Thursday, May 29, 2014

Brandeis University

Brandeis's motto and utmost value
Among the five different campuses the Brown-I cohort and I will visit, Brandeis is one we will surely visit. Though not known as well as Harvard, Yale, MIT, or Dartmouth, Brandeis carries its own distinction, setting this educational institution apart from the other four.

Established in 1948, Brandeis University is a private research institution, located in Waltham, Massachusetts. It was named after one of the U.S. Supreme Court Members, Louis Dembitz Brandeis, who demonstrated superiority in social justice as well as academics. It is rather one of the youngest universities, but what sets it aside from the group (of the colleges we will visit) is that Brandeis has a particular focus in liberal arts aside from their other fields of study.

Brandeis University
If I were to attend Brandeis, I would be one of the nearly 3,600 undergraduate students of the school. I would particularly see myself in The College of Arts and Sciences, where they offer 43 majors and 46 minors. Personally, I vision myself studying to major in a biological science (biochemistry, biology, chemistry), neuroscience, psychology, or sociology. Simultaneously, I'd be minoring in International and Global Studies or Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence Studies, two topics that I find to be interesting.

Within Brandeis's 235 acres, one is sure to find beautiful architecture from the various sites at the school. Because I can't quite decide which is my favorite, it's safe to say I was stunned with the architectural design of pretty much every building at Brandeis. However, I think the most interesting building there is the castle. Constructed in 1928, the Usen Castle began as an "anatomical building" to be constructed 40 feet high and 60 feet around. Actually, the "blueprint" was quite interesting itself. According to legend, it was John Hall Smith who wanted to replicate part of a castle that he had visited in Europe, however was not able to because he was not allowed access to the official castle's blueprints. Instead, a set of hired artists and architects created the building. In it, there has been much reconstruction due to the different ownership and continuously newly appointed uses for the building. Today, though, this European-inspired castle is and has been home to 120 Brandeis sophomores every year. It's quite interesting how just a single building itself contains a history, or as tour guides like to say, mythistory. If you ask me, I'd make visiting this site a must. I mean, who wouldn't like to experience a medieval feel in a post-medieval era and, better yet, witness the product of a "mythisotical" history? I sure would!

Usen Castle, adding a medieval flare to Brandeis

The Farber Library
Adding on to the Usen Castle, I think it is fair to mention other notable buildings, such as the Farber Library, Mandel Center, and the Carl J. Shapiro Science Center, and . At the Farber Library, there has obviously been an immense amount of studying, however the architecture makes it an outstanding and  pleasant-to-look-at site. On the other hand, the Mandel Center is home to the humanities that take place at Brandeis. The Carl J. Shapiro Science Center holds an advancing development in scientific studies. Among these buildings, there has been stimulation from Brandeis students, which has produced a broader look at their fields of study at the school. Not only is the school stimulated to create a broader perspective, but it also implements finding connections between both their liberal-arts and business-related focus studies at Brandeis. I personally comply with this emphasis in connecting thoughts because I believe it is important to know the ways in which two seemingly different subjects connect. Not only do I think it is simply about connections, but rather relating their similarities and connections that are also applicable to the real world. In other words, I believe it is important to investigate the cohesiveness that lies deep within different fields of study.

A sunny Mandel Center for the Humanities

The architecturally stunning Carl J. Shapiro Science Center

Now, it wouldn't be fair to leave out the recognition that this school has earned. Thus and so, this school has gained recognition from quite different sources. One of them is the fact that it is ranked #32 by US News Colleges in the National Universities category. Furthermore, it has earned a Bronze award the Mandel Center for the Humanities in 2011. Not so surprisingly, due to the fact that Brandeis is a liberal arts school, Brandeis earned the Award of Excellence for their Theater Arts in 2008. In addition, the school has Pulitzer Prize winners, a Nobel laureate and Emmy Award-winning actors and actresses, broadcasters, and producers. Among these notable actors/actresses are Debrah Messing ('90), Loretta Devine ('76), and Tony Goldwyn ('82). On the other hand, Robert Romasco ('69) is a notable alumnus, who is former AARP president. Furthermore, in the field of education, there is Michael Sandel ('75) Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University and, in the field of government and politics, Daniel Shapiro ('91),who is the U.S.ambassador to Israel. Moving on, in the field of science, there is Roderick MacKinnon ('78) who actually won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2003. And last, but certainly not least, Brandeis has its three Pulitzer Prize winners, David Hackett Fischer, Eileen McNamara, Yehudi Wyner.

Recalling back to when I knew nothing about Brandeis, I had underestimated it, particularly because it is not quite much of a big-name school as the others we are visiting. However, I have managed to learn quite a few things about it since looking into it! I am quite surprised at the notable alumni and the accomplishments that they have achieved. Not only is it interesting for me to look at the alumni, but the concept of the school, which basically implies the initiative of making connections between liberal arts and other more practical, per say, fields of study. In addition, I was stunned with beautiful architecture and the history packed into their Usen Castle. I am pleasantly surprised and interested with what else Brandeis has to offer. Of course, I will make sure I do my best to stop by the castle, which is, now, my personally favorite site at Brandeis! If Brandeis alone captivated me, I can only imagine what the other schools will have that will do the same. With so many educational options out there, this college research makes it rather more difficult to determine where it is I'd like to pursue my baccalaureate education! For now though, I will go bed, after a really long day of projects, presentation, tests, and other time and effort consuming aspects of today. With that said, goodnight, everyone! Sweet dreams....zZZ...

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT for short, is a college name commonly heard among students.  It usually holds the connotations of a prestigious school full of extremely intelligent scholars.  In plain statistics, this holds true for the most part as a large majority of accepted applicants have 4.0 unweighted GPAs and SAT scores above the 2100 mark.  The school was founded in 1861 and is situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts with the goal to educate students in science, technology, and other features of the 21st century. The private university emphasizes discovery and stimulation next to their intense academic studies.

The school was originally proposed by William Barton Rogers who wanted the institution for rapid scientific and technological advances.  The thought of MIT being a school was not the first priority for Rogers and thus the school became heavily focused on research and laboratory work.  Over time, MIT progressed through time to the excellent university we know today with splendid achievements including the invention of the transistor radio, the start of the biotechnology field, and the minicomputer.

MIT is known especially for its advancements in engineering and the physical sciences.  As of recent times, MIT is also growing great biology, economics, management, and linguistics departments next to the engineering and physics studies.  MIT has also received a multitude of Nobel Prizes with most of them in sciences. Besides the sciences, MIT has won prizes in medicine, economics, and peace.  Some names of these winners include MIT alumni Robert S. Mulliken who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1966 for his early development of the molecular orbital theory and Andrew Fire who won the Prize in 2006 in Medicine or Physiology for the discovery of RNA interference.  There are many other Nobel Prize winners at MIT besides these two who should be recognized for their discoveries and advancements, but the rest of the MIT research awaits.

I myself can see myself studying in either the School of Engineering or School of Science if I were accepted into MIT.  In the School of Engineering, I would likely take a course in either Biological Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering,  or Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.  The courses in Biology and Physics caught my interest as well in the School of Science.  In all of these courses and departments, MIT's goal can be seen once again in their desire to discover and expand their respective fields.

The Dreyfus Building
The architecture of the MIT campus is extremely diverse with its campus divided into four major regions of architecture: the Boston campus, the new Cambridge campus pre-World War II, the Cold War development, and present day buildings.  The buildings hold a commitment to a minimalist style while still expressing cheerfulness.  There are many buildings and monuments to see including the Great Dome, an imitation of the Pantheon of Rome that is commonly referred to as "The Center of the Universe" constructed in 1916.  More recently constructed in 1970 is the Dreyfus Building meant for the research in the Department of Chemistry and has a monument nearby in front of the building.  Since I could not find a description of the monument anywhere online, I would like to find this building and hopefully find out the history behind it.

The Brown-I cohort will be visiting MIT during our first week in Rhode Island, and I am really looking forward to this well-known institution of technology.  The many architectural styles of MIT and the strong emphasis on discovery really made me interested in MIT, a school that I once knew nothing about aside from its name.  

There are likely many stories and a lot of information about MIT floating around the internet, and I'd like to find all of it if I could.  The old school seems to have gathered its fair share of history all of which looks to be worthwhile to read.  However, the night is short and I've been rambling on enough it seems, so with that this post will come to its end.

Harvard University

Harvard Logo
Established in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States. It was established by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was named after its first benefactor, John Harvard.

In the early years, the college offered education with the combination of English university model and Puritan philosophy. As generations passed by, different ideas, such as Enlightenment, and improved knowledge had shaped Harvard into one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Currently, Harvard University have about total of 21,000, including about 6,700 undergraduates and about 14,500 graduate and professional students. It offers 46 undergraduate majors, 134 graduate degree, and 32 professional degrees, which range from business, law, medical, to engineering and many more professions. Among these, I see myself majoring in subjects relating to molecular and cellular biology and at the same time double-majoring or minoring economy because I have passion toward both human bodies and money since I was small. Keep going on, I might change my mind about what I want to do in the future. But, for now, I want to go into either medical school, where I can find my passion and interest. Looking at how each cell in human's body interact with each other, and learning how to cure people make me excited just thinking about it.

With such academic advancement, there are 47 Nobel Laureates, 32 heads of state, and 48 Pulitzer winners. Martin Karplus, one of the chemistry professors at Harvard, received the 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his search "for the development multiscale models for complex chemical systems." In 2012, Alvin Roth won the Nobel Prize in Economics "for the theory of stable allocations and the practive of market design." There are more people with great achievements to talk about, but for now, I will stop here.

Besides amazing academic performance, Harvard also has a lovely campus that has both historical and aesthetic value. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, its main campus is center on Harvard Yard, and 3 miles away from the State House. Harvard Yard contains the central administrative offices and the main libraries, academic buildings, and Memorial church. The Harvard Business School, Harvard Stadium, Harvard Medical School, and many other buildings are dispersed in Cambridge and even located in Boston. Aside from these magnificent buildings, Harvard has a library system that comprises about 73 libraries with 18.9 million volumes, 174,000 serial titles, an estimated 400 million manuscript items, 10 million photographs, and much more digital data. The numbers are astonishing; I wonder how I will feel when I walk in the libraries, and look at those countless beautiful books sitting on shelves waiting for me to read them. I think I will be overwhelmed by the wonderfulness.

Sitting here typing out information about Harvard University, I feel more and more excited. Seeing  and reading those beautiful images and descriptions on academic and the beauty of this school, I have a deeper understanding on what to focus on when I get there. I cannot believe that it is less than a month away. Get ready and keep calm for the awesomeness of Harvard University!  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

An Iconic Institution: Yale University

Yale is one of the eight Ivy League Schools, known because of their prestige and the simple fact that all eight of these schools are some, if not the most, highly sought after schools in the country. On our trip to Brown University this summer we will also be visiting 5 other schools before we start our classes. Out of the five, three of them are Ivy's in the forms of Harvard, Dartmouth, and Yale. The other two colleges are no walk in the park either as they are MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Brandeis University. Since there are five members of our cohort we were each assigned a school to talk about, and I chose Yale.

Sterling Library at Yale, opened in April 1931
Yale was founded in 1701 originally funded by a charter from Britain to help educate the colonists in the arts and sciences to be ready for both church and civil service. It was named Yale College in 1718 after Elihu Yale, who donated all the money from his merchant's sales to the school. Not much happened over the next 90 years but it grew rapidly until in 1810 the Yale School of Medicine was chartered. After that they started to grow at an exponential rate with the openings of the Divinity School in 1822, the Law School 1824, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1847, multiple Schools of Art in 1869, the School of music in 1894, the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 1900, the School of Nursing in 1923, the School of Drama in 1955, the School of Architecture in 1972, and finally the School of Management in 1974.

Some facts that I found really cool about Yale was that they were the school that awarded the first Ph.D. ever in the United States. It also began admitting women as graduates as early as 1869, even though women weren't accepted at the undergraduate level until a century later in 1969. Even the first Chinese citizen to earn a degree in the U.S. attended Yale. As you can see they have a very impressive background, but what's even more impressive is how they've kept improving it over the years and what it's like now.

Using much influence from worldly colleges such as Oxford and Cambridge, Yale decided to use Residential Colleges as a form of housing and to create a more tightly knight sense of community at their school. These Residential Colleges split up the school population into twelve different colleges within Yale of about 450 students each. All of the colleges have many amazing features such as libraries, gyms, common rooms, game rooms, dining halls, and even their own administrative staff! 

Before I accepted this assignment I didn't really know anything about Yale except for what I had heard from friends and family. My brother told me it was the most amazing school he'd visited and he wished he could go their while a few of my friends commented on it with some less than satisfactory remarks. I didn't really know which way to look until my chaperone suggested that I watch a video on YouTube called "Why I Chose Yale." All I have to say is that after watching that video I was definitely enticed as to research more on the school. I suggest that you all take a look at it as it's very well done and may give you just a glimpse about what a top University has to offer.

Well there isn't really much more to say as the video I suggested will really speak for itself. It's been a long day and I'm going on a French field trip to the Legion of Honor Museum tomorrow to look at an Impressionist exhibit so I should really be headed off to bed. And I even have an hour to spare before this blog is due! What a relief! Time to just close my eyes... for just for a second... Whoa! Note to self: Don't fall asleep at crucial times. Signing off for the night. Jusqu'a la prochaine fois!


On a side note, I would first like to apologize on behalf of the brevity and the limited nature of this particular blog as my computer is undergoing repair. The diagnosis was more severe than we have hoped so I hope the quality of the blogs will get much better after my laptop woes. A Kindle with a small, virtual keypad will have to suffice for now.

Dartmouth is a true gem bustling with lively activity in the middle of tranquil, rural New Hampshire. Originally founded by Eleazar Wheelah, a Congregational minister, in 1769, this institution primarily was for the education of the Youth of Indian tribes in order to be able to teach Christian ministry and pedagogy. However, within 200 years after the founding of Dartmouth, only 19 Native Americans graduated from the Ivy League institution; as a result, the school established social and academic programmes to increase enrollment of Native Americans. Now, an estimated one-third of undergraduate students reported being a minority in the 2013-2014 school year. The teeming diversity at Dartmouth makes it such a dynamic and innovative place to study-furthering my anticipation to visit the campus this summer.

Dartmouth faculty actually hasn't had anyone within their faculty to receive the Nobel Prize but there have definitely been alumni which have contributed to Nobel Prize-winning projects. Such recipients include, Owen Chamberlain (Class of 1941) who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1959 for work on the anti-proton, George Snell (Class of 1926) who was the co-winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize in Medicine for genetic discoveries of the stress of organ transplants at Jackson Labratories, and K. Barry Sherpless (Class of 1964) who was one out of the three winners of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize in Chemistry who contributed to work  on the stereo relative oxidation reduction  reactions at Berkeley (Go Bears!). There has been one Montgomery Fellow  nominee to the Nobel Peace Prize on 1990 who was the professor of sociology emertia. There have been Pullitzer Prizes awarded to Marth J. Sherwin, David K. Shipler, Nisel Jaquiss, Thomas M. Burton, Richard Eherhard, Robest Frost, Paul Gigst, Jake Houler, and Joseph Rago for their work within literature and journalism.

The amount of programs within departments which focus brilliantly on profound and active research as well as a strong liberal arts tradition make me see myself in a multitude of departments which include the Thayer School of Engineering, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Department of Chemistry, Department of Earth Science, and in the general school of the arts and humanities (specifically in Asian/ Middle Eastern Languages and Liternatures, music, philosophy, German studeies, international relations, political science, economics, sociology, and many more subjects). I definitely see myself getting a double major with even a minor as well as I seem to have a very open-minded, interdisciplinary approach to learning where I somehow see connections that many of my other peers deem as bizarre but unique and compelling. Dartmouth seems to foster an environment to fully enrich and perpetuate culture of exploration, activism, and curiosity. The three most popular majors on campus are political science, economics, and history which speaks for the amount of social and political issues which are spoken about on campus. This has been especially promising for the amount of stimulating discussions that I always wanted to be a part of as I feel that it is hard for me to spur advanced political discussions on a profoundly deep level with others at school and in my community (not including joining interest groups or committees).

The calendar system of Dartmouth of quarters seems to get students to actively participate in their learning as well as to take classes with better emphases. The Dartmouth plan (or the D-plan) requires students to be at Dartmouth for summer quarter during their sophomore year as well as freshman and seniors taking fall, winter, and spring quarters. I have always been intrigued by different places around the world and the established  and notable study abroad program has been  strong consideration for me to attend and to fulfill a variety of options of what can be done abroad (where many students usually get credit) I also found it very interesting that peer reviews are required for admission into Dartmouth, showing that the AO take your personality and your relationships with others into great consideration as well as the immense amount of clubs and extracurricular activities available with an intimate student body. Although I am rather indifferent on Greek life, I do unfortunately see a prevalent problem of student drinking and sexual assault leading to the decline of applications being submitted for the class of 2018 but after talking to a friend at the school, I feel that spurring social change and awareness will push the administration to be more fervent about it. Dartmouth is also notable for its school spirit with events like the bonfire on the Big Green for Homecoming to the Winter Carnival tradition. Physical education is actually compulsory for Dartmouth students as well but with snowboarding and skiing available, it doesn't seem like the quintessential PE experience one would normally experience. Also, the school maintains 75 miles of the original Appalachian train as well as maintaining an official stop on campus.

The high rate of participation in sports (75% of students, roughly) shows how students are not discouraged by a looming iron curtain between intramural and varsity sports and this laissez-faire atmosphere encourages me to fully pursue what I am passionate about without worrying about limitations or budge constraints (thanks to a $3 billion endowment). The political science department has produced notable academia personnel like Brooks, Lebon, and Wohlforth as well as offering as special bachelor of engineering due to the ABET- accredited status of the engineering school. There are many special majors or dual majors allowed within 39 academic departments with 56 majors. The Hood Museum is the oldest museum in North America still in operation shows that vast volumes of documents are cherished and utilized. The strong traditions like the Senior Class Gift, the outstanding balance of research and liberal arts as well as high involvement in campus life with a significant amount of opportunities in a agragian setting puts this school as a high priority to fully appreciate and to consider for the next chapter in my life. Can't wait to visit, I am considering even more after writing this (and I thought I was truly in love before)

Friday, May 16, 2014

ONE Market For the Brown-ONE and Brown-II Cohorts

Following up on the School Board meeting last night, the Brown-I and Brown-II cohorts went out to an eloquent dinner at One Market in San Francisco tonight.  We were to meet with previous alumni from Brown University as well as some of our sponsors at dinner.  The whole night began with meeting at the El Cerrito Plaza BART Station at 5:20 PM.  When everyone was accounted for, we all boarded the train.

On the ride to the restaurant, I looked around for someone new to meet and sit or stand next to from the ILC group, but unfortunately everyone that I saw had already found themselves an occupied pair of seats or someone else to talk to, so I had to settle for a seat with strangers who fell asleep and were listening to music.  Despite this, I was still able to enjoy the excellent view outside of the window.

We eventually arrived at One Market where we settled into a room and began to mingle among ourselves and the alumni of Brown.  I met with a former ILC member who also happened to be a graduate from Hercules High, Beilul, and asked her about how her life was at the university.  I briefly talked with some members of the Brown-II cohorts such as Muang Chao who I happened to play against during the TCAL badminton tournament just last week and YeonSoo Cho, who was seated at the same table as me later.  I also met two Brown graduates who happened to be roommates: Ms. Adrienne Eng and Ms. Nancy Schiff.  Ms. Schiff talked about her mock trial program that included De Anza and Kennedy High and Ms. Eng talked about her job at Logitech.  I recalled that Hercules had a mock trial program but was apparently not part of Ms. Schiff's program, so there's something that I'll have to ask our mock trial team about at Hercules. Finally, Mr. Ramsey instructed everyone to find their seats in order to begin our dinner.

Seated at my table besides myself were the geophysics majoring alumni Lauren Brodsky and Andrea Llenos, Sierra Lee, Yeon Soo, and of course the parents of the ILC students.  Upon sitting down, I greeted the two
Speaking with Ms. Llenos
alumni and began to converse and ask questions as much as I could.  Before sitting down with the two graduates I had never heard of the geophysics field of study (which involves subjects such as earthquakes) and became curious about the major.  Since I did not manage to get a full description of the topic, I will look into it more after my DNA course at Brown to see if it is something that I'm interested in.  Ms. Kronenberg then began the dinner speeches as our food began to come in.

The appetizer was a nice, refreshing salad for us to eat while Arnold and YeonSoo gave their excellent speeches.  Although I am not the biggest fan of salads, I do have to mention that the salad was better than any that I had tasted previously.  
Our excellent dessert
Following the speeches and appetizer came the entree, which was a choice between halibut or beef short rib.  Not giving into trend of almost everyone at my table choosing halibut, I chose the beef short rib and it was not a decision to regret.  The meal itself was heavenly and the beef was very tender, melting in one's mouth with every bite.

Of course, I cannot forget Mr. Ramsey's exceptional speech.  The point that stood out to me was the fact that "there is no 'I' in team." It helped me remember that I'm not in this program by myself, but that Jing, Arnold, Jack, and Kevin are all going to be with me, creating memories at Brown and having the opportunity of a lifetime.  

After the meal, I talked with the alumni a bit more and eventually dessert came: a nice rhubarb strawberry tart.  I savored the blissful treat knowing that it would be quite a while before I would be able to eat like this again.  

At the end of the dinner came the group photo with the current ILC students and Brown alumni.  After nice, clean instructions from Don once again, we quickly took care of the photo and proceeded to leave.
The lovely group photo
Unfortunately, we missed the first train we were expecting to take directly back home and were left to wait for about another twelve minutes before our next train arrived.  Thankfully, I found some people to speak with during the ride back.  I first had the honor to speak with Ms. Kronenberg about myself and was able to express my thanks to her for the ILC opportunity.  Halfway through the ride, we had to transfer trains where I was able to introduce myself to the Brown-II chaperone, Jenny, and had a conversation about physics with her and Mrs. Lee.  Finally, the night came to an end and we all arrived at the El Cerrito Plaza BART Station once again.  We all said our goodbyes and went our separate ways, looking forward to our next meeting at the orientation.

The whole night was an honor for me to attend and has gotten me even more excited to be at Brown with my cohort of 5 and our chaperone Ms. Scott.  Although a small group is fun and closer, I wonder if the trip would have been more fun with even more colorful people in addition to our cohort like Thao and Jenny. Regardless, I'm thrilled to go with just my cohort and enjoy my time and learning at Brown.  I feel that it's also necessary to mention that the number one restaurant of interest recommended to me was Dunkin Donuts by four different alumni, so there is one more restaurant to add to the try list.

A Heartfelt Evening

I am excited to say that today has been a very eye-opening evening. It so happens that today began pretty hectic, as I woke up from a not-so-good-night's sleep, to take my AP World History Exam. Spending half the time at school taking this exam had my brain fried by lunch-time and, even more agonizing, was knowing that my day was not over just yet. It so happens that this evening, both Brown cohorts were given the opportunity to enjoy a fancy dinner at One Market in San Francisco. Now this, I was both thrilled and anxious about. Here, we were gathered for the purpose of engaging with this year’s benefactors of the Ivy League Connection as well as Brown alumni.

After making up work from missing class (due to the exam), I rushed home to get ready for this evening’s next milestone event! Both Brown cohorts arrived at the El Cerrito Plaza BART Station at approximately at 5:20 p.m., ready to take on today’s event. After being given a quick overview on how to get to One Market, the entire group and I headed through to await our BART train. With such a huge group, it was rather difficult to stay together, though we fortunately managed to make it not only safely and united, but early to San Francisco. Along the way I was fortunate to meet Magaly Rodriguez, who will be participating in the Women & Leadership course. We introduced ourselves to each other and learned about our personal experiences in making it into the Ivy League Connection. After conversing and getting to know each other, the BART train reached our destination. Alas, we had all arrived and made our way up the escalators; we were introduced into the beautiful city of San Francisco! My first look after coming out of the BART station had me straight in awe. It was the first time I had actually been upon the actual streets of San Francisco, so it was truly amazing arriving to the scene of tall, beautiful buildings, trees lining the sidewalk, and a vast open space meant to be explored! Being introduced to a beautiful first site, let alone visiting SF for the first time was remarkable. With "an open mind and empty stomach" (foodies, you know what I mean), I made my way to One Market, of course, alongside the Brown cohorts.

One Market in San Francisco
My first look at One Market was the sign, which was something I just had to get a picture of. Following that, everyone and I made our way into the actual restaurant. One of the first things I noticed about the restaurant itself, was the outstanding setting. As I proceeded to our dining room, I noticed the upscale interior setup. It had a delighting sense of zen with the hints of green from the plants and the wood that made up the setting itself, which made it exceptional. After making our way down the hall and into our room, we immediately scattered to form groups where we awaited alumni and guests. I personally formed a group with Jack and shortly after introduced ourselves to Beilul, a sophomore at Brown, then soon formed a group with Elizabeth Gonzalez, a Brown alumna (Class of 2012), as well as Jennifer Dao, an alumna from Cal (I apologetically do not recall her year of graduation). 

I was able to learn from Beilul that being on the opposite coast of the U.S. was not all that terrible, considering the busy time-consuming schedule that she, personally, had her first year. Furthermore, I was amazed to learn that Elizabeth majored both in Sociology as well as Brazilian and Portuguese Studies, and was further impressed that she will actually be pursuing her Master’s Degree at Smith College, where she is headed tomorrow (technically today...). On the other hand, Jennifer impressed us by letting us know that she is a prominent school board member’s assistant! After introducing ourselves to each other, it was nice knowing Jennifer could see me as a nurse (which seems reasonable since I want to work in the healthcare field). In addition, it was great trying bite sizes of mini shrimp tacos, chipotle glazed chicken, and risotto balls with an aioli dip. After trying the mini appetizers and meeting a few talented individuals, it was time to begin the dinner.

 Ms. Kronenberg commenced the dinner with an introduction of the benefactors, alumni, chaperones, and all (Brown University) ILC ambassadors from this year. To kick off the dinner, Ms. Kronenberg briefly overviewed the agenda. Next up, an ILC ambassador from both cohorts was chosen to give a few words on what we hope to gain from our prospective experiences at our Pre-College Summer courses. In the case of today’s dinner, YeonSoo Cho, who is from Brown-II’s Women & Leadership course, and I were the lucky ambassadors to take on this speaking role of the evening. I began the presentation by expressing my thanks to all of the attendees for being with us and mentioned some of my aspirations I hope to accomplish from this experience, including personal growth, shining positive light on our district and schools, encouraging others to not be afraid of new opportunities, and learning about educational opportunities outside of California. Though nervous, I am sure that I represented my cohort well, as did YeonSoo, who did an exceptional job at speaking on what she and her cohort hope to accomplish while over in the East Coast. Moving along, we had both a Brown alumnus as well as an ILC contributor, who was fundamental in creating the ILC, speak. 

To bring things into perspective came Mr. Charles Ramsey, who had quite the speech. His words were very eye-opening and led me to see this opportunity and our district slightly differently. I can recall quite a few things he mentioned, though I’m sure the objective of his words were received whole-heartedly by everyone. Among of these things were being proud to be from the city from where you are from and also taking this opportunity and running with it. He made it clear that this was a life-changing opportunity, and reiterated how it was at no cost to us. With that said, he told us how we had to not focus on ourselves, but on helping others. He clarified how this opportunity, which is meant to help us, must be used to help others. He also mentioned how doing great things does not come easy, that these things will “not be comfortable,” which by the way, is very true. Because of the insightfullness we obtained from Mr. Ramsey, I was personally even more gratified with having the honor and privilege of being a part of this year’s Ivy League Connection and became even more enthusiastic about taking on this new experience.
Presenting to the attendees on behalf of the entire '14 Brown-I cohort.
My entree
After a well spoken presentation, the time to eat and socialize amongst our group had come. At my table, I had my mother, Jing and her mother, Thao and her mother, Hunter Stern (Brown alumnus, Class of '84), Donna Chung (Brown alumna, Class of '12), and Simon Hong (Brown alumnus, Class of '05). We were all served our entrĂ©e of choice, which a vegetarian option (which unfortunately I do not know certainly of), halibut on mashed carrots, or beef on polenta, or mashed potatoes, and a richly flavored sauce. I was personally thrilled to try the beef. It was excepetional as it was extremely tender and soft, and was served with creamy polenta, or mashed potatoes (which I couldn’t tell the difference between. Aside from the food, it was quite interesting how Donna presented her extremely strong opinion about Teach For America, which was our first topic. Seeing her perspective, especially because she is a first year teacher at an elementary school, was interesting. It was interesting to see how she strongly believed a traditional credentials program is more just and more worthwhile as opposed to getting in and out (mostly to experiment whether teaching is one’s thing or not). Though the conversational grew controversial, we were able to settle into an interesting concept, presented by Hunter Stern (an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers worker), of how electricity is extremely vital in the field of environmental sciences. Following along, we also spoke on aspects of college life, school, and sports too. 

The Strawberry Tart dessert
With such a long evening, and a very full stomach, it was then time to head back home. However, the benefactors, alumni, and ILCers gathered to take a group shot just before doing so. It was honestly a great experience and now has me looking forward to the trip even more! 

My experience heading back home was pretty special, however. Along the BART ride back to the El Cerrito Plaza Station, I encountered a woman, who I found out was jobless. This particular circumstance really had me thinking about what I had learned today about helping others. Quite frankly, I was nervous, but stepped up and decided to converse a bit with her, and learned a bit more about her. I was particularly touched because of the fact that she demonstrated her willingness to find a job as we spoke, was very sweet, and seemingly very deserving of a job, yet was difficult for her to receive help. I was able to provide her a few suggestions, though they were not necessarily anything new. Personally though, I think she needed some hope, because from the looks of it, she was worn out and seemed to feel hopeless. Because we had arrived at our BART stop and the doors which were ready to close, I was unable to further communicate with the woman. Unfortunately, because of this I was not able to be of significant help for her, but just speaking with her really got me to think that we should all try to be a bit more interactive others, and should especially try to help out, even in the simplest of ways. I’m sure that any kind of help could bring hope to anyone who feels as though they’ve lost it. Either way, in the end, what matters is that we have put ourselves at the service of others for the sake of being able to sustain ourselves, and that is the evening’s most heartfelt experience and most important thing I’ve learned today.
Both Brown-I (left half with brown flag) and Brown-II (right half with red flag) cohorts along with alumni.

A Fantastic Dinner with the Brown Team

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Don telling us the dinner that would be held at One Market in San Francisco. The first thing I did after reading the email was look up this restaurant. The pictures of dishes in its website amazed me, which made me especially excited from this event because of the food that we would be eating. Dressed in a purple dress, I arrived at the BART station just on time.

On the BART train, I did what Don told us to do: to meet and talk to new people. I talked to two sophomore girls who would be attending the Women and Leadership program this summer. We had conversations on various topics until we arrived at Embarcadero station.

My first impression for the restaurant was WOW! Although we walked through a construction site, the room that we finally arrived at was nice and elegant. Before we got seated, I met and talked to more ladies from the Brown II cohort. We introduced ourselves and had conversations ranging from sports to AP tests. I also met a current sophomore in Brown university, who was also an alumnus of the ILC and Hercules High School, Ms. Beilul Naizghi. I asked her about the learning environment and weather at Brown, and we had a fun conversation on our teachers at Hercules High School, both complementing and deprecating. In between conversation, I also tasted shrimp tacos, mushroom balls, and chicken, which all tasted delicious.

I got to sit with a group of fantastic people during dinner. I sat between two Brown alumni, Mr. Hunter Stern and Ms. Donna Chung, and across another alumnus, Mr. Simon Hong. All three of them have different occupations and majors. Mr. Stern studied in engineering, Ms. Chung studied education, and Mr. Hong studied in economy. Between our conversations, I heard different perspectives on Brown as a learning environment, but they all love the school, except the weather there. I asked Mr. Stern about the tennis team at Brown, since I was very interested in playing tennis, and also the eight-year medical program at Brown, which I was thinking about applying to.

Slow Braised Beef Short Ribs
Before the first dish was out, Ms. Kronenberg gave us an introduction, and each of the ILCers, alumni, guests, benefactors, and chaperons had to stand up and introduce ourselves. After that, Arnold and YeonSoo went on stage and represented both cohorts to express our gratitude and aspirations. They both did a really good job despite their nervousness, and they should get a round of applause. An alumni from Brown, Mr. Jonathan Speed, then talked deep into the program and the importance of partnerships. Mr. Ramsey rounded up the speeches with a very inspirational talk. His talk was full of gestures and passion. He told us not to focus on "I," but what we could do and help as a person to the community, because only by doing that, we could obtain more, just like how the ILC was a program that focus on cooperation and supporting others. Without other people's support and help, we would not able to attend this fancy dinner, ride a plane to the east coast, visit so many prestigious colleges, and learn in a college campus.

While listening to the speeches, I enjoyed my dishes a lot. I ordered the Slow Braised Beef Short Ribs, which was a delicious dish with tender beef, rich sauce, and anson mills polenta. The desert also did not disappoint me. Besides being decorated with refinement, the taste was also wonderful. The sweet ice cream combined with sour strawberries and crispy tart, the Strawberry Rhubarb Tart was luscious.

Strawberry Rhubarb Tart
Now, after the event, I realized that the part of the event that I treasured the most were the experiences of interacting with the whole Brown cohort, Brown alumni, and all the supporters of the ILC program. These interactions not only strengthened my bonds with people I already knew, but also helped me creat new bonds with so many wonderful people. From our conversations, I could always discover a new world that I had never noticed, which was extraordinary. Here, I wanted to thank everyone today for giving me such a memorable and meaningful evening.
A Group Picture After the Dinner

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Brown One at One Market

Today was the day I've been awaiting for awhile. A free dinner is not something to take lightly, especially when it's at a restaurant like One Market. Being the odd "restauranteur" that I am, I found it quite exciting that we would be eating at such a grand eatery. Of course this was provided that Don didn't kill us all before we got there.
The Grand Entrance
I decided that showing up early has paid off so far so why shouldn't I try and be early every time? I arrived at the El Cerrito Plaza Bart Station at 5 o'clock; 20 minutes before I was due to be late. When I walked up to Don I was surprised that I was one of the first people there. I thought that many of the other members would have thought to show up early like me but only 3 other members had arrived. As the minutes ticked by we made awkward small talk with Don being the main conductor. I know that Don had told us to go out and introduce ourselves to everyone but being the shy guy that I am that plan kinda failed. Anyways, once the clock hit 5:20 there were only 2 members out of the 14 that had yet to arrive. Unfortunately, one of those people was Arnold, our speaker for the night. Fortunately though, when he and the other missing cohort showed up at 5:24 Don decided not to kill them right on the spot even though 4 minutes before that he had made a joke about taking away there scholarships (I hope it was a joke....).

After we got on the train I sat next to a charming member of the Women & Leadership program, with whom I had an amazing discussion about school, sports, the ILC program, and life in general. I have to apologize in advance to all the people I did meet today as I am terrible with names. Although I may not be able to show it I do remember all of you and everyone whom I had the fortune of meeting today was great and I would like to extend a thank you to all of you. Once we got off of Bart we finally entered One Market and we're led to the very back of the restaurant where we entered a decently sized room holding 6 round tables with 6-8 people at each table. Before we sat down though we were sent off to mingle with all the different people amassed in this room. 

The first person I had the pleasure of meeting at dinner was another Brown-II cohort going to the Women & Leadership program by the name of Magalie Rodriguez. A High School student she looked to be very mature and at least five years older than what age she actually was, which was 15 or 16. She was very interesting as she had yet to go anywhere out of California so this program was a really new experience to her. The next person I talked to was actually a student who was still attending Brown as a sophomore. Like I said before I apologize to all of those whose names I've forgotten but I do remember you all and it was great meeting each and every one of you. She was majoring in Public Policy if I'm not mistaken and had been part of the ILC program twice when she was in high school. The next few people I met were Jennifer Dao and Elizabeth Gonzalez. Jennifer was the older sister of a girl who had just graduated from ECHS last year and had come to the dinner as the assistant of a highly esteemed School Board member who I have apologetically forgotten the name of. It's on the tip of my tongue.... oh well I'm sure I'll be hitting myself for this later, but I digress.

Elizabeth Gonzalez was actually an alumnus of Brown, Class of 2012. She had majored in Sociology and Brazilian and Portuguese Studies which I find very interesting. Today was actually her last day of work as she's leaving in a few days to pursue her Master's degree at Smith College in Massachusetts. Good luck! After sitting down I realized that I had my dad on my right side and another Brown alumnus on my left. She was the Class of '86 and actually played a large role in the community as the leader of the Mock Trial program that ECHS, JFK HS, HHS, and PVHS offer. Our talk started slowly, as we were introduced almost at the exact moment that the speeches started, but it ended strong.

Ms. Madeline Kronenberg was the first to speak and gave a very good welcoming speech that really made everyone feel home and calm everyone nerves. Next up was Brown-I's very own Arnold Dimas, who, despite his constant saying that he was nervous, did an amazing job. After that was a girl from the Brown-II cohort by the name of Yeonsoo (I can't remember the last name...). Despite having a "soft voice," as she would describe it, I feel that everyone could easily hear her and relate to what she was saying. Next up was a Brown alumnus, Class of '84, and a man who had been there since the inception of the ILC program with Mr. Charles Ramsey. He spoke about the program itself and how much it had accomplished over the years, with a few funny jokes about Mr. Ramsey and himself added in. And for the grand finale Mr. Ramsey himself gave us a very moving speech about the program and about what it did for us and about how we, in turn, should then give that kind of opportunity to other people with everything that we take away from the program.

By the end of all the speaking everyone had already finished the first course salad and most people were working their way through either the short ribs or the halibut. I personally chose the short ribs, which turned out to be very similar to the ones that my mom loves to make. It was served on top of a bed of cooked spinach and surrounded by a thin layer of cheese grits, which I was very impressed with. Finally add that tiny drizzle of some kind of soy-based sauce and voila! You have a bunch of happy ILCers. As one can imagine there wasn't much talking through this constant munching on delicious food and it only got better once they brought out dessert. A simple strawberry shortcake with vanilla ice cream and hardened caramel helped to end the night on a sweet note.
Strawberry Shortcake with a hardened Caramel Drizzle
After dessert we were told to group up and head out. We got on a Pittsburgh train, transferred at 19th Street, and were back at El Cerrito Plaza Bart before I could even begin to finish my conversation I had sparked up with a PVHS sophomore, Jessica Kaur, who was also a part of the Women & Leadership course this summer. A short car ride home and here I am finishing up my blog post for the night. Would love to continue but a guy's gotta get his beauty sleep y'know!

Jusqu'a la prochaine fois...

An Outstanding Dinner with an Iconic Brown-like Vibe

Had this with some coffee which helped me to have
the sustenance to write this blog. 
Wow. Despite my lethargic nature when the dinner in the City wound down, this has been one of the most amazing and compelling functions I have ever attended. I was to considerable surprise to be greatly invigorated and rejuvenated after listening to Mr. Ramsey's speech about how we are to be different from others so we can find our own niche and passion, fervently urging that we ought to take advantage of such a priceless opportunity given to us students as it is truly unique from other pedagogical organizations. This is due to the fact that many school districts do not provide such opportunities for students to obtain scholarships attend collegiate summer programs on massive scholarships.

Meeting so many of the Brown alumni and the current Brown students reaffirmed the quirky, yet positively unique nature of students who attend Brown. After hearing the stories of one alumni who spoke about smashing quarters, having a professor who taught engineering and Maoist theory, as well as knowing students who obtained grades on the pass/fail system not only interested me but helped me to finally find a utopia of not facing students who seem uninterested in spontaneous and out of the blue topics and issues.

This laissez-faire criterion is something that I have been struggling to find due to my unconventional interests and aspirations as well as having such a broad curiosity in a variety of different topics to talk about, try out, experience, or create. Brown seems so hard to define into words due to the incredible amount of diversity of matters on which is discussed and feeling lost and maybe a bit overwhelmed is something that I need, something which can free me out of a bubble of social conformity and non-abstract thinking. To hear how even concentrations like engineering permit a great deal of liberal arts-like classes are truly unique and lead me to hope I may be able to experience that one day.

But onward to some of the dinner specifics. The speeches iterated by one of alumni and the sponsors really spoke out to me as to expand what I am thinking about and really challenge and question the status quo as well as norms which may seem mandatory due to living in a certain social construct. The expertise and advice have motivated me to do something similar where I promise to engage the college-going culture in schools in the future as well as trying to create an even bigger and more promising step to assist those who really need the opportunity to expand their horizons and I have to exclaim that the ILC-Brown relationship is close to perfect for fostering that ambiance.

I have to admit I felt a bit peckish during some of the earlier speeches as the salad was tantalizing my taste buds but after watching others starting to eat their succulent salads with hesitancy, I began to do the same and I guess Don was right with his eating advice. I did feel a bit out of place with the halibut but it is hard to go wrong with ordering either entree at such a fine restaurant. The fish was extremely flaky and complimented the buttery and rich sauce with green peas, leading to a nice balance between a light and airy feeling and a dark and robust one.

I regret that I wasn't able to talk more with some of the other people at the dinner since they were seated at other tables dispersed in a relatively large room but towards the end of the dinner I spoke to many different sponsors and alums about majors, experiences, Rhode Island, German existentialism, school, and just life in general! Talking with a former panelist on the train led me to form new insights and experiences I otherwise may have ever had leading me to my main advice for anyone doing the ILC; TALK TO OTHERS AND PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE! IF YOU AREN'T, YOU ARE DEFEATING THE PURPOSE! Trust me, it won't be that bad and it will actually benefit you. If you got this far, you are absolutely capable of accomplishing this, guaranteed.

The nice seating room we were in, I couldn't get over the temperature-controlled wine cellar!
On a less preachy note, the amount of different people I have met as well as the outstanding range of topics I spoke about and the diversity of people I spoke to led me to have some pride in what the ILC does and what this district has to offer. I am forever in gratitude and this program provides life-changing opportunities which are too crucial to simply acquiesce, and to prevent this from happening, one must take initiative and stand out by doing something innovative and revolutionary, or else we will all just have backward and plain lives. Too bad Orwell or Huxley wasn't at this function, despite the upscale atmosphere. I presume many other blogs talked more about what occurred at the dinner but I beg to differ by presenting the importance and vision that this dinner places in the future.

An Honourable and an Inspiring Symposium

From Kevin Mahoney

It has certainly been an honor tonight to not only observe and watch the School Board meeting in which I have done in the past, but especially that of standing before the School Board and holding up the Brown flag before the WCCUSD School Board. I am truly gracious that the School Board has been so supportive of the Ivy league Connection ever since its establishment as a summer enrichment program at Dartmouth College, with special thanks to Board members Madeline Kronenberg and Charles Ramsey for establishing this program as well as the sponsors, many of whom were consistent donors, for having hope and assisting programs like ours. I would also like to thank Don Gosney for managing and putting up with the ILC and all its logistics and attributes where he is consistently making sure that much of the work that is needed to be done gets done and I will fully acknowledge that I and many other ILCers can never repay what he has done for such an important program to thrive so that a positive impact on our immediate and larger communities can occur.

Although my heart rate jumped up several beats per second while standing before the Board even though I didn't have to speak, (By the way, Jack, my fellow companion who is also studying Macroeconomics, and Alana, our lovely chaperone, gave such wonderful and insightful speeches; kudos to these two!) the most climatic part of the evening was hearing what other students and chaperones had to say. Although some of the speeches have had considerable amount of platitudes; seeing how some of these teenagers have changed and stepped up to the plate through fruitful delineation inspired me to make great use of this opportunity for not only my self relish and enlightenment but that of impacting others who want change to happen but are unsure how, previous alumni of the ILC, those who applied to the ILC but didn't get accepted, our respective leaders and bureaucrats in educational and municipal groups, as well as many others who greatly yearn for new insight and further progress and advancement in our community.
 On a less abysmal note, the picture taken by Don was incredibly interesting; it was quite an enigma on how I made a silly mistake to line up in the queue that I was instructed not to be in. The delicate velvety cloth underneath us as well as the cloth on the chairs on the middle row was moved considerably due to squirm-like demeanor from parents and students alike which I regret may have extended the recess session of the meeting. Anyhow, the picture was taken successfully (indicated by Don when he stopped taking pictures for one iconic published picture out of 30 shots, I guess a 3.33% chance one of those pictures will be used sounds like a high probability!) and we were dismissed but required to go outside to speak as the meeting was to resume shortly. It was also very joyous for me to see all but one of the Ivy League Connection members in one building (the lone ILCer, who is also a dear friend of mine, is at the Intel International Science Fair) as it led to me meeting many new people as well as feeling a warm and buzzing feeling of determination and gratitude. That said, I hope for a wonderful time and a successful year for the ILC and that in which El Cerrito's Portola Middle School will finally be renamed to Fred Korematsu Middle School as to reflect a more relevant name after an often unknown and poorly recognized individual who stood up against the US government to challenge Executive Order 9066. I am still watching the School Board meeting while scrambling to complete a post-AP Calculus BC Exam project on group theory and Baye's Theorem.

An Enlightening Event

This afternoon happened to be the WCCUSD School Board Meeting. At this particular meeting, however, things were quite a bit different than usual. First of all, this crazy hot weather decided to kick in, introducing summer to us all, as it is supposed to around this time. I had just arrived at Lavonya Dejean Middle School, where the meeting would take place. As I entered into the school's multi-purpose room, I was feeling pretty thrilled to see all of the ILCers, as well as the chaperones, benefactors, and the school board members. With a AP exam tomorrow and reviewing to get done, I thought that this meeting would be the death of me! On the contrary, though, it turned out better than I had planned.

Once I arrived in the multi-purpose room, I gathered with the rest of the ILCers and chaperones, who were listening to what Don had to tell us, which were basically some quick guidelines as to how the cohorts were going to present. Following this, my cohort, along with all the other ones, made our way to our seats and waited for what was to come. Mr. Charles Ramsey had commenced the meeting and reviewed the agenda of the meeting. It so happened that the ILC was first on the agenda. Not only were we (this year's ILC family) first, but particularly my cohort, the Brown-I cohort, was going to go up before the other ones. It was good to know we were the first, but... did I mention we were first? Anyway, with the initial anxiety that was building within me, I was able to quickly mellow down into a more zen-like mood. Still slightly nervous, though, I took a couple breaths and awaited for the Brown-I cohort to be called.

Once called, the cohort and I stood up, and and made our way to present ourselves, along with our Brown flag, to the school board members. Ms. Scott began the ILC presentation by introducing the Brown-I cohort with our names, grade, school, and our ILC certificate, which indicates that we are in the 2014 Ivy League Connection program as well as the course we will be taking during the summer. Following that, she mentioned the schools our cohort would visit. Fortunately, we will be given to opportunity to visit some of the best schools on the East Coast, particularly, Brandeis, Yale, and Harvard! After the introduction, it was time to be represented, but now by Jack. Despite his dislike for public speaking, Jack made a great first student speaker! He overcame his nervousness and was able to express gratitude that came from the heart. Our presentation was followed by a round of applause and we all progressed to take our seats.

Representing '14 Brown-I, from left to right are: Jack, Kevin, Me, Jing, and Brandon. Alongside us our chaperone, Ms. Scott gives a few words of gratitude.

As our cohort's introduction came to end,the other ILC cohorts stood up to present themselves and share their aspirations, some of which being to empower young women, generate awareness of educational opportunities outside of California, and sharing our knowledge with others. After hearing a set of interesting aspirations, the benefactors of the ILC were called up and were introduced to us. It was pretty gratifying to see the actual people and organizations that were making all of our prospective opportunities possible. After getting to see them and giving them their well deserved standing ovation, we proceeded to taking to the group picture! It was quite hectic to get everyone to organized and in position, especially with everyone moving their heads and arms for last minute, camera-ready adjustments, something Don had repetitively warned us about not doing. After a minute or two, the entire group, of nearly 100 people, finally settled down. We all put our best smile forward as Don pulled out his professional camera, taking, and I kid you not, at least 15 shots with all of us in our completely frozen poses. After the picture was done, a huge sigh of relief overfilled the room along with a great round of applause. It was fullfilling knowing that we had made it this far. We were then yet another step further into the ILC. We are one step closer to an opportunity that can steer our future into a new direction. With such gratitude, I procedded to take quite a few pictures of myself along with my mother, who came with me to the event.

2014 Ivy League Connection Family

It turns out today's event was not necessarily the way I expected it to be. Instead, it was pretty enlightening and uplifting, as we expressed our gratitude to all those who have contributed to making this opportunity possible, received our Ivy League Connection, and had made it one step further in this amazing program. It's exciting looking forward to everything that is yet to come as part of this opportunity, but it it's even more full-filling to look back at everything from the beginning. The rigorous application process, the intense interviews, and making it into our prospective courses at the actual school we will attend, let alone making it into the Ivy League Connection, are all great accomplishments. It is safe to say that the best is yet to come, now that we are slowly, but surely, making our way further into the ILC. What is even more exciting is that tomorrow will be the fancy Brown-I dinner at One Market in San Francisco! Who get's the opportunity to sit alongside a group of alumni from the school you will be headed to in the summer? It's crazy (and I mean that in a good way). With so much to take in, it only leaves me anxiously waiting for what lies ahead as being a part of the Ivy League Connection. With a great set of people at my side, I am sure that this experience will be one of the most memorable ones I will make. I know that all of the the rigorous work and tremendous effort we will devote this summer will be not only gratifying for us, but for our schools, community, the West Contra Costa Unified School District, and most certainly for our families. I am very thankful for this privilege, as it is a great honor as well.