There was a lot of crossing ofmosquitoes. Okay, here’s a little recap. We screen for transformants on the fluorescent microscope and out of the few hundred larvae per container, we obtain anywhere from 0-20 transformants. We then let these larvae grow into adults and then cross them with wild type ones. Here’s a box full of crosses that I had just set.
Figuratively of course. Well for me at least. This past weekend, the SURF program sponsored a trip to Santa Monica beach, so of course my friends and I, being the car-less and poor students that we are (or believe we are), decided to take full advantage of this opportunity. The morning before I went however, I checked the forecast which reported a rather gloomy high of 65 degrees. Seeing this, I decided not to wear my swim suit (I mean, if the weather was 65 degrees think about how cold the water would be!!)
And at first, was I glad to have brought my jacket! When we first arrived at the beach around 11am, it was still very chilly and very gloomy looking. Some of my friends decided to brave the waters, only to come shivering back just a couple of minutes later. Well, all except for the one from Alaska, who marveled that the water was the “perfect temperature for swimming”.
Some of you may be wondering what it’s like to be in Pasadena while being a Techer. It’s true that during the year we are quite busy with work and don’t go off campus much during the week. Actually, this depends on each individual person as some people manage to go all over the place and keep on top of work. I can say that I barely went off campus on weekdays but managed to walk somewhere on the weekend, mainly for food. However, the summer is a different story. It was when summer started that I really started feeling that I’m in Southern California. First, it’s pretty hot although this year has been an unusually “cold” for the area. Second, I’ve seen much more of the surroundings in the couple weeks of summer than during the past school year so I’ll describe some of these places for you.
Welcome to my new travel blog!
After a day of snafus at the airport, it seems like I’m on track to leave the US for Malawi in just a few hours! I am bouncing-off-the-walls excited for my journey to Blantyre, Malawi.
At the end of last week I was exhausted from ten hour work days, working on weekends, and standing outside all day at amusement parks! So, I decided to take it easy this past weekend, opting out of going to yet another amusement park with my roommate (this time, she and some friends from Lloyd house went to Disneyland). After sleeping in on Saturday, I instead went with some friends to dim sum.
What is dim sum you might ask? To put it loosely, it’s like Chinese-styled brunch. Most Chinese restaurants start serving dim sum in the late morning (around 10 to 11 am) until the early afternoon (around 2 to 3 pm), although some restaurants will serve dim sum for the whole day.
After a fun weekend, it was back to work. Finally it was time to see whether my purification process worked.. fingers crossed! After two weeks of alternating hot and cold centrifuge cycles, a three day process of dialyzing the liquid to rid it of any unnecessary salts, I finished off my purification with a process called “diapolizing” (not sure if that’s how it’s spelled but it’s something along those lines).
After another long week of waiting on centrifuges, broken scales, and smelly bacteria, my friends and I ambitiously decided to visit another amusement park. The park in question this time? Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita, CA. Though a little farther than Raging Waters was (Santa Clarita is about 45 minutes from campus) we were lucky that there was hardly any traffic. I guess everyone likes sleeping in on Sunday mornings.. Including my friends:
Though California is known for it’s mild temperatures, things started heating up last weekend! With the temperatures soaring to the high 90’s, my friends and I decided to beat the heat by going to a water park. The water park in question? Raging Waters in San Dimas, a convenient twenty minute drive from campus.
At Caltech, both
the house dining rooms and Chandler, the lunchtime cafeteria, are closed on
weekends during the school year. We’re left to fend for ourselves—which is
actually awesome, because it encourages us cook our own food in the house
kitchens or gives us an excuse to go out to restaurants. During the school year
people eat out a lot on weekends or cook simple food; during the summer there
are more structured cooking groups (which I’ll talk about in a later post!) and
more time to visit restaurants outside of Pasadena.
Hey,So last weekend was really fun! Well, I mean, there were definitely some boring parts, but for the most part I enjoyed myself.During some of the boring times, I just hung out with friends. And sure, just hanging out can be pretty boring, but it’s way better than just bumming on the computer by yourself. :) Oh! and something we did was watch Youtube videos and I was actually enlightened by a few of them…. Basically, we had a Justin Bieber section of our boredom when we were looking at funny stuff involving him. One of them was this video:
After watching this I was like "Wow. What's our world coming to when our pop stars don't even know what German means!" Umph. Oh wells. I guess we can just file him with the tons of other famous people who don't know basic things. (: Also, if you're super bored you should also check out:3 Year old crying over Justin Bieber. This made me laugh soo much. It's crazy how crazy some people are. Ha!Anyways, onto some events that happened over the weekend. This summer, there's a group of students who are on the SURF SAC committee. These people help put on events that are open to summer students and are free! The event on Saturday was a Luau pool party! However, I was being a bum in my room so I didn't go out the pool part of the party. But, knowing me, I made sure I was in time for the food! :D At first I felt a little bad that I was only going there for the food, but since I also had to take pictures and there were other people just coming for the food, I no longer felt bad. :)
So, summer has officially kicked in! I haven’t written a post in a while but I was settling in, taking a break, and, well, there are fantastic new bloggers who are writing about their exciting summers too!
Anyways, although I haven’t written anything about summer yet, it doesn’t mean that nothing interesting has happened (as you can reassure yourselves from the other great blogs). My summer started off on June 11 which was the last day of Finals Week. It was also Graduation for the Seniors and for me it was my Birthday. I must say that this was quite a wonderful end to a year at Caltech and quite a beginning for summer. It was bittersweet: sweet because Finals were over (and it was my Birthday) and sour because the Seniors were leaving. Since Caltech is so small, people here can get very close and even though I only knew the Seniors for a year, I was still very sad to see them leave. Fortunately, a couple of the Seniors got jobs nearby so they’ve been showing up on campus occasionally!
The next big thing was moving. Almost everyone who was staying on campus for the summer had to move to their summer rooms. Luckily, during Summer and Fall room picks, I got the same room so I’m definitely staying in my current room until next summer.
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)
Hello peoples,SURF is almost at it’s halfway point. It’s crazy that I’ve already been working for this long. Wooo. Okay, now to the stuff that happened.Something really sad happened last week. I’m not sure if you all remember, but a little while ago, I told you about a construct that I was making that had a Deformed promoter. Basically, I have been trying to clone in this promoter, but have been having a lot of trouble. Earlier this week I found out that the reason why it wasn’t working was because I was messing up on a crucial step. -__- . Oh well. Basically, in my notebook I read that we had to incubate the ligation, so the first thought that came into my head was in the 37 degree water bath. Well, it turns out that I was supposed to incubate at room temperature and that the ligase is inactivated in the water bath. So yeah, this is why my promoter wasn’t being ligated! I mean, it’s a pretty fail thing on my part, but at least I found this out now. I would hate losing more time.
Hey,Ahhh, I’m behind on these things! (Also, I know I have a cheesy blog title. Woot woot!) :D Anyways,this last weekend was definitely a fun one!Here at Tech, we had a 4-day weekend because of the holiday. But, all the grad students(my co-mentor included) were still going into lab. I wanted to be helpful and not seem like a slacker, so I also decided to come in as well…at least on Friday. I went in at my usual time, but there wasn’t that much stuff to do. It was pretty sweet because I was able to leave lab by 12:30. :) It actually worked out really well because I had just found out that a few friends were going to head out to a mall in Arcadia.Summer’s a great time because during the school year, we didn’t really have that much time to just hang out in malls and mess around. During the summer, there’s tons of time! And basically, we milk it for all it’s worth! (Well..sometimes, at least.)In the mall, we went to stores, put on ridiculous stuff and took pictures! (It had to be documented, of course!) Here’s my friend Vivian. We’re crazy and decided to put tons of stuff on her. She’s was glad to put them on, and this is the fantastic result. (:
Begin my blog by welcoming you to Tokyo, and I’ll begin mine by welcoming you to Little
Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles! My friends Kenzie, Elisa, Ben and I celebrated
the end of our sophomore year (and my 20th birthday!) by exploring
Little Tokyo and singing karaoke. Little Tokyo is surprisingly close to
Pasadena—only about 11 stops on the Metro Gold Line. The nearest Gold Line stop to campus is about a 20-minute
walk, so it’s very accessible. Here we are with our super cool Japanese snacks before
heading to the karaoke studio. All four of us started our SURFs a few days
after this. Kenzie and Elisa are doing off-campus research at the University of
Washington and MIT, conducting geology and biomedical research, respectively.
The time to return to California and start my SURF project has finally come. With mixed feelings of sadness and anticipation, I prepared to leave Japan. But first,
Some food shopping is necessary before making the long journey back. As I described before, in most Japanese department stores, there is a story dedicated to food that is sold in vendor booths, as depicted above. Right now we’re in the sweets section if you couldn’t tell from the cakes and pastries.
Hello,First off, I’m really really really happy. My construct has been built!!! We screened it and everything turned out how it was supposed to! This was a great way to end my week! I’m really excited, but will hold off about this until a little bit later.(And..I told you I wasn’t going to write more “essays”…but I’m sorry! I couldn’t really include that many pictures in the first half of the post.)
So, if you remember from my last blog I was telling you guys about a progress report that had yet to be finished. Well, good news is that I finished it! Sucky part is that I’m a bit sleep deprived. :)
After a busy week, I moved on to the Kansai region, which includes the cities Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, and more. After resting on Monday, it was off to tour the historic city of Kyoto! Though the city’s famous for being super hot in the summer and freezing in the winter, it was surprisingly mild when I went – thank goodness!!
So, leave it up to me to mess up once again. It’s actually really sad how many mistakes I make in lab. Umph. I’ll elaborate on my latest mistake in a little. But, the good thing is that in the end, my lab partner and I were able to work things out. The sad part, however, is that we were put a day behind schedule. Oh well. Now we know. And really, that’s one of the sweet things about doing research early on in my undergrad career–I’m allowed to make mistakes! I bet next year I’ll still make mistakes, but they definitely won’t be the ones that I made now. It’s a learning experience! It really is and I’m super glad my mentor doesn’t kill me when I mess up. :)
Okay, so I started off the week with a colony PCR. Basically, we had a plate with tons of colonies on it. We wanted to test to see if some of the colonies contained the right constructs in them. We ran a gel the day before and the results were not that great. So, we were hoping to try one last thing to see if we could get the results we wanted.I took some pics to document the process.Here’s the thermal cycler. Basically, when you want to perform a PCR, you punch in a program and press go. For those of you that don’t know, PCR is polymerase chain reaction. It allows you to makes thousands of copies of your DNA in a short time. It’s pretty cool how simple, yet powerful this technology is. It makes me happy. (: (sorry, my bio nerd self has to come out sometimes!) But yeah, after we collected all our samples and prepared them for the PCR, we put them in and went on to do other things while we waited.
Hey guys,So, I’m lucky enough to live relatively close to Tech–home for me is about three hours north of Pasadena. Ever since this summer began, I’ve needed stuff andhave been too lazy to get it on my own. So, a few weeks ago I told my mom that she should come down and buy me stuff. I mean, that’s what moms are for…right? :) Initially I was just going to stay here, but then some people said this would be the perfect opportunity to learn how to make Mexican food. Haha..and I agreed. And thus, my tamale-making weekend was set.Since the only full day I would be home was Saturday, this was my tamale making day. Before we started, my mom went and showed me what to buy. Here’s a picture of some of the raw materials. Actually, most of the items were used for the preparation of the meat. Apparently, you “need” to prepare it yourself in order for it taste better. Yumm.
It’s been a busy four days here in Tokyo… so, time for a change of pace!! Though shopping my be a girl’s favorite hobby (or maybe just mine?) I was tired of the hustle and bustle of the Tokyo shops and streets. So, I decided to visit the local universities to check out the competition!
So it turns out that this summer’s going to be pretty cool! I have a great mentor who’s nice and doesn’t kill me when I mess up in lab! Haha..and errr, I’ve made my fair share of screw-ups this first week. However, by far, the worst thing had to be during lab meeting on Wednesday. Basically, all labs have a lab meeting each week where someone gives a presentation and then everyone goes around and talks about their progress.
After so many days of rain, Wednesday came full of clear skies and no rain in sight! Deciding it was too nice of a day to spend inside shopping and eating, I decided to head over to the Asakusa district where there is a famous temple called Sensouji Temple. It’s a huge temple with many traditional features such as…
Tokyo, Japan (and my new blog, SURFing 101)!! So while it is possible to do SURF projects at campuses other than Caltech (which many people do), that is not my reason for coming here. My parents and I decided to take a vacation to see the grandparents. It’s definitely been a nice change of pace from the constant studying during Caltech final’s week.
The school year is finally over, which means summer is here! It’s time to relax, have fun, and forget about all the worries of school, right? Well, sort of. Every year, Caltech students trade in their summers for something even better…research! Nerdy? Maybe. Valuable? Extremely. Here at Tech, we SURF. As I’m sure this will be explained at other places, a SURF is a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. It provides a great opportunity for undergrads to perform research during the summer and is really a great way to start developing contacts and get in some valuable lab time.
It finally happened: the school year ended! It came really fast but it sure happened! Last Friday was the end of Finals Week for all non-seniors (because the Seniors finished their work the week before) and that same day was also the Graduation Ceremony. I stayed for part of the ceremony and it was so touching! Being there encouraged me once again to keep working harder and harder so that I may be very satisfied with how I’ve spent my time here when I’m graduating.
As I am gearing up for graduation in a few days from Caltech, I realize there are many of you out there about to embark on the same journey I began 4 years ago. We are probably sharing the same feelings at the moment: uncertainty, excitement and anxiety over what might ensue in our lives in the next few years.
That being said, I think it’s as good a time as any to share my words of wisdom from an (almost!) newly grad’s point of view to college freshman everywhere. Whether you are an incoming freshman to Caltech, or another university…I write and dedicate this post for you.
Today is the last day of classes! However, that doesn’t mean that work is over. I am done with sets but all of next week we’ll have Final Exams.
I am sorry for not writing a new post for a while but I was really busy with school lately and now I have a short breather before Finals start. It seems as though Caltech knows very well when general stress levels rise sharply, and it acts quickly to ease this stress. Last week on Wednesday instead of eating dinner in our Houses, there was a campus-wide Western-style dinner with barbecue and appropriate decoration. The genius mind who organized this also made sure that we were given cowboy hats and water guns. Conveniently there was a lot of ice-cold water ready for the guns so …
This reminded me of one day during my Prefrosh Weekend (the Club Fair) when one club gave out water guns and I became part of a very intense battle with my Prefrosh friends. The best part about last week’s dinner was that once everyone saw what the water guns were leading to, my water-fight friends from our Prefrosh Weekend sought each other out and we recreated our battle. This meant that we had to get soaked and use water bottles. Once again, I had at least one water bottle poured over my head but once again I’ll finally admit that I deserved it because I was shooting water down people’s backs.
Sorry for the late post…but as you know, I have been wrapping up my thesis. I FINISHED!!! I submitted my whopping 37 page paper June 1st, and defended my thesis in a final 30 minute presentation June 2nd.
It feels so good to have completed it…I feel super accomplished. In addition, I did my one and only final (in cognitive psychology) a few nights ago….which means….I HAVE COMPLETED MY SENIOR YEAR!I am officially DONE with work at Caltech FOREVER!!! I am so happy and so relieved…I can’t believe I made it and am just shocked at how I’ve come so far. Graduation is in a week now..and it’s so close that I can feel it. So I guess the last week will be devoted to celebrating, relaxing and enjoying myself :)
In the midst of finishing up my thesis..I got some wonderful news…I got offered a job after graduation! It’s been a long and hard road this past year in interviewing, researching and looking for the right opportunity to come along for me. It’s been stressful, confusing and downright frustrating…it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through in my life—trying to figure out ‘what next?’ after Caltech. But like everyone said..it happened—when I least expected it (I was in the library working on my presenation!). So now my mind can finally rest knowing that I have figured that out.
For this past week, I have been working incessantly on my final draft of my Senior Thesis. It’s a little under 40 pages, and sums up the work I’ve been doing at JPL since October.
The last experiment was conducted this past Monday…and that data was thrown into the holes I had in my paper. These past couple of days has been devoted to filling all of those holes and putting all the pieces together from my data analyses.
It’s hard to believe that my document that once started as short deliverables due every couple of weeks has been compiled and edited to become a thick, hefty report, that I will have to defend in a presentation next Wednesday. What really psyched me out was when I fixed it up and cleaned up the title page, acknowledgments and table of contents…it was not a word document any longer, but a THESIS.
Just funny to see my name on something official-looking LOL. And for the first time in my Caltech career, my name was put onto a poster my thesis advisor will bring to a conference in Barcelona this summer for the work we’ve been doing on the Venus Testing.
If you’ve been keeping up with the news here on campus..you probably know that Ditch Day occurred last Friday, May 21st. I am happy to say it was such a success, and my stack came together perfectly and and easily during the days that lead up to it. Andrew and I are planners…and definitely were super organized way in advance so we were able to manage everything to get done in time and the way we envisioned it.
I have no regrets—I got to put all the things I wanted in my stack and was so happy to see it come to life and happen on ditch day :). This past weekend, I have been recuperating and fighting off the beginnings of a cold. I guess my body does that after finals weeks…it kinda breaks down from exhaustion.
Anyway…Andrew said he would blog about all the stuff that happened on Ditch Day…while I wanted to post pictures from some of the preparation I made during the week leading up to it :)
I’ve been so preoccupied with all this stuff going on…that I was completely taken aback when I returned from spray painting for DD to find an email informing me that I had won a free 32G iPad!!
I participated in the Senior Survey where I answered questions about my academic, social and personal experiences my time here at Caltech. It’s a bit long, but all the information is super important for the university to be able to evaluate educational programs and analyze data for the benefit of students. Those who participated where automatically entered in the raffle to win the grand prize of an Apple iPad!…I NEVER win anything when it comes to raffles so I was totally surprised to find out it was my lucky day :)
After considering that it could possibly be a joke being played on me and calling my dad to inform him of the awesome prize, I went to go claim my winnings at Caltech Wired (our on-campus computer store) in the afternoon..was sooo EXCITED!—
To be honest, I have not even played with one at the Apple Store…I checked out the ones on display, and it was my first time holding one.
Hope you guys had a good weekend!
My weekend started off on Friday evening when I attended the Alumni Fund Reunion Reception on the Ath Lawn. It was an event that included hors d’oeuvres
and mingling with a lot of alumni—I talked for a bit with a group of Alums that were celebrating their 50th year anniversary..they graduated in 1960! I also got my picture taken a bunch of times with them…because they kept telling me I was the very first Caltech Girl they had met—since women weren’t present in the institute until 1975.
After the reception, we were seated to a program that featured the presentation of donation checks from the classes. Thank you alumni for your generous donations!
President Chameau :)
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.
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.