Hello everybody! My name is Annabel Reyna Gomez. I was born and raised in Northern California. I am the oldest child in a family of four and live with my parents and younger brother in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am first-generation Mexican-American and the first female in my family to study STEM. Currently, I am a sophomore at Caltech pursuing a major in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Aerospace Engineering.
On campus, I am a member of Ruddock House, Club Latino, Women Mentoring Women, an Admissions Ambassador, and a volunteer tutor helping local at-risk high school students through the Caltech Y Rise Tutoring program. Off campus, I am an intern at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), using machine-learning to research ionospheric and atmospheric remote sensing. Geomagnetic storms, charged particle precipitation, plasma convection, and associate dynamics in the high-latitude ionosphere can produce various ionospheric disturbances depending on location, geomagnetic conditions, and presence of field-aligned currents. These disturbances, including plasma instabilities, give rise to irregular structures in ionospheric density distribution, or ionospheric irregularities. My task is to apply machine-learning techniques to develop a prediction system, using historical GPS and magnetometer data, to predict the location, time, and intensity of these irregularities. The goal is to use these predictions to eventually reduce signal reception interruptions and improve the integrity of navigation and communication technology applications that rely on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and GPS data.
My post-Caltech plan is to attend graduate school and obtain a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Subsequently, I would like to work for NASA and be involved in groundbreaking research that will help to improve the quality of life across the globe.
I’m thrilled to join the Caltech Fission team as a new blogger and look forward to sharing with you my experience, both as a Techer as well as an intern at JPL!
Almost a year ago now, I was just about to start my first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at JPL. NASA had sent out an email to all of their summer interns containing a social media template to announce that we had been selected as NASA interns. Excited to show my NASA pride, I posted it on my Instagram story, unaware of what would come out of this small action.
Hey hey! We’re starting a series where I walk you through my best finds for food and drinks in the Pasadena region, and in the LA metropolitan area. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, if you will (although, for copyright reasons we can’t call it that). As you explore your college options, I firmly believe that food and location are more important than your high school guidance counselor may lead you to believe. And I’m here to share my best finds from my time at Caltech with you.
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the mentorship of senior research technologist Dr. Xiaoqing Pi. Dr. Pi’s guidance and mentorship has been instrumental to the development and success of my internship at JPL, where I use machine-learning to enhance the accuracy and integrity of navigation and communication signals. In addition to helping me develop an understanding of atmospheric and ionospheric remote sensing and machine-learning, Dr. Pi has often offered his insights on how to improve my researching skills. Dr. Pi was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions regarding his research and advice for future student interns. I believe many students can benefit from some of the lessons that he has taught me:
The transition period to remote learning was a very uncertain time, especially for research and the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Many hands-on projects had to pivot at the last minute to facilitate off-campus contributions. However, many Techers were able to take advantage of the research opportunities offered at Caltech and JPL to make the best out of remote learning and research. To paint a picture, I’ve interviewed a few talented Techers for some insight on what researching from home looks like for them.