clubs

Pictures from Spring Break 2014, Part 1

Ever since our Venerable president Sherman had passionately advocated this Thai place on Colorado Street (just north of the Caltech campus), my roommate and I had wanted to try it out. We thought it was decent, but not great. Service was a little slow and the pad thai noodles were rather undercooked. Entrees range from $10.50 to 12 or up.

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research

Beats by Me

MAD Day is the annual day where Caltech students get together and get mad.

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academics

Tennis over Spring Break

While we travelled to Texas, we weren’t the only team to skip town; the baseball team played games in Arizona, and the men’s basketball team travelled all the way to Spain and played there! Also, the week before finals the men’s tennis team played in Palm Springs the same time as the BNP Paribas professional tournament was happening. So on one of the days they didn’t have a match they went to watch the pro matches, meeting Djokovic, the Bryan Brothers, and Kevin Spacey! Hardly a surprise, we, the women’s team, were quite jealous when they came back with photos and everything. But then we went to Texas and had quite our share of fun.

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research

See a concert at the Forum!

College kid bucket list item? Oh definitely.

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culture

What happens in Texas… goes up on my blog

This Spring Break, the women’s tennis team travelled to Texas! We played two matches against Texan teams; you can read about the matches here. And in addition to improving our regional ranking, we saw new sights and ate yummy food! (Fellow blogger Jenny is also on the tennis team so some of this might sound familiar.) I was surprised by how flat the land around Dallas is. And everything is so spread out; instead of having stores and houses lining the sides of the road, there’d be clusters of buildings here and there. And the UT Dallas campus is huge! We discovered that when we were trying to find the tennis courts for the first time; thank you satellites feature on googlemaps! Their facilities are super nice; I couldn’t help but take a photo of their tennis courts.

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clubs

To Texas and Beyond!

It was a bright cold day in March and the clocks were striking 7. Yes, you read that correctly: 7 am. I don’t even remember the last time I was up that early. On normal days - normal days being any day during term, including weekends - I usually wake up at 8:30 or 9 am. If you ask around here, that would be considered pretty early (some people don’t wake up till past noon). Anyhow, back to my original point. I didn’t wake up at 7 am for nothing. Nope. I woke up at 7 am for a tennis match at 10. This wasn’t just any tennis match you see. For spring break, the entire team, all ten of us hopped on the plane bound for…you guessed it! Texas! We played two matches at UT Dallas this weekend. We played Texas Lutheran University and UT Dallas, both great schools in our regions and we were really happy to get not one, but two wins! This puts our record at 8-4 (wins to losses) which is pretty amazing because last season the team had 7 wins in total. The school record for most wins in a season is 11 from what I’ve heard so we’ve got our eye on the prize!

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research

Building Bookcases out of Boredom

Let me start by saying I have nothing to complain about. Last term (senior year, winter term), I took 6 amazing classes, did research I loved, and planned for my Galapagos trip over spring break! And yet, when I returned home for a week between term and the Galapagos trip, I found myself.. bored. My siblings are in school from 7 am - 3 pm and my parents work for most of the day. To combat this boredom, I decided to complete a project I’d started over winter break.

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research

Volunteering at JPL

“So what do you normally do for weekends?” she asked as she drove us back home to Caltech.

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global

Trekking the Narrows - Day 2 at Zion National Park

Our first day at Zion National Park was pretty close to perfect, but luckily there is nothing in the book of life that says you can’t have two perfect days in a row. While we spent yesterday climbing to the top of a summit, we spent today trekking through the very bottom of a gorge. The Narrows of Zion is a long gorge formed by the Virginia River. The gorge is named so because the river is narrow – only 20-30 feet wide at some parts, but the rock walls oneither side soar hundreds of feet upwards. This distinguishing geological feature, along with the fact that you have to wade through water during 60% of the hike, makes hiking the Narrows one of Zion’s signature experiences.

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research

Designing a Smartphone Application

Last December, I stuffed my suitcase with sunscreen, kurtis, my handy dandy notebook, and rupees I’d found lying around the house. As soon as winter break began, my 11 classmates and I boarded a plane to begin our product design class field trip. After almost 24 hours of travel, we reached our destination: Ahmedabad, India! There, we met IIT Gandhinagar students we’d be collaborating with and were soon on our way to visit local hospitals, construction sites, farms, villages, and even deserts (see Little Rann of Kutch). The purpose of this trip was to identify specific problems that people in developing nations face. Every day, after our field visits, all 30 of us gathered into our classroom to brainstorm solutions for the problems we’d drafted. After 7 days, we had come up with 250 different solutions (some more realistic than others). We narrowed the 250 solutions down to 50, and then voted on which 10 or so projects the class should focus on. After ranking our individual preferences, we were divided into teams of 4-5 for each project (2 Indian students, 2-3 American students).

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culture

A Timeline of February Fun

Since I haven’t written for so long, I thought I’d take a post to give a sort of timeline of some things I did in February.

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research

Painting a Fond Farewell

Tucked behind the Caltech Theatre House and past the Alumni House is a unassuming, two-story stark white garage. But inside this barren building is an explosion of color, stencils, silk, and paint. The first floor of this garage houses Caltech’s silk screening and shirt decorating room, while the second floor is home to our aclyric paint and charcoal collection.

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local

A Rainy Day in LA

There’s a metaphor that floats around campus that likens Caltech to bubble. To some extent, this is no myth. It takes a lot of planning and will to get off campus especially for those among us who do not have cars. However, there is a great literature class (which I am in) that encompasses a tour of L.A. Although the rain was pouring down hard, Professor Jurca’s enthusiasm was not dampened. I got to experience L.A. for the first time and I caught a brief glimpse into the history of this magnificient city. It is quite spectacular.

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academics

Disney’s Frozen!

Hello,

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academics

Wine and Food Pairing

Hi everyone,

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culture

Halfway through term!

I have to say, any worries that I had about finding a suitable roommate had been dispelled completely. Now to make things even better, the second I stepped out of the room, I found a card outside my door. I opened it to find that there were many kind messages scrawled inside. Apparently, the night before, all the guys in Avery had a card signing session and had made cards for all the girls in Avery. My card was filled with kind words of encouragement and it left me smiling for the entire day.

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research

Midterms week!

Hello loyal readers! Sorry for being a bit absent from the cyber world this week. As you can tell from the title of this post, it’s midterm week. Midterm week is a bit hectic around here. Even finals week is much nicer than midterm week because professors don’t give exams and problem sets simultaneously during finals.However, it’s Sunday evening so I am finally done with all my midterms–chemistry, math, and physics quiz. On top of midterms, I also spent a large portion of my weekend on the tennis courts and in lab.

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global

SKI TRIPP!!!

Every house has a ski trip sometime in January. It’s always a lot of fun to be off campus for a couple days just with your house. For Fleming, we went to Big Bear that is about a two-hour drive from Caltech. I’m from Colorado, so the standard for ski resorts doesn’t quite match up. But this was my second ski trip and it’s always tons of FUN!!!!! Most people went snowboarding or skiing during the day, and the people that didn’t went on an adventure of sorts! Big Bear is not as rugged as we imagined, but we were still able to sort of become closer to nature. We drove to the lake where there were lots of ducks!

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research

Season Opener!

This week has been pretty eventful and it’s taken me a few days to get around to writing again. First of all Avery had its formal dinner of the term. Buuuuut…more excitingly, the men’s and women’s tennis teams had our first match!

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clubs

The Caltech Y’s Ice Cream Competition

This past Saturday the Caltech Y held the final part of the house ice cream competition. If you don’t know already, Caltech has eight houses: Avery, Blacker, Dabney, Fleming, Lloyd, Page, Ricketts, and Venerable. They each have a motto and house color(s). Tom Mannion, the Senior Director of Student Activities and Programs, had this great idea to hold a contest though the Y where each house designs an ice cream flavor, preferably in the theme of the house color, and students and judges will vote on which one is the best. Fosselman’s would make the custom-made ice cream for each house, and the Y would host the ice cream competition. Fosselman’s ice cream is a small local ice cream parlor that makes some of the best ice cream that I’ve tasted. They have ice cream flavors that you can’t find elsewhere and they’re not odd flavors like Philly cheesesteak, but flavors that just sound plain delicious, like almond mocha fudge. There are also the traditional flavors like chocolate and butter pecan. I like getting one of the plain flavors just so I can taste how rich and creamy it is compared to grocery store ice cream.

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culture

Happy Chinese New Year!

Hi everyone, So this past Friday was the start of Chinese New Year! I learned that the celebration actually lasts 15 days in China. Before coming to Caltech, my family and I have gone to a few Chinese New Year celebrations, but we aren’t very traditional and we do not celebrate for 15 days. I do remember receiving red pockets filled with money as a kid from my parents and other family friends. And every year, I express special greetings of luck and prosperity to my parents. At Caltech this year, the Chinese language classes had a combined celebration with some traditional desserts and snacks. Our teachers came up with some questions and riddles about Chinese New Year to discuss. For instance, some questions were: Why is the Chinese word for year ‘nian’? What colors are traditionally used for Chinese New Year and why? What types of foods are traditionally eaten? And speaking of food, this weekend was celebrated with a lot of food. Avery had Formal Dinner on Friday. A few of my friends decided to celebrate Chinese New Year on Saturday with Dim Sum. On Saturday night, The Caltech Chinese Student Association also decided to host a cooking party at Tom Mannion’s house. I helped with wrapping spring rolls. We had dumplings, winter melon soup, noodles, and many other dishes. After dinner, my roommate Stephanie decided to host Disney Trivia Night in our apartment. Stephanie has such a deep love of Disney and was super excited to share this with everyone. It was a blast- we teamed up in groups of two or three and went through categories and questions she had come up with on a PowerPoint, sort of like Jeopardy. We wrote our answers down on sheets of paper and graded them by ourselves after each round- yay Caltech Honor Code! : ) At the end, Steph had gotten prizes for the top three teams (from the Disney Store, of course :P). We also had chocolate fondue and other snacks for everyone. And speaking of desserts, I made mango pudding on Sunday with Erica for Hill Community Church (HCC). HCC isn’t affiliated with Caltech, but a lot of Christian students go here. We usually try to cook once a term, so we decided to prepare a Chinese New Year meal to serve after this service. Although weekend was pretty eventful, I had a lot of fun and was glad to celebrate Chinese New Year with friends here, since I wouldn’t be able to go back to Florida to celebrate with my family. I hope you had a lovely weekend as well!

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Saudi Arabia!

Hi everyone,

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research

Secret Santa!

Our house had a Secret Santa Gift Exchange last week. It’s a house tradition where we are randomly matched up with a person to gift, and someone else gives you a present as well. Depending on how well you know the person you’re gifting, sometimes people will gift gag gifts as a “Secret Satan”. The gift comes with a hint to help the receiver guess the person that gifted them. We open all the presents together in our house lounge, and it’s hilarious to see whom people guess as their gift giver and the actual gifts.

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global

Ski Trip!

It seems to be an annual tradition here at Caltech for each individual house to pile into a dozen cars and drive up to some of California’s best hills for a weekend of snowy bliss. This weekend, Avery House took advantage of the long weekend and 40 of us piled into a few cars and headed to a cabin near Big Bear Mountain. The first night was relaxing as we tried to play Majong.

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research

High 5

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an undergrad in possession of a large appetite must be in want of free food. Everyone loves free things and everyone loves food. The only thing better than both of those seperately, is both of those combined. It has taken me a term to figure this out but I will impart on you a little secret about where to find the best free food on campus.

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culture

My favorite things about the Y

Hello everyone! I am Wen Min Chen, the vice president of the Caltech Y excomm, as Laura mentioned in her first blog post. I hold the Caltech Y near and dear to my heart, since it has allowed me to experience things I probably wouldn’t have at other universities. After all, the Caltech Y is devoted to giving students opportunities to explore life outside the Caltech bubble. The Caltech Y has a lot of programs that can be grouped under five main categories: educational programs, outdoor adventures, community service, social activities, and cultural events. There’s always something that will interest the average student here!

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research

Explore LA and more

Hiya,

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global

Weekend Shenanigans

Then Saturday night consisted of a house frosh dinner at Souplantation led by two of our lovely frosh UCCs. I also couldn’t help but resist tell you (probably for the millionth time) how nice the weather was! Nothing really beats reading 100+ pages for a humanities class while the sun is out :)

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research

The grass is always greener...

At Caltech!

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culture

Techers being Social?

Just a little background, Caltech’s undergrad population is divided into eight houses, each with their own uniqueness. Each house has their own social team, a group that’s in charge of planning events for that house each weekend and sometimes we do joint events with other houses. Combined with Interhouse parties and ASCIT organized events, weekends can get quite busy. So contrary to the nerd stereotype, us Techers like being social.

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research

Making Dumplings

Hi everyone,

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culture

Wallpaper. at Caltech!

The Friday before finals week, the band Wallpaper. performed at Caltech! It was one of those online competitions for which college had the most votes, and we won! Their music falls under the hip hop/pop genre, and if you haven’t heard them yet you should check them out. The concert was a ton of fun; they had a small stage setup on campus and we were able to get right up to the stage. Actually, someone walked on stage while they were performing, but then was taken off by security… Point is, we got to see them really up close! I could see all their facial expressions, sweat, and all. At one point they had prerecorded the song and band members reached out into the crowd giving everyone high fives.

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research

Happy New Year!

Hiya, How has your break been? I’ve enjoyed spending time with my family and catching up with a few childhood/high school friends. Since it’s my last year at Caltech, I decided to fly back to Pasadena on New Year’s Eve to see the Rose Bowl Parade on New Year’s Day. I’ve never been to the Rose Bowl Parade before or see a live parade before outside of theme parks such as Disney, so I was glad to get a chance to see it this year. I was, however, a bit sad to leave Florida so soon, especially since my parents were really happy to see me back home. Anyways, I saw a ton of Michigan State fans at the airport and all of them were really excited to go to the Rose Bowl game against Stanford. My connection to LAX was through Minnesota out of all places, so I got to see some snow this winter! : ) There were so many issues with flights getting delayed and my own flight was overbooked, but thankfully I made it back to Tech safely in time for New Year’s. I checked out Colorado Blvd., just several blocks North of campus and we saw a ton of people camped out for the Rose Bowl parade. It was interesting seeing all the people waiting for midnight, along with bonfires, RVs, chairs, and air mattresses. A few friends and I celebrated at midnight with watching the ball drop again since I had missed it at 9:00 PST riding on the shuttle. I was pretty tired from the flight, so I ended up showering, unpacking, and heading to bed so that I could wake up early for the parade. The floats were really neat and elaborate. I really liked the floats that took a lot of engineering and mechanical skill to build. The parade lasted about two hours and then we went to get Korean tofu soup at A Ri Rang for lunch. Then, a few of us drove down to Irvine for Vivian and Peter’s wedding (Congrats you two!). The wedding was very sweet and the bride looked stunningly gorgeous and perfect in her dress. New Year’s Day was thus pretty eventful for me, but I had fun watching the parade and witnessing the wedding. I look forward to enjoying the rest of my break before classes start on Monday.

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culture

Snow and Delectable Creations

Hi again! Hope you’re ahving a great holiday season no matter where you are in the world! I happen to be at home in the great north: Canada! Life here is just a tad bit different from life on the sunny west coast of California. For one, there’s snow, and lots of it too. The temperature here gets pretty cold so I’ve been holed up inside most days, usually wrapped up in a blanket with a good book. Today the weather is slightly better at -12C (or about 10F) so I decided to go out for a walk in the woods. There’s something quite fresh about seeing your own breath and feeling the chill in the extremities of your fingers and toes. While heading back home I even saw some people out for a run, braving the cold. That’s a little taste of Canada for you!

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global

The Swinging City

Ah, what’s there that could be said about London? It’s London! One of the major western settlements for millennia, the city everyone in the UK should see, even if you don’t want to be seen as a tourist.

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global

Mmmmmm

There’s a society in Cambridge for the appreciation of chocolate.

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research

Disney!

Hiya, So I’m back home in Florida for Winter Break now and my family decided to take a trip to Orlando for a couple of days. What is in Orlando you might ask? Disney! Although we are Floridians, we don’t go to Disney World as often as you might think. Our family hasn’t gone there together since I was in elementary school and lines can get excessively long during school breaks. Luckily, the lines weren’t too bad when we went. We got parkhopper passes so that we could check out two parks in one day- EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. I didn’t remember the parks much at all, so it was refreshing getting to revisit and to explore the parks again. Plus, rides and attractions have been added or changed. Compared to Disneyland, I think Disney World is better because there are more parks and rides. I enjoyed the Star Tours ride that is in both Hollywood Studios in Disney World as well as Disneyland. I also found this funny door from Monsters University (see below). We didn’t end up staying late for the fireworks/lights shows. Instead, we went to Downtown Disney to have a late dinner at the House of Blues.I’m definitely enjoying the warm weather here, although I wish I could see snow :(See the snow…i mean sandman below from Disney? Or, perhaps it’s Olaf from Frozen? ;P)

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Hello!

Hi readers! It’s good to be back blogging again! I didn’t realize how many prefrosh read the blogs until they came to Tech and recognized me from them. It was a little surprising, but I hope what I write here gives you some insight into what it’s like to be a student at Tech, and maybe even convince you to come!

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global

Pre-Thanksgiving Happenings

Hiya, So my roommate and I decided to pick up some holiday lights at Lowe’s and decorate our apartment. It’s been chilly the past couple of days and definitely feeling like winter already here in Pasadena.

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culture

Academic Diversity

California Institute of Technology. The last word there tells you a lot about the college, really. This is not a school to find a great deal of philosophers or historians. Of course people here can like or love non-science subjects (I enjoy writing myself, hence blogging), and you can definitely major in these fields, most of the time as a second major. End of the day, however, Caltech is known for its word class work in the science and technology fields, not necessarily the humanities, and that’s reflected in its students. There are advantages to having a university where everyone has a certain level of understanding of a subject, but at the same time, you lose a bit of the diversity of ideas and opinions that you might find at a more broad university.

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research

Canals But Not Really

SoCal is pretty dry. Frankly, it rains somewhere around 4 times a year, and the nearest body of water is the ocean, which takes a bit of time to get to with a car. Cambridge, on the other hand, is one of those universities that happen to be right next to a body of water, a river actually, being the River Cam. Really, the river itself is more a tributary, maybe a little over 7 feet deep in the areas around Cambridge. It’s a beautiful thing, great to sit by, cross over with bridges, relax, around, etc. One of the nicest things about it, though, has been one of the popular traditions of Cambridge: punting. And for this one, I’m going to eschew the random picture at the end for some quite relevant pictures now.

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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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