My 1st Experience with Writing a Scientific Journal Article

For starters, I’ve been doing research under Dr. Meenakshi Dutt in the Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Department at Rutgers University since my sophomore year as an undergraduate student. (Here’s the new website, which I helped design.) She’s an amazing research advisor. I’ve learned so much from her about the process of doing research and presenting the research at conferences, in PowerPoint presentations and in poster presentations. She expects a lot from her research group, but at the same time, she understands that we have other obligations and lives outside of research. Because of her, and a few other amazing professors, I’ve decided to become a chemical engineering professor.

My project deals with simulating nanoparticles with polymers tethered to them — think hairy ping pong balls. They bounce around in a box and  since the “hairs” are attracted to each other, they form clusters. The application of this can range from bioimaging for diseases and disorder to forming nanomaterials to targeted drug delivery. The “hair” can change based on the particular desired function or application.

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Versatile Blogger Award

I was nominated for this award by the lovely Alpaca blogger, Once Upon a Bookshelf. Thank you for nominating me, sweetie hehe. Please check out her blog if you haven’t already! She’s amazing!! And a really good friend and honorary older sister to me in real life ^_^

The Rules:

  1. Show the award on your blog (image widget)
  2. Thank the person that has nominated you.
  3. Share 7 different facts about yourself
  4. Nominate 15 blogs of your choice *help do I know 15 blogs lol*
  5. Link your nominees and let them know of your nomination(hyperlink)

7 Facts about me: 

  1. I was born in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. Coincidentally, now the state of Andhra Pradesh is split into 2 states, Telengana and Andhra. And Hyderabad is their shared capital. I can only imagine how chaotic that must be.
  2. It’s been 10 years since I’ve visited India. I’m planning on going after I graduate with my master’s. Should be interesting to see how much has and hasn’t changed about my hometown.
  3.  I have a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. Personally,  I think it’s the hardest engineering major because of the amount of physics and chemistry that needs to be mastered.
  4. I love reading Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and anything Shakespeare. I think all of them are so fascinating with really well developed characters and plot lines. They make you think!
  5. The most difficult book that I’ve ever read *partially* is The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy. This was for my AP Language research paper back in junior year of high school. It’s an entire series of just stream of consciousness. One of the most idiosyncratic books I’ve ever read. I only read 150 pages of the first volume to write that paper, but I enjoyed it a lot and I’m planning on reading all 8 volumes someday. Gonna be fun LOL
  6. My first career goal is to become a chemical engineering professor, then move up the ranks to maybe a dean? Not sure about that. But I would like to also hold political office one day! I’m a huge activist and love the nitty gritty and the game of politics. I also think it’s a good way to give back to the communities that have helped me reach my greatest potential so far.
  7. *last one oh boy* I have 1 tattoo — so far. It’s on my back and it’s a tribute to my parents, my brother, and kind of a “coming out” statement for myself. The text is in Arabic which roughly translates to “Be the flower that gives fragrance to even the hand that crushes you”. And there’s 3 puzzle pieces for autism awareness. And the pieces are in the colors of the pansexual community. Haha, I’d like to get another one. I’m thinking a phoenix on the side of my stomach with a ribbon with the words “Still I Rise”. To remind myself that I will succeed, and that what had happened in my previous abusive relationship shouldn’t ever stop me.

15 bloggers that I nominate: 

  1. Alexis Chateau
  2. Ramona Crisstea
  3. Hessian With Teeth
  4. The Squiggly Line
  5. According to the Afro Feminist
  6. Alysha Kaye
  7. William the Butler
  8. Cristian Mihai
  9. Nitya@Hermit Crab Snap
  10. Self Love: It’s Just Another Change 
  11. CPL Kerkman Reference Guide
  12. Jnana’s Red Barn
  13. Brown Hair, Brown Eyes
  14. Life Through the Eyes of a “Cat”
  15. When the Time is Write

(sorry if I accidentally misspelled your blog titles~ ><) Go forth and have fun with this!! ^^






‘They Can’t Kill Us All’ Debuts 2 Years After Ferguson — TIME

On August 11, 2014, I landed in Ferguson, Missouri for the first time to report on the death of Michael Brown, which had already sparked days of angry protests and nights of frightening violence. At most, I figured then, I’d spend about two or three days reporting the story. It’s been two years now. Protests…

via ‘They Can’t Kill Us All’ Debuts 2 Years After Ferguson — TIME

In order to stop the cycle of racial bias and injustice, we must hold everyone accountable – from citizens to figures of authority. We are all in this together.

Dear parents, “Sierra Tango Foxtrot Uniform” about marriage.

My cousin’s post on life partners got me thinking about what I’ve learned from my past experiences with relationships — romantic, platonic, or otherwise. (Her post on her changed views of arranged marriages is also a really good read because it outlines some of the same beliefs I hold.) Let me start off by saying that I was never a fan of arranged marriages. My parents had one, and I think it’s a pretty successful one, all things considered (ie. our somewhat shaky financial situation, my special needs brother, my parents’ polar opposite personalities, swapped stereotypical gender traits – my mom is more stereotypically masculine and extroverted than my dad who is more stereotypically feminine and introverted on a gender spectrum -, etc.) With all of those things in mind, the household in which I grew up is rather… shall we say… full of dichotomies. My parents guided me to excel in education, but they never forced me past my limits. They understood that I have weaknesses, but helped and encouraged me to find ways to make those weaknesses into my strengths. They know that I love reading and writing, but never put me down for it and only encouraged me to find ways to pursue those creative outlets. (They know I have this blog, and encourage me to continue writing posts, for example.) They know that I love math and science, but didn’t push me to only focus on that aspect of my education. So when I decided to pursue a minor in political science in my undergrad, they supported me. They know that I love politics, but they aren’t trying to dissuade me from entering local/state politics in the future. (In fact, they’re also looking to run for city council in a couple of years.)

My family isn’t exactly a typical desi family, whether you’re comparing them to a desi family in India or one here in America. They’re so un-desi-like that it’s almost illogical when they start bringing up marriage and dating and my future. I’ll admit that I’ve had at least 4 marriage proposals that I know of — turned them all down, thank goodness. But one of them, my parents were seriously considering, even though the guy is techincally my uncle — he’s my mom’s second(?) cousin. I am, to this day, extremely shocked and annoyed that they would consider him when I’m barely 22. When they start bringing up these things, and I tell them not to do it because I will find my own person in my own time, they think that I’m joking or something. It’s honestly extremely frustrating, to the point where I start wondering, am I in a gilded cage?  I’m starting to feel less of an individual that can make her own damn choices and more like a piece of cattle waiting to be sold. I’ve promised myself to keep my head down and get through one more year in this house, because then, I will be officially free, thanks to working or going to grad school in a different state/country. I will defy gravity, finally. However, if they keep asking me these stupid questions after I leave, I may have to take more drastic measures… like not talking to them at all.

What my parents, and many relatives, don’t understand is that I have some issues and topics that are non-negotiable and off limits when it comes to joking and playfully teasing. Honestly, my best friend and unbiological sister (and her biological sister) understand more of my personality than anyone in my family. Ironic.

What I hope that my future life partner encompasses is:

1. A person who respects me, all of me, without trying to break down my identity to suit their jealous/insecure sense of self. I’ve been in a relationship like that before, and let me tell you, that it fucking sucks. It’s taken me a while to rebuild my sense of self-worth, but I know that I’ve grown even stronger and more Slytherin-ish. No one can bring me down.

2. A person who has his ambitions all laid out, who has a sense of purpose in life, and knows the basics of what they want to accomplish before they die. I don’t want to be stuck in a relationship where the other person essentially is a freeloader and I do all of the work. I don’t want to be stuck in a relationship where I’m the more ambitious and goal-driven one. It only leads to jealousy and turmoil — again, I speak from experience. My life partner should be equally goal-driven while respecting my career. Who expects me to respect their career and goals. Who is willing to help when I need it, and who is willing to let me help when they need it.

3. A person with whom I can stay up all night having intelligent discussions, who doesn’t try to shut down my opinions and mansplains their way out of discussions. Who is willing to point of the fallacies in my arguments and let me (try) to do the same to theirs. Who is willing to help me strengthen my own beliefs and sense of morality, and who is willing to let me do the same. Who is an avid reader, can recommend books easily with reasons why, and loves to discuss the philosophies that are explored in each book, no matter how poorly written. Who lets me do the same for them. A relationship where I’m being held back on an intellectual sense is extremely mentally draining for me, and will only lead to resentment and separation/divorce/breakup.

4. A person who is willing to let me fly sometimes, because I am the type of person that needs to be left alone at least an hour a day in order to function properly. I’m less introverted now than in high school or even in the beginning of undergrad. But I do need time to essentially recharge my social butterfly battery. My life partner shouldn’t confuse being alone with being lonely. They should be able to sit in comfortable silence while I read a book or I’m on my laptop, without bothering the shit out of me and distracting me. Someone who isn’t clingy and needs attention all of the fucking time. If they want that, then they should look into getting a dog, it’s more effective anyway. But that being said, they should know that these periods are just that — periods of time. It’s not the end of the relationship when I enter my shell for a while. It just means that I’m fucking tired so leave me the fuck alone. They should see that, if they’re mature enough, and are willing to wait. If they need me to do the same for them, I will — because I know how it feels when there isn’t a recharge for months on end.

Essentially, I want an equal for a life partner, and I expect them to want me to be their equal as well. Being in love and all of that romantic shit is nice and all, but I’ve learned that that isn’t enough for me to sustain the relationship. Even if I find the kisses and such to be arousing, but the person has a 1-dimensional personality, then I will get bored after a few dates. (Again, from experience.) Unfortunately, I can’t really explain my  need to foster an intellectual relationship in addition to a sexual one in order to “settle down” with someone to my parents, now can I? Imagine the shock when they realize that I am an individual with sexual urges and desires, who knows what the fuck I like and don’t. Imagine the shock when they realize that I am in individual that thrives on intellectual debates and not just conversations on errands and bills and what’s for dinner. I’m not saying that my parents are ultra-conservative. They’re actually more on the progressive end of desi parenting, but in these topics, they tend to be more conservative. And I don’t fit into the image that they’ve concocted of me.






Who Said It: the Drumpf Version

Unfortunately, every single day, the Republican presidential candidate sounds more and more like my younger brother, who happens to be autistic (amongst other things, such as bipolar). So I thought it would be enlightening to see just how much Trump sounds like my younger brother, by putting up randomized quotes up for readers to guess who said it. Answers are at the bottom.

  1. “Ew I hate mosquitoes”
  2. “Ew that’s yucky”
  3. “I always wanted a purple heart”
  4. “I want a yellow bag.”
  5. “You’re fired”
  6. “You’re in timeout”

Looking at this list, it’s kind of easy for me to see how similar Trump’s mentality is to that of my younger brother. The only difference is that my brother knows what’s right and what’s wrong; he knows when to say sorry (although sometimes he’s too ashamed to even utter the words); he knows how to be polite. And he has the mental capacity and age of a “normal” 5-year-old. He also doesn’t have the vocabulary of a demagogue because everyone in the house censors themselves as much as possible so he wouldn’t ever learn how to use derogatory, impolite words. Trump is a powerful, influential, rich businessman who is approximately 70 years old, and he’s running for president of the US. There’s a big difference between being an autistic man-child — in the sense that an individual is legally a man but has the mental capabilities of a child — and a crazy, everything-non-rich-white-cis-heterosexual-male-phobic demagogue in the highest position of power.

If you don’t want a man who acts like an autistic child with the nuclear codes, the power to appoint a super conservative justice to the Supreme Court (which will then overturn everything including Roe v. Wade, the ACA constitutionality ruling, Civil Rights Act, etc), or the power to create more wars…

… then go vote in November. And make sure your parents, children, siblings, relatives, neighbors, coworkers, classmates, etc. go to vote as well. Don’t sit out because if Trump is elected, you will regret not voting to keep him away.

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Benedict Cumberbatch and Andy Murray’s First Meeting Is Pretty Adorable — TIME

Two Brits — one a renowned actor, the other a just-crowned Wimbledon tennis champ — had a chance to meet each other at a post-Wimbledon reception on Sunday, and their polite exchange is everything you’d expect from a pair of respected, well-mannered gentlemen with informed admiration for the other’s craft. “I’m a massive fan,” Andy…

via Benedict Cumberbatch and Andy Murray’s First Meeting Is Pretty Adorable — TIME