Thursday, November 26, 2015

Precious Gem: Becky Vanarsdall

Welcome back to our Precious Gems student spotlight of the semester, this time featuring Becky Vanarsdall!
Becky is a senior Math and Economics major on Team JUDGMENT. She is originally from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she attended Montgomery Blair High School. Becky claims that she is terrible at coming up with interesting facts about herself, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s BECKY!
Becky is a tremendous figure in our Gemstone community. Not only is she our current Fall Food Olympics champion (along with Skyler Golt), she has also been a SL for GEMS100, GEMS102, GEMS202, and a CL for GEMS Camp! She also loves the playful and extremely friendly team dynamic of her Gemstone team. Team JUDGMENT’s research is focused on the influence of construal manipulation on a person’s willingness to support a violent cause. Construal manipulation puts people in either an abstract or concrete state of mind, which theoretically affects whether a person focuses on immediate repercussions or long-term benefit. On her team, Becky primarily works with data analysis.
Last spring, Becky interned at the Department of Treasury’s Office of Performance Budgeting. As she described it, she worked with “a lot of Excel sheets” and budgeting tasks. More recently, she worked with the Science Education Outreach Program at the Walter Reed Institute of Army Research, planning curriculum and organizing activities for dozens of young aspiring scientists. After she graduates, Becky will be working in Washington DC with the Mathematical Association of America Competitions Department full-time! How exciting!
Perhaps one of the most unique things about this Precious Gems is her passion for the sport of curling! Becky is clearly a talented curler, as evidenced by her consistent showings at Junior Nationals both in high school and college. She spent much of her younger years at the curling rink in Laurel, Maryland. It’s not your typical ice rink: it’s pebbled. And you wear tennis shoes instead of ice skates, one of which is made to help you slide around. Even while being afflicted by shingles during a competition, Becky triumphed at Regionals and qualified for Nationals! And due to being listed on the USA Curling Team website, she also appears in several news articles as a (mistakenly identified) DC Olympian. One of her favorite memories as a curler is seeing the Northern Lights after competing in Alaska.
In her free time, Becky enjoys running half-marathons with Caroline McCue! She also watches a lot of TV, including trashy reality shows and shows produced by Shonda Rhimes: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. Becky LOVES red pandas and can’t really function without coffee (she prefers it black). Her birthday, March 4th, is the only calendar day that is also an inspiring command. And at two different times in her life she has walked into a street sign.
If you ever see Becky around campus, be sure to say hello! This bubbly, enthusiastic, energetic, and whimsical Precious Gem will surely sweep you off your feet put a smile on your face.  

-26 November, 2015 - David Nguyen

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