Ok now for the FUN! Geology post. And the post where I talk a bit about the logistics of going on a 3.5-day Caltech GPS trip. The trip started on a Thursday night. I spent most of the 4-ish hour car ride working on my CS midterm. We ate in Barstow. 3/5 for the Barstow burger place, it was kinda funky. My friend Molly and I actually packed most of our food for the trip besides the planned dinners out. Lots of chunky PB&J (blueberry jelly!).
For the duration of the trip we stayed at the SHEAR facility in Shoshone. We weren’t camping, and honestly it was similar to a lot of the trips that I took in middle school. SHEAR is a research building for geologists and yeah, it was nice to have an actual bed to sleep on after a hard day of geology.
Shoshone is a small town with a population of 17. There’s one restaurant there, the Crowbar Café, where our prof and some students ate for every meal. Molly and I tried it Saturday night. 2/5 but they got an extra star for nice service. The trip was kinda a weird split: 4 undergrads, 5 grad students, the two TAs, and our prof. Over time we started to mingle more with the grad students (see photographic evidence of me, Toby, and Philip below) but it definitely did create an interesting dynamic.
On day 2 after our fieldwork we took a trip out to China Ranch Date farm. I got a date shake and tried some of their dates. It was a pretty crazy and random experience. Apparently, a lot of geologists go to China Ranch after their field work. The date shake had high quality ice cream and delicious chunks of dates peppered throughout it. Maybe I was hungry but that was a solid 5/5 on the food point.
Beyond that, we also met a group of Oxy students staying at SHEAR for a geomorphology class. Very nice people, they let Molly and I eat dinner with them on the night that nobody else brough dinner and all went to the Crowbar. In the rest of our free time Molly and I tried to do homework, but the WIFI was slow and the cell service did not exist.
The drive back was pretty wild, but not for my car. The other car blew a tire and had to wait on the roadside for an hour. Either way, we got back late Sunday, unpacked, and I went to do work.
SURF, short for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, is a quintessential experience for any Caltech student. It is a widely accessible research fellowship for Caltech students that funds your proposed research for one summer term. While many of my classmates did their first SURF the summer after their freshman year, I sent in my first application to the program as a sophomore. As a CS major, I was trying to chase meaningful work that intersected computation with the field of neuroscience. I ended up doing a SURF at the Stanford School of Medicine that first year, studying hand gestures in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since then, I’ve been working in the research space of applying computational analyses to ASD.
This summer, from the confines of my Brooklyn apartment, you could find me typing away on a tiny 13-inch laptop screen. At times I was looking for answers on countless Stack Exchange pages, editing a Jupyter notebook, or making blood flow measurements on a software called Arterys. This was my 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURF) experience.
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.