Ketaki Panse


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The ABCs of Caltech

F…:The F photo hasn’t been taken yet, but it was holding up all the other letters that have been done! I’ll insert the photo here once we have it, but in the mean time, can you guess what iconic Caltech artifact will be featured? Hint: it has been the subject of many a prank. ;)

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The ABCs of Caltech

Caltech has a beautiful campus, and equally beautiful students, and since I’m graduating soon, I wanted to share both with you in a perhaps unconventional way. Thus began my Caltech Alphabet project. For the past few weeks, my friends and I have been brainstorming various buildings and locations on campus that correspond to each letter of the alphabet. Some letters (especially B,R, and X!) were difficult to create using the human form, but I think the results are not too shabby.. Enjoy!

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Skyping with Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

During our Evolution class field trip to the Galapagos, we didn’t have much downtime. Most of the day was spent outdoors: hiking, observing, learning, and snorkeling. But when he did have some free time (when, say, lounging on the top deck while whale watching), we had an unofficial book club to keep up with. As a class, we’d decided to read* The Sixth Extinction*, by New Yorker journalist Elizabeth Kolbert.

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Getting scooped

Early Saturday morning, about three weeks ago, our Indian professor Bhaskar emailed the image below to our ME105 class. While flipping through the morning newspaper in India, he came across an article about a new device called spotNsave and immediately thought of our product design class. Within minutes of skimming the story, he’d pulled out his Blackberry, snapped a photo, and sent a mass email to all forty students.

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“My advice for you? Rent a rickshaw and drive it around Mumbai for a week. On second thought, maybe that’s not the most feasible scenario..”

In our product design class ME105, we frequently have guest speakers and lecturers. For the first 30 minutes of class, each team gives their elevator pitch as the guest asks questions and critiques the pitch. For the next hour or so, the speaker then talks to usabout his/her latest social venture or start up.

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The Importance of Note-taking

Our 8-day Galapagos adventure was jam-packed: we’d get up at 5:30 am to begin our day of hiking, snorkeling, more snorkeling, and more hiking. We’d return to the boat at 6 pm for dinner and lecture/ presentations. By 10 pm, the entire boat would be sound asleep, lulled by the boat’s gentle rocking.

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Galapagos Adventures

Exactly fifteen days ago, I found myself sitting cross-legged on my bedroom floor, with clothes, electronics, books, and shoes scattered around me. A third-party observer might just conclude that I’m a terribly messy person, but I was actually in the midst of prepping for my evolution class field trip to the Galapagos, taught by Professors Rob Phillips and Victoria Orphan!

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Building Bookcases out of Boredom

Let me start by saying I have nothing to complain about. Last term (senior year, winter term), I took 6 amazing classes, did research I loved, and planned for my Galapagos trip over spring break! And yet, when I returned home for a week between term and the Galapagos trip, I found myself.. bored. My siblings are in school from 7 am - 3 pm and my parents work for most of the day. To combat this boredom, I decided to complete a project I’d started over winter break.

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Designing a Smartphone Application

Last December, I stuffed my suitcase with sunscreen, kurtis, my handy dandy notebook, and rupees I’d found lying around the house. As soon as winter break began, my 11 classmates and I boarded a plane to begin our product design class field trip. After almost 24 hours of travel, we reached our destination: Ahmedabad, India! There, we met IIT Gandhinagar students we’d be collaborating with and were soon on our way to visit local hospitals, construction sites, farms, villages, and even deserts (see Little Rann of Kutch). The purpose of this trip was to identify specific problems that people in developing nations face. Every day, after our field visits, all 30 of us gathered into our classroom to brainstorm solutions for the problems we’d drafted. After 7 days, we had come up with 250 different solutions (some more realistic than others). We narrowed the 250 solutions down to 50, and then voted on which 10 or so projects the class should focus on. After ranking our individual preferences, we were divided into teams of 4-5 for each project (2 Indian students, 2-3 American students).

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Painting a Fond Farewell

Tucked behind the Caltech Theatre House and past the Alumni House is a unassuming, two-story stark white garage. But inside this barren building is an explosion of color, stencils, silk, and paint. The first floor of this garage houses Caltech’s silk screening and shirt decorating room, while the second floor is home to our aclyric paint and charcoal collection.

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academics

Ditch Day Debauchery

At 7:45 am last Friday morning, Ruddock house members were woken up in the most gentle way possible: senior members, armed with metal pots & pans and a blowhorn, ran through the house, banging on everyone’s door for a nice, old-fashioned wake-up call.

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Math and Medicine

Sophomore year, third term, I took my first medically-relevant class at Caltech. It’s a course taught by Dr. Petrasek, who has a degree in medicine and later got a PhD in applied math at Tech, so it’s a class that deviates from the basic sciences to look at clinical research and medical advances. Since I loved the class last year, this year I decided to be a TA (teaching assistant) for it.

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Pre-frosh Weekend's SURF Panel

For those of you who attended Pre-frosh Weekend a couple days ago, congrats! It’s an exciting time for you, and I’m sure you’re choosing between many amazing universities around the country.

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In a land Faro, Faro away..

The best travel companion is a really good book, but a group of exciting study abroad students is a close second!Toward the beginning of the term, I met a couple American girls studying at Edinburgh for the year, and they quickly introduced me to a whole group of American kids who had met through Arcadia (study abroad program that plans weekend trips for its students). Though Caltech is not part of this program, tech kids still travel all over Europe on a student budget– we just plan our travels ourselves.

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