editing and Nanotechnology
Details are still unknown (the goal of it will be revealed in two days), but I have an amazing & motivated team that I’m going to spend my entire weekend with, so it’s guaranteed to be a blast.
2022 International Women’s Day - Painting + Reveal
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MOI
Guess who’s turning 17 on February 25! Your favorite person ever <3 (It’s also the day of my driving test, so they’re legally obligated to let me pass.)
2022 Global Challenge
Starting this month in TKS, I’ll get to work with a team to solve a real-world issue in REAL-TIME with a multi-million dollar company??? Again, details unknown, but guaranteed to be revealed in March.
Gems in STEM (Topic TBD)
As always, there will be more articles published for my column on Medium, so follow me to stay updated!
I’ve always wanted to figure out what the hell NFTs are, so I’m going to start putting some digital art out on OpenSea (and hopefully will create some sort of collection). This process will force me to figure out what’s going on, so we’ll see how it goes!
A Quarter for Your Quote?
Not so much a quote as it is a poem, but this post by Joshua Bassett (who I love) has been living in my head rent-free ever since I saw it (you have to scroll through the photos to read it). Here’s the first part:
I encourage you to read it all (it’s too much to put here), but I’ll quote some of my favorite later lines!
“avoiding the bad is as silly as running from your / shadow- / you’re looking at it, while running backwards, / creating more chaos.
instead, look the other direction; / turn towards the light…
you can’t amplify negative energy / and expect positive transmutation.”
(Note: “/” indicates a line break in the poem.)
I’ve always struggled with confidence (like crippling impostor syndrome, among other things) and self-deprecation was a daily habit. I’m slowly trying to get myself out of it and replace it with genuine positive self-talk and kindness to myself. It’s certainly a process, but this reminded me why it’s important. I hope it resonates with you, too.
Alrighty, we’re finally done! (A tiny problem with this newsletter release system is that sometimes the dates are TOO close together, but alas, one must suffer to be funky fresh.)
If you aren’t already subscribed, get on it! Gently press that button below to get your extra special greeting in the next newsletter! <3
Feel free to contact me about speaker events, comments, and anything else at email@example.com! You can also connect with me on LinkedIn, follow me on Medium, and check out my art gallery, personal website, or Instagram.
Now that you are ready to delete “hardly” from Letter? I Hardly Know Her!, I would greatly appreciate you sharing this so that my publication name doesn’t become irrelevant & obsolete! <3