Since it’s summer, we don’t have to do any homework sets or work on the weekends, so we have a lot more free time to do things like cook, work on projects, go off campus, relax, etc. Because I didn’t have to do anything else last Saturday, I walked over to Lake Avenue to eat dinner and go grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, and then decided to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Fortunately there’s really easy recipes online (I’m still trying to learn how to cook/bake). They turned out to be more chocolate chip cookies than oatmeal chocolate chip cookies since I didn’t have enough oatmeal though.
Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (one is missing...)
We didn't exactly follow all the instructions, but they turned out pretty tasty! After making (and eating) cookies, I started to work on cutting the plywood for DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) pads (see my previous blog post). One of the dorms has a table saw, so I went over there and got help from an upperclassman to cut the plywood.
Plywood laid out in the shape of a DDR mat (still some cutting to do)
I ended up with lots of wood chips and sawdust all over my shirt, but I shouldn't need to cut much more wood for the DDR mats. The arrow panels will be made out of acrylic (lucite) plastic, while the rest of the DDR mat pieces will be plywood. Unfortunately, I'm really bad at measuring wood on a table saw, so some of the square pieces aren't exactly square. It should still be fine though, and we can make some adjustments later. Each "square" wood panel is supposed to be 11"x11", and will be covered with sheet metal before being attached to the plywood base. The acrylic arrows will sit on top of high density weatherstripping foam, which will compress slightly when someone steps on the arrow. Now we just have to wait for the rest of the parts to arrive in the mail! (The local Home Depot, according to the inventory online, actually does not have enough of the corner brackets that we need in stock, so we have to order those online anyway.) For people interested in building DDR mats, this thread has been very useful for design ideas.
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.