My Story, In Reverse
Currently, I'm a fifth-year PhD student at Boston University. I study Astronomy, specifically young stars and their surrounding disks. If you'd like to learn more about that and my research, check out my Projects page. After graduate school I envision applying the skills I've gained towards a career in data science, ideally helping to improve the world for a green/renewable energy company or for Major League Baseball. That said, I'd be happy to work with data and numbers in just about any capacity.
Before BU, I went to college at The University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign, where I received my BS in Physics, with minors in Math and Astronomy. I wasn't really part of any clubs or sports; instead I spent much of my free time working. I was a manager at a Jamba Juice for about 2 years, where I learned a lot about managing a team and working in a fast-paced environment. I also learned that a glass of just-seconds-ago-freshly-pressed orange juice can cure any ailment and it has forever ruined bottled OJ for me. After Jamba Juice, I worked in a nuclear physics lab where I helped a graduate student design, build, and run experiments. Those experiments were all in the hopes of designing a viable nuclear fusion reactor for effectively unlimited energy. We're not there yet, but I like to think my work will one day help realize that goal. My time in lab taught me a lot about hands-on, group work and designing experiements with specific goals in mind.
I very much enjoyed high school, but from an objective standpoint my time there was completely forgettable: I was a pretty-good (but by no means a straight-A) student; I played some sports, but didn't set any records or lead us to any championships; I wasn't really a part of any clubs, and had a fairly small, but close, group of friends. Perhaps my only claims to fame include: Being the captain of the bowling team (but I wasn't even the best, just the most responsible); being the only person in my school's history who took/will ever take three physics courses (Honors physics freshman year, then AP Physics B and C my Junior and Senior years); and co-founding the Philosophy Club my senior year (which dissolved a year or two after I graduated).
As a kid, I always enjoyed math and science, astronomy specifically (no kidding?). I never had a telescope, nor did I live in a place conducive to stargazing, but space fascinated me nonetheless. What really did it were the space-themed documentaries and mini-series on Discovery and Science Channels; they did such an amazing job of conveying the vastness of space and the intrigue of exploring it.
While I wouldn't exactly say that I have (or have ever really had) the Travel Bug, I do enjoy traveling here and there, seeing new sites, and experiencing different cultures. Some of my favorite places I've been include Cuba, New Orleans, London, Paris, and Budapest, though to be honest that pretty much rounds out the interesting places I've ever been. I've also been to plenty of places as a child, but don't necessarily remember a whole lot about them.
Below is a map of places I've Been, Plan to Go, and Want to Go. It's by no means exhaustive (I've been to plenty of small towns and would like to go to plenty more places), but it gets the point across. Take a look!
In addition to general travel, my family and I are in the process of visiting every Major League Baseball stadium. We're big Yankees fans, so every year for the past ~10 years (pandemic permitting) we've visited a new stadium to see the Yankees play.
So far we've seen eight teams: Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Guardians (then Indians), Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, and Chicago Cubs.
We most recently went to St. Louis to see the Yankees lose to the Cardinals. It was still a great game though, and I got one final glimpse of both Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina before they retire. St. Louis was a surprisingly great city with a lot to offer.
Food and Cooking
I also really enjoy cooking, and am always eager to try new recipes.
One of my favorite books ever (yes, ever) is Red Hot Kitchen by Diane Kuan. It's full of recipes for spicy Chinese-, Japanese-, Thai-, and Korean-influenced sauces and condiments that are truly unique from what can be found in most western cuisines. I've tried about a dozen recipes from the book so far, and hope to make everything one day. I will encourage anyone who likes a bit of spice to make their own Chili Oil and Yuzu Kosho; both are true game-changers and add immense flavor to any dish.
I have also dabbled in homemade ice cream, pasta, infused-oils, jams/jellies/preserves, pickles, and other fun food stuffs.
Sichuan Chili Oil. No post-processing was applied to this image; the oil is just super colorful. It's full of warm, tingling, spicy flavors and makes a great addition to just about dish.
Homemade pasta. It was honestly pretty bad, but fun to make. I'll try again in the future.
In 8 hours this will become the most delicious, simplest pork carnitas tacos I ever tasted, let alone made.
Hobbies and Interests
Major League Baseball
I'm a lifelong New York Yankees fan, plain and simple. Despite that, Fenway Park is an institution and I'm happy to catch a game there anytime. Be warned though: I'll root for the Yankees regardless of who's playing.
I've recently discovered my love of cycling, and you can often find me wandering around Boston via bicycle on a nice weeknight or sunny Sunday afternoon. Despite the danger and the outrageous potholes, it's my preferred method of transportation. It's great exercise, soothes the mind, and is simply fun. My favorite spots to hit are the Charles River Esplanade, Pleasure Bay, and the quaint, quiet streets of Brookline.
Playing Card Collection
One day I was browsing through Kickstarter, and came across a seriously awesome Quantum Mechanics-themed cards, and had to back it. It then got me thinking about what other unique and interesting decks might exist, and so began my card collecting. I have at least 60+ in my collection and am always finding more.