Here are an assortment of organizations/events/facts about myself that are important to me:
- I am a first-generation American on my dad's side of the family; he was born in Italy.
- My mom was born in Brooklyn, but her parents were born in Puerto Rico.
- I'm the first in my family to go to college (my mom and dad have high school and elementary school educations, respectively).
- I'm gay and a member of the LGBT+ Physicists Outlist.
- I'm one of those rare people who enjoyed high school, and I have a great group of friends from that part of my life.
- I still go to visit my grammar school when I am in the neighborhood.
- I didn't know what physics was until I took it for the first time my junior year of high school. That experience, coupled with stumbling upon The Mechanical Universe on CUNY's TV station at around the same time, hooked me on physics from that point on.
- I was an Intel Science Talent Search finalist in 2000, and I did most of my research for that project in my basement and high school chemistry lab.
- I was inducted into the Milken Scholars Program in 2000, through which I got to know a diverse array of really talented and caring people.
- I lived in (and was president of) a wonderfully quirky, tight-knit dorm during my time at MIT.
- I am an avid board gamer, with a pretty extensive collection.
- Inspired by a production of one of my favorite musicals, I started taking classes in American Sign Language and Deaf culture in spring 2016.
In January 2002, I participated in my first MIT Mystery Hunt, an annual puzzle-solving competition on MIT's campus that takes place over Martin Luther King Day weekend and brings together thousands of puzzlers in teams that range in size from a handful to several hundred. The goal of each Hunt is to find a "coin" hidden somewhere on campus, and the "prize" is that the winners get to write the following year's Hunt. My team has won twice, and I participated in writing the 2006 and the 2011 Hunts. Here are the puzzles I wrote/co-wrote:
- Mario World Metameta
- Cut and Paste
- Pattern Recognition
- Famous Faces
- Redundant Obsolescence
- Basic Knowledge
- Where's Antoinette?
- The Writing on the Wall
- The Word
- Amateur Hour
- Unnatural Law
- Unlikely Situations
- The Cock Conundrum, Or, The Greatest Joke Ever Told
- Surely You're Hexing
- Iron Puzzler is a two-day event in which six teams of six people spend 24-hours creating two puzzles based on three "secret ingredients" revealed at the beginning of the 24 hour period; one puzzle must fit on a single sheet of paper and one puzzle must NOT fit on a single sheet of paper. The next day, the six teams get together to solve each other's puzzles. Here are my team's paper puzzles for Iron Puzzler 2008 (solution) and Iron Puzzler 2009 (solution).
- Sometimes, my Mystery Hunt teammates get married. I co-authored this puzzle (solution) as part of a round of puzzles that my team gave one couple as a wedding present, and I co-authored this puzzle (solution) as part of a round of puzzles that was used by one member of a different couple on my team to propose to the other.