culture

Learning to Paint

This summer, my grandpa is teaching me how to paint. He does traditional Chinese painting and likes to paint birds, fish, other animals, and landscapes (especially Yosemite). I’ve also seen some oil paintings he’s done, such as an abstract of the Golden Gate Bridge and a portrait of my grandma. Usually after I leave work, I go to his house for dinner, and afterwards, he shows me how to paint anything I ask him for. I typically request small birds, like sparrows or finches, since I want to focus on one animal first before I move on. Actually, a lot of small birds come by his house since he built his own small stream in the garden! They like to wash themselves there, and it’s really cute.

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research

sakthi.second_chances

I’m now four weeks through my internship at Microsoft, and I’ve never felt so welcome as a female developer in any community. This past week, Microsoft hosted a women’s event (we have one once every other week) and it started off with lots of noms. (Classic. I swear I’m going to gain ten pounds by the end of the summer.) So, with three different types of cake in tow, I sat down to see our Executive Leadership panel. It was made up of Amy Hood (Chief Finance Offer), Charlotte Yarkoni (Chief Vice President, C&E), Kathleen Hogan (Chief People Officer), and Liz Hamren (Chief Vice President, Mixed Reality and HoloLens Marketing).

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global

intern.boat_party();

So throughout the summer, we’ve had these sporadic intern boat parties, where 200 interns get on a boat, sail around Lake Washington, blasting music. So around 2 PM on Sunday, we started lining up to board the boat (we being my team, a few other Caltech interns, and me). Once we made it onto the boat, we started exploring. There were two decks, the bottom deck was where all of the food and beverages were, and it also had a pretty sick dance floor. The DJ was bumping all of the hottest tracks from back when I was in middle school. The upper deck had a covered area for seating and an open area where there were just gorgeous views of the Seattle downtown area. We spent about four hours circling Seattle on the boat, meeting other interns, hanging out with other full-time employees, talking to our recruiters, busting a move, eating all of the food, and generally having a good time. 10/10. Would boat party again. The theme for this boat party was Hawaiian Tropicana, so we were all handed leis once we boarded the boat. I made mine into a really ill-fitting flower crown that flew after about thirty seconds. Here are some cute pics of the squad:

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clubs

microsoft.signature_event();

On top of the signature event Microsoft hosts for interns of each business group, there’s an event for all interns together. In the past, the event has been hosted at a secret venue with a secret guest artist, and this year was no different. Speculation started early in the summer, with interns looking at nearly every potential venue and checking to see if the venue was booked for a private event. We did the same thing for artists too. I made a list of the popular artists currently on tour and cross-referenced their tour dates with the day the event was scheduled. Bruno Mars was in the area. So was Skrillex, and Lady Gaga. As a group of about 2,000 investigators, we got close, but we didn’t figure it out. Props to Microsoft for keeping that secret for months.

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clubs

intern[“Sakthi”].bowl()

This summer, I’m an intern at Microsoft, and I’m fortunate to be a part of a company that waits on their interns hand and foot and is absolutely dedicated to showing us a good time. Microsoft is composed of five different business groups. As one of the interns that work on supporting Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure and operations, I’m part of the Cloud and Enterprise business group headed by Scott Guthrie. And of course, this past weekend all of the interns had an event for their business group.

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research

SFP Movie Night

The Student Faculty Programs organizes a variety of events over the summer to prevent SURF students from reaching peak boredom. After all, there are only so many binge-able shows on Netflix. I challenge you to prove me wrong on this one.

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research

Meal Deliveries -> Unsubscribe

I love to cook, so when I had some spare Groupon dollars on hand, I purchased a Groupon for Hello Fresh, a meal subscription service. Every week, they send me some fresh produce along with instructions to prepare these semi-elaborate meals. It’s not that I can’t find recipes and go grocery shopping alone. I just wanted to see whether such a service is of any value to me, or another college student with a similar lifestyle.

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research

Intern Summerfest @ Facebook

Wednesday was another (yes, another) intern event. I am very grateful to the Facebook Recruiters that put so much work into holding these event and making our summer at Facebook really fun. This event was filled with cool things to do, from a huge inflatable obstacle course and carnival games, to caricatures and an arcade. My friends and I took full advantage of all of these things, all the while eating all the good provided food like kettle corn!

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research

Bechtel Construction Site Tour

As you may have already heard, a new residence hall is being built on campus called Bechtel! It will be opened Fall of 2018 and will allow for all undergraduates to be able to live on campus for the entirety of their time at Caltech if they wish (of course, you can still live off campus in a non-Caltech affiliated apartment if you choose). However, we still do not know which group of students Bechtel will be open to.

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research

Helium Transfers are "Cool"

July 14 was not only Bastille Day, but also liquid helium transfer day in the Kirschvink Lab! Once every one and a half years, the liquid helium running our oven and our magnetometer runs out, meaning that the machines cannot operate. Thus, we go through the process of requesting liquid helium. We got around 160 liters, all in special dewars to keep it at a low temperature!

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research

Hiking in Wunderlich County Park

We hiked 5 miles through wooded areas, although the trail was not always shaded. This made for an unfortunately sweaty group of interns hiking in the sun to get to the top, but I enjoyed walking through nature. It’s not something that I get to do every day while sitting in the office or going about my daily life. The group was in high spirits and had a lot of energy to start the hike - and we were still in high spirits at the end, despite our drained energy. Walking through the woods was certainly revitalizing, as was being physically active. I enjoy hanging out with these friends, and getting outside was definitely a nice change of pace after only seeing them in the office all the time.

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global

Triple Decker Brownies

I swear I’m not completely obsessed with food… Just mostly.

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global

A Day at the Boardwalk

Where else to go on a hot day other than the beach? At the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, there are amusement park rides, carnival games, an arcade, andthe beach!

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research

Happy National Ice Cream Day!

Today was National Ice Cream Day! If you ever wonder where all these weird holidays (National Garlic Day, French Fries Day etc.) come from, check out this podcast by Planet Money. I love listening to Planet Money when I’m doing petty work. It makes me feel like I’m gaining IQ points (yes, I know that’s not how IQ works).

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culture

Summer Eats

Over the summer, students living on Caltech campus only get $360 of board, enough to buy around one meal a day at Chandler, our dining hall. So, that means Caltech students have time to perfect the art of cooking (or, you know, the art of ordering in and using the microwave). I love cooking, so I took this opportunity to learn how to make some of my favorite dishes.

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research

Sometimes Life is a Beach

I made elaborate plans to go Stand Up Paddle-boarding (SUP) today at Marina Del Rey. We found a good Groupon deal that was $20/2hr, which is half price. I bought the voucher for 5 people and we drove down in the LA heat to redeem. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, all the paddle boards had been rented out and there was a waiting list for 10. The rental guy said that there was a 99% chance that we won’t be getting on one today.

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local

Grand Canyon Road Trip

This past weekend, a bunch of friends and I decided to go to the Grand Canyon for a few days. Living on the East Coast before this year, I had never seen it before. One of my favorite things about Tech is how close we are to so many national parks, forests, and monuments. We even got to drive by Mt. Whitney on a geology trip last term.

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research

Grilling With Friends

A few weekends ago, my friends staying in San Jose invited us to grill at their apartment. With several great cooks there, the food was amazing. The meal included garlic bread, two salads, grilled veggies, three homemade sauces (chimichurri, onion vinaigrette, and a Brazilian vinaigrette), chicken wings, and a lot of grilled beef. As we were eating, the food just kept coming!

Daniel was in charge of grilling the vegetables and meat.
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research

“There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom” 

Today I had to do some SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy) for my carbon nanotube samples. I always find it to be such an awe-inspiring experience. The nanotube forests are absolutely gorgeous. Each nanotube looks scraggly and weird, but when they bundle up in millions, they make these beautiful rectangular structures.

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clubs

Machine Shop Paradox

Machining is the biggest time sink. You would think a few cuts and holes would take moments to complete – and they probably do, for the experienced machinist – but for the amateur, 90% of the time is spent wrestling with calipers and rulers.

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culture

SF Pride Parade

A few weeks ago I went to San Francisco’s 46th annual Pride Parade! Starting at 10:30am, the parade lasted for about 4 hours. There was tons of support and excitement all around! Everyone dressed up for the parade, either in rainbow colors or in spectacular costumes. In the afternoon, there was a celebration at Civic Center with various street stalls, block parties, and live performances in the adjacent streets. I saw many families, people of various cultures and backgrounds, and cute corgis participating in the parade😊

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global

Noods = Good Moods

What’s better than regular Chinese beef noodles? Hand-torn Chinese beef noodles. Today, I went to Arcadia (just east of Pasadena) with Angelina and Gabriela to eat some authentic Chinese food. We decided to go to 101 Noodle Express because it’s close to Westfield Santa Anita Mall and it has hype reviews in Yelp.

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research

Interns on the Boardwalk

We were all hungry, so all the interns swarmed the food lines. With snack of popcorn, fruit, chips and guacamole, we were at least able to hold out until everyone got their real food: burgers and hot dogs.

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culture

sophomore_year.close()

Welcome to my first blog post after my hiatus! Now that that whirlwind of a year is over, and I’m not constantly surrounded by distractions, I’ve gotten quite a bit of appreciated quiet time back in Seattle. I’m interning at Microsoft this summer, which also means I get to stay at home and catch up with the fam.

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culture

Intern Puzzle Day

Every summer at Microsoft, the full-time employees put on this event for the interns called Puzzle Day. Often advertised as the most fun an intern can have indoors on a Saturday morning at Microsoft, Puzzle Day is where interns form teams of ten to twelve and then race to solve puzzles in order to solve a meta-puzzle (a puzzle made up of the answers from the other puzzles).

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clubs

This is SoCal

What did the beach say to the wave?… “Long tide, no sea.”

It was perfect beach weather today so several friends and I headed down to Venice, CA, the home of SoCal's most beautiful people. Everyone looks like a Sports Illustrated model. It is also one of the most hipster spots around town. There were murals on every store front, and every other cafe advertised vegan fare. Even the laundry store and waxing center claimed that their services are "organic"!

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research

SURF's Up at Caltech

As promised from my last post, here is my first SURF update! As you may already know, the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program (SURF) is a program through which students both from Caltech and from other schools can come and work with a Caltech or JPL professional researcher. This program allows students to explore areas of research they either have no time to do during the year, continue projects started during term, or to further their academic goals. It’s a great time for students to go more in-depth into a field they’re interested and gain some work experience. Plus, we get paid.

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research

Introduction to My Animals

One thing I really love about Caltech is how much freedom students get due to the Honor Code. Unlike many other schools, we have students sitting on nearly every major academic and disciplinary committees. Some of the things I’m involved with include being a member of the Board of Controls (a committee that deals with academic violations of the Honor Code), ASCIT (our campus-wide student government), and the COUCH committee (a newly-formed committee that will help decide who will live in the new residence hall, Bechtel). I also have friends leading the art committee, sitting on the Conduct Review Committee (a committee dealing with social violations of the honor code), part of StewComm (a committee that interfaces with housing), and the ARC (our academics and research committee).

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global

Hiking the Stanford Dish

This Saturday, I hiked the Stanford Dish Loop Trail. The trail is 3.65 miles long, making it perfect for a leisurely hike. It also has great views of the valley!

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global

San Francisco By Foot

This Sunday was the first excursion to San Francisco during my internship, although I am also sure it will not be the last. I went with a couple of friends, who had planned out a genius walking path to hit all the places that we wanted: the piers on the waterfront, Chinatown, and Union Square. It’s much more interesting if I show you the photos, so here you are :).

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culture

Getting Cultured at Norton Simon Museum

The Norton Simon museum is world famous for its European and Southeast Asian art collections. It is located in Pasadena, so it is easy to get to by bike or by car. Even better, students with ID can visit all the exhibits for FREE while general admission is $12.

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research

Adventures in K-Town

Today I went to Koreatown with my friend Gabriela, a SURF student from Brazil. The Koreatown of LA is the biggest of any American city. The food here is THE BOMBDOTCOM. You can ask any Uber driver. Gabriela was eager to try authentic Korean food, and I needed to go for a touch up for my eyebrows.

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culture

Weekend Baking

My roommate and I discovered a shared love of sweet things - cookies, cupcakes, ice cream, pastries, etc. If it’s sweet, we will probably like it. So it’s no surprise that we both have baked before. When we discovered this, we made a pact to bake at some point while we were living together.

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clubs

Brunch?

Things I love:
    - avocados - brunch - the beach - avocados for brunch by the beach
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research

My Favorite Course of Freshman Year

A year ago, I was an excited prefrosh savoring the sweet scent of orange blossoms as I explored Caltech’s campus with my family. We’d come during finals week, so most classrooms were empty and hallways were quiet. However, outside, we ran across a professor and group of students testing small boats. The boats floated on plastic bottles, with Styrofoam cups and a rainbow of wires heaped on top. We watched them whiz around on the water for a bit. The demonstration made me think that Caltech’s coursework couldn’t be “too theoretical” after all. In a few days, I was back home, and a month later, I decided to make Caltech my future home. Then, this past term, I took that class.

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research

Happy Fourth!

I hope you had a great Fourth of July! Most of my friends hit the beach and went to watch fireworks. I ended up checking out Grand Park's block party, exploring Little Tokyo then having a BBQ.
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research

Summer Machining

I signed up for the summer ME 13 Introduction to Mechanical Prototyping class a while back thinking that it would be a great opportunity to pick up some useful design skills. Since I am a prospective Electrical Engineering student, I would not have time to take the class during the academic year. There are demos for different machines each week, and we learn skills to build this cool moving trophy at the end for our final project. I promise it is more sophisticated than what I make it out to be.

By
clubs

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July everyone! This morning, I went to the San Jose Rose Garden to watch the Independence Day parade (my first 4th of July parade ever!). There were live singers, cheerleaders, old VW microbuses, and even Santa Claus in the parade.

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global

Joshua Tree, the Bee's Knees

I blogged about my trip to Joshua Tree National Park once already, but it was totally the bee’s knees, so here’s round two—in photos.

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culture

Beginning at Facebook

Back in April, I was fortunate to get an offer to be a part of Facebook University. It is a summer internship opportunity to which college Freshmen and Sophomores can apply that is focused on developing skills in Engineering, Data Analytics, or Business. I am in the engineering track, which focuses on app-building in iOS and Android. As an intern in the program, I get to work with more than 100 other motivated engineers from colleges around the country - and this praise is sincere. Everyone I have met is excited to work on their coding skills and learn more about app development.

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research

Wrapping up in Lab

This past term, I’ve been working in the Mazmanian Lab, which studies the relationship between the brain and the bacteria in the gut. Previously, members of the lab have discovered links between the intestinal microbiota and disorders such as Parkinson’s and Autism. Before coming to Caltech, this was a topic I had never heard about, so it was really exciting to be able to work on such novel research.

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culture

Pool Party?

Slightly over a week ago, the school year came to a close. Since Caltech is on the quarter system, we end slightly later than most schools, but this just means we have a later start date (I can maybe go apple picking in New York before I come back!). We also have the luxury of having each of our long breaks correspond with the end of term, meaning that once term ends we do not have to think about academics that much… Anyway, in honor of the end of our final term, my friends decided to host a pool party. However, this pool party was a little different…in fact, we did not even have a pool! We decided to bring a bunch of pool noodles, floaties, and even an inflatable whale to Millikan Pond, a large fountain in front of Millikan Library, the tallest building on campus. For a few years, the fountain lay empty due to the drought. However, since the drought has been declared over, it was refilled, and we took advantage.

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Spotlight


academics

My Trip to the Galapagos!

It’s been over three months since my trip to the Galapagos, and I am still thinking about it. For seven days, we all woke up at 5:30 am on the boat, ate breakfast together, and went out as the sun was rising on our morning hike to catch frigatebirds mating or iguanas spewing salt from their nostrils. Our days were spent snorkeling with turtles, sea lions, and schools of fish, and our nights were spent sitting on the bow of the ship, talking all together under the stars. It was truly a spring break I will never forget.

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culture

Caltech Food Tour

Caltech may be a small campus, but it has a large variety of food options. There are three main dining locations on campus — The Lee F. Browne Dining Hall, the Hameetman Center (which houses our beloved Red Door Cafe), and the Broad Café.

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academics

Some Late-Night Stress-Saving Food Runs

Midterms kept up its unrelenting attack on my sanity this week – at least a little bit. And how did I solve this? Two words.

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culture

Caltech Art Gala

Every year, Caltech’s literary and arts magazine Totem hosts the Art of Science competition.

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global local culture

Quick Trip to the Beach

Although there are a lot of smaller things, such as midterm smoothies and milkshakes (Blacker does something similar to this) and some larger things like Faculty Dessert Night, the soc team usually agrees that beach trip is the most work.

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