Summer provides opportunities for engagement in local activities

Summer provides opportunities for engagement in local activities
Brandon Seow: Engineering classes
Brandon Seow: Engineering classes

A Taser alarm: It may sound slightly odd, but it’s what sophomore Brandon Seow spent six weeks of his summer on.

Following a weeklong family vacation to French Polynesia, Seow took two engineering classes in hopes of creating a portfolio before applying to the California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science, or COSMOS, next summer. It was in his first class, a six-week course on engineering fundamentals at West Valley College, that he and his groupmates decided to create an alarm that stunned its user prior to going off.

The proposal was initially a joke, according to Seow. “It was right in the beginning (of the course) when we were supposed to shout out ideas to the group,” he said. “One of my peers shouted out ‘Taser alarm,’ which sounded funny at first, but somehow the teacher accepted it.”

During the class, Seow and his groupmates created a design, ordered the necessary parts — including electrode patches and wires to hook to phones — and then assembled the contraption. Though Seow’s work mainly involved writing code, he also aided with the physical engineering.

With limited supplies and an unavailable teammate, alongside a slew of bugs typical of an engineering project, Seow’s group faced its fair share of troubles. “We waited for a while longer than we should have to start building (the alarm) in real life — putting the parts together — because we had to do a lot of prior research,” he said. “Our project was one of the harder ones out of all the groups’.”

Still, the team was able to troubleshoot and ended up finishing on time. Beyond engineering skills, Seow also gained friendships from the course. “It’s fun because I get to meet students of all ages,” he said. “I have friends there who are in college, past college and going to be a junior (in high school) next year. So being able to talk with them and relate to them is nice.”

Overall, Seow appreciated the versatility of the class, which always kept him interested: From circuit building to coding Arduino, there was always something new to learn. “Every day is just a little different,” he said.

—Written by Amann Mahajan

Rishay Jain: Astrophysics internship
Rishay Jain: Astrophysics internship

Senior Rishay Jain’s work touched the stars at his Lockheed Martin internship this summer, where he studied solar flares: explosions of electromagnetic radiation or plasma from the sun that can travel up to 3,000 kilometers a second. “If, by chance, this plume of material hits the Earth, and is able to penetrate Earth’s protective magnetic field, we could be severely impacted,” he wrote in an interview follow-up note. “Astronauts would be in extreme danger, air force/ military operations could be interrupted, and civilians could experience power and communications blackouts.”

Through working in the Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory at Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Center, Jain is developing an application that helps scientists track solar flares and their evolution. His tool analyzes photos of the sun’s surface to detect where, when and how often flares occur, with the goal of predicting them more accurately.

Jain’s application builds on the work of previous Gunn interns at Lockheed Martin. They, like him, were part of the decadeslong joint program that sends a few rising seniors from Gunn to intern at the company during their junior-to-senior-year summer. “While I’ve learned a lot of new concepts for my projects at Lockheed, I have to apply nearly everything I’ve learned in the rigorous math, science and engineering courses I’ve taken at Gunn, using everything from vector math from Analysis to electromagnetic waves from chemistry and physics, and even computer-vision/programming techniques from GRT (Gunn Robotics Team),” Jain wrote.

At networking events, Jain has been able to learn from the people who work at Lockheed. During the 10-year-anniversary celebration of the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, a NASA sun imager, he heard about the project’s challenges and highlights firsthand. “There’s more than just engineering,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that go into these projects, and there’s a lot of collaboration and teamwork spirit.”

Jain will continue to add more features to his application to analyze different types of data over the next eight months of his internship. “There are real-world impacts to the kind of work that happens over there,” he said.

—Written by Irene Tsen

Beverly Lamis: Circus camp counselor and lifeguard
Beverly Lamis: Circus camp counselor and lifeguard

Junior Beverly Lamis juggled the demands of two jobs and walked the tightrope of responsibility this past summer. A counselor at 888 Monkeys Circus Camp and a lifeguard at Greenmeadow Pool and Community Center, Lamis both taught and supervised children, learning new skills along the way.

Lamis and her twin brother, Jack Lamis, made a last-minute decision to become counselors at the camp after hearing about the opportunity from stage tech teacher Jennifer Ellington, who is also one of the directors of the camp. At the camp, the twins taught circus arts — trapeze, juggling, acrobatics, stilts and more — to kids aged 5 to 14.

As a counselor, Lamis ran stations that students rotated through, each focusing on a different skill. “We’re teaching the kids how to do it and pushing them further than what they think they can do,” she said. “For the (skills that require balance), it’s a lot of just spotting the kids because they’re pretty young.”

At performances, Lamis got to see her teaching and the students’ hard work pay off. “By the end of the week, most kids are able to do whichever (skills) they really tried hard at,” she said. “Usually, at the end of the week, we show all of the skills that they learned to the parents.”

The stories her boss told and the specialists the camp brought in gave Lamis a newfound understanding of circus life. “It’s been a surreal experience,” she said. “My boss, he’s part of the circus, so it’s opened my eyes to a whole different volume of life living (as) part of the circus and having to be on the go all the time.”

Apart from her full-day job as a camp counselor, Lamis set aside time to complete summer homework in preparation for classes, go to the gym and work at the Greenmeadow Community Center, where she watched over swimmers as a lifeguard and did maintenance work around the pool and bathrooms.

Despite younger students’ temper tantrums and unruliness, Lamis loved working with them. “It’s really fun to teach them how to do something and then watch them succeed and build on it,” she said. “They always just love to show you the littlest things, and it’s so fulfilling seeing the joy on their faces after they’ll get one trick, and they’ll start to get it over and over again.”

—Written by Irene Tsen

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Oracle
$100
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Henry M. Gunn High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

About the Contributors
Amann Mahajan, Editor-in-Chief
Senior Amann Mahajan is the editor-in-chief of The Oracle and has been on staff since January 2022. When she’s not reporting, she enjoys solving crosswords, doing terrible British accents and playing the piano.
Irene Tsen, Managing Editor
Irene Tsen is a senior and managing editor for The Oracle. She enjoys eating dark chocolate, organizing all aspects of her life and adding more books to her never-ending TBR list.
Donate to The Oracle
$100
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Oracle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *