Bikes are beautiful. They are freedom-giving (but less expensive than cars). They are adventure-providing (but less scary than motorcycles). They are great.
Since my bikes (I have 2. One for triathlons and one for training and commuting.) are stuck in Minnesota, never to know the wonderful weather of Pasadena, I got a refurbished bike from Empire Bike Shop to use here.
I was skeptical about getting a refurb[ished bike] because, come on, what if something was wrong with it? Well, a refurb often has new gears, new brakes, or new wheels. A good bike shop won’t sell you a bike if the important parts aren’t all in reliable working order. Empire Bike Shop lets you ride around the shop to test out a bike before you buy it. I am thrilled with the bike I got.
But what do I do with it?
From Google Maps.
Here's a beautiful map of the area around Caltech. If you check routes ahead of time using Google Maps, Pasadena can be a very bike-friendly area.
I started my day with Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" and now I'm working my way through his album *Presence* between procedures in lab. It helps me get pumped up and focused.
I'll end with a picture of an axolotl.
This summer I had the incredible opportunity to do a 10-week internship at Gilead Sciences in Foster City, CA. For those unfamiliar, Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a research-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative medicines.
With 45 Nobel Laureates on its Faculty Roster, it’s not surprising that research is an integral part of the Caltech undergraduate experience. One of the programs that promotes such research is the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). There is no minimum knowledge or experience required to participate in a Caltech SURF. In fact, students can participate in a SURF as soon as the summer after their freshman year. It is not difficult to get a SURF. All you need to do is find a mentor who is working in an area of research that interests you and willing to mentor you through a research project. The mentor can work in a Caltech lab, at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), or at another participating institution. Once you find a mentor, you work together to write a project proposal that you later send to the SURF office for review and approval. About 98% of the SURF proposals get approved. This fellowship is a great way to explore various fields of research and obtain real, hands-on experience where you get to apply the theoretical knowledge you’ve learned in class. Not only do you get to work and learn alongside your mentor, but you also get compensated for your time. The length of the SURF is ten weeks, and it starts at the beginning of the summer. However, it is not uncommon for many students at Caltech to continue their research project throughout the academic school year.
Like many students at Caltech, I suffer from a slight boba addiction, where side effects may include over caffeination, minor sugar highs, and of course, a large toll on one’s wallet. This addiction is not helped by the fact that there are at least three boba shops within walking distance of campus. So, after an entire term’s worth of boba runs, I came back from winter break with a new year’s epiphany: it was time to get a job. Rather than try to curb my addiction, I decided to find a way to subsidize it.
Research at Caltech looks different for every student, and can often vary term by term. As a chemistry major, my course requirements are on the lighter side for a Caltech major, and many chemistry majors take advantage of the lighter course load to join research groups. This can be whenever the student wants, but many people join labs during their freshman or sophomore years. Some may work in one lab only, and some may switch between labs during the course of their undergraduate studies, depending on if their interests change.