My Musical Enlightenment: A Summer in Vienna

My name is Isaac Alter, and I’m a rising junior at Harvard College, studying Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology (you know it’s a name from Harvard because it’s long and obnoxious and you don’t know what it means), or stem cell biology, and am minoring in art history and music.  I also am a flutist with the fabulous River Charles Ensemble. 

The reason why I am writing this and have anything potentially interesting to say is because, as suggested by the German greeting above, I spent 7 weeks at the beginning of the summer studying music in Vienna, Austria. 

A DC Summer at the Cato Institute

The Harvard community is no stranger to a political discussion. As a rising sophomore from Houston, Texas, I was sure that I wanted to spend my summer in the city that’s at the center of American politics. Through the generous support of the Harvard Institute of Politics and their Director’s Internship stipend program, I was able to spend ten weeks in Washington D.C. working in and learning more about public policy research at the Cato Institute.

 

Adventures upon the Sea

!”  The flight attendants welcomed the sleepy hundreds of passengers from San Francisco to our new home: Shanghai, China.  Or at least, my home for the next two months.  Walking out, I was met with the unique smell of Asia (I swear, the smell is the same in Taiwan and Malaysia) and instantaneous humidity, a welcome break from the dryness of the aircraft.  We hailed a cab, and soon were off to the city center, which I soon learned was a very, very hectic place.

Shanghai – in the city center – is crazy and reminds me a bit of Times Square.  I was lucky enough to be one of ten Harvard undergrads to work in paid internships at ten labs at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and even luckier (in my opinion) to be assigned to a bioinformatics lab, where coders thrived and pipettes were nowhere in sight.