Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer in East Africa!

I'm spending this summer in Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya working on the plan and pilot for Worldwide Mobility. For more information and to see what I'm up to, visit my summer/Worldwide Mobility blog: empoweringmobility.blogspot.com


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Camp Kesem ("kesem" = magic)

This year will be my second working with kids at Camp Kesem. On the outside, it looks like any other summer camp. Working with the kids tells a different story. To apply to the camp, the kids have to have a shared experience: a parent with cancer. Often in difficult situations, it is easy to identify the people who need help: the person in danger or poor health. What is less observed are the effects on the kids and people close to the person.

I love working with the kids at Camp Kesem. They are wise beyond their years and are a joy to work with, even if they don't always want to sleep. It's amazing being able to take them to a different world for a week, jammed with fun, new names, and opportunities to connect with other kids who truly know what they're going through.

This year I'll be helping plan Space Day and PJ Night, so it sound like another awesome camp week is in the works =)


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Top Ten Reasons You Should Major in Aerospace at MIT

10. At the end of Unified, the class designs and gets a t-shirt, paid for by the department. Just so everyone knows how baller you are.
9. Wind tunnel.
8. The lounge has a hammock. That's right, a hammock.
7. Which means you can go right from sleeping to lab! (wait...)
6. Your professors teach you how to rip phone books in half.
5. You get to take randomly awesome classes like 16.64
4. You're automatically awesome and hardcore. Just because you make things fly.
3. "Why yes, I suppose it is rocket science"
2. You have the best, most supportive group of classmates. If you can get through Unified together, you can get through anything.
1. You get to fly in small planes and the end of the year and experience zero g!!

MIT Love #2

So the other thing I love about MIT is the ridiculous opportunities. I was fortunate enough to receive $5K from two awards this year so that I can work on an international development project in Africa this summer. Right now I'm calling Apollo-era legends that will be coming to speak at a conference I'm helping organize. It's pretty ridiculous.

And at the end of a day, I can go to our very recreation friendly sailing pavilion and take out any boat I want, because I just got my provisional rating today!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

MIT Love

One of the best things about MIT is the de-emphasis on race or ethnicity. It gets to the point where there is just so much diversity that you don't notice when majority and minority roles become switched. I was in a meeting for Camp Kesem last night and someone made an off-handed comment "Right, because you're the only Indian here." It took me a few minutes to realize that she had been completely joking because the group was in fact comprised of four Indians, one Asian, and me (white). When it was brought up again, my Asian friend said she hadn't even noticed and I realized that the thought hadn't crossed my mind either. It was such a non-issue.

One of many reasons I love this place.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why the Name

The name starfish globalization came from my first post, but today I was thinking about what I want this blog to be about and does the name really fit? At MIT, I can major in aero/astro and minor in applied international studies and make it all work out. There's such an emphasis on work play balance that it's possible to do that. So for now, I'm content with the name. "Star" has a double implication here. For now, that's good enough.

Why I'm Aero/Astro

This past weekend I spent twelve hours cutting foam for our team's wing in the basement of the aerospace lab. While this probably sounds terrible, it reminded me why I'm in this major.

1. I do really, really like this stuff.
I just broke two English rules is one sentence: never say "stuff" and never say really, and definitely not twice. But at the end of the day, seeing the finished wing, knowing that I understand one piece of machinery extremely intimately is still a satisfying feeling. I get that feeling after finishing a difficult piece of code and it somehow works after all the hours of coding and debugging. I was worried for a long time that I should be in comp sci instead or somewhere else entirely.

2. The people are incredible.
Twelve hours is always a huge amount of time to spend with anyone. But I see these long lab sessions as an opportunity to *really* get to know someone. In twelve hours, you may walk in strangers and walk out good friends. I have been very fortunate in my groups and have found all the people I have interacted with to be fantastic people. If nothing else, this major gives you plenty of opportunity to get to know people.