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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.

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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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Cheers to the Weekend

I can’t remember the last time I had such a relaxing weekend at Caltech. One of the perks of completing a SURF rather than going to class is that work ends Friday afternoon, and the weekend is completely free. This weekend, I managed to cram in quite a few fun things to do.

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research

Let the SURF Season Begin!

I came back to Caltech to start my SURF this Tuesday after taking a week off. Of course, I was welcomed back by the intense LA sun and heat. Finals officially ended on June 18, but I turned mine in early and went home a couple of days early. At home, I just ate, slept, hung out with friends, baked, and binge-watched shows – the dream of every lazy teenager. Now I have to collect myself and get back into a more productive rhythm.

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culture

Why I Love Caltech's Cafeteria

Freshman year of Caltech is over, and—besides friends, clubs, and maybe classes— there’s one thing I’ll really miss this summer.

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Packing Up

It’s the end of frosh year! Know what that means?

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global

Revel like a knight

Our senior trip was to Las Vegas. The whole thing cost each person about $20. Lodging, transportation and a dinner show were all included in this fee, thanks to generous subsidies.

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local

Truly experience the California heat

Nobody told us that even after we’ve passed all our exams, we would still have to survive one more thing: the scorching 2.5 hours of the commencement ceremony. This year’s graduation events look like this:

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academics

Liquid O2 is Blue

I didn’t know that liquid oxygen is blue until last Friday, when my physics professor brought it to class and let us play with the three-hundred-Celsius-below-zero substance.

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academics

Trip to Vegas

Every year, the seniors take an organized school trip somewhere for a night after senior finals week, which in 3rd term is a week earlier than everyone else’s finals. Last year they went to Catalina. This year we went to Vegas.

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research

CS 123 Project Complete!

I finally finished writing up my CS 123 (projects in databases) project from this term. I’ve posted about it a few times, but I wanted to share with you the entire thing!

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academics

Picnic at the Park

The weather being so nice out lately, my roommate and I began to think of having a picnic one of these days. So we gathered some of our friends in the alley and planned a potluck for a Sunday lunch right before finals week, as an energy booster and a last hurrah before graduation (though I was the only senior).

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clubs

Golfing at Alhambra Golf Course

As you might remember, I took golf at Caltech this past term. It was super fun and I would highly recommend it. As a culmination of all that we had done and learned, we took a field trip to the Alhambra Golf course to play a few holes. I brought my own clubs, but Caltech has several school clubs, bags, balls, and other supplies for students to use.

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global

Trip to San Diego - Balboa Park and Beach Hiking at Torrey Pines

At around 4 in the afternoon we went to check in to our Airbnb, then went to Balboa Park, SoCal’s analog of Golden Gate Park. It is similar yet completely different–much more cozy-feeling and warm than Golden Gate, in my opinion.

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culture

Trip to San Diego - Chicken Flautas and the Beach

The week after Ditch Day, a few of my close friends in my year and I took an overnight trip to my hometown, San Diego. We left at 10:30 in the morning and arrived in Old Town San Diego sometime into the noon hour. We had lunch at a classy Mexican restaurant, Cafe Guadalajara–I’d forgotten how much more Mexican food there is in SD than LA.

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culture

Massages and Muay Thai

In this post I’m going to highlight a couple of great experiences I had this past week. Both are located in Pasadena and are pretty close to campus, so if you think you will ever be in the mood for a relaxing massage or some serious martial arts kickboxing, read on! $25 massages at HM Warm Spa on Green St: HM Warm Spa is clean and spacious. The $25 “foot massage” is actually a full body massage. This massage is done with the clients’ clothes left on. They start by soaking your feet in a tub of warm water. They then proceed to massage your face, head, shoulders, arms, legs, and feet. Then they flip you over to massage your upper and lower back. The entire procedure lasts for an hour and is performed in a dark room. They bring you a cup of water after the massage. They do a great job for an awesome price. Don’t forget to tip - I would recommend at least a $10 tip.

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Ditch Day 2017

For those who don’t know, Ditch Day is an annual campus-wide tradition. The seniors plan it for all of the underclassmen (juniors included), and nobody except for the seniors knows when it is until the day of. On Ditch Day, the seniors will run around the houses waking everybody up at 8 am. All classes are cancelled and no homework is due! Underclassmen sign up for “stacks” which are collections of fun puzzles and activities centered around a theme. Houses generally have at least two stacks, so underclassmen can choose their stack. The stack lasts for the whole day.

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culture

Trip to Joshua Tree National Park

The Sunday of Ditch Day weekend, my alumni friends and I decided to take a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park, located a few hours south in the Mojave Desert.

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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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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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