Welcome to SSP!

Welcome to the SSP Blogs!

Heyo! This is the first in a series of blogs that will be documenting the amazing journey that participants will be undertaking soon. Each participant will write their own blog post on a particular day such that every day there will be new thoughts and experiences shared. These can be about anything; emotions, research, how hard the programming is, what they figured out, what was hard, favorite celestial bodies, etc. There will also be lots of pictures/screenshots of fun and memorable moments that will be included within the blogs.

As I reminisce in my time as a participant back in 2018 at the first biochemistry program in Purdue, I recall the great comradery that was formed between not only my groupmates, but also between my whole campus and also faculty. I know that despite the limitations of an online experience, this year’s participants will also form that strong bond of collaboration while also hopefully making friends for life.

Below you will find our ONL campus TAs! With this I sign off and leave the rest of the blogs to the participants. Bon Voyage!

Alan Tondryk (he/him)

Heyo! I’m Alan. I’ll be one of the astro TA’s for ONL. I’m a rising Junior at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor studying Computer Engineering. I am an SSP alum in Biochemistry (2018) but since then I’ve really gotten into computers, computer engineering, computer science, and programming. I like cooking, programming, camping, photography, and video games. I’ve done research in particle physics and machine learning and also completed many programming projects. I’m excited to see the astro side of SSP and meet everyone!

Kimberly (she/her)

Hey guys! I’m Kimberly Hou, an Astro TA for the ONL campus. I’m an alumna (attended in 2017 at NMT) and I’m currently pursuing a degree in math at Princeton. I’m from Saratoga in the Bay Area and I’ll be living in NYC for the summer. I have three cats (two of which I acquired during quarantine), one mouse, nine chickens, a bunch of goldfish in an outdoor pond, and a tropical aquarium indoors! I figure skate and ride horses in my free time. I’m so excited to meet y’all and I can’t wait for this summer!

Mason (he/they)

Hi y’all! I’m Mason Tea (he/they), and I’m one of the ONL TAs. I graduated from Wesleyan University in May with degrees in astro/physics, I’m not an SSP alum but am super excited about the program, and I do research on stellar-mass black holes. I’m from central Ohio (~30 mins from Columbus), and that’s where I’ll be this summer. In my free time, you can usually find me cooking an overly-complicated meal, watching anime, playing FPS games, or studying chess.

Zhanpei (ZP) (she/her)

Hello! I’m Zhanpei, she/her, SSP Westmont ’14, Stanford ’19 and ’20. When I was at Stanford I studied a BS in Physics and BA in Art Practice, as well as a coterminal MS in Applied & Engineering Physics; in my time as an undergrad and graduate student I primarily did research in theoretical/computational astrophysics with a focus on gravitational-wave astrophysics in particular, as well as research geospatial analysis for climate change. This will be my second summer TAing SSP online.


  1. Rey Rodríguez

    Thank you so much for sharing. Our kids are so blessed to have you and thank you for all that you do for the students. Within the context of SSP, what do TAs do and how different is it from what TAs do in college? Just curious.

    1. ONL TAs

      Hi. You are very welcome. TA’s here definitely spend a lot more time with the participant than TA’s in college would with students I think. This program pretty fast paced and there’s also a lot more than just instructing or helping with problem sets that goes on. There is a lot of behind the scenes work like for example uploading these blogs. Hope that answers your question. Enjoy the rest of the blogs! -Alan T

  2. Michele Bayliss

    What an impressive group! thank you for dedicating your summer to helping our students 🙂

    1. ONL TAs

      You are welcome! -Alan T

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