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.
My parents are remodeling our house right now, so my siblings and I have the option to revamp our rooms as well. I’m a fan of my light green walls, comfy bed, and plethora of books, but I realized my room was missing an essential piece of furniture: a bookcase. Most of my books are generally piled up in the corner or scattered around the home office and library, making finding the perfect leisure reading or necessary textbook almost impossible. So, in December, I drew up a sketch of my ideal bookcase-desk unit, an asymmetric, quirky design:
(Sorry for the horrendous photo quality).
Much to my surprise, my father and our handy carpenter had already built the base of my bookcase by the time spring break rolled around. Armed with a bucket of white paint, I finished off the bookcase and promptly began filling it with my favorite books and my not-so-favorite class textbooks. Here’s what the finished bookcase looks like:
And here’s one of the fiction shelves:
My bookcase project allowed me to pass the time while my family was off doing important things last week,and I actually got some time to relax and bum around after an intense term. But, I’m pretty ecstatic to report that I’m actually writing this blog post from Quito, Ecuador and am about to board the flight to Baltra Island!
Since I won’t have internet for the next 9 days, I’ll be updating Galapagos travel blogposts after the trip.
Almost a year ago now, I was just about to start my first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at JPL. NASA had sent out an email to all of their summer interns containing a social media template to announce that we had been selected as NASA interns. Excited to show my NASA pride, I posted it on my Instagram story, unaware of what would come out of this small action.
Hey hey! We’re starting a series where I walk you through my best finds for food and drinks in the Pasadena region, and in the LA metropolitan area. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, if you will (although, for copyright reasons we can’t call it that). As you explore your college options, I firmly believe that food and location are more important than your high school guidance counselor may lead you to believe. And I’m here to share my best finds from my time at Caltech with you.
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the mentorship of senior research technologist Dr. Xiaoqing Pi. Dr. Pi’s guidance and mentorship has been instrumental to the development and success of my internship at JPL, where I use machine-learning to enhance the accuracy and integrity of navigation and communication signals. In addition to helping me develop an understanding of atmospheric and ionospheric remote sensing and machine-learning, Dr. Pi has often offered his insights on how to improve my researching skills. Dr. Pi was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions regarding his research and advice for future student interns. I believe many students can benefit from some of the lessons that he has taught me:
The transition period to remote learning was a very uncertain time, especially for research and the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Many hands-on projects had to pivot at the last minute to facilitate off-campus contributions. However, many Techers were able to take advantage of the research opportunities offered at Caltech and JPL to make the best out of remote learning and research. To paint a picture, I’ve interviewed a few talented Techers for some insight on what researching from home looks like for them.