So if you’ve been reading the blogs for a while, you’ll know that Jennifer went to Disneyland during Thanksgiving. You also may have read that I took public transportation to Disneyland on the last day of spring term last year. So this post may make you think that Techers live in Disneyland. Unfortunately (or fortunately), that’s not true. However, when you mention that the place of many people’s childhood dreams is only a 45 or so minute drive away from their college, they get excited.
Basically, when I started considering Caltech, I only knew about it as a really good tech school in California. I did some quick research and found out it was in Pasadena. The only thing I knew about Pasadena was the Rose Bowl and Rose Parade (looking back, I was sort of clueless in high school). A few years later, I decided to come here and my parents promised themselves that before I graduated, they would come out to see the Rose Parade (one of my mom’s dreams). So that’s what this trip was all about. At the same time, it’s sort of pointless to fly across the country for one day, so we made plans to go to Disneyland for 3 days beforehand and then see the Rose Parade! I’ll talk about the Rose Parade in my next post.
We arrived in LA early in the morning and quickly drove to Caltech so I could drop stuff off and pick up some of my books for the coming term that had arrived. We quickly headed down to Anaheim (after stopping at Mediterranean Cafe on Lake Ave for lamb kabob pitas… YUM) and checked into our hotel, which is across the street from Disney. We bought tickets and headed right over. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember exactly what order we did the rides, but in our 3 days, we covered all the important ones, like Space Mountain, California Screamin’, and Pirates of the Caribbean. So much fun :D.
However, going over winter break is a mixed blessing. Disney put together some really cool attractions that were holiday themed. For example, typically, I really cannot stand the ride “It’s a Small World”. The ride is basically a boat that takes you around a bunch of animatronics who are singing the song “It’s a Small World” at you for about 5 minutes. The first time you ever go on it, it’s okay, but after that, it’s just annoying. For the winter season, Disney intermixes “Small World” with “Jingle Bells” and changes it to a holiday theme. They also decorate the building beautifully!
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.