Faces of Menlo

Post image for M-A senior Simran Kashyap creates iPhone game called This or That

Simran Kashyap, a rising senior at Menlo-Atherton (M-A) High School, has taken her passion for software engineering to the next level and designed an iPhone gaming app, making her one of a steadily increasing number of Silicon Valley female youths who have demonstrated an interest in the technology industry.

The game, entitled “This or That” challenges users by asking them to categorize as many images as possible within a set period of time. This or That is inspired by the popular iPhone game “Llama Or Duck?!”, which features a single mode that displays an image that the user must identify as a llama or duck within a few seconds. Kashyap’s app,however, features various modes and themes, and what may seem like a simple game in concept has required many pages of code and hours of programming.

Simran programmed the app with the help of Palo Alto-based academy MakeGamesWithUs. She had some prior experience after completing the Advanced Placement (AP) computer science course at M-A, but the academy, she said, “helped by having all these [programmers] from different backgrounds to help me and give feedback and encouragement.”

For her, making an app was the “perfect way to practice coding… It is a real application of computer science, as opposed to [just] instruction.” She enjoyed the “hands-on” aspect of designing the game and finds that to be a far more valuable learning experience than lectures and other methods of traditional education.

Based on her experience, Simran describes the tech industry as accepting of and welcoming to prospective women engineers. Contrary to the common belief that the computer science field is unfriendly and even discriminatory towards women, she believes that is is a good fit and says that she never received different treatment because of her gender. From her point of view, the computer science gender gap that has been so prevalent in decades past is gradually closing with the new generation of software engineers.

Her main hope for her app, which is set to be released in early August, is simply “that at least a few will use my app and enjoy it.” The most important aspect to her has been the experience itself.

As for her own future, she hopes to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in computer science in college and pursue a career in the same field. “It might not be every little girl’s dream,” she said, “but it is mine.”

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Director of Wine Paul Mekis oversees close to 2,000 bottles of wine at Madera restaurant in Menlo Park

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Madera restaurant’s Director of Wine Paul Mekis was not always a “wine guy”. But he did have early influencers. Raised in Santa Cruz, his father and grandfather made wine. He also remembers a trip to the Napa Valley when he was in his early 20s with his Missouri grandparents. “I’d done some research before and took […]

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West Menlo Park home is on the Edible Landscaping tour on July 19

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One of the reasons Kristin Kuntz-Duriseti and husband Ram bought their west Menlo Park home eight years ago was to have a bigger piece of land in order to start a suburban fruit and vegetable garden. “The fruit trees were the defining thing,” Kristen said. “And being sustainable was a huge value to us. “We planted 20 […]

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Actor/singer Pierce Peter Brandt offers summer musical theater workshops for tweens and teens

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Pierce Peter Brandt has been performing since he was a kid. Growing up in Palo Alto, he was the lead in Oliver, when TheatreWorks first staged the musical. He went south to attend USC but left college for his first paid gig as a singer on a cruise ship, followed by similar jobs, both on the high seas and […]

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Local startup – PeerVids – founded on idea that teens learn best from other teens

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Based on the premise that teens learn best from other teens, a group of high school students and recent high school graduates from Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside, and Portola Valley recently launched a startup. The company, PeerVids, makes online educational videos taught by high school students with the subject matter correlating directly with the textbooks and courses […]

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Sculptor turned doctor turned archeologist – all in the life of Bob Harris

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Menlo Park resident Bob Harris’s interest in sculpture came early in life. As a boy, he used to carve wooden ships. He continued sculpting while in college, eventually abandoning it to pursue medical school. A psychiatrist and psychoanalyst by profession, the Stanford Medical School-based doctor returned to sculpting later in life. “In some ways, I see […]

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Tennis teaching pro Marcus Cootsona writes first novel – Slammin’

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Local tennis teaching pro Marcus Cootsona admits that he finds it difficult to stay off the court and away from the writing desk. Following up on his nonfiction book of tennis tips — Occam’s Racquet: 12 Simple Steps To Smarter Tennis — published in 2011, he’s written a novel: Slammin’. The book tells the story of Wally Wilson, who […]

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Menlo resident Alan Propp heads to Ghana this summer to work at orphanages

Thumbnail image for Menlo resident Alan Propp heads to Ghana this summer to work at orphanages

Menlo-Atherton High School grad Alan Propp, who’s finishing up his second year at Stanford, is headed to Ghana this summer to work with the Kaeme Foundation in partnership with the Ghanian Department of Social Welfare. There he’ll be interviewing children who are housed in orphanages, even though in some cases they have families. “The goal […]

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Menlo Park native competes in 2014 World Rowing Cup II at Lake Aiguebelette, France

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Seth Weil (far right above and wearing red shirt below), who grew up in Menlo Park and graduated from Menlo-Atherton High School, is one of the more than 700 athletes from 46 countries who competed in the 2014 World Rowing Cup II at Lake Aiguebelette, France this weekend. He is part of the U.S. men’s four crew that includes Michael Gennaro (Havertown, Pa.), […]

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John Tarlton is participating in cycling’s Race Across America to raise money for Stanford Cancer Institute

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John Tarlton, president and CEO of Tarlton Properties, Inc. (TPI), a commercial property development and asset management company based in Menlo Park, is competing in cycling’s Race Across America (RAAM) to raise money and awareness for the Stanford Cancer Institute. RAAM is a 3,000-mile cycling race that started June 10 in Oceanside, Calif., that will across 12 […]

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Two M-A grads are Atherton Police Activities League scholarship winners

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Two Menlo-Atherton High School graduating seniors, Emily Grose (pictured right) and Tatiana Pauga, have won $5,000 scholarships toward their college tuition in the fall of 2014, funded by the Atherton Police Activities League. Emily participated in cross country, junior varsity swimming and frosh/soph volleyball while still maintaining a 4.0 grade point average. She has also worked […]

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