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About Me

I am a young professional with a degree in International Relations, with a focus on historical memory, identity, foreign policy, and the politics of East Asia.

I also have experience in office management, IT, operations, copywriting, archive management, program development, event planning, fundraising, and special events.

I have several passions outside of work, including politics, the intersection of identities, etc., all of which inform and shape the way that I look at the world around me. I am an innately curious polymath, strongly committed to being open, listening, and evaluating multiple points of view in working with others.


Troop 103 Eagles Nest

Back in 2015, I began the task of re-designing my home troop’s “Eagles Nest” page. Up to that point, the “Eagles Nest” was a page on the main site where we could list the names of all the scouts that had earned Scouting’s highest honor, the Eagle Scout Award.



(Wayback Machine/Internet Archive)

By 2015, the number of scouts that had ‘eagled out’ in the Troop had grown to around 40 scouts, and the list was getting long and unwieldy. It was also, primarily, a text-based list that displayed the scout’s name, which linked to a full resolution image of the Eagle scout behind an American flag, their Board of Review date, Court of Honor date, the number of merit badges and Eagle palms that the scout had earned, and a link to a ‘thank you’ page, if the scout requested such. The webpage was not responsive and did not utilize the full width of the webpage.

Recognizing that this was a chance to convert a somewhat dated looking webpage that was hard to edit – essentially one would edit the html3 code, then push the change to the server, I moved the site to, converting the text-based list into a list that put the Eagle scout’s name and photo, front and center, then added several new pages of content, including a color-coded, embedded map of all Eagle Scout projects that had been completed to date.


This profile photo theme highlights each photo on mouseover, from a greyscale picture to a full-color preview, with the scout’s name and order on mouseover. Scouts without a photo are listed only by this. Each photo was taken at the scout’s Eagle Court of Honor.


Clicking on the scout’s picture directs the viewer to a ‘profile page’ of the Scout, with more information about their accomplishment, including their full name and a full resolution image. (image not to scale)


The ‘mini-site’ contains information on the Eagle Scout Award, earning the Award, planning and executing an Eagle Project, as well as holding an Eagle Court of Honor, from the previous webmaster and adults in the Troop.


After completing the re-design, I added content, such as a color-coded, satellite, Google map that displayed past scouts’ Eagle Project. In creating the map, I tried to put each pin on the exact location of the project, listing the scout that completed it, as well as a brief description of the project beneficiary and the project itself. The map is embedded in the site and easily updateable as new scouts complete new projects.


As a way for frequent visitors to see what new updates have been added, I included an ‘update log’ with planned features and recent additions.


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
       Between the crosses, row on row,
       That mark our place; and in the sky
       The larks, still bravely singing, fly
       Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
       We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
       Loved and were loved, and now we lie
       In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
       To you from failing hands we throw
       The torch; be yours to hold it high.
       If ye break faith with us who die
       We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
       In Flanders fields.

– John McCrae, May 1915


What is the real history of Memorial Day?

Most official histories of Memorial Day credit its founding to a white former Union Army Major General John A. Logan. However, it’s not the full story. It turns out that Logan was reputedly inspired by a local tribute to the fallen dead and to the gift of freedom organized by the formerly enslaved black community of Charleston, South Carolina, in May 1865. In the West African tradition from which Charleston’s Gullah people came, honorable warriors deserved sacred burial, and the dead were seen as part of a cycle of souls entering and leaving the world. 

Learn more here.

Before I switched my field of study to international studies/relations, I took pride as a history major. Really being able to learn about different events, the history of different people, how they’re informed by their past, studying that past – no matter how all-encompassing and interdisciplinary it is, and create living history in the form of oral histories or writing a different take on something. That was what, and still does, excite me about history.

The fact that it’s so essential to everything that we do, in an intrinsic sort of way, yet to many people seemed so useless, was a challenge in and of itself.

Here’s something that I found about the history of Memorial Day… It’s an illuminating post-colonial take on the history behind General Logan’s idea.

Balancing Posts & Reblogs

A lot of you may have noticed that I recently started re-blogging a lot more content from other news outlets and media… It’s really been a struggle for me to find that balance between original posts (my thoughts, happenings in life, musings, personal projects) and re-blogging the things that I’m interested in from other sources.

I don’t want this blog to become a space where I just reblog what others post, but at the same time I recognize that this is what tumblr is best known for, that if I want to take full advantage of tumblr, I should do this too!

I don’t think a lot about my other interests, so responding to news articles and posts is one way that I can show you my interest in certain things. It’s also a way for me to feel comfortable responding, without having to feel like I need to know a lot to actually post about something in particular.

That said, sometimes I just feel like I can’t write a full post about what I’m feeling… while at other times I feel like I don’t want to reblog something. Right now I have 3 drafts in my draft box waiting for the right time for me to finish them… in the meantime, I’ll try to keep things interesting by re-blogging and finding that balance.

Thanks for reading my blog, everyone!


The most luscious watermelon the Deep South has ever produced was once so coveted, 19th-century growers used poison or electrocuting wires to thwart potential thieves, or simply stood guard with guns in the thick of night. The legendary Bradford was delectable — but the melon didn’t ship well, and it all but disappeared by the 1920s. Now, eight generations later, a great-great-great-grandson of its creator is bringing it back.

Saving The Sweetest Watermelon The South Has Ever Known

Photo: Heather Grilliot/Courtesy of Bradford Watermelons

Sometimes the huge diversity of produce and heirloom varieties amazes me! that you can have different varieties of the same fruit, all with different uses, tastes, growing climates, and purposes of why they were conceived and marketed is just astonishing! Yet another result of Gregor Mendel’s work on genetics and Luther Burbank’s work in agricultural science!


Under the right light, these jellies radiate a bright green glow. Scientists aren’t sure what makes them fluoresce in the wild–one guess is the light from a full moon!

Learn more about elegant jellies

While on a summer study abroad trip to Costa Rica, my class was staying at  Hacienda Baru, an eco-tourist lodge about an hour from the Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. One night, I joined a couple of my lab mates and our trip guides, Marcos and Robert, on a night hike of the beach to look and see if we could find signs of sea turtles or their nests.

Some of us had come with flashlights to make sure that we wouldn’t trip over anything on the beach sand. Imagine my surprise when one of our guides, Robert, told us to turn off our flashlights. When I finally turned mine off, I saw that it was so that we could see the micro-organisms in the sand that glowed whenever we stepped on the sand/made a footprint.

The light from the flashlight, no matter the intensity or direction, made it a lot harder to see the flashes of bio-luminescence that these micro-organisms were giving off. As much as I wanted to keep my flashlight on, it was another thing to experience something we had never seen before. 

We never did get to see any turtles or find any turtle nests, but I learned that sometimes it takes some discomfort to a certain level, to experience what nature has to offer. Whether that discomfort was just a turned off flashlight, or a journey down to the Rio Negro, spent half tripping over the forest floor. I’ll never forget some of the things that I experienced during my time spent in Costa Rica.

Anecdote aside, this is really very pretty 🙂


Rain is a vital part of water circulation. Water from the surface evaporates into the atmosphere and then later on forms clouds. The fallen rain soaks into the ground. It forms rivers that flow to the ocean, and then it returns to the sky again. Supposedly everything in this world goes through cycles. Plants, insects and animals, all eat to survive, and return to earth in due time. Going around in circles, life repeats itself.”

This is really beautifully drawn… and it really emphasizes the importance of water in not only our everyday lives, but also in its role of sustaining life on Earth in the most hospitable of climates or increasing the biodiversity of life in areas of the world that are already so diverse!



Just how well can pandas digest bamboo? 

That’s the question at the center of new research published this week in mBio, which examined the gut bacteria of pandas (by looking at their poop) and found the animals’ stomachs are more closely related to carnivores.

As Nature explains:

To study the panda’s gut microbiome, researchers in China sequenced ribosomal RNA in faeces collected from 45 pandas of different ages over the course of a year. The scientists compared the microbes found in the panda faeces to those in the faeces of other mammals, such as bears, lions, horses and kangaroos.

The team found little diversity in the microorganisms that live in panda guts, and none of the cellulose-degrading bacteria typically seen in other plant-eaters. Instead, the pandas’ guts were dominated by Escherichia, Shigella and Streptococcus bacteria, which are normally found in carnivores.

About 2 million years ago, pandas switched to a bamboo-dominated diet, and today, the bears spend about 14 hours a day eating bamboo plants. They consume upwards of 27 pounds (about 12 kilograms) of bamboo daily, but only digest about 17 percent of what they eat.

So the question is still an open one: Why, if pandas have been eating bamboo for so many years, haven’t their microbiomes caught up?

Speaking to Nature, at least one researcher cautioned it’s premature to draw a link between the type of bacteria found in a panda’s stomach and the species’ overall decline. 

For this study, researchers only looked at microbial type, not function, and as Nature also points out, other research suggests some types of panda gut bacteria can break down cellulose into sugars that are easier to process.

Read the full study: The Bamboo-Eating Giant Panda Harbors a Carnivore-Like Gut Microbiota, with Excessive Seasonal Variations

(Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons, Flickr Creative Commons, San Diego Shooter)

Panda news from WNPR’s The Beaker. -Emily

This is really such an interesting study…


Only a small number of Boy Scouts make Eagle Scout.

The feat is even harder when you come from inner-city poverty.

Yet for 27 years, Romy Vasquez has successfully encouraged boys from South Central Los Angeles to become scouts, and he’s seen more than a dozen members of Troop 780 go on to reach scouting’s highest rank.

Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful … This Great Teacher Abides By The Scout Law

Photo credit: Shereen Marisol Meraji/NPR

Having myself been a troop leader, for a time, in an inner-city boy scout troop, I can understand how difficult it is for inner-city youth to reach the rank of Eagle… I have a huge respect for those that recognize the initiative, aspirations, and inner strength that these scouts have and take the time to encourage these boys to reach their goals, no matter how hard it is.