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Around Town: Church celebrates Women's History Month with portraits display

Also, Palo Alto High senior takes 8th place in national science and math contest

In the latest Around Town column, news about how one local church is marking Women's History Month, a Paly senior who made the top 10 in a national science and math contest and the Palo Alto Architectural Review Board's new members.

Portraits of female changemakers on display at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Palo Alto in celebration of Women's History Month in March 2022. Courtesy Elizabeth Weil.

ROLE MODELS ... Throughout March, All Saints' Episcopal Church is celebrating Women's History Month with a display of posters featuring 30 change-makers.

The faces of late Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, civil rights leader Rosa Parks and Jewish diarist Anne Frank, among others, are arranged on a wall facing Waverley Street and Hamilton Avenue. Some are famous names, while others may not be as easily recognizable. "They're also people who might not be as well-known, but who are amazing women in their own right," co-senior churchwarden Margaret Weil said.

Parishioners John Sack and Lauren Bonomi teamed up to make the project a reality at the hard-to-miss downtown corner. "The mass of posters has a different effect, especially if they're designed alike," said Sack, who is a member of the church's media group and has been a parishioner since the mid-'90s.

Next to each portrait is a QR code that viewers can scan with their cellphones to learn more information about the woman through the National Women's History Museum's website.

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Sack wanted to make sure the display featured recent figures such as Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani education advocate who became the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, and scientific pioneers such as Kati Karikó, whose research on mNRA vaccines helped develop COVID-19 vaccines.

The church may pursue a similar display in June for Pride Month to recognize LGBTQ leaders, according to Sack.

Neil Rathi, 17, of Palo Alto, describes his Regeneron Science Talent Search behavioral and social sciences project.

FORWARD-THINKING APPROACH ... As someone who has long been interested in both the humanities and STEM fields, Neil Rathi was intrigued when he started reading papers that applied machine learning concepts to fields like linguistics.

The Palo Alto High School senior was so interested that he contacted a doctoral student at Stanford University who was using these techniques to research why certain patterns exist across languages. Rathi ended up developing a machine learning model that identified certain linguistic universals across multiple languages, which won him eighth place and a $60,000 prize in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, a nationwide science and math competition for high school seniors.

"That was really exciting," Rathi said of winning. "I didn't expect it, for sure." The universals he found relate to suffixes and suggest that languages have been optimized over time for more efficient understanding.

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When he started learning Latin in ninth grade, Rathi said he was interested in how some words were similar to Hindi, which he grew up hearing spoken at home. Rathi said he's always been interested in features that are consistent across groups of people because it helps to answer the question: "Why are we hardwired to be the way we are?"

Beyond linguistics, Rathi also has been interested in music and comparative religion. In college, he plans to study linguistics or cognitive science and also is interested in taking courses in classics and math.

The Palo Alto Architectural Review Board discuss Castilleja School's campus redevelopment plan, among other items, at its meeting on March 17, 2022.

READY TO SERVE ... Palo Alto's Architectural Review Board found itself in a pickle in late 2021, after Grace Lee resigned and Alex Lew completed his term and chose not to seek another.

With two other members concluding their terms in December, the five-member board found itself with four open seats, two of which the City Council quickly filled by reappointing Peter Baltay and David Hirsch. That still left the board with three members, the minimum needed for a quorum.

None of the other seven residents who applied were deemed by the council to be qualified, prompting an extension of the recruitment period by three months.

On March 14, the board was fully staffed when the council appointed two architects, Yingxi Chen and Kendra Rosenberg. They joined days before the board was scheduled to vote on Castilleja School's campus redevelopment proposal.

Chen and Rosenberg said at the March 17 meeting that they had reviewed the documents in preparation for the meeting. Before the discussion started, Planning Director Jonathan Lait informed them that unless they'd actually viewed or listened to a recording of the board's prior discussion of Castilleja, they would not be able to vote.

The obscure rule, which is embedded in the board's protocols, meant that the board was once again forced to proceed with three voting members, though both Chen and Rosenberg were allowed to make comments.

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Around Town: Church celebrates Women's History Month with portraits display

Also, Palo Alto High senior takes 8th place in national science and math contest

by Palo Alto Weekly staff / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Sat, Mar 26, 2022, 8:44 am

In the latest Around Town column, news about how one local church is marking Women's History Month, a Paly senior who made the top 10 in a national science and math contest and the Palo Alto Architectural Review Board's new members.

ROLE MODELS ... Throughout March, All Saints' Episcopal Church is celebrating Women's History Month with a display of posters featuring 30 change-makers.

The faces of late Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, civil rights leader Rosa Parks and Jewish diarist Anne Frank, among others, are arranged on a wall facing Waverley Street and Hamilton Avenue. Some are famous names, while others may not be as easily recognizable. "They're also people who might not be as well-known, but who are amazing women in their own right," co-senior churchwarden Margaret Weil said.

Parishioners John Sack and Lauren Bonomi teamed up to make the project a reality at the hard-to-miss downtown corner. "The mass of posters has a different effect, especially if they're designed alike," said Sack, who is a member of the church's media group and has been a parishioner since the mid-'90s.

Next to each portrait is a QR code that viewers can scan with their cellphones to learn more information about the woman through the National Women's History Museum's website.

Sack wanted to make sure the display featured recent figures such as Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani education advocate who became the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, and scientific pioneers such as Kati Karikó, whose research on mNRA vaccines helped develop COVID-19 vaccines.

The church may pursue a similar display in June for Pride Month to recognize LGBTQ leaders, according to Sack.

FORWARD-THINKING APPROACH ... As someone who has long been interested in both the humanities and STEM fields, Neil Rathi was intrigued when he started reading papers that applied machine learning concepts to fields like linguistics.

The Palo Alto High School senior was so interested that he contacted a doctoral student at Stanford University who was using these techniques to research why certain patterns exist across languages. Rathi ended up developing a machine learning model that identified certain linguistic universals across multiple languages, which won him eighth place and a $60,000 prize in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, a nationwide science and math competition for high school seniors.

"That was really exciting," Rathi said of winning. "I didn't expect it, for sure." The universals he found relate to suffixes and suggest that languages have been optimized over time for more efficient understanding.

When he started learning Latin in ninth grade, Rathi said he was interested in how some words were similar to Hindi, which he grew up hearing spoken at home. Rathi said he's always been interested in features that are consistent across groups of people because it helps to answer the question: "Why are we hardwired to be the way we are?"

Beyond linguistics, Rathi also has been interested in music and comparative religion. In college, he plans to study linguistics or cognitive science and also is interested in taking courses in classics and math.

READY TO SERVE ... Palo Alto's Architectural Review Board found itself in a pickle in late 2021, after Grace Lee resigned and Alex Lew completed his term and chose not to seek another.

With two other members concluding their terms in December, the five-member board found itself with four open seats, two of which the City Council quickly filled by reappointing Peter Baltay and David Hirsch. That still left the board with three members, the minimum needed for a quorum.

None of the other seven residents who applied were deemed by the council to be qualified, prompting an extension of the recruitment period by three months.

On March 14, the board was fully staffed when the council appointed two architects, Yingxi Chen and Kendra Rosenberg. They joined days before the board was scheduled to vote on Castilleja School's campus redevelopment proposal.

Chen and Rosenberg said at the March 17 meeting that they had reviewed the documents in preparation for the meeting. Before the discussion started, Planning Director Jonathan Lait informed them that unless they'd actually viewed or listened to a recording of the board's prior discussion of Castilleja, they would not be able to vote.

The obscure rule, which is embedded in the board's protocols, meant that the board was once again forced to proceed with three voting members, though both Chen and Rosenberg were allowed to make comments.

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