So this past weekend, my roommate and I got to see Disney’s musical, The Lion King! I’ve been looking forward to this ever since we got tickets from the Caltech Y. In collaboration with the Y, the Master of Student Houses (MOSH) and his wife bought tickets for twenty undergraduates to accompany them to see the musical. Tickets were highly subsidized and were distributed by a lottery. We sat in the Orchestra seating at the Pantages Theatre. The performance was amazing and I highly recommend watching The Lion King. I enjoy musicals and live performances a lot. The Caltech Y has an Explore LA series, which provides tickets and trips to various places around LA. I highly recommend that you check out the Caltech Y, as well as the blog by Laura and Wen Min. The Caltech Y also provides many opportunities for Caltech students besides exploring LA including community service trips, so be sure to visit the Y if you have a chance to come to campus!
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ll be going to KAUST in Saudi Arabia for a poster competition along with five other Techers. I’m starting to pack now because we will be leaving this coming Friday. It’ll be an interesting experience and I am curious to see what KAUST is like. For one thing, KAUST, which was inaugurated in 2009, is a progressive university that admits female students. Moreover, male and females are allowed to mix on campus. Women are also permitted to drive and dress as they please within KAUST. As a female scientist, I feel honored being given this opportunity to travel to Saudi Arabia and visit KAUST. It will not only be an academic trip, but will also be a cultural exploration. I look forward to sharing my experiences next week!
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.