It all started with a dim yellow light and a towel for a blanket. It ended up with forging an art book on science with 18 collaborators for charity.
And strong relationships.
For my Leadership in Action (LiA) phase of the leadership program, I was opportune to visit and work in the school of biomedical engineering at Cornell University, NY, U.S.A. My brilliant coordinator from Trinity, Joel McKeever had been helping me get ready for it as I moved from one new country to another as we finalized my objectives for the next 6 weeks of summer.
So, I landed in NYC and after a few amazing days with my new friends there I traveled to my new place of stay in Ithaca. Only to find it empty, eerie, and misleading; everything was on the fritz. Things felt worse after dragging 30kgs (the entirety of your life in a suitcase) on an empty stomach as the construction site dust went up in the darkening sky. Also, who knew every country has a unique way of opening windows? Took me an hour in the 30 degrees (Celsius) heat. Gah. So, I rang one of my best friends from my cohort, Julie Dory. Her two-hour call gave me immense emotional support as well as a reminder to lean into my people to ask for help.
And so it all began.
On my first day of lab, I met the brilliant Prof Karl Lewis who introduced me to his amazing team. One of the members, Karly Hooper without hesitation offered to host me for the entirety of the research. I was also connected to Cornell’s Laidlaw coordinator Kristin Ramsay, who gave me the heartiest welcome to the campus (and the heavenly dairy bar!)
Meeting such generous and talented people (like the scholars from Cornell as well!) jumpstarted my enthusiasm and my project. I started unraveling the wonders of biomechanics and how we could make its understanding more accessible. I would get lost in the books (and in town) as I explored all my options for attaining more knowledge. The magnificent libraries on campus, the professors, and the professionals I was connected to by Prof Lewis equipped me to build my database of connections and knowledge.
And so the Library of babel for biomechanics was afoot.
I invited friends, friends of friends, strangers, and professionals to help me understand what lacked in the understanding of biomechanics for the non-scientific communities or rather:
“Why would you run away from studying biomechanics?”
“How could we prove that it is an essential topic that affects our physical and mental well-being?”
And thus, through our interactions, 18 of us from at least 8 different countries tackled such questions through various artistic means. It was thrilling to see myself get lost in countless individual meetings and see my vision come to light. I reached out to people with a wealth of knowledge and experience in publishing or projects like mine (special thanks to Kyle Ginsberg from my cohort!)
My mind was galloping with ideas, plans, and deadlines. This meant weekends were weekdays, something I promised not to do in the quest for my work-life balance. 6 weeks turned into 7, soon into 8. So I had another crash of burnout coming right around the corner. However, with my supervisor Prof. Lewis and his effervescent team, we managed to curb that through fun activities such as fruit picking. I needed to get away from my computer and walk in nature after all!
And by the end of it all, we had crafted the book ‘Miracles of Movement’. And in our first 3-day run in Dublin, we were sold out! Thanks to our generous college students (despite being notorious for being broke, especially during the first week of college) we were able to raise 550 Euros. This money was donated to LauraLynn(Dublin, Ireland) and Jnana Prabodhini (Pune, India) for the brilliant work they do to empower children and people in need.
Overall, I am forever in deep admiration and gratitude for all the people I have met and worked with during this summer. We hope to continue taking orders for the book to raise awareness of the importance of biomechanics in our lives. We hope to also spark interest in this field and encourage kids who would never think of science as a welcoming subject. And we hope to keep raising awareness to help those in need. Always.
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