Today I went to Koreatown with my friend Gabriela, a SURF student from Brazil. The Koreatown of LA is the biggest of any American city. The food here is THE BOMBDOTCOM. You can ask any Uber driver. Gabriela was eager to try authentic Korean food, and I needed to go for a touch up for my eyebrows.
Why go into K-town for eyebrows you ask? Well, first let me explain microblading, which is super trendy these days. If you already know what I am talking about, skip this paragraph. Essentially, microblading is a semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo. Hair-like strokes are draw with a thin blade to mimic natural hairs. The ink doesn’t go as deep as ink for a typical tattoo. Numbing cream is used so it’s not that painful. Results last up to two years before touch ups are needed. Here is a Buzzfeed video on the experience.
I decided to get my eyebrows microbladed because I have naturally thin eyebrows and it saves me so much time to not have to fill them in. Also, I can rub my face, sweat and swim without makeup streaking across my face.
The salon I went to is super intimate and cute. The set up can seem intimidating and the color options can be overwhelming, but an experienced eyebrow artist will help you through all of it.
Voila, the results! My eyebrows will scab a bit this week and the stokes will fade in color overtime. In the meantime, they are on fleek :)
If you are reading this post just for the food, here is the delicious bibimbap that was enjoyed along with some banchan (side-dishes) at Hangari Bajirak Kalgooksoo restaurant. We will be back soon to try their hand-cut noodles.
Afterwards, we went grocery shopping at Zion Market. Asian grocery stores are so much cheaper than Vons or Pavillions etc. I bought 2 lbs of organic grapes for $1.49. Grapes are especially delicious when frozen -- the perfect healthy snack.
With 45 Nobel Laureates on its Faculty Roster, it’s not surprising that research is an integral part of the Caltech undergraduate experience. One of the programs that promotes such research is the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). There is no minimum knowledge or experience required to participate in a Caltech SURF. In fact, students can participate in a SURF as soon as the summer after their freshman year. It is not difficult to get a SURF. All you need to do is find a mentor who is working in an area of research that interests you and willing to mentor you through a research project. The mentor can work in a Caltech lab, at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), or at another participating institution. Once you find a mentor, you work together to write a project proposal that you later send to the SURF office for review and approval. About 98% of the SURF proposals get approved. This fellowship is a great way to explore various fields of research and obtain real, hands-on experience where you get to apply the theoretical knowledge you’ve learned in class. Not only do you get to work and learn alongside your mentor, but you also get compensated for your time. The length of the SURF is ten weeks, and it starts at the beginning of the summer. However, it is not uncommon for many students at Caltech to continue their research project throughout the academic school year.
Like many students at Caltech, I suffer from a slight boba addiction, where side effects may include over caffeination, minor sugar highs, and of course, a large toll on one’s wallet. This addiction is not helped by the fact that there are at least three boba shops within walking distance of campus. So, after an entire term’s worth of boba runs, I came back from winter break with a new year’s epiphany: it was time to get a job. Rather than try to curb my addiction, I decided to find a way to subsidize it.
Research at Caltech looks different for every student, and can often vary term by term. As a chemistry major, my course requirements are on the lighter side for a Caltech major, and many chemistry majors take advantage of the lighter course load to join research groups. This can be whenever the student wants, but many people join labs during their freshman or sophomore years. Some may work in one lab only, and some may switch between labs during the course of their undergraduate studies, depending on if their interests change.
SURF, short for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, is a quintessential experience for any Caltech student. It is a widely accessible research fellowship for Caltech students that funds your proposed research for one summer term. While many of my classmates did their first SURF the summer after their freshman year, I sent in my first application to the program as a sophomore. As a CS major, I was trying to chase meaningful work that intersected computation with the field of neuroscience. I ended up doing a SURF at the Stanford School of Medicine that first year, studying hand gestures in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since then, I’ve been working in the research space of applying computational analyses to ASD.