Monday, June 9, 2014

University of Pennsylvania

One of the many universities my cohort and I will be visiting when we are on the east coast, is the University of Pennsylvania. This university is in an urban environment, right inside Philadelphia. Because it is in an urban environment, the layout of the campus is more compact than spread out, with the core campus covering about 300 acres. It is an Ivy League university that was established in 1740, and it considers itself to be the first university to have both a school for undergraduate students, and a school for graduate students. Within the undergraduate section, there are four different schools: 1) The College at Penn ( arts and sciences), 2) The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 3) The School of Nursing, and lastly 4) The Wharton School of Business. Coincidentally, my grandfather was the dean of the Wharton School of Business for a period of time.

One of the aspects of academics the University of Pennsylvania puts emphasis on is research. It has a research budget of $899 billion dollars, and it is a nationally ranked research university, one of the top five. It has a very good student to faculty ratio, which is 6:1. UPenn is highly selective, and according to Forbes, it is the sixth most selective school, with an average of a 10% acceptance rate.

Some aspects of the social life on campus include Greek life. From what I have read about what alumni have today, Greek life is prominent at the UPenn campus, although it does not completely dominate the social aspect of the school. One thing that concerned me a bit, was the amount of diversity on campus. 42% of the student body was White, 33% was unreported or unknown, 12.8% was Asian, and all other races including Black, Hispanic, Native American, were all less than 6%. I think that for me personally, the amount of ethnic diversity at a school would be an important aspect that I would value greatly. 

What I do like about the university is that it is in a city, so you are not constricted to being just on the campus, and you can learn about and be part of the city as well. The university also emphasizes research, which is something I would hope to do some day. I cannot wait to visit the school and see if it is how I expected it to be, and if not, how it will be different. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Georgetown University

Jack the Bulldog
Georgetown University, which our Chicago cohort will be visiting on July 9th, is one of the nation’s best universities. Its history, renowned academic programs, and religious affiliation make it one of a kind.

Founded in 1789 by John Carroll and located in Washington, D.C., Georgetown U is the oldest private Catholic and Jesuit institute of higher learning in the country. Patrick F. Healy, the first African American to earn a Ph.D. and head a major U.S. university (who is often considered the second founder of Georgetown U ), reformed the university’s curriculum. He lengthened the medical and law programs, created the Alumni Association, and headed the construction of Healy Hall.
Healy Hall
After the Civil War, Georgetown students chose blue (the color of Union uniforms) and gray (the color of Confederate uniforms) as their official colors to show unity between students. Perhaps their motto, Utraque Unum (both into one), also demonstrates this unity.

The 16,000 or so students who go there have several schools to choose from: Georgetown College, Georgetown Law, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Robert E. McDonough School of Business, School of Medicine, McCourt School of Public Policy, and more.

The business program and opportunities to be involved in politics are some things that Georgetown University is known for. Ambitious political and business leaders have been shaped at Georgetown U, such as Bill Clinton, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (the former president of the Philippines), and various other governors, cabinet members, White House staff. Their basketball team, the Hoyas, is also ranked among the top basketball programs in the country.
Georgetown U's Library
Based on reviews by students, the social life there is pretty great. Though there are no Greek organizations, there are various museums, theaters, concert halls, and monuments to see, both on campus and in Washington D.C. (such as the White House, Smithsonian, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial). 

Based on some reviews online, I read how there are a lot of prerequisites students have to take. The review said they had no time for extracurricular classes. Though I’m guessing that’s probably what makes Georgetown U students so great, I also want to explore new topics in college and take some extracurricular classes. I’ll try to see if that’s the case when we visit.

Based on what I read online, what I like the best about Georgetown U is their mission. They “work together to help solve… poverty, disease and conflict”, and are committed to “justice and the common good.” I even read that students spend Spring Break helping communities outside of Washington, D.C., a tradition that continues today.
Georgetown U students shaving their heads for cancer
One of the things I learned from Elspeth and others at the SF dinner is that a big part of determining which college is for you is the feeling you get when you’re actually there—when you feel that place is just right. I don’t know if Georgetown will be the one for me, but I’ll definitely be ready to find out by July 9th.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Orientation at Pinole Middle

This evening there was an orientation where all the ILCers, chaperones, and parents had to attend, which took place at Pinole Middle School. I was so nervous because I ended coming late due to a family emergency but luckily my grandmother was there to take me. I'm glad I made it to the orientation anyways.

At the beginning of the orientation Don introduced himself and the chaperones again to the parents. After, he talked about the forms and things we would be talking about tonight. He then told us that we would be seperating into breakout sessions with our groups.

Our Chicago group went over the things we will be doing on our way to Chicago like visitingdifferent colleges before we arrive at the school. It's amazing to hear that we will be meeting more alums from the different schools. After the breakout session, the cohorts returned to the multipurpose room.

To finish up the orientation Don informed us about the checklist of stuff we might need for the trip to our colleges and what to expect when we get to our colleges. After hearing more of what to expect from Ms. Kronenberg, Don informed the parents and cohorts about the things we could borrow if we didn't have certain things like a fan or a suitcase. I'm glad I was able to get this information and knowing that I could be able to borrow material for this trip.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Essential Information Orientation

On my way to the orientation I was nervous because I did the first thing that Don told us not to do and that was forgetting my contact form. I did not wanted to take out evil Don today and I did not wanted to look unprofessional. I knew Don was not going to be happy about me forgetting the contact form after he email me a thousands of remainders. Luckily, my big brother Byron was at home and I gave him a called  to ask him if he do me the favor of bringing me the form.  Fortunately, my brother was able to drop off the form for me and saved me from evil Don.

At my arrival at the orientation, I got 15 minutes early because I did not wanted to be excluded from the program for a tardy issue. I did not wanted to be the one standing outside Pinole Middle School gates for being an ignorant person to go late after we were told not to be late. This is very important because this is what we have to do in every job or any other event to always be on time.  I will not let this issue be an obstacle to me and I will improve and get better at being punctual because that shows people that you are interesting to listen what they have to say.

The orientation was very helpful for my dad and I because is good to hear the same think twice or more, so it can be recorded on your mind playing over and over again.  Don gave a speech for at least 10 minutes of all the procedures and rules of the ILC.  He showed us a display of some of the things that he can loan to us the ILCers and Chaperones and like Don always says that the key is to give it back after our arrival in California.

Display loans: Cameras, Fans, Alarm clock, Mouse, Desk Lamp etc...

After Don finished with his speech we were all immediately separated as a group with our chaperon.  We went to a classroom where my cohorts, chaperon, parents and I were discussing about our trip and what university are we going to explore.  The UChicago  general itinerary has very essential information for the parents because it shows what are we going to do each day and which university are going to visit.  First we going to Washington University, after is Georgetown, then UPenn, and last but not least is Northwestern. All of this have to happened in four days so we going to be running up and down the first week.  After we finished talking about our agenda and what places will want to visit in the east coast; Alie (my chaperon) instructed some rules that she had for us so we my cohorts and I, along with the parents about texting her or calling her every time we decide to go out or to check in and no doubt to ask for help or opinion.  I believe with the information that was  giving to all the parents either by Don or a chaperon, it took out a heavy weight from the shoulders of the parents knowing more about the chaperon and where and with who their child is going to be at or around with.  Another thing that was helpful is knowing what to pack for the trip so parents can help the child pack because some of us is the first time traveling and that's even including me.

Every day goes by and I can't wait until the day that I will be  in San Francisco airport ready to take off. Even though we still have to wait one more month, it feels like July 7 is just around the corner.

Orientation at Pinole Middle School

Today all the ILCers attended the Orientation that took place at Pinole Middle School. I was glad it was at Pinole Middle because it’s familiar and close to my house (though the McDonald's next to it certainly was useful afterwards).

Since my parents came straight from work, we left the house later than planned, resulting in one very stressed Famorcan family. However, we got to the school at a reasonable time. After everyone found their seats, Don put a stop to everyone’s conversations.

The first part of the Orientation was Don re-introducing himself and the chaperones to the parents. He talked about itineraries and forms and told us what we'd discuss tonight. He soon told our cohorts to separate into breakout sessions.

Our Chicago cohort went over the rough draft of our itinerary, filled out some more forms, and talked about what to expect at the places we’ll be going to. Alie, our chaperone, answered any questions our parents had. The cohorts soon walked back to the multipurpose room.

The post-breakout session part of Orientation was a review of the checklist Don discussed during our blogging tutorials. Don and Ms. Kronenberg also told us things we can expect back East (like hot weather and evil thieves). Like Don said, the review was mostly for the parents’ benefit (though having our parents know does come back to benefit us, the students).

The Orientation was a nice way to get us all prepared for our trips. I’m glad the ILC has Ethernet cables and gorillapods and things like that to let us borrow. I’m so excited for this trip!!   

Summer 2014 Orientation

This evening, all of the students accepted into the Ivy League Connection and our parents attended an orientation at Pinole Middle School. In the upcoming days before this event, it was stressed to us that we had to arrive on time and tardiness wouldn't be tolerated. Before I get into what was discussed at this orientation, I feel like I need to vent about what I went through to be there on time. I had agreed with my mother the night before that I would come pick her up from work and we would go to the middle school together. She works in Oakland and I didn't realize how bad traffic was until I noticed that it took me about 40 minutes to go pick her up. To make me more anxious about being late, she wanted to say goodbye to every last person in her building and that took another 10 minutes. Finally we were en route to attend the meeting and by this time, it was 5:10 PM. It took everything I had to not break any laws but we were lucky enough to get there on time with a couple of minutes to spare.

Now that I got that off my chest, we can move on to the important thing, the orientation. We were welcomed into the multipurpose room by Tour Guide Don and we took our seats on the picnic style tables. Tour Guide Don wasted no time and he jumped right into his presentation, wanting to keep things moving. He explained to our parents what was expected of us from the program and what change they could potentially see from us. Tour Guide Don also suggested to us what we should pack and what not to pack. The other schools get to refer to the blog posts from past students who have been to those schools about what they should bring. Since this is the first time anybody from the Ivy League Connection is going to the University of Chicago, we get to be the first to share our experiences from there.

We broke off to smaller groups after about the first 45 minutes. Here, our chaperon went over our itinerary with our parents. Since we aren't leaving for another month, everything on our schedule is subject to change. This itinerary gives us an idea of how packed and busy we will be going all over the Midwest and the East Coast. If it's even possible, all this talking made me even more excited to go. Once this smaller group session was over, we went back into the multipurpose room and last minute questions were answered. After this was over, we were dismissed and everyone was allowed to go home. I am happy to say that on this ride home, I didn't have to try so hard to not break any laws.

The Orientation

As the date for our departure becomes sooner and sooner, we are learning many more details about our trip and all of the specifics. When I arrived at Pinole Middle School and sat down, I looked at all of the objects we might need to take with us on our trip and that the ILC offered to let us borrow. These objects included cameras, card readers, umbrellas and mini fans (for the unpredictable east coast summer weather), and much more. 

Once all the students split up into their cohorts, we all went into separate classrooms to talk about our specific trips. Now I have an idea of where I will be and what I will be doing each day during the first week of my trip. The first week is the week we visit colleges all over the east coast. First we will go to Washington University, then Georgetown, UPenn, and lastly Northwestern. This will all be within the time span of four days. We will be very busy from the get go, and will try to spend as much time as possible exploring the city we are in and taking in the environment in the short time we have there. 

After we learned about our schedule, we went over some basic rules with both my chaperone, Alie, and Don. The meeting was very efficient and effective. I now have a much better idea of where I will be when, and other traveling arrangements. 

I am so excited to start the trip, but I have to wait a little more than a month, although I am sure July 7th will be here before I know it. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ten Places I'd Like to Visit in Chicago

Chicago has so many attractions to see, so it took a bit of research to see which places I most wanted to visit. Eventually, I narrowed it down to these ten:
Shedd Aquarium
1.    Shedd Aquarium
Once the largest indoor aquarium in the world, it was also the most visited aquarium in the country in 2005 and was the most popular cultural attraction in Chicago in 2007. The aquarium received awards for best exhibit from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for Amazon Rising in 2001, Wild Reef in 2004, and Seahorse Symphony in 1999. I love sea creatures, especially turtles, and would want to visit a place that houses them.
2.    Willis Tower
One of the tallest buildings in the world, Willis Tower stands at 108 stories and 1,451 feet. Besides space for companies and businesses, its views over Chicago (such as the Skydeck), make it a popular place for tourists to visit. I’d love to visit the thrilling Skydeck and see Chicago from above.
The Tilt
3.      360 Chicago
The fourth tallest building in Chicago, 360 Chicago (formerly known as the John Hancock Center) stands 100 stories, 1,127 feet tall. It houses offices, restaurants, condos, America’s highest indoor swimming pool, the Observatory (an attraction that has Chicago’s only open-air SkyWalk), and a new attraction, the Tilt (a window that extends outwards from 1,000 feet). I’d love to visit just for the thrill of walking on the SkyWalk and tilting over The Magnificent Mile.
4.      The Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile is considered a melting pot of global flavors and offers a variety of restaurants to choose from. Bars, cafés, gourmet and casual restaurants offer American, Italian, Asian, French, Indian cuisine, among others. Eating Chicago’s cheesy-caramel popcorn mix, traditional Chicago hot dogs, and deep dish pizzas at the Magnificent Mile are definitely on my to-do list.  
The Magnificent Mile and the types of food you can eat
5.      The Field Museum of Natural History
One of the largest natural history museums in the world, the Field Museum has diverse, high quality exhibitions feature the earliest fossils, past and current cultures, and interactive programming to demonstrate our present conservation needs. In Chicago, I’d enjoy seeing the museum’s extensive artifact collection.
Navy Pier
6.      Navy Pier
Chicago’s number one tourist attraction, Navy Pier runs 3,300 feet along Lake Michigan. Today, attractions at Navy Pier include sightseeing tours, dinner cruises, fireworks, fairs, expositions, and seasonal festivals. I’ll make it a point to visit Navy Pier when at Chicago, to visit the Chicago Children’s Museum and watch fireworks.
7.      Art Institute of Chicago
An art museum in Grant Park, the Art Institute in Chicago holds Impressionist, American, Asian, and modern art, among others. It is the second largest art museum in the U.S. I’d love to visit to see the various art pieces they hold.
Millennium Park
8.      Millennium Park
Considered the world’s largest rooftop garden, Millennium Park is a public park located in the Loop community area of Chicago. It features several public art and has received awards for its green design and accessibility. After seeing pictures of Millennium Park, I’d love to see the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the Cloud Gate, and the Crown Fountain, some of the many famous attractions there.
9.      Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum
The mission of America’s first planetarium, the Adler, is to inspire understanding and exploration of the universe. To do so, it has three full size theaters, space science exhibitions, and antique scientific instruments. In 1931 it was given the gold medal of the American Institute of Architects and was named a National Historic Landmark in 1987. After hearing about the Doane Observatory, where people can see planets, stars, and galaxies in person, I’d love to visit.
10.  Cadillac Palace Theatre
Located in the heart of the Theatre district, the Cadillac Palace Theatre shows extremely popular Broadway musicals such asThe Lion King, Les Miserables, and Wicked. The Last Ship and Charlotte’s Web are two shows that will be playing during our stay in Chicago. I hope the Chicago cohort will be able to watch a play or musical there!
The Cadillac Palace Theatre

Northwestern University

Founders John Evans, Orrington Lunt, and Grant Goodrich.

This summer, along with attending the University of Chicago, I will be visiting four different universities with my cohorts. One of the universities that we will be visiting is Northwestern University located in Chicago. Northwestern is a private research university located in Evanston Illinois founded by nine men whose key leaders were John Evans, Orrington Lunt, and Grant Goodrich. These men didn't have much and they all had to work hard to get the support and money needed for the school to run. On January 28, 1851, Northwestern was officially established and they began enrolling students in November 1855.

Northwestern is on a quarter system and what makes it unique is that its students take four courses each quarter except the engineering students who are allowed to take five. Their popular majors include communications/journalism, social science, and engineering while their strongest programs are chemistry, engineering and economics. Economics is definitely something that I would be interested in studying at Northwestern because I am already interested in that area of study and their economics program is considered one of the best.

There are different groups and activities that are available at Northwestern. They seem to be really big on arts groups since they have a choral group, concert band, jazz band, marching band, theater/drama group, film society, and many more of that nature. Northwestern also has a healthy sports community. They are a member of the Big Ten conference playing in Division 1 and their athletic teams are nicknamed the Wildcats. What surprised me the most about Northwestern was that they had not only a rifle team but also a squash team.

A new tradition at Northwestern is the March Through the Arch to welcome new students to campus. The marching band leads all new students on a celebratory walk through The Arch, the symbolic entrance to the University. New students are welcomed by current students and faculty who line the pathway to cheer and welcome them. I really like this tradition a lot because going to college is a really big step for anybody and that can scare some people, this is a perfect way to make the new students feel welcomed at their new school. 
The March Through the Arch

I am really excited to visit Northwestern University over the summer. I hope that we will get the opportunity to hear firsthand from the students what their experience at Northwestern has been like. Least appealing to me is their quarter system but that might be because I’m so used to a semester schedule like we have at El Cerrito High. Hopefully we get to meet some students who can share their experiences with the quarter schedule. 

Ten Places to go in Chicago

The Navy Pier

I researched some places I would like to visit while in Chicago and I found myself getting more and more excited to leave. The city has so much history and culture, and I can't wait to experience it. Here are ten places I hope to make it to while I am back east.

1. Navy Pier - Technically, this is not just one place to go because there are so many things to do within the pier, but I suspect I will be visiting the pier quite a few times while I am in Chicago for the three weeks. The Navy Pier has fireworks on Wednesday and Saturday nights, as well as a huge Ferris wheel, a musical carousel, and other rides. Many events take place at the pier. For example, there are boat shows and flower shows at the pier. 

2. The Sears Tower (Willis Tower) - Willis Tower, which is still commonly known as Sears Tower, is one attraction of Chicago that I am really looking forward to. Specifically, I cannot wait to go to the sky deck and look out on Chicago from the glass balcony. Willis Tower is the eighth tallest tower in the world right now, and until 1998, was the tallest building in the United States.

By the Water, Renoir (1880)
3. Art Institute of Chicago - Since my Dad is a painter, I have always been surrounded by visual art, and if I go to the Art Institute of Chicago, I will be able to see so many of the original paintings I have seen pictures of my entire life. Some of the artists that are in the permanent collection at the Institute are Renoir, Picasso, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and so many more. The museum also has architecture and sculptures. The Art Institute of Chicago is the largest art museum in the United States besides the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

4. John G. Shedd Aquarium - I cannot even remember the last time I visited an aquarium. This aquarium sounds fantastic from what I have found out about it so far because of the variety of exhibits it has. One exhibit in particular sounds really interesting to me, which is the Amazon exhibit. This exhibit is a re-creation of sorts of the Amazon rivers and has many of the same species, including anacondas, piranhas, and stingrays. I have always been interested in animals and biology, which is also why I wanted to go the this next place…

5. Lincoln Park Zoo - Zoos are a lot of fun, and this one even has free admissions, so it sounds like even more fun now. There are about 1,000 animals and 200 species.

6. Montrose Avenue Beach - This is just one of many beaches in Chicago, but it appealed to me because many people consider it the premier beach of Chicago. Lots of people play beach volleyball there, and people can bike or walk around the area. There are also lifeguards, and places to grab a bite to eat, so it sounds like a really nice to place to spend an afternoon.

A Sunny Day at the Montrose Ave. Beach

7. Lou Malnati's Pizzeria - If I am going to Chicago, I cannot come back without trying some Chicago-style deep dish pizza. This restaurant's food looked delicious, and trying Chicago cuisine is a must.

8. Tuesdays on the Terrace - At the Museum of Contemporary Arts, on Tuesdays, there are jazz concerts and dinner. This is definitely an event that I want to get to eventually because jazz is such an important part of Chicago's culture and history. 

9. Millennium Park Summer Film Series - On Tuesday nights, for free, many people in Chicago gather at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion to watch movies outside one the grass. There is an advanced sound system and a huge screen. The movies that will be playing while my cohort and I will be there are O Brother Where Art Thou? , Field of Dreams, and This is Spinal Tap. I hope I make it to the pavilion at least once while I'm there.

10. Garfield Park Conservatory - I am usually not super interested in things like botany, but I saw pictures of the conservatory, and it was just beautiful, and I would love to be able to see it while I am in Chicago.