Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Meet the GSC: Finance Committee

 Now introducing the Gemstone Student Council Finance Committee for 2015-2016!

Vice-President of Finances: Nate Nenortas


Nate is a junior Biochemistry major and part of Gemstone Team MTB. As Vice-President, he hopes to effectively fundraise and manage the budget for the Gemstone Student Council and is excited about the new lineup of fashionable GEMS apparel that will be hitting the shelves soon! Nate loves playing rugby and watching The Wire and Spongebob Squarepants. If he could eat any food for the rest of his life it would be burgers and barbeque, for sure. 

Budget Chair: Patrick Shan

Patrick is a sophomore Finance and Mathematics major here on the Finance Committee. His primary directive on the Gemstone Student Council is to help manage the GSC budget. Like any sane person, Patrick is looking forward to the GSC Jason’s Deli fundraiser. Patrick enjoys sleeping, watching Community, and eating pickled vegetables. His favorite part of Gemstone? Dr. Coale. Obviously.

Fundraising Co-Chair: Neha Kalla

Neha is a freshman Chemical Engineering major. She loves Gemstone because of the community: filled to the brim with ambitious and intelligent people. As Fundraising Co-Chair, Neha hopes to run successful fundraisers and get more people involved in Gemstone events, and is super excited about Gems Formal! In her free time, Neha enjoys running, reading, writing, and listening to music. Her favorite food is Chana Masala, which is a very tasty chickpea curry. Her favorite class right now is PHYS260: Thermodynamics!

Fundraising Co-Chair: Jay Swayambunatham 

Jay is a sophomore Mathematics major on team MATRIX. He hopes to help the Gemstone Student Council by being involved in the planning and execution of a variety of fun fundraisers. Jay’s favorite part about UMD is the amazing people he’s met. Jay is a cat person, and also thinks that the squirrels on South Campus are different from their northern brethren. In his free time, Jay enjoys watching sports as well as The Daily Show. Jay is in love with Oreos. 

-28 October, 2015 - David Nguyen

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fall Food Olympics 2015

On October 9th, 2015, GSC held their annual Fall Food Olympics in front of Ellicott Hall!  For those of you who have never heard of Fall Food Olympics, the event is a food-based relay race where teams of two compete for the fastest finishing time.  This year the relay events included dizzy bat, feeding pudding to a partner while blindfolded, the oreo challenge, drinking cider while hula-hooping, and more!  As usual the event was a blast and over 35 people came out to participate.  Each year that we host this event, the competition gets more intense and this year did not disappoint!  Our winners of the event this year, senior duo: Becky Vanarsdall & Skyler Golt, set a record finishing time of 1 minute and 40 seconds, with our second place duo finishing just milliseconds after that!

(Pictured here:  2015 Fall Food Olympics winners, Becky Vanarsdall and Skyler Golt, completing the last leg of the relay on their record setting run).

The Stone reached out to these champions to see what they had to say about the win:

Co-winner Skyler Golt attributed the success to his partner stating, “I could never have won without my amazing partner Becky. She inspired me to never be ordinary, but always strive to be the best”.

When asked about how it felt to win Fall Food Olympics, senior Becky Vanarsdall claims, “It was a relief to win Fall Food Olympics as a senior because I was not going to stop competing until I had won and now I don’t have to come back as a student in disguise after I graduate”.

Vanarsdall also gives credit to those who helped her along her way: “I’d like to thank my 3 year Fall Food Olympics partner and Gemstone teammate Chris Caporale, and his replacement and my co-champion Skyler Golt, for making this possible”.

(Above: Becky Vanarsdall feeds pudding to her 3-year Fall Food Olympics partner Chris Caporale at this year's event (2015).  Below:  The same action occurring the year before at the 2014 Fall Food Olympics).

On behalf of GSC, thank you to everyone who came out!  Photos from the event are posted on GSC’s Facebook page so if you or a friend competed, or if you just want to see what Fall Food Olympics is all about, check those out!  

As always, Fall Food Olympics was an epic, fun and food-filled competition showcasing just some of our amazing students’ talents.  Congratulations again to our 2015 winners, Becky and Skyler.  Be sure to come out next year for your shot at the title of Fall Food Olympian! 
-23 October, 2015 -Carolyn Lane

Friday, October 16, 2015

Precious Gem: Ashwin Reddi

Welcome to our first Precious Gems student spotlight of the semester, featuring Ashwin Reddi!
Ashwin is a senior Neurophysiology and Psychology major on Team FORGET IT. He is originally from Clarksville, Maryland, where he attended River Hill High School. Having just come back from what he called a “life-changing” adventure in Nicaragua last summer, Ashwin is undoubtedly a Precious Gem with many stories to tell. 

Team FORGET IT’s research is focused on concussions and their effect on glucose transport, cell morphology, and the brain environment. Ashwin leads the western blots division of his team’s research, isolating vital proteins in order to determine their abundance in cells. In layman’s terms, according to Ashwin, his team purposefully injures neurons, mimicking a concussion, and tests how the expression of glucose changes. As evidenced by his enthusiastic discussion of his research, Ashwin is clearly a passionate member of his team. 

For the past year and a half, Ashwin has volunteered at the Children’s National Medical Center in DC, spending hours on end bringing toys to the children and playing with them. With a smile on his face, he fondly recalled watching Frozen with some of the children he was working with and the joy it brought the kids. Another unique aspect of this Precious Gem is that he hosts his own radio show every Friday from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM: Ashy the Classy! (Check it out on WMUC 88.1). Founded in Ashwin’s sophomore year as a show dedicated to football, the show has since evolved to encompass popular music, campus events, news, and more recently what it’s like being a senior at UMD. 

Over the summer, Ashwin embarked on a cross-continent expedition that took him through DC, Chicago, Toronto, and the rural communities outside of Esteli, Nicaragua. Travelling with Aspire Global Health, a healthcare based non-profit, Ashwin had the chance to look at the healthcare system in Nicaragua as well as bring medical assistance to the people in the outskirts of the city. During this trip outside of the city, Ashwin spent two days living in a mango tree treehouse!

In his free time, Ashwin enjoys listening to music and hanging out with his friends. His favorite TV shows are Scrubs and The Wire. He is an avid football fan who has gone to every Maryland game. When he’s not watching football or working (he is currently in the process of applying to Medical School!), he can most likely be found at Eppley working out or outside playing flag football.
If you ever see Ashwin around campus, be sure to say hello! This earnest, benevolent, humorous, and physically fit Precious Gem will surely regale you with tales of his exciting life inside and outside of UMD.

-16 October, 2015 - David Nguyen