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


  • 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


  • 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 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 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 and located in a state where 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. 


  • 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. 


  •  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.


  • 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

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