Monday, September 24, 2012

Tiffany Named National Merit Semifinalist

Tiffany was among six Lindbergh High School seniors named 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program semi-finalists. The National Merit Scholarship Program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

Lindbergh High School seniors (front row, from left) Vidhan Srivastava, RJ Mohr, (back row, from left) Tiffany Lee, Ananya Benegal, Becky Bavlsik and Allison Mather have been named semifinalists in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program.

According to Lindbergh High School online report published on Sept 17th, six Lindbergh seniors have been named semifinalists in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program. Vidhan Srivastava, RJ Mohr, Tiffany Lee, Ananya Benegal, Becky Bavlsik and Allison Mather are six of approximately 16,000 semifinalists named nationwide. These academically talented seniors have the opportunity to continue in the competition for 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million, which will be awarded next spring.

About 1.5 million students in some 22,000 high schools enter the National Merit Scholarship competition annually when they take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®). This serves as an initial screen of program entrants. Of these entrants, some 16,000 Semifinalists are designated on a state representational basis, in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the nation’s high school graduating seniors. Semifinalists are the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represent less than one percent of the state’s seniors.



To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists have to fulfill requirements to advance to Finalist standing. Each Semifinalist submits a detailed scholarship application, which includes writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also have to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a school official, and earn SAT scores that confirm their qualifying test performance. From the Semifinalist group, some 15,000 meet Finalist requirements. By the conclusion of the competition, about 7,800 Finalists are selected to receive prestigious National Merit Scholarships totaling nearly $35 million. Winners are the Finalist candidates judged to have the strongest combination of academic skills and achievements, extracurricular accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. Scholarship winners represent less than 1% of the initial pool of student entrants (about 0.5% based on official statistics released by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation


Links:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tiffany in STARS


Tiffany joined 80 other highschool students from 33 highschool nationwide this summer in a six-week-long intensive research program. Her paper titled “Analysis of Cholesterol Effects on Surrounding Phospholipids in Cell Membranes using Molecular Dynamics Simulations”was selected as the recipients of the “LMI Aerospace Inc. Award for Excellence in Research”. UMSL Chancellor Tom George is hosting an awards banquet on Monday, October 8, 2012.

Below is news article from Lindbergh High School

Lindbergh High School students (L-R) Stephanie Fei, Shravan Dommaraju and Tiffany Lee were among more than 80 aspiring scientists who spent six weeks this summer conducting intensive research with St. Louis-area professionals and professors as part of the 2102 Students and Teachers as Research Scientists Program (STARS) at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

The students were paired with top research mentors from UMSL, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Saint Louis University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the Solae Company. Lindbergh students worked on research including:
  • Shravan Rama Dommaraju, “Hydrogen Bonding Energies in DNA Nearest Neighbors,” with Dr. Brent Znosko of Saint Louis University
  • Stephanie Yun Fei, “Segmentation in Perception and Reading,” with Dr. Jeff Zacks of Washington University
  • Tiffany Lee, “Analysis of Cholesterol Effects on Surrounding Phospholipids in Cell Membranes using Molecular Dynamics Simulations,” with Dr. Dan Ory of Washington University
“High school students interested in a science career get a big head start with their participation in the STARS program,” said UMSL Chancellor Tom George. “For six weeks, students interact with experts in their fields, work in labs and take away with them an invaluable real-life, hands-on experience.”

The program is funded partially through LMI Aerospace/D3 Technologies, Solae, the Office of the Chancellor at UMSL, Saint Louis University, Washington University and the Green Foundation.

Links:

American's Mixed View of China

Americans are concerned over China's growing economic strength, but they view Chinese people positively,  according to a new survey reported by CNN.

A full 78% of Americans say the large amount of U.S. debt held by China represents a serious problem, while solid majorities cite the outsourcing of jobs and the trade deficit as worrisome issues.

The survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center, also indicates that Americans are much more likely to be concerned by China's growing economic might than even its military prowess.

The U.S. economy dwarfs that of China, which surpassed Japan in recent years to become the second largest in the world. But China is growing much more quickly than the United States. Even in a slowdown, China's economy still registers more than 7% annual growth, compared to 2% or 3% for the U.S.
At the same time, the U.S. trade gap with China widened to a record $280 billion last year, and is on pace to get even bigger this year.

Even though they regard China's economic rise as a threat, Americans ascribe some positive attributes to China's population. A majority of Americans describe the Chinese people as hardworking, competitive and inventive. Most Americans also believe economic growth will result in a more democratic China.
Still, only 26% of Americans say that China can be trusted a great deal or a fair amount.

Relations between the two countries, especially on issues of trade, have been in focus in recent days.
The Obama administration filed a complaint Monday with the World Trade Organization alleging that China has illegally subsidized automotive exports and undercut American suppliers.

Some observers characterized the complaint's timing as politically motivated. But Election Day could bring real changes to the U.S. relationship with China.

Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, has taken a combative stance toward China. The former Massachusetts governor has pledged to label China as a "currency manipulator" and hit the country's exports to the United States with tariffs.

Some observers worry that if Romney follows through with his plans, a trade war could erupt between the two economic mega-powers.

"Creative" Ways to Pay for College

The following is an online article from CNN Money on how parents and students are finding new ways to pay for the high tuition cost.

Paying for college with fertility clinics, sugar daddies

What do sugar daddies, medical studies and pawnshops have in common? They help some students afford a college education.

With the average family reporting that they are only on track to meet 30% of their college savings goals, every extra dollar counts -- and nothing is off limits.

John McKinley-Campbell had no job, $135,000 in student loan debt and he wanted to go back to school to get his Ph.D. at Florida International University. In order to afford to make it all happen he became a lab rat.
He has been participating in medical studies for pharmaceutical companies ever since his aunt saw an advertisement for one on TV. He lived in a medical facility for 14 days to test an arthritis medication and then signed up to receive injections of a breast cancer drug through an IV over the course of 8 days.

Those two studies alone will earn him about $8,500, which he plans to put toward an $1,800 GRE preparation course, the GRE test fee of $175 and the university's $100 application fee. The rest will go toward housing and tuition if he gets accepted. "If I can't find work [while in school], there's always a headache medicine I could test," he said.

Norah, who asked that her last name not be included for privacy reasons, has taken a slightly different route. She decided to become an egg donor at Shady Grove Fertility Center in Maryland this year, one of the largest fertility centers in the country.  The 24-year-old grad student earned $6,500 for her first egg donation, which almost covers her entire first year of school. A couple more egg donations will leave her with enough money to pay the full cost of the program -- around $15,000. "When I worked a second job [between college and graduate school], it took me almost a year working in retail to make this same amount I've already made from one egg donation," she said.

Along those lines, a sperm donor at California Cryobank, who requested to remain anonymous, said he has earned $2,600 from making sperm donations for the past year, helping him cover his college living expenses and lab fees.

California Cryobank, which has several locations around the country, said nearly half of its qualified donors are college students, and sperm donors can make up to $1,200 per month -- or $14,400 a year -- if they donate three times a week.

Other cash-strapped college students are using their looks and sex appeal to find "sugar daddies" who are willing to foot their tuition bills.

One 21-year-old student said she receives a monthly allowance from a 37-year-old "sugar daddy" she met through online dating site SeekingArrangement.com, which helps rich men find young women who are looking to be supported financially. In exchange for her company, she says her sugar daddy has been making her full tuition payments of $1,500 each month.

According to SeekingArrangement, that allowance is low compared to what most college students on the site receive. About 41%, or 350,000, of the sugar babies on SeekingArrangement.com are college students, and two-thirds of them say they are using their sugar daddy as a primary or secondary means of paying for college -- receiving an average of $4,200 a month for college expenses, according to the company.

Parents are also finding creative ways to cover their kids' college costs.

After coming up $4,000 short for his son's tuition, Dave McDougall, pawned 15 pens from his $40,000 collection of luxury and vintage pens as collateral for a $4,100 pawnshop loan. The loan came with a steep 6% monthly interest rate -- amounting to a 72% annualized rate (personal loans often come with annualized interest rates in the low teens). He plans on paying it off in September when he gets his bonus check from work.

Another parent, Carol Carlisle, hosts international students who come to the United States to learn English as a Second Language at a program called Intrax in San Francisco, which pays host families about $32 a night. She's using that money to pay back the home equity loan she and her husband took out to pay for their daughter's college tuition.

Carlisle began hosting students in June and has already made about $2,700 -- $1,800 of which she put toward the loan. She expects to be able to completely pay off the loan after hosting students for a few years.
"When our daughter graduated high school in 2005, we thought we would use our home equity to pay for college and would pay it back, but then 2008 came around and my husband is a builder and everything collapsed for him," said Carlisle. "Besides being a joy [to host ESL students], we get this check every month, and we can finally make payments on that home equity."

And if you thought it couldn't get any more unconventional, Wayne Perry has started saving early for his son's education by making money off of a YouTube video that unexpectedly went viral, featuring his newborn son holding the forceps used to cut his own umbilical cord. With more than one million views, Perry said he is raking in around $1,000 a month from Google AdSense, which places ads on YouTube videos and other online content and pays the publisher based on how often the ads are clicked on or viewed.

He says he's putting that money -- $8,000 so far -- into a college fund for his son, who is now two years old. If the payments continue, he thinks he could easily have more than $100,000 saved by the time his son is 18.
"We're middle class, where we make too much to get a lot of [college] grants and low-cost loans but don't make enough to foot the bill for a really great school -- and imagine when he's 18 what the cost of tuition will be," said Perry. "I could never have saved that kind of money for him without this -- never."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

College tuition continues to rise

Most people agree that in today's workplace, you'll need a college education to get a job that pays well and to have the best chance for career advancement. However, students and their families are paying higher prices to get that education.

According to FinAid, an online financial aid resource, college tuition has increased at about twice the general inflation rate. On average, tuition tends to rise about 8% per year, which means the cost of college doubles every nine years. For example, the same public college tuition that cost $8,000 in 2003 will set you back $16,000 this year.



Over the years, there have been many reasons for the increases in college tuition, but the most recent big hikes at public schools are due-at least in part-to state budget cuts. As state and local higher-education funding decreases, colleges are forced to raise tuition to make up the difference. Families that aren't prepared to cover these costs often turn to student loans in order to afford college.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Top 10 U.S. National Universities

The highly-acclaimed and highly-anticipated “best college” rankings according to U.S. News & World Report have been released for the “national universities” and “national liberal arts colleges” categories.

Top honors for the “Best National Universities” list is still a tie between Harvard University and Princeton University. In terms of “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges”, Williams College still tops that list of educational institutions.

Of the movement near the top of the “Universities” list, the University of Chicago moved up. It now ties with Columbia University at number 4 on the list.

The Top 10 National Universities

1 tie: Harvard University
1 tie: Princeton University
3 Yale University
4 tie: Columbia University
4 tie: University of Chicago
6 tie: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
6 tie: Stanford University
8 tie: Duke University
8 tie: University of Pennsylvania
10 tie: California Institute of Technology
10 tie: Dartmouth College

Update:
  • 2012.09.13 - original post

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Great Day in the Park

After the remnant of Hurricane Issac finally left town and headed northeast back towards the ocean, the rain stopped and the sun started to peak out of the cloud.

The Labor Day today saw about ten families of GraceGarden Fellowship gathered at Castlewood State Park to mark the end of summer with fun, food and fellowship. We also welcomed fellow members of SLCCC who bumped into our gathering totally by accident!

The party first took a hiking along the Meramec River, then started the charcoal grill for BBQ'ing pork, hot dog and sweat potato. If the delicious BBQ wasn't enough, there were also many yummy dishes of noodle, pancakes to complement.

The boys didn't miss a minute to play team baseball with Jonathan bringing his bats and glove to show how to swing, run and catch. The girls collected clay around the wet land and also had fun in the nature.

After song singing to praise Christ, we took turn sharing about the grace and gift each family experienced with or received from Him in the summer. The sun rays shined through the trees, mixing with smiles and laughter in the air.

What a great day in the park, when we could share the happiness and joy as one family in Him.

Monday, August 27, 2012

These jokes are on me :)

While teaching the seeker class about how pervasive sin can be and invisible to the sinners, I ran into a couple of jokes about the effect of alcohol on human. Here they are:

Love You So Muchh
A old woman was sipping on a glass of wine - while sitting on the patio with her husband - and she says: "I love you so much - I don't know how I could ever live without you" ... Her husband asks: "Is that you or the wine talking?"  She replies - "It's me ... talking to the wine."


Sailors & Admiral
Two drunken sailors were lost looking for their pier and ran into an admiral on the street. One sailor grabbed the admiral and asked for direction. The admiral shouted: "Do you know who I am?" The other sailor shook his head in despair:"We don't know where we are, And he does NOT know who he is!!"


Loving the Enemy 
After drinking heavily all night, John stumbled out of the bar and ran into his Pastor. The Pastor said hello and then reminded John that alcohol could be his worst enemy. John gathered his last bit of thought and countered:"But you have taught us to LOVE our enemy!". The Pastor replied in a big smile:"But I have never taught you to swallow your enemy!!"

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tiffany Earned AP Scholar Award

We received a letter from CollegeBoard commending Tiffany on her outstanding academic performance. On the basis of her AP achievements, Tiffany has earned the designation of "AP Scholar with Distinction".

Information about the requirements for AP Scholar Awards can be found at: www.collegeboard.org/apscholar

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tiffany gets perfect ACT score and more

Tiffany scored a perfect ACT scores of 36 in the latest national college entrance exam. After the Lindbergh High School published the story, it was picked up by local news media including KSDK Channel 5 (Tiffany Lee gets perfect ACT score) and Fenton-HighRidge Patch (Tiffany Lee, of Lindbergh, Scores Perfect 36 on ACT Entrance Exam)

Below is the original Lindbergh news story:

Lindbergh High School senior Tiffany Lee has scored a 36, the highest possible composite score, on the ACT college entrance exam. According to the ACT website, fewer than one-tenth of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earn a top score of 36.

Tiffany, 16, daughter of Frank and Elaine Lee of Sunset Hills, is enrolled in Lindbergh’s Program for Exceptionally Gifted Students (PEGS). Although she scored a 35 on the test in 2010 and had taken practice tests to prepare for this year’s exam, Tiffany said she was surprised when she saw her flawless score on the ACT website this June.

“I started screaming,” she said. “It was exciting!”

The International Baccalaureate Diploma candidate takes several accelerated courses and carries a GPA of 4.774. In addition to her academic achievements, Tiffany is co-president of the Math Club; participates in National Honor Society, Link Crew, Science Olympiad and DECA; and is a section leader for clarinets in the Spirit of St. Louis Marching Band. She is also the founder and president of the LHS UNICEF Club, which recently raised more than $1,000 to help build a well in Africa, and is an active leader in her church.

In a letter recognizing her exceptional achievement, ACT CEO Jon Whitmore said, “While test scores are just one of the many criteria that most colleges consider when making admission decisions, your exceptional ACT composite score should prove helpful as you pursue your education and career goals.”

Tiffany is interested in studying research medicine and plans to apply at Stanford, California Tech and Northwestern universities. This summer, she had the opportunity to work in a lab alongside two Washington University physicians as part of the University of Missouri-St. Louis’ Students and Teachers as Research Scientists program. Tiffany also has created www.Health4Teen.com, a website that provides helpful health information to teenagers.

She thanks her teachers at Lindbergh High School for offering challenging courses that have prepared her well for college.

“I love my classes here; the teachers are great,” Tiffany said. “My AP classes are challenging enough that I can really push myself.”

-------------------------------

Tiffany, we are proud of you!

Update:
  • original post: 2012.08.02

"35岁前无房无车会令你恐惧吗?"

35岁--该让你恐惧的不是无房无车,而是你只有车房.

三十而立,源于《论语·为政》,意为人到了30岁就应该去面对一切困难. 我想其中最大的一难就是去知道并体会人生不是为了自己,而是为你爱的人而活.

如果你看过电影"The Family Man",就大概知道我所要表达的意思了.

再提供俩部电影供参考:)

比较糟的结局-为追求财物乃至事业而无视或忽视你身边的爱 ("Indecent Proposal")

比较好的结局-为你所爱的人打拼赢得并共享下雨天的遮挡 ("The Pursuit of Happyness")

35岁前无房无车会令你恐惧吗? 


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jonathan Plays LF/1B This Sunday's Baseball Game

Jonathan plays on the YMCA Cardinal White baseball team this summer.

Below is the lineup for the game Saturday:

1.  Elana (1B/RF) - Bats last third inning if there is one
2.  Joel (2B/LF)
3.  Cody (3B/CF)
4.  Eric (SS/RF)
5.  Johnathan (LF/1B)
6.  Lucas (RF/3B)
7.  Nicholas (CF/SS)
8.  Joseph (CF/2B)
9.  Cole (P/LF)
10. Jackson (RF/P) - Bats last second inning
11. Gavin (LF/CF) - Bats last first inning

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tiffany Clarinet Solo Recital "Adagio"

Tiffany performs Mozart's "Adagio" at Webster University Community Music School Recital on May 19th, 2012. Her private clarinet teacher Jeanine York-Garesche was on piano.



Update:
  • 2012.05.20 - original post

Jonathan Cello Solo Recital "Bourree"

Jonathan performs cello solo "Bourree" by George Frideric Handel at Webster University Community Music School Suzuki Recital on May 19, 2012.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Life's Game (Poem)


In a game of survival
Companions were reduced into rivals
Charging ahead on a circular path
Like boarding a plane with no arrival

The game-makers gently say
There is only one way you can stay
Adapt to our game faster than anyone else
As our rules change from play to play

Then the moment of truth finally came
That I need to change this game
Towards the freedom I will walk
And my world will never be the same


May 13th 2012 in St. Louis

Tiffany Performs at Young People's Concert Orchestra

Tiffany joined 100 young musicians in the St. Louis Young People's Concert Orchestra to perform at a packed Webster University concert hall early evening today.  Patrick Jackson is the conductor of the orchestra. Tiffany plays the first clarinet and also the soloist in the "An American in Paris Suite".

1: "Fanfare for the Common Man" by Aaron Copland

2. "An American in Paris Suite" by George Gershwin

3. "Somewhere in Time" by John Barry

4. "Porgy and Bess Medley" by George and Ira Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward



Update:
  • 2012.05.13 - original post

圣路易华人基督教会慕道友班(2012夏季)预告

在6月3日将开始的圣路易华人基督教会成人主日学内,我将和孙宝舟弟兄一起,在SLCCC慕道友班和大家一起学习,见证和分享神的道理和救恩.以下是我制作的预告短片.




亲爱的弟兄姐妹和朋友们,大家平安!

我是李宁,在即将开始的成人主日学内,我将和孙宝舟弟兄一起,在慕道友班和大家一起学习,见证和分享神的道理和救恩, 

如果你是慕道友, 或是刚信主的兄弟姐妹,我们非常欢迎你加入这即将开始的旅程,
让我们一同学习靠脚前的灯和路上的光.去探索神的救恩之路.

我们的行程分为四个主要站点,如登山一样,在每站都有新的挑战和独到的风景.

在第一站,我们来领略旅途的山光水色,在神精妙绝伦的创造中去认识他的启示和属性.

在第二站,我们会来到行程中最大的路障.求神的光照打开我们的眼睛,来看到是什么把我们与神隔离.

在第三站,也是行程中最困难的时候,我们会认识一位同行的伴旅和知心的朋友.

他会以牺牲的爱来召唤我们.指一条道路、真理和生命给我们.

在第四站,是行程中柳暗花明的时刻,我们会看到怎样凭着信心越过鸿沟踏上救恩的道路.

在行程中我们会有多种多样的方式帮助大家.
  • 有课堂讲解
  • 有见证分享
  • 有交流心得
  • 有诗歌演唱
  • 有影视音像
  • 有讨论
  • 有竞赛
  • 有奖品,但现在保密!
亲爱的朋友们,盼望你能与我们同行,让我们一同去寻找神在我们身上的恩典痕迹.


Update:
  • 2012.04.29 - original post 
  • 2012.05.01 - added Chinese transcript 
  • 2012.05.13 -  预告短片在教会播放

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2012 Lindbergh High Spring Orchestra Concert

Lindbergh High School held its annual Spring Orchestra Concert today at its District Auditorium. The chamber orchestra and symphony orchestra performed 4 musical pieces each with conductor Susan Rola, the orchestra director. Tiffany plays clarinet in the orchestra.

Lindbergh Symphony Orchestra performs "Scheherazade" during the Spring Orchestra Concert at Lindbergh District Auditorium on May 1, 2012. The piece is composed by NikolaiRimsy-Korsakov. Susan Rola is the conductor of the orchestra, and Chrissy Hazelwood is the violin soloist.


Lindbergh Symphony Orchestra performs "Chicago Part 1" during the Spring Orchestra Concert at Lindbergh District Auditorium on May 1, 2012. The piece is composed by Fred Ebb & John Kander and arranged by Ted Ricketts. It features "My Own Best Friend", "Razzle Dazzle" and "All That Jazz". Susan Rola is the conductor of the orchestra, and Tiffany Lee plays clarinet in the orchestra.


Lindbergh Symphony Orchestra performs "Chicago Part 2" during the Spring Orchestra Concert at Lindbergh District Auditorium on May 1, 2012. The piece is composed by Fred Ebb & John Kander and arranged by Ted Ricketts. It features "And All That Jazz", "Cell Block Tango", "Roxie", We Both Reached for the Gun.


Senior-class and award-winning members of the Lindbergh High smphony orchestra were being recognized during the Spring Orchestra Concert at Lindbergh District Auditorium on May 1, 2012. Tiffany Lee was among those who were acknowledged for being eligible for the State Solo and Ensemble Festival held in Columbia, MO last Saturday (4/29/2012)


Symphony Orchestra performs "Here Be Dragons" by Gary Gackstatter during the Spring Orchestra Concert  on May 1, 2012. Tiffany Lee plays clarinet in the orchestra.


Senior-class students of Lindbergh High School Symphony Orchestra presented balloons, crafts and poem as farewell tributes to orchestra director Susan Rola.



Update:
  • 2012.05.01 - original post

Jonathan "Playing" Cello (Photo Album)

Jonathan started playing cello the fall of 2010 so this is his 2nd year with cello. Here is a collection of photos of Jona "playing" cello at home last month (April 2012).










Visit the full album at Google Picasa

Update:
  • 2012.05.01 - original post

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tiffany Took Top Ratings at Missouri State Music Festival


Tiffany in the car on the way from St. Louis to Columbia

We left home around 8:30am and drove 130 miles to Columbia yesterday (2012.04.28) as Tiffany was to compete in the 61st annual Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) State Music Festival held at University of Missouri Columbia.

The event included more than 4,600 individual and group performances representing 395 schools. Most of the festival’s performances will take place in the Fine Arts Building and Memorial Union. Other sites on and off campus will also be used.

This state-level festival has an evaluative purpose during which students perform before some of the nation’s top music adjudicators who provide ratings and critiques of the students’ musical abilities. Festival participants qualified by earning a division “1” rating at their respective district-level festival.

After competing for three events during a stormy day at Mizzou, Tiffany took home two "1" ratings for Clarinet and one "2" rating of piano. Below are Tiffany's results:

Clarinet Solo & Ensemble
Tiffany received I ratings in both solo and ensemble (Fei Woodwind Trio)


Piano Solo



A Day in Columbia

Columbia is quickly becoming one of our favorite towns in Missouri after numerous trips there recently for State-level competition (All-State, Math League and now Music Festival). While in Columbia, the storm came and passed through left the streets wet when we left. We had a working lunch at Bread Co, grabbed drinks from Bubble Cup and frozen yogurt from Yogoluv in downtown Columbia.

All work and some food at Bread Co in downtown
Columbia, with Frank in the background



Links:

Update:
  • 2012.04.29 - original post

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tiffany Won Yale Book Award

Tiffany won this year's Yale Book Award from Lindbergh High. The award ceremony was held Friday (2012.04.27) at high school. She was one of the seven top-performing students at Lindbergh to win the prestigious book awards (other awards are sponsored with different universities such as Harvard). The book Tiffany took home is John Hallander's "Rhyme's Reason".

On the same event, Tiffany was also recognized as the recipient of President's Volunteer Service Award (for serving more than 100 hours a year), and as the School Winner for AMC 12 (American Mathematics Competition).

According to Yale Book Award web site, this award is made available through Yale Clubs and Alumni Associations. It is presented to outstanding students at the end of their junior year at public and private secondary schools in the area served by the Club or Association. Ideally, the selection of the students given awards is made by a committee composed of members of the Club or Association and officials of the school concerned. The selection may be left in the hands of the school if the Club or Association authorizes this procedure.

The award certificate attached to the book

About Yale Book Award
  1. Yale Clubs and Alumni Associations make this award available. It is presented to outstanding students at the end of their junior year at public and private secondary schools in the area served by the Club or Association.
  2. The Club or Association determines the number of awards and schools in which awards are given; schools are selected from among those that send or are capable of sending students to Yale.
  3. The Club or Association making the award, in consultation with the appropriate school officials, determines the criteria for the award, which should include "outstanding personal character and intellectual promise."
  4. Ideally, the selection of the students given awards is made by a committee composed of members of the Club or Association and officials of the school concerned. The selection may be left in the hands of the school if the Club or Association authorizes this procedure.
  5. Once you have chosen the recipient(s) for the Yale Book Award in your area, send us the name(s) and home address(es) of the recipient(s). We will forward this information to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
  6. Competition for an award is to be within each school, rather than among schools.
  7. Every effort is made to maintain a high degree of prestige and visibility for the Award in each Club or Association area. Local publicity is recommended.
  8. The Club or Association, along with the local Alumni Schools Committee(s), closely coordinates the Award in each area.
  9. A book designated by the Association of Yale Alumni may be used as a symbol of the award, although an appropriate alternate book selected by the Club or Association may be used. A Yale Book Award bookplate is to be affixed to the awarded book in both cases.

About "Rhyme's Reasons"

Winner of the Modern Language Association's Mina P. Shaughnessy Medal for an outstanding research publication in the field of teaching English language and literature (award granted to the earlier edition).

Rhyme's Reason, a Yale Book Award to Tiffany

In his classic text, Rhyme’s Reason, the distinguished poet and critic John Hollander surveys the schemes, patterns, and forms of English verse, illustrating each variation with an original and witty self-descriptive example. In this substantially expanded and revised edition, Hollander adds a section of examples taken from centuries of poetry that exhibit the patterns he has described.

“Discussions of prosody usually make for yawns and heavy eyelids, but John Hollander’s book, now usefully augmented, is a sparkling performance. He defines and illustrates the forms and means of English verse in such a way as to teach us, also, the spirit of play which animates even the gravest poem.”—Richard Wilbur


Links:

Update:
  • 2012.04.30 - original post

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tiffany Got First Full-score at Missouri Math League Contest

Tiffany was among 22 Missourian students who achieved a full score of 6 in the April 2012 round of Missouri Math League contest.

With a cumulative score of 25, Tiffany stands at No. 21 overall. The current No. 1 position is occupied by two students with score of 34.

The full result and current standing is posted online.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tiffany Won 2nd Place in State Math Competition

Tiffany accepting award
Tiffany competed today at Missouri State Math championship and won 2nd place in the Large-sprint individual event. The competition started around 9am and lasted till about 2pm with the results announced about 3pm. It was held at the Physics building of University of Missouri, Columbia. The result is the best ever so for Tiffany in any math competition. 

The contest is sponsored by mathleague.org and Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM).  Tiffany qualified for the state championship after winning at several local qualifying tournament in September 2011 and then February this year. The time line of the events and Tiffany's results are recorded as following:
  • Missouri local qualifying tournament
    • September 29, 2011 at St. Dominic High School, O'Fallon, MO (result)
      • 56 points and 4th ranking at sprint-large 11th grade event
      • 60/109 points and 2nd ranking at target-large 11th grade event
      • total 116 points and ranked 2nd overall
    • February 3, 2012 at Florrissant Valley Community College (result)
      • 26 points and 8th ranking at sprint-large 11th grade event
      • * points and 2nd ranking at target-large 11th grade event
    •  March 3, 2012 at St. Charles Community College (result)
      • Lindbergh team won the Relay and Team Competitions at the Math League Competitions.  Members of the team included Ananya Benegal, Kyle Burkhart, Shravan Dommaraju, Rachel Maxwell, and Vidhan Srivastava.  In addition, Ananya Benegal won the Sprint Competition for 11th graders and Shravan Dommaraju placed 3rd in Sprint. 
  • Missouri state championship
    • April 21, 2012 -  at University of Missouri, Columbia (result)
      • target-large: 40 points (6th for 11th grade and 9th overall)
      • spring-large: 55 points (2nd for 11th grade and 5th overall)
      • combined: 95 points (3rd for 11th grade and 7th overall)

About Math Contests 
mathleague.org sponsors a series of high school math contests each year to determine the individual and team state champions in several states. Local qualifying tournaments are held throughout the school year at various sites in these states. 

For Missouri, the event is co-sponsored and organized by Missouri Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM).  Within space limitations at each site, schools may attend any or all of these tournaments in an attempt to qualify for the state meet. Each event has a cutoff score, and all students and teams attaining the cutoff score will be invited to compete at the state championship, provided their schools are members of mathleague.org and located in a state where mathleague.org holds a championship.

Test Description
  • POWER QUESTION: This is a multi-part, proof-oriented question that will test the students' higher-level mathematical reasoning skills. The power question is a team event in which groups of up to six (or three for small schools) work for one hour to produce a single multi-page answer. There will be different power questions administered to large and small schools. Scores for this event will be out of 100. Please note: due to time constraints the power question will not be offered as an event at local contests. However, one power question will be made available to member schools as part of the first qualifying round that coaches may administer in their own schools. Calculators are allowed on this event.
  • TEAM TEST: This is a ten question, twenty minute test which a team of up to six works on together (or three for small schools). There will be different team tests administered to large and small schools. Each question will be worth ten points, and the top team test score from each school will contribute to that school's overall point total. Calculators are allowed on this event.
  • SPRINT ROUND: In this individual test, students will have sixty minutes to complete 30 multiple choice questions. Four points will be awarded for each correct answer, with one point deducted for each incorrect answer; no penalty will be assessed for skipping. The top six scores from each school (or three for small schools) will be averaged to calculate that school's sprint round score. If fewer than six (or three) students take the test, zeros will be assessed for the leftover slots. This is to encourage schools to bring more students and not limit participation to only the one or two top math students in the school. Calculators are allowed on this event.
  • TARGET ROUND: This is an individual event consisting of eight questions, each worth 10 points. Questions will be given out in pairs, and students will have ten minutes to complete each pair. Team scoring procedure is the same as for the sprint round. Calculators are NOT allowed on this event.
  • RELAYS: For this event students will arrange themselves into teams of up to three. A relay question consists of three parts, and each student will receive only one of these parts. The first student completes part 1 and passes it to the second person, who must use that answer to solve part 2. This answer is then passed back to the third person, who uses that answer to solve part 3. The third person is the only one to turn in an answer. More detailed information is available here. The third person has a chance to turn in an answer at three minutes, when a correct answer nets 10 points, and at six minutes, when a correct answer receives 5 points. There will be five relay rounds, and the top two teams (or one team for small schools) from a school count toward the school's total. The relay score of small schools is doubled before being added to the school total, so the relay round is worth 100 points in the overall rankings for both large and small schools. Calculators are NOT allowed on this event.
  • SWEEPSTAKES: A school's sweepstakes total is computed by adding its scores for each event. There are a maximum of 100 points available in the team test (the score of the highest scoring team from the school), 120 in the sprint round (average of the top six (or three) highest scores), 80 in the target round (average of the top six (or three) highest scores), and 100 in the relays (sum of the two (or one, doubled) highest scoring relay teams from the school), for a total of 400. At the state meet, the power question will be a competition event, so the maximum sweepstakes total will be 500. Any school scoring at least 200 at a given qualifying meet will be allowed to bring to the state meet all team members who contributed to the school's sweepstakes point total at that meet. 

Links

Update:
  • 2012.04.21 - original post 
  • 2012.04.29 - updated with March 3rd event at St. Charles Community College 
  • 2012.05.08 - added championship info

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tiffany Accepted into 2012 STARS Program

With some advice from mom and help from dad, Tiffany today decided to enroll with Dr. Dan Ory of Washington University in St. Louis for her summer research project as part of the Students and Teachers as Research Scientist (STARS) program.

STARS is a six-week program that begins the second week of June. You may access the 2011 STARS Schedule of Activities for a draft copy of the activities.

Lindbergh Announcement


Congratulations to Lindbergh High School students Tiffany Lee, 11; Shravan Dommaraju, 10; Ananya Benegal, 11; and Stephanie Fei, 11; who have been accepted into the 2012 Students and Teachers as Research Scientists program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. STARS introduces incoming high school juniors and seniors to the various aspects of scientific enterprise that are practiced by successful scientists in academic, private and governmental research institutions. Students conduct research within a community of investigators, under the supervision of a practicing research mentor. (original news)

About STARS Program

Students and Teachers As Research Scientists (STARS) is a program funded partially through LMI Aerospace/D3 Technologies, Office of the Chancellor of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Saint Louis University, Washington University, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Green Foundation, and Solae Company. It introduces both rising high school juniors and seniors and teachers to the various aspects of the scientific enterprise as practiced by successful scientists in academic, private, and governmental research institutions.
Applicants are limited to rising junior or senior high school students residing in the Greater St. Louis or Metro East area. 

Link:

Update
  •  2012.04.19 - original post
  • 2012.04.29 - updated with 2011 Program Info

Monday, April 16, 2012

An Afternoon On The Road

Today I traveled from St. Louis to Rochester, MN for business meetings tomorrow. Here is the anatomy of the afternoon trip.

13:10: arrived at Lambert International Airport Terminal One

13:12: checked in with American Airlines for flights to Rochester, MN. The first leg to Chicago (AA 854) is delayed till 14:10. For the second leg, the original AA 5056 gives me only 40min in Chicago to connect. The check-in console provides an alternative for AA 5038, departing at 18:00. 

13:20: passing through TSA security checkpoint. 

13:25: walked into the just-renovated Concourse C. I was impressed by how bright and clean it looked. Still not as modern or chic as SFO but definitely much more improved. 

The newly renovated Lambert Airport C-concourse

14:00: got on board flight AA 854, seat 5F. The gentleman seated next to me was chatting another guy across the isle about new fashion design product opening in Hong Kong. He probably worked for a retailer such as Macy’s. 

14:20: wheels up 

14:22: I was so tired and felt asleep sitting

14:45: flight over mid-Illinois plain, white cloud dotted landscape outside the window. Drink service in first class and I got a Heineken and a complementary Summer Harvest Gourmet Snack Mix 

14:56: pilot announced landing in 15min. 

14:58: plane started to make a slight turn towards right (East). Cloud thickens in the sky. I had to turn off laptop and switched to paper-pencil mode for the travelogue

15:02: plane flew over Chicago suburb towards northwest direction. I took a photo outside the window

15:04: flight attendant announced arrival and departing gate. We’ll be landing at Gate H17 and my connecting flight to Rochester will be at gate L2A. (flight to Rome will depart gate K13)

15:05: read WSJ article “Numbers, Numbers and More Numbers”, about how healthcare players, including St. Louis-based Express Script, are finding that crunching the numbers (from patient care data) can pay off in both better care and lower costs

15:07: plane has reached over the top of Lake Michigan. The green surface of the lake reflects the sun light beautifully.

15:14: plane approached Chicago lake shoreline (took a photo)

15:18: plane started descending westward toward O’hare International Airport

15:20: wheels down

15:25: deplaned and dashed toward the next flight at Gate L2A 

...

15:33: despite the scheduled 15:50 departure, I was delighted to find out, after arriving at Gate L2A, that flight AA 5056 was still at the gate. As a matter of fact, passengers were just streaming off the plane. 

15:45: got on board flight AA5056, sea 3A. It’s an American Connect Embraer 135 plane with narrow isle, tight overhead space. A passenger pushed and squeezed his bag with wheels into the luggage bin. We could hardly open it later.

15:59: door closed

16:07: plane left the gate

16:20: wheels up, back into Chicago sky

16:31: drink service

16:58: pilot announced that we were 40 miles away from airport and ground temperature is 40 degree (vs about 70 degree where I originated)

17:07 wheel down. Welcome to Rochester!


by Frank 
at Doubletree Hotel in Rochester



Catching Up With Jonathan

Before going to sleep last night, I read to Jonathan a few pages of a book he has been reading. Then we chatted and he told me about his recent dream. 

In the dream, Jonathan was playing a baseball game as pitcher. He grabbed two balls and put them on a desk while watching others play. Somehow these two balls felt strange to him, as they were soft outside but hard inside. Just before he was about to throw the pitch, the balls disappeared from the desk, and the dream ended with him not being able to throw the ball. 

This is probably one of those dream-never-come-true situation about things one desired but couldn’t get to.  However, in that very moment, instead of dismissing it, I felt a deep empathy for the 8-year-old boy and his desire to try and accomplish something.

Inspired by Cardinal's World Championship last year and the hometown hero David Freese, Jonathan has been watching a lot of Cardinal baseball lately, including a series 2 game 3 victory over Cubs on Sunday, so playing baseball has been quite keen on his mind, just as he's now going through semi-professional tennis camps and training. 

So, I said to Jonathan that I would take him to a Cardinal game this year.  He then asked: “but how can I catch a ball without the glove?”. He meant if there is a flying ball coming his way, he needs to be prepared. Great, now we will get ready for a game and to catch a ball!

I’m glad that I spent time talking with Jonathan and catching up with his world, which is fast moving beyond Pokeman into the real world of sports - tennis and baseball. I hope I can be there every step of the way, even I’m writing this post 500 miles away in Rochester, MN.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tiffany Took Medal at Missouri Science Olympiad

Tiffany likes sciences and is a member of the Lindbergh Highschool Science Olympiad team. Today (2012.04.14), her team spent a full-day competing at the Missouri Science Olympiad State Tournament held at the campus of Mizzou. They took a school bus ride to and from Columbia, Missouri. I drove to Lindbergh about 9pm to pick up Tiffany. The members of the team seemed exhausted yet happy.

The Lindbergh team qualified for the state after finishing the third in the regional tournament (Missouri Region 6) at Lindenwood University on 2012.02.04. (school news)

The three events they competed in are: 
  • Disease Detective - This event requires students to apply principles of epidemiology to a published report of a real-life health situation or problem. (Food Borne Illness)
  • Microbe Mission - Teams will answer questions, solve problems and analyze data pertaining to microbes.
  • Fermi - A Fermi Question is a science related question that seeks a fast, rough estimate of a quantity which is difficult or impossible to measure directly. Answers will be estimated within an order of magnitude recorded in powers

For the State Tournament, Lindbergh High placed the 8th in team event. Tiffany won the third place in individual round for "Disease Detective", and also placed third in all individual events at the Regional Tournament. 

Lindbergh High School participants:
  • 9th grade – Emma Powers, Nick Berron, Alyssa Marin, Kelly Roth
  • 10th grade – Shravan Dommaraju, Ricky Lewis, Joshua Luthy, Ben LeDeaux, Jacob Pavelka, Katie Hufker
  • 11th grade – Kristina Wideman,  Michele Tucker, Tiffany Lee, Becky Bavlisik, Vidhan Srivastava, Jessie Kline, Ananya Benegal
  • 12th grade – Kyle Burkhart, Ben Beshel, Allison Berron, Francesca Vacca, Devon Roberson, Mariano Marin, Rachel Maxwell, Brian Roth
Science Olympiad

Recognized as a model program by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices in the 2007 report, Innovation America: Building a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Agenda, Science Olympiad is committed to increasing global competitiveness for the next generation of scientists.

Missouri State Science Olympiad is a non-profit organization that operates under the National Science Olympiad which is a national non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of K-12 science education, increasing male, female and minority interest in science, creating a technologically literate workforce and providing recognition for outstanding achievement by both students and teachers.  These goals are achieved by participating in Science Olympiad tournaments and non-competitive events, incorporating Science Olympiad into classroom curriculum and attending teacher training institutes.

For over 25 years, Science Olympiad has led a revolution in science education.  In the face of shrinking college enrollment in science majors, falling science test scores and a nationwide shortage of K-12 science teachers, Science Olympiad continues to challenge, inspire and inform the academic and professional careers of students and instructors across America.

Science Olympiad Competition

Each team is allowed to bring 15 students who may participate in a variety of events in their skill set.  Practices vary from monthly meetings to weekly study sessions to daily work as tournaments near.  Science Olympiad competitions are like academic track meets, consisting of a series of 23 team events in each division.  Every year, a portion of the events are rotated to reflect the ever changing nature of genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, astronomy, mechanical engineering and technology.

Emphasis is placed on active, hands-on, group participation.  Through the Olympiad, students, teachers, coaches, principals, business leaders and parents bond together a work toward a shared goal.  Teamwork is a required skill in most scientific careers today, and Science Olympiad encourages group learning by designing events that forge alliances.

The prestige of winning a medal at a Science Olympiad tournament, whether regional, state, or national,  is often a springboard to success.


Links:


Updates:
  • 2012.04.14 - original post

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sharing a story on Easter

A great story of faith comes out from the communist-era Russia.

Nikolai Ivannovich Bukharin was a powerful man in the Politburo of the Soviet Union. He was the editor of the national newspaper, Pravda, and a soldier in the Bolshevic Revolution in 1917. In 1930 he travelled to the Soviet city of Kiev to address a huge assembly of workers. His topic was atheism. For over an hour he hurled insult, argument and proof against God and His claim to be the Creator of the world. By the end of his speech the large crowd was cowered, beaten and fearful. Gazing around the room for several moments in triumph, he finally asked, “Are there any questions?” Deafening silence answered his challenge and every eye was lowered to the floor. But then an old man began to shuffle to the platform. He struggled up the steps and finally stood next to Bukharin. Slowly he surveyed the crowd. Then he raised his arm upward and cried out an ancient Russian Orthodox greeting, “Christ is risen”. En masse the crowd leapt to their feet and in voices that rolled like thunder they shouted back,“He is risen indeed”.

On this Easter day when we remember His rise and resurrection, I thank those who have lived before us who fought life's final war with pain and becoming the testimony of light so we can face tomorrow with no fear. This is all because He lives.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

My Unified Social Networks (2012 Edition)

After a few months of planning, today I established my professional social network. This is an addition to my personal social network that has been in the work for past three years.

The professional social network will mostly share the username of drfranknlee with the exception of Facebook in which case franknlee is used instead.
I have also created some cross-linking among these networks:
  • All the tweets will get automatically posted to Facebook, and Linkedin (with #in tag). The latter is useful as Linkedin is my primary business-related social network so I don't want to necessarily "spam" buddies there with a lot of non-business messages
  • The Youtube service is now trusted and linked to Facebook and Twitter account, so that any video upload will be broadcasted to my social network (with the exception of Linkedin, which is OK for the reason described above)
  • My Gamil account will be the consolidated username for all three major social networks, and this will make managing all the accounts much streamlined. For example, I will set a regular interval to change password on all three accounts. Another benefit is that I only need to check one email account for all updates


Updates:
  • 2012.04.08 - original post
  • 2012.04.15 - registered and added two home websites

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

5 States in 5 Days

This business trip late March took me through 5 states in 5 days:

Minneapolis (3/26 Mon)
Brookings, SD (3/27 Tuesday)
San Francisco (3/28 Wednesday)
New York City (3/29 Thursday)
St. Louis, Home (3/30 Friday)

Slideshow:




Click to visit photo album:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lock & Key Story

We recently rented out our condo to a young couple from SLU. Everything was in perfect condition except one thing -- the door lock for the storage room. Not only was the key missing, its lock tongue and groove seemed misaligned so the door wouldn't lock.

I decided to get the lock replaced today as the young couple already moved in over the weekend. Before departing for the condo, I checked my toolbox for used door locks/keys that might be reused. There was a set of lock but no keys. So I went checking a drawer where all of our keys were kept, including a dozen or so unknown ones. Without finding any keys matching to the used lock, I was disappointed and blamed myself for the total disorganization. I took the keys to the condo door (just in case I need to access it). And then for whatever reason or thinking, I grabbed all the unknown keys and put them in my left pocket before rushing out with Jonathan to his swimming class.

Being quite anxious, I wanted to drive to Home Depot first to buy a key-set. But then, midway and realizing we might be late for class, I changed plan and drove directly to YMCA. I would say that I rarely changed mind to be earlier for something but I overcame myself at that moment.

After dropping off Jonathan, I drove to Walmart for a new door lock set. The newly renovated Superstore in Kirkwood was beaming with life and friendliness. A sales clerk in his 60s kindly, with a gentle smile, pointed me to the hardware section for the lock and then followed over to make sure I found it. I raised the lock with a smile and thumbed up to thank him. I haven't had such experience at Walmart for a long time.

On the way to the condo, I called Elaine to say I wouldn't have time to pick up Jonathan, estimating it would take at least one hour to figure out all the issues then replace the lock. I felt very sorry making the call.

After parking in the visitor lot, I walked up the hill and stopped in front of the storage door. There it was, the door with missing keys and misaligned parts. Right there, with almost some kind of conviction or certainty, I grabbed the unknown keys out of pocket, pulled out one from maybe a dozen, and inserted it into the key hole while lock was engaged (door is open). I tried turning the the key counter-clockwise. Slowly, the key kept turning inside the lock ... And it unlocked!

Before comprehending what happened, I immediately solved the second problem by pushing the door slowly in to give the lock tongue time to engage the groove. And the door completely close-shut and could now be locked!

Altogether, this took me about 60 seconds and I was now walking down the hill towards my car and calling Elaine to say I could go picking up Jonathan, which I did with time to spare after getting to YMCA.

So, I have experienced an amazing episode of things-working-so-well-beyond-belief: a helpful Walmart clerk with a smile, a working door lock, and a matched key to the lock.

It beats probability -- as one perfect match rose from a dozen options in first try. It defies rationality -- as my plan was to replace the key from the beginning and not find a key among these unknowns.

As the sequence of events unfolded later in mind and now in writing, I experienced the amazement and gratitude again. More importantly, I was just so happy to be able to show up on time for Jonathan, and be a father who took care of his son.

If we make the right choice and put in efforts to find the right key to the lock in our life -- subconsciously, purposefully and faithfully, things will work out, as our Father is more capable and thoughtful in planning and taking care of us.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)