On Saturday, I went surfing!
Max, Sly, Andrew, Erin, John, and I all headed down to Bolsa Chica beach in the morning (I’m told that it means “Bag Lady” in Spanish, but it’s a really nice surfing beach, especially for beginners). We assumed it would be warm, so none of us brought wetsuits. There were a few tense moments when we first got there, as the sun was behind a cloud and it was freezing cold (Erin had to huddle under some towels), but it warmed up soon.
I was very careful to apply lots of sunscreen. The sun here is harsher than on the east coast. Last year, I tried to make do with spray-on sunscreen but, having never used it before, I didn’t realize that you are supposed to rub it in. I ended up with streaks all over my skin, alternating red and white. I looked ridiculous!John has a very fair complexion, so in addition to sunscreen, he had to hide under an umbrella.
Andrew had been up very late the night before and had only gotten one hour of sleep. In addition to his SURF, he’s working hard to edit the Little T (an annually released guidebook to Caltech). He took a nap on the beach.
Erin had never surfed before, but it’s really easy to pick up. She had some trouble at first because the waves would dump her off her board, but she quickly got the hang of it. I managed to ride a wave all the way in to shore, so I was very pleased. Sly, who is better than the rest of us, managed to catch many waves. I even caught a picture of her standing up!
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.
This summer, from the confines of my Brooklyn apartment, you could find me typing away on a tiny 13-inch laptop screen. At times I was looking for answers on countless Stack Exchange pages, editing a Jupyter notebook, or making blood flow measurements on a software called Arterys. This was my 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURF) experience.
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.