spanish sahara

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A field of 40,000 butterflies

Ellwood Monarch preserve: one of four nesting locations in the world, housing over 40,000 butterflies on their epic winter migration from Mexico.

Ellwood Monarch preserve: one of four nesting locations in the world, housing over 40,000 butterflies on their epic winter migration from Mexico.

Due to popular demand, I’ve decided to reign in the New Year with my only update since my return to the U.S.!

When I flew back to California this past September, I couldn’t help wonder if and when I’d leave the states again. For much of the time I spent suspended in the sky between New Delhi and LAX, I pondered whether my adventures really had come to an end?

And I hit the landing with a running start. I’ve really performed a balancing act these past few months with an incredibly full schedule. But now, with a fleeting break here in my lovely hometown of Santa Barbara, I’ve finally caught myself up on the latest in the finer things in life: the world of cinema (I forgot how seriously people take their film here!).

My first weekend began with a pre-release screening of Django Unchained followed by a Q & A panel with director Quentin Tarantino himself, courtesy of the Santa Barbara Film Society. While I’m very sad I will not be able to attend the film festival in February AGAIN (that makes five consecutive years!), I’m happy to redeem some of SB’s film obsession:)

This past fall I considered a research position that struck me as the coolest thing ever. It was for an NGO that was initializing a project designing a device for vaccine cooler temperature control. One of the critiques explained by the CEO was the current lack of innovative solutions, as she described her own experiences in rural India where the currently existing technology (re: an ice block), failed to adequately protect the vaccines. The ice melted before they could be distributed or froze the vaccines beyond recognition. In either case, the absence of such important technology resulted in a lot of wasted medicine, which this mission aimed to fix.

I assumed that this incredible niche of the pharmaceutical process in international medicine was destined to be lost in the black hole of missed opportunities forever. Fortunately, I recently received the go ahead to join an advanced seminar this spring semester, working closely with a professor with tremendous experience in the clinical development of new medicine in the developing world(!!)

Anyways, I ended up taking a different position, researching and writing web content for Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government that pays nearly twice as well (really interesting stuff-see some existing projects here).

Ironically, when I finished my last general education requirement in the sciences in college, I celebrated by promptly selling my graphing calculator on ebay. Now with my 24th birthday only months away, I finally feel like I’m exactly where I want to be. And sure enough, China helped me get here. It’s refreshing to really feel like a part of something that could actually work.

And to answer my earlier question: I’ve received an amazing opportunity to work with the WHO this summer! See you in Geneva :D.

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4 Comments»

  cooolio wrote @

thanks for taking the time to discuss this.

  Ben Ko wrote @

You are one of the most inspiring people I know!

  Torrey wrote @

Thanks guys!

  Zaa wrote @

Wow so cool!


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