Gaining Perspective & Collaborating with the UN - March 2021 Newsletter

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Gaining Perspective & Collaborating with the UN - March 2021 Newsletter
By Maggie Chua • Issue #1 • View online
Hello! My name is Maggie and I am a 16-year-old interested in creating ripples that will one day impact billions. Currently, I am interested in biocomputing, philosophy, climate change, and creating policy for social good. In my free time, I love to read, eat, and write. 

When I was a kid, I remember asking different family members to tell me stories. They often told me fairy tales, fables, etc., but one particular story that stood out to me was: The Blind Men & The Elephant.
Six blind men hear stories about the majestic power, strength, and utility of elephants. As they are all blind, they form their own conclusions about the elephants and they argue about their different opinions, claiming that their conclusion is the truth. To settle this, they end up arranging to visit an elephant where each man would get the chance to touch one. Each man touches a different part of the elephant – the tail, ears, legs, etc. – and uses the evidence they get to support their previous conclusions.
Based on this tale, displays how each of us only sees a fragment of the world, causing us to only have a narrow perspective. However, if we can zoom out and connect the pieces, we would be able to see the big picture:
Each man touched only one part. Perhaps if you put the parts together, you will see the truth.
Something that I’ve realized is when you go out to help people who are less fortunate than you, you start out with your baseline assumptions. These assumptions may come from your limited personal experience and what few articles you’ve read online. But that isn’t enough.
Talking to real people who go through these struggles can broaden your perspective of the world. You may not have personally experienced it, but it allows you to connect a piece of the world to your incomplete puzzle.
Creations
Meraki
One of the most exciting projects I worked on this month was developing a solution for the United Nations! I’m still reeling at how insane this is, as I would’ve never thought that at 16, I could be doing something as awesome as this!
Our mission was: How can we increase women’s employment in the digital economy by 2026? 
UN Global Challenge - Maggie, Phanisree, Athena.pptx - Google Drive
While we were doing research, we learned that Nepal had a huge human trafficking issue and that women were the most vulnerable as they were more likely to be in poverty, uneducated, and had no economic opportunities. Because of this, they were easily coerced by traffickers who promised employment either in Nepal’s major cities or abroad. To target the root problem, lack of employment opportunities and limited skillset, we created Meraki.
Meraki is a content creation company focused on promoting Nepalese culture to the world. This solution helps women in Nepal learn digital skills and work as content creators where they share Nepalese culture with the world.
Shoutout to two amazing human beings: Phanisree & Athena! I couldn’t have done it with you two!
Plant Immunity & Plant Hormones
Since September, I’ve been working on a science fair project with my friend and research partner, Elizabeth Masyukova. Our topic centered around hormone crosstalk in plants and the effect it had on the plant immune system across several generations.
Final NJRSF Presentation - Google Slides
Unfortunately, because of COVID (my preface for nearly everything these days), we were unable to perform experiments and collect data. So all the data in the graphs are blank haha. But, we still got an honorable mention at the regional science fair, so that’s pretty good.
Exploration
A curated list of gems that are definitely worth checking out…
  • My Second Brain in Notion, Elizabeth Filips | A guide to creating a digital repository of interesting insights and concepts, so you can focus on connecting the dots, NOT remembering information.
  • How To Remember Your Life, Nathaniel Drew | Ever feel like you can’t remember what happened a month ago, let alone what you ate for breakfast this morning? Well, this video discusses how we can be more intentional about capturing and focusing our attention on moments that matter.
  • Why Motivation is a Myth, Ali Abdaal | We often think that we need to feel motivated to get sh*t done which will lead us to becoming successful, but in fact, that’s not true.
  • Romance From Albumblatt Composed by Richard Wagner, Chloe Chua | Yep, we share the last name, but she has 100000000x more musicality (I still don’t think I have enough zeroes). Recently, I started listening to classical music and I love her renditions of different classical pieces.
  • Nir Eyal: Mastering Indistraction, The Knowledge Project | Insightful podcast episode that talks about internal & external distractions and how we can fight back.
What's Next -->
Things I’m Planning to Work on in April…
  • Making some progress on my biocomputing projects – finishing my first project & potentially starting a second one
  • Write 2 articles on Medium – gotta stay true to my bio; also, I just want to spend more time writing about interesting things
  • Gen Science Competition
Closing Thoughts...
If you got to the end, thanks for catching up with me this month! I sincerely appreciate every single one of you taking time out of your day to listen to my thoughts. Thank you to all the wonderful mentors, friends, and readers for making my month memorable!
As always,
Stay Safe, Keep Learning, Create Happiness 💗
Did you enjoy this issue?
Maggie Chua

Hey! My name is Maggie and I am a biotech enthusiast and writer from the US. Every month, I send out a newsletter talking about my recent projects, reflections, and interesting content I've found online.

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