research

More food adventures

A few more food adventures kicked off the beginning of summer for me; I promise I’ll get back to more productive matters in a bit.

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The most important two points of my time at Caltech. And some cookies.

While I’m positively bursting to tell the story of my most two important points, I will go in chronological order and first talk about the delicious, delicious cookies I baked with a friend.

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academics

Back to back birthday bashes!

Having a birthday so near the end of the school year as me is always a dilemma, since so many friends can’t make it being busy for finals. Nonetheless, we still managed to have a nice celebration or two.

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research

My first fake Ditch!

Well, I just posted about Ditch Day, what better than to talk about my firstFake Ditch Day!

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research

Thai Food and Greenhouse Gases

This term I’m enrolled in Bi1, Principles of Biology. The first half of the term was focused on basic biology – transcription, translation, three kingdoms, what defines life – and biological techniques/experimental design. Some of the topics were review, and it all went really well with the lab work I was doing in preparation for my SURF. The second half of the term has been focused on metabolism, which is quite a bit more complicated, and new to most of us. We discussed the molecular mechanisms of oxidative phosphorylation (respiration and photosynthesis), for example, drawing out the electron transport chains and redox reactions involved. After delving into those details, we applied the concepts of metabolism to different organisms and communities of organisms, understanding symbiosis through metabolic processes.

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culture

Walking a 5k

Back in high school, we ran 2.5 miles every other day, and the whole school ran a 5k at the end of every year as our final fitness test. Keeping up with running in college is a little harder. First term, I ran every morning with two of my friends, waking up at a bright and early 7:30 a.m. I also occasionally ran in the evenings/middle of the night with Avery Running Group. Second term, I ran very occasionally (due to an injury), and same for third term. Can you see the negative trend here? When I saw the emails about the Caltech Beaver 5k, an event put on by Caltech’s health education advisory league (HEAL), and Catalina Community Associates (CCA), I thought it would be a great way to get back into running. Then I saw that walking was also an option, and decided to do that instead.

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culture

Beach Weekend

So here we are, the weekend before finals, and I’ve done zero homework since Wednesday. To be fair, I don’t have anything due until this coming Thursday, but whatever. Feeling lazy? Not so much. I’ve got a friend visiting from home (all the way from Philly for the weekend!) and we’ve been doing the “Caltech experience.” Except for the homework, which is a pretty integral part of the Caltech experience.

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culture

Trying New Things, Noms Edition

I like having default things – default favorite color, favorite food, favorite book, favorite movie – and I don’t step far out of those boundaries. Moving from Illinois to California hasn’t shaken most of those, but it has changed my food boundaries. For the most part, it’s been different Asian foods. Before I came here, I never knew of the existence of niangao, a Shanghainese, stir-fried rice cake dish. We use rice cake, or “dduk,” a lot in Korean cuisine. There’s rice cake soup, or ddukgook, and spicy rice cakes, or ddukbokki. I was intrigued to see rice cakes, in the shape used in rice cake soup, in another cuisine. I’ve been wanting to try this for at least 1.5 terms, after hearing raving reviews from some upperclassmen. Two weeks ago, I was walking back from Teaspots with some people in my a cappella group, when a car stopped by (John from Avery, champion of niangao) and asked if we wanted to come get dumplings. I shrugged and joined, and was delighted to learn that the dumpling place (Juicy Dumpling in San Gabriel) also had niangao. It was delicious!

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culture

Bubble Soccer Alley Event!

Page house alley event number 199835892: bubble soccer! One of our UCCs, Chi Chi, rented a set of “bubbles” for 24 hours, and we went HAM on them. We only spent about an hour playing soccer with them, and spent the rest of the time fooling around.

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culture

What do Snoop Dogg, Alice in Wonderland, and a German heavy metal band have in common?

Friday, May 22, 2015 was the real senior Ditch Day, and it was glorious. Below I will chronicle the day’s events.

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research

And people say Caltech doesn't care about humanities (trip to the Huntington Libraries!)

If I can give any advice to students trying to choose school to apply to (or attend after they’ve been accepted), it’s to read the course catalog for every school you are considering. Go to the registrar’s website and you should be able to find it from there. Something I didn’t realize when I was looking for colleges: not all colleges offer the same classes. Weird, right? Even in departments that are lauded for being top ten in the country, you’ll find that class offerings are strictly dependent on the professors that are employed at that university, and the courses will be tailored to what those professors like to teach or are good at teaching, which will skew greatly towards their own areas of research. That’s how you get a bioengineering department at Caltech that is world renowned for their biomolecular engineering, but not so much for biodevices. That’s also how you get a Caltech computer science department that will teach you everything the world has to offer on algorithms, tractability, completeness, etc., but not offer you a class in computer security. You’ll find the greatest disparities in course offerings between small schools and big schools, mainly because of the woman/manpower to teach every topic under the sun.We just don’t have a professor that studies computer security.

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clubs

Inter A Cappella Funtimes, Part 2

Ever since the Pipettes began, we’ve been looking forward to watching Pitch Perfect 2 together. All girls group, a cappella, mashups? Right down our alley. The May 15 premiere seemed infinitely far in the future, but as the months flew by, our dreams of singing all the way to the theater didn’t seem so distant. There were also thoughts of somehow organizing all of the a cappella groups to go together, but that seemed like a scheduling mess, considering the pains it takes to schedule one rehearsal for one group (see: The Pipettes).

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research

Inter A Cappella Funtimes, Part 1

A cappella funtimes, you ask? Isn’t a cappella always a fun time? Well yes, we have our rehearsals twice a week, occasionally hang out at Teaspots or Chouse afterwards, and have a lot of fun singing and chatting as a group. Recently, however, we’ve had some inter a cappella events thrown into the mix.

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clubs

Springtime in Pasadena

Welcome to Springtime in California! It’s basically summer, to be honest. We’ve had a few cold weeks (60-75 and cloudy) but they are smattered with bright, sunny, 85 degree days. Woe is the girl who expects a hot day and walks outside in sandals and shorts to 60 degrees and rain. Oof.

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culture

Feeding America(PI)

Every year, Ruddock frosh hold a party during third term. Since the workforce is purely frosh, it’s much less ambitious/involved than Ruddock interhouse. This year’s theme was America. Each category of the party was headed by one or two frosh — some of my friends put together 4 hours of music, some toiled away at constructing a mini White House, and others painted wallboards with flags and eagles. Chloe and I signed up to be in charge of food, so we had brainstorming sessions on quick and easy red, white, and blue recipes over the months before frosh party. When we learned of our limited budget, we cut down our plans (fresh berries are not cost-effective) and headed to Costco.

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clubs

Page Beach Trip

This past weekend, Page House rented a place in Carlsbad, CA (near San Diego) for two nights. The house was amazing! It had three stories, several TVs, a private movie theater, and it was right across from the beach.

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culture

Beach trippppppp

Hellooooo Carlsbad!

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academics

Running Away From Midterms (towards Old Pas, and more coffee)

Ohhhhh myyyy goddddddd I’m so caffeinated.

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research

Grading Woes, CAPSLOCK EDITION

My last post on the delights and despairs of my graded work had an assortment of first and early second term examples. Halfway into third term, I bring you the latest installment.

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clubs

Welcome, Class of 2019!

Freshman year has passed by so quickly — I repeatedly find myself surprised that events happened at my high school already. One of those milestone events was May 1. Last year, I was pretty set on attending Caltech after Early Action decisions, but for many people, the college decision struggle was real.

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culture

Alley 3 Does Second Dinner

Two Tuesdays ago, to celebrate “the third week of the third term and us being the third alley both in number and alley rankings,” Alley 3 drove to Denny’s for Jim’s UCC office hours. It was our first major food outing since walking to The Counter first term, and once again, the promise of free food garnered a staggering 11 members of Alley 3 (past and present and then some), all of whom somehow squished into 2 cars. My neighbors Gregory and Julian weren’t too pleased with their seating arrangement:

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Weekend Food Adventures!

(Everything is an adventure.) Too often do I stay in the house during weekends and eat BCD tofu starter packs or C-store udon (both amazing options, believe me). I try to switch it up — tofu soup for lunch, udon for dinner on Saturday, then the opposite the next day. It’s mundane, but it’s decently good, and it sustains me amidst rehearsals, events, and homework. And it also makes anything out of the ordinary pretty exciting. Over the past year, occasionally, upperclassmen have taken us out to eat over the weekend — ramen, tofu soup, boba…

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clubs

Dhamaka

At the beginning of the year, we had club fair. Excited first term frosh as I was, I went around signing up for all of the clubs (there was a lot of free food…). I must have put my email down for at least 15 clubs, from Chemistry Club to French Club to literally every single dance group. I even signed up for Dhamaka, a Bollywood dance group, because they were super friendly at club fair. I was bracing myself for an influx of promotional emails, and was planning to try the different dance groups out before committing to anything. But from the beginning, Dhamaka stood out as the most well-organized of all of the groups. Right at the organizational meeting (mango lassi and samosas!), fearless captain Meera had everyone sign up on a spreadsheet, listing their contact information and dance experience. The dance rosters were sent out soon after, and then the rehearsals began.

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local

My favorite places in Pasadena

My last blog post included a solicitation for your places to visit in Europe (near the UK), and I figured that I should, in turn, give you guys a list of my favorite places in Pasadena, near campus! The following is a list of coffee shops, restaurants, and miscellaneous other establishments that I love to visit if I have the time. This term, I’ve ended up at at least one of these places every week, but in previous terms I’ve had too much work to venture into the outside world too often. It varies! But I’ve started combining things that I already do (reading a novel for my humanities class or an article for my BEM/Ec class) with trips off campus and my favorite local treats, which has turned into a major stress-reliever. Anyway, here goes!

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culture

Harvard International Consulting Competition

Last weekend, I flew to Boston with my teammate Phillip for the Harvard International Consulting Competition. Phillip and I are members of the Caltech Consulting Group. The competition consisted of presenting a case study presentation (the topic was Airbnb entering the business travel market) to a panel of judges, and there were also a number of workshops and networking events.

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clubs

Action-Packed Weekend!

So as promised in the last post (though at this point much belated as usual), I promised I would talk a little bit about the Microsoft College Puzzle Challenge that we attended last weekend. So here we go.The Microsoft College Puzzle Challenge is exactly what it sounds like, apuzzle challenge. We went in with four computer science majors (my three apartment-mates and me) expecting to have a programming competition, but instead we stood bamboozled by logic puzzles that eluded our collective understanding; the questions would be something like a picture followed by a question mark, with many other pictures beneath it from which we must answer the question. The answers were submitted through an online webpage. This was rather unfortunate but it was still very fun to laugh at each other while struggling through a task clearly not made for us. The CPC lasts all day, with puzzles first released at 10 and further ones released incrementally throughout the course of the day until the deadline for total submission comes around at 7.

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culture

Alley 3 Does Ruddock Greens

I was not a very active prefrosh, so I went to very few of the house events during Prefrosh Weekend and Rotation. My participation in Ruddock Greens, a mini golf course that goes through all of the alleys in the house, consisted of me walking over mini golf course obstacles on the way to my host’s room on Friday night. Two days before Prefrosh Weekend this year, I was talking to some UCCs about rescheduling Ruddock Greens, and I learned that in Alley 3, frosh are responsible for setting up Ruddock Greens.

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n+2ing our room

Many rooms have couches or huge beanbags or other extra sleeping areas. We have the floor. Despite this limitation, my roommate and I both signed up to host prefrosh for Prefrosh Weekend. Last week, when we were confirmed to have prefrosh, we started planning. Chloe had a big blanket that we laid out on the floor, and we tried sleeping there with our sleeping bags one night:

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academics

Spring Break Food Tour!

What did I do this spring break? Eat… Here’s the rundown.

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global

The Official Make Food and Eat it Class

This is how cooking class went last term. Every Tuesday night, I and my fellow Rudd frosh, Tim, would walk over to Tom Mannion’s house at 6:30 p.m. Our group would sit around, listen to Tom teach a short lesson on the theme of the day, watch his demos, then go to work. We would fry chicken and cut tomatoes and whisk sauces. I would eat way too much and barely be able to walk on the way back, swearing not to eat so much next class. This would be repeated every week until the end of term.

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The Sweetest of Birthdays

This year, I celebrated my first birthday away from home. On top of that, it was the first day of spring term. Happy birthday to me! But thanks to friends and family, it was one of the best ones yet.

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ME 72 Swimming Robot Competition!

At the end of last term, the ME 72 (mechanical engineering project class) had their final projects due. The project, spanning first and second term, was to build an amphibious robot that could play a water-based game against another team of robots. I took a ton of pictures of the competition, which was held at Millikan pond in front of the library. Hundreds of elementary school kids from Pasadena showed up to watch! And a couple of news crews. I guess “Caltech robots” generates a lot of interest :P

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The Pipettes

One day, I was having breakfast in Fleming dining hall during rotation. A girl I had talked to once before came up to me and asked, “Hey, wanna start an all-girls a cappella group?” And so the Pipettes began.

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Moments of Joy, Part II

Continued…

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Squirrels of Caltech

You hear a lot about the people around campus - professors, grad students, postdocs,administrators, staff, and, of course, the notorious undergrads.However, on your average day strolling around Caltech, it isn't the people who jumpout at you so much as it is the squirrels. Because, on occasion, they literally dojump out at you from the bushes.Yes, we have a lively bunch of frisky and surprisingly unafraid squirrels at Caltech,and they deserve some mention as an integral and adorable aspect of our community.

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culture

Winter at Caltech

I’m sure all of you must have heard about the harsh winter that Southern California experienced. Luckily, I had my truly terrible phone camera on hand to capture the “truly terrible” weather we witnessed this “winter”.

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local

Noms

I usually don’t review places and things I don’t like (although those sorts of reviews would probably be more useful to readers). This review is no exception. I liked this place so much that I wanted to share it with all of you! (: Weekends at Caltech just offer so much time to explore the yummy experience that is Pasadena, LA, and San Gabriel, to name a few. Even though Caltech started offering open kitchen from 10 am - 2 pm on weekends, I have still managed to find ways to taste my way through my surroundings.

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Ch4ever

There’s a lab class that most chem majors at Caltech have to take: Ch4. Nicknames include CH4ever–this is the most popular–and, more recently, Ch4rrible. That’s my favorite, because it’s a little ironic. I do like the class quite a lot, but it can be a lot of work.

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Spun Sugar and Wings

Soon after Ruddock Interhouse was Avery Interhouse! This year, Avery’s theme was “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show,” so basically, everything was pink. Pink cotton candy, pink runway, pink wallboards, pink balloons, pink dance floor, pink streamers…pink no longer looks like a real word. As a member of Avery, I received all of the emails, from the theme surveys, to the runway ideas, to the pleas to help with construction, art, and food. In less than a month, Avery pulled together a really impressive party! Avery is known for having great food at their Interhouse, and this year was no different. There was of course the cotton candy, expertly manned by John:

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Chicago

A much delayed blog post is better than none! You might remember two weeks ago I flew out to Chicago for a George W. Housner Fund-supported excursion to a concert given by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. So let me relate that much-awaited tale.

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Spotlight


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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