“This Winter Break…”

Article by Jacob Wilkowsky (Q19)

After a long semester capped off by grueling finals, winter break provided some much needed relief to QUEST students ready to let loose. With five weeks to burn, some QUESTers enjoyed the comfort of their couch while others crossed continents. Below are some blurbs from QUEST students describing what they did over break.

Aditya Sridhar – Cohort 19: “I spent the majority of my winter break working for Baltimore Gas and Electric.  My project over the winter was to come up with better ways of displaying the maintenance data over the past 10 years.  Since the company is going through a merger in the next couple of months, my work over the winter/summer should be helpful for business leaders to make decisions about changes in company structure and processes.  I also discovered an interesting Game Theory course in iTunes University taught by a professor at Yale and completed about a third of that course.  The rest of the time, I was either spending it with my family, or hanging out with friends.  Overall, it was a busy winter, but I had a lot of fun!”

Marc Kramer- Cohort 17: “This winter break, I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer in Israel for the Jewish National Fund. We primarily focused on gentrifying the Negev (or desert area) of Israel and making it both more sustainable and livable. About 2/3 of Israel is desert and since Israel is a country about the size of New Jersey, it is important to try to utilize all the land possible. In doing so, we helped to create gardens and drip irrigation systems for farms and picked fruit and painted houses for the less wealthy. It was really rewarding to see the profound impact a small group of college age kids could have while working together toward a common cause. We helped to turn a barren useless area of land in the desert into a livable community with thriving vegetation. Afterwards, I extended my trip and traveled to various parts of Israel such as Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, and Ashdod. It was a really rewarding trip.”

Marc volunteers on his winter break in Israel

Tom Sless- Cohort 19: “I spent my break at home in Baltimore. I worked for a few weeks in Columbia Mall selling calendars. Ask me what the date is!”

Dave Rosen- Cohort 18: “I went home to New Jersey for my break. It was nice to be with my family and see friends. I also spent time in a nursing home near my house volunteering. It was a really rewarding experience and I had a lot of fun.”

Sara Bleistein- Cohort 19: “Over the break, I was pretty busy traveling. I spent a total of 5 days at home in Damascus and the rest of the time abroad. While I was home, I hung out with friends and family and got prepared for my travels. At the end of December, I went to Aruba for a family vacation with my parents, brothers, and grandparents. After coming home for a few days, I left again to spend a day in Los Angeles, California with one of my cousins during my layover on my way toAustralia. I spent two weeks in Australia on a short-term study abroad program through the business school, and it was the most amazing place I have ever been in my life. I was able to play with koalas and kangaroos, climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge, and go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef.”

Mark Leybengrub- Cohort 19: “Over break, I vacationed in Florida with my family. There, I relaxed on the beach, went fishing, and ate a lot of good food. When I came back to Baltimore, I had my wisdom teeth taken out. Wasn’t the most fun experience, but I ate a lot of ice cream.”

Jacob Wilkowsky- Cohort 19: “Over winter break, I mainly relaxed at home and hung out with friends. I also worked for my uncle walking dogs. I walked a lot of cute pooches.”

Aaron Rubenstein- Cohort 19: “This winter break, I enjoyed the first couple weeks by traveling and relaxing.  The highlight was probably New Years in NYC; that was a blast!  For the last few weeks of break, I was privileged to help Dr. Sean Humbert in the Autonomous Vehicle Laboratory in UMD. There, I performed research on the kinematics and control of flapping insect wings, (i.e. we want to figure out how bugs control where they fly!).  I used state of the art film equipment to define important parts of the insect in 3D space and a computer program that analyzed the motion of the wings.  The ultimate goal of the research is to mimic and replicate an insect’s flight control pattern on a micro air vehicle (a.k.a. a small, flying robot bug). It was a very exciting break!”

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