I have managed to get ahead of my work, so that tomorrow I get to go flying.
Flying? Huh? Well, I am working on my private pilot’s license, and flying is part of the process.
I have always had an interest in airplanes, and the few times I had been in a private plane were fantastic. Last spring, I heard about private pilot ground school being offered at Caltech, so I jumped on the opportunity. It was cheap, on campus, and planes are cool, right? I really enjoyed the ground school, so I decided that while I was SURFing at home this past summer, I would begin my training. I learned to fly a Cessna 152, and I flew a TON, sometimes 5 or 6 days a week.
Here’s a picture of me in the airplane:
I even flew so much that I got to solo right before I came back to Tech:
When I got back to Tech in the fall, I flew a couple times at El Monte airport with a new instructor, but when midterms started, I got behind with work and couldn’t fly as much as I wanted to. So tomorrow, I will fly for the first time since October, and I am thrilled.
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.