We woke up super early to pack our lunches before heading out to our work site in the Alabama Hills. In true tourist fashion, before getting to work we all lined up for a group photo commemorating our start of work and the productivity that was to ensue…
This is a cool landscape shot. Does it look like Afghanistan? Compare:
Now, if at this point you are thinking, “Wow! That sounds really fun! How can I learn to vertical mulch?” you are in luck. I have put together a series of instructional pictures that will teach you how.
Step 2: Strike the ground with your Polaski to break up the soil. Note that if you actually look like this you will get tired really fast. It’s better to just skip step 1, kneel down and strike the soil, but this looks a lot cooler.
After a little while of vertical mulching we got lazy and decided to do some exploring. Mike told us that there was a natural arch about a five minute walk away so we took a break to check it out.
Look! It’s a rock donut! Evidently these things form by the wind carrying dust and dirt particles that strike the rock and wear it away. Over time, some will develop a depression in the center which will eventually turn into an arch like this one. And… when there are tourists around, these arches will spontaneously become populated with people! :O
This picture was really uncomfortable to take. Looks pretty weird too. The cave was about 8 ft. in diameter so, as you can see, it could fit quite a few people inside. There was another one right next to it that wasn’t completely hollowed out so it wasn’t as fun to take pictures in.
Note: not everything you see in pictures is real.
This used to be a lake. Now it’s a field?
Yay! This is a lake.
After taking a tour of the lake we stopped by an old Mining (and now Ghost) town called Keeler. It literally seemed like only 20 people lived there. Sorry I don’t have any pictures, check the other blog for that. Then we headed back to the hostel, grabbed some pizza and slept!
This summer I had the incredible opportunity to do a 10-week internship at Gilead Sciences in Foster City, CA. For those unfamiliar, Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a research-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative medicines.
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.