I was invited to be a guest to a Caltech Board of Trustees Meeting this past Monday morning. The meeting itself was for the Student Experience Committee focusing on undergraduate admissions.
Since I’ve been involved in almost everything there is to Caltech Admissions…I guess my presence at the meeting was to field questions and speak about the roles of students and involvement with admissions. So I joined the Admissions Office, Financial Aid Office and Center for Diversity representatives in their presentation to the Trustees.
The meeting was 2 hours in the morning, and had a ton of people on the Board of Trustees and other important people from our campus such as President Chameau, Vice Provost Melany Hunt (also my advisor), Dean Hall, VP of Student Affairs Annelia Sargent, etc etc. It was a definitely a VIP crowd gathered in the Millikan Board Room.
I have never been in this room before—though I’ve seen it all the time. It’s the hexagonal shaped room connected to Millikan Library on the Pond…
I was super excited to have FINALLY been in the board room—with the fancy chandelier illuminating the room…and also the very elaborate continental breakfast set out for the meeting.
The meeting was really interesting—since we talked about outreach efforts of the admissions office, financial aid, retention and graduation of students. There were a lot of data and statistics presented…and of course, a lot of questions, issues, concerns and suggestions from the Trustees.
I spoke in the meeting specifically on my role as a student reader and a tour guide, and also the student experience at Caltech. It was great to speak about the experience I’ve had with the admissions process on multiple levels to the Board, and got good feedback on the efforts. This experience was very cool—and it was such a great opportunity to see how Caltech is run behind the scenes—or rather “in the hexagonal board room.”
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.