I had a long day today–with final presentations for E/ME105, poster session and celebration dinner.
Our Honey Project Team worked really hard this past weekend to put together our final presentation, poster and 40 page final paper. It was really a team effort and the true culmination of these past few months for me.
All of the work I have done since June of this year has finally come to this, and it has been quite a journey. I prepared for the trip and traveled to Guatemala over the summer. Then brought the ideas to Caltech to continue designing and building a prototype this entire term.
The final presentations on all the projects were given earlier this afternoon, and we had a ton of people attend. A lot of people from the Caltech community, Caltech Today, Entrepreneurship Club, Pasadena Art Center, West Coast Angels, etc. It was a full house—people were standing inside the room for lack of seating!
Our group went first, and presented well. I think we were beyond having
nerves since we have been working so closely for the past months that
we know the project inside and out. The other projects also did really
well–I was truly impressed by what the other groups accomplished
(especially after seeing the work progress from the time we spent in
Guatemala to this point). Other projects included: Portable water
filtration system, Ergonomic tips for crutches, Child walkers for
rehabilitation, Hand-held electric power generating flashlight,
Fuel-efficient kiln for brick-making, Shoe design. After the presentations, we had a
poster session, and then a celebration dinner at Hamburger Hamlet!
Here are pictures taken from the poster session…..
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.