I must say, the first couple of days I came back to Caltech felt odd. I remember sitting at my desk after coming back from the lab thinking, ‘Why am I not doing any work!?’ It’s definitely nice being here at Caltech with all my friends but actually having enough time to actually spend some quality time with them (not that we don’t during the school year… it’s just usually a different kind of quality time like late night boba runs to keep us going another hour or two to finish math problem sets :P)
The first weekend I was back, I decided to take advantage of my new-found freedom to spend some time with my friends:
I know I said I left Japan. I really did!! It’s just that my friends wanted to go to a Japanese festival the very week I came back. This is at the Obon Festival we went to. There were so many cute kids dressed in traditional Japanese clothes such as these.
To beat the summertime heat, festivals usually always serve shaved ice. It’s super yummy and very refreshing in the summertime. This one is strawberry and lime flavored!
Look it’s another Caltech blogger!! Here’s Mario attemp…dancing very nicely :) I must say I wasn’t any better at dancing. But it was fun trying it with all my friends and making fun of each other.
Another thing I love about Japanese festivals other than the dancing and spending time with friends? The food of course! There are always tons of stalls selling food like chicken teriyaki, sushi, Japanese noodles, you name it! And since everything here was run by local organizations, the food was super cheap as well. My friends and I must have bought at least one of everything and shared it.
Switching gears here a bit….
Another thing I love about being back at Caltech is the sense of community. In Ruddock, my house, we always celebrate birthdays in 1.5, our common area. We all pitch in to buy a cake and sign a card and bring the person to 1.5 and sing them happy birthday. It’s a nice way to show how much everyone cares and definitely strengthens our bonds!
This week, we had three birthdays in a row! That means…
Lots of free cake!! Obviously they were too engrossed by the cake (and I may have caught them by surprise…) to smile.
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.