Hello! First, let me reintroduce myself. I am Nina Budaeva, a Caltech Sophomore majoring in Physics and a Page House member. I am from Berkeley, California but was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. I started blogging a year ago and went through summer up to this school year. Now I’m very happy to be back for occasional blogs about various things that pop up in my life at Caltech! I hope you enjoy following me throughout all the countless adventures that Caltech has to offer.
These pictures are made out of post-its and the man is supposed to be their professor. For the entire first week we would see new pictures with every lecture but on the second week we found a message explaining that this “saga” is countinuing in a new lecture hall because this student switched classes. Oh well. My course is still quite interesting even without new post-it designs bedind the chalk boards.
What else is there to expect from this Term? It is almost time to start finalizing plans for summer. In other words, it is almost time to apply for SURFs (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship - more about this in a later most). I’ve been in contact with my lab and I hope to soon finalize what I will work on. I may even start working during the year, well before summer starts! Please wich me luck!
Being a Sophomore, my courses are really getting more specialized towards my major whihc is Physics. I’m enjoying this but I’m not saying that I don’t like the Core Curriculum. If it weren’t for Core, I would have never voluntarilly taken certain classes that I ended up really enjoying (or at least appreciating) such as Biology and an Information Science and Technology class.
Also, most Interhouse parties happen during Second Term. I promise to describe these as they come because a lot of effort is put into each one and they always turn out to be great.
This Term I am also rehearsing for a Caltech dance show. I’ve done serious classical ballet and character dancing for a long time before coming here but for the dance show this year I am doing a hip-hop dance, a contemporary dance, and perhaps a jazz dance. I figured I’d give these a shot someday anyways so why not now?
Well, now I should get back to studying Physics and ACM but I’m really happy to be back and I hope you enjoy my blogs!
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.