I went to the beach again! SURFSAC, a student group that organizes lots of social / fun events over the summer, organized the trip. We had a (coach!) bus from Caltech right to the beach. In Santa Monica, we were able to do / go wherever we wanted so long as we would all be back at the bus at 4:50, but most people formed a pretty big group around the food! It was pretty cold / cloudy when we got there, so we wrapped up in our towels, but then – SUN! Garms (her blog is at https://www.caltech.typepad.com/ - Summer at NASA!) and I went into the waves for a while (during which I, of course, managed to get really sunburnt!). THEY WERE HUGE! Waves are so cool. The undertow was really strong, so we kept getting pulled closer to shore / farther from shore.
It did get sunnier… later in the day…
I’m getting ready for my trip to India (see next paragraph - and if you’re interested, keep reading my blogs as I will keep you updated on the trip / class!) and wanted to bring “CA surf shells” as small souvenir-presents for the people I met. We didn’t really find many shells - I think the current here doesn’t dip onto a shell bank in the same way as on our last beach trip to Redondo Beach. We did find a pretty cool sign though. I couldn’t decide what side to get on! Finally, I decided I’ve been doing a lot more SURFing this summer than swimming!
I also started planning logistics for my trip to India over the weekend. For those of you who haven’t read that blog, Caltech has a class that I am really excited about. As in, I’m excited for all my classes and especially the chemistry / chemE / phys classes. But, I’m even more excited for this class. It’s taught by Professor Pickar (https://pickar.caltech.edu/) and called ME 105 Product Design for the Developing World. The class is designed to develop products for people who live under $2/day. I’m really interested in that, but being able to design on a budget is a great skill for anyone going into product design as well. The class is really diverse - there’s me, a ChemE, some bio, and a lot of MechEs (so far - I’m sure there will be more majors in the class after it starts this fall! the trip is not mandatory for the class). There are some people who are interested specifically in product design for the developing world, and some people who are interested in design in general. The class is co-taught with three schools: Caltech, Saintgits in India, and the Art Center, also in Pasadena. There are several graduate students from the Art Center, a bunch of Caltech UG, and business / engineering students from Saintgits. The trip to India serves several purposes: we want to see what products would improve lives, and we want to do research on the market feasability of these projects. We’re also going to be forming teams and getting to know the Indian students. The class will have skyped lectures, in English. There will be several teams with different projects, and each team will have students from the Art Center, Caltech, and Saintgits. Because only some Caltech / Art Center students are visiting India, we will be the “contacts” in our teams to make sure that we are communicating - and if there are issues with communication, since we’ve met the Indian students, we’re supposed to figure those out :) I’m really really excited! This weekend, I covered some of the logistical bases: luggage allowances, our 19 hour stop over in Singapore (we’ll be going into the city :)) and what I am going to bring! I’ll make sure to keep you posted on the trip and my product!
The other classes I’ll be taking in the fall are organic chemistry, math / phys, ACM 95 (more math!), thermo (ChemE),and “cross country.” Cross country isn’t really a class, but it’s worth three units. At Caltech, you’ll have to take 9 units of sports. Doing a varsity sport counts as three units, but there are also a lot of classes (that actually only take 3 hours a week) for less “I want to run every day!!! I love running!” people :) Those classes include all of our sports at a beginner level, things like core training and student desinged fitness, and then classes like dance, yoga, karate, and rock climbing.There’s a large spectrum from people who take the 9 units and don’t spend more time on sports to people who spend a lot of time practicing, and practicing outside of practice, but for the most part, Techers - even on sport teams - do the sport because they love the sport as a secondary passion to our academics - as a complement. The coaches recognize that we are students. When I was looking at schools, I was very worried about doing a sport.I loved XC butthisis college, right? I wouldn’t recommed D1 if you are serious about academics, but at schools like Caltech, athletics take your classes into account. Everyone who comes here is here because of their passion for math / science / engineering (that’s why you have to write an essay about it in your application!) so while many of us are also very dedicated to our sports (<3 XC!), classwork comes first. The bottom line: don’t exclude continuing / starting doing sports in college if you really enjoy it in high school!
All my posts tend to go onto tangents about something related to Caltech but not the topic of my post… I still hope it’s usefull information for you! And that you, too, choose the SURFing side :)
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.