Alright, so Big I might have happened a month ago, but I’m really bad at using my camera so it took me about that long to figure out how to get pictures off of it and onto my computer, and Big I can’t truly be admired without fantastic pictures.
Big I is a semi-annual party of stunning proportions - all eight houses throw 4 simultaneous parties, one in each of the courtyards of the South Houses. As with all Caltech parties, the themes are picked by students, students build and design the decorations and construction (complete with elevated dance platforms, staircases, and sometimes elaborate gargantuan Trojan horses). The themes this year were as follows:
Dabney + Page: Brought to you by the Letter I (including a 20-foot tall letter I behind the DJ)
Fleming + Ruddock: Fall of Troy (complete with Greek-themed murals, togas, and the aforementioned giant Trojan horse)
Blacker + Avery: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (a wall-to wall mural of Atlantis, a flooded courtyard with a 10-foot paper-maché giant squid, and a submarine that had a hidden dance platform inside along with a deck above)
And, most awesomely, Ricketts + Lloyd: Space (aka Nicholas Cage, the Interhouse).
At Space, we had a pretty simple dance platform with a tarp above to keep the rain off, a much less simple Nebula painted across the back of the stage with flash lights from behind to simulate twinkling stars, beach balls painted to look like planets, a giant flashing LED portrait of Nicholas Cage, blacklight chandeliers, astronauts, floating shark blimps (they were supposed to be painted like starships but we ran out of spray paint), and glow-in-the-dark stars all over the ceiling. After a few frantic days of building right before, it ended up being awesome.
Because it wouldn’t be space without Nic Cage’s face made out of flashing LEDs to make it so he blinks, right?
The ceiling - pretty basic stuff.
The dance platform, with the band’s setup (music provided by Blown Out, a Lloydie band, and Slopycopy, a Ricketts DJ).
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.