I got my ham license in April 2008 with my Dad. He studied ahead of time and got an Extra Class license as his first one. I just took the exam
on a lark, rather than wait in the car for him, and passed the Tech exam
(KI6PQR) with zero preparation and lots of luck. I knew Ohm's law and made some good guesses on the FCC rules questions. At this point I know nothing about ham radio, but hope that will change when I have time to pursue it. My main interest? Synthetic biology!
Up until last summer I was planning to become an EE. I got a lucky break during
my senior year of high school as the result of meeting famed UCSF researcher
Dr. Wendell Lim. I was chosen by him for UCSF's iGEM (International Genetically
Engineered Machine) team for 2007. Since UCSF does not have undergrads, they
fielded a small team of high school students to represent the school. We
competed against undergrad students from the best universities in the world
including Harvard, Yale, Cambridge and Cal Tech. Our team, the only one made up of high schoolers, beat the aforementioned schools and placed in the finals. We
presented our research on engineering synthetic organelles in cells. Organelles
divide cells into isolated compartments where processes that would otherwise
harm the cell can be performed. Artificial organelles will likely be useful
when engineered cells are used to produce biofuels. drugs and other chemical
The thought of public high school students beating undergrads from Harvard and
Yale caught the attention of the press and our story appeared in many
newspapers including the New York Times. We made the front page of the San
Francisco Chronicle, sort of a "local public high school kids triumph over
Ivy Leaguers" story. The link below (UCSF news story) gives the
best technical description of what our research accomplished:
The winning team was from Peking University in China and they definitely
deserved first place with their excellent work. I was surprised but very
pleased and excited when Peking University recruited me to be on their team for
2008. I spent the summer of 2008 in Beijing in the labs at Peking University, all expenses paid. I was the only American on the team. My colleagues were great kids, very bright and extremely dedicated and hard working. They spoke Mandarin Chinese during a good portion of our lab work and I have become conversant in their language. I can also read Mandarin well enough to get around Beijing and conduct ordinary business.
I really like electronics, a lot, but now see my career path more in the bio area. My high school friend Alex Yee and I took the second place silver medal in the
Science Olympiad California state finals, in the robotics category. My Dad and
I have a well stocked parts bin and junkbox at home along with a good
assortment of older but functional test gear. When we need something electronic
that cannot be bought, we can usually whip something up. We also fix all sorts of things. My Dad still kids me about blowing up most of his power MOSFETS on a Rube Goldberg project before I figured out what inductive kickback was. Thank goodness for our local electronics swap meets where components are dirt cheap.
We like to mess with RC helicopters. Currently we fly the easy ones with
contra-rotating blades and a yaw stabilizing gyro. We don't want $500 crashes
and our cheap little helos can't do any serious injury to a person. We are
currently outfitting one with a wireless video cam. We are thinking about
converting it to use brushless motors which are more efficient than those
sparky brushed ones that come stock, but the tradeoffs on
cost/weight/performance may keep us using those stock $4 motors.
I completed one year at UC Merced and am now working as a student researcher at one of Peking University's top biology labs in Beijing. I actually get paid for doing research work that I love with good friends who are super bright. I hope to start classes in Fall 2009 and eventually graduate from Peking University (locally referred to a "Beida") which, in my opinion, is the best university in China. I have to pass a very rigorous Mandarin fluency test to qualify for admission, but I think I can do it. I hope to go to grad school at UCSF. I like living in China a lot and will have no problem staying here for three or four more years to complete my degree.
(NEWS!) : ***********************************
I have just been accepted as a full time undergrad bio major at Peking University. Classes start on Monday Sept 14, 2009. I'll have to cut back on my research to have enough time for school, but I'll try to find a good balance. It will be tough taking science classes in Mandarin, but I am up for the challenge.
I like to surf (Internet and waves), snowboard, read and work in the labs late at night engineering new bacteria that can do useful things. I don't have much time for ham radio at the moment, but that should change over time.