The latter half of the Amgen symposium was comprised of a lot of fun activities including late night Jenga at the student game lounge with an espresso station, where one can get as much coffee as one wants. Normally this would be good, but I don’t drink coffee. However, it was still really fun relaxing after a long weekend with friends.

I don’t think I’ve seen a higher Jenga tower.

Another game we attempted was Cranium. It’s definitely challenging with so many players, especially since some of the cards referred us to people way before our generation of pop culture.

While playing board games at UCLA is pretty fun, we couldn’t help it but **explore off campus. **We ended up going to a cookie/ice cream shop that is known for stacking ice cream with cookies to make a homemade ice cream sandwhich with your favorite cookie and ice cream. The line was longer than expected since there were a lot of other summer students from UCLA.

Diddy Riese was the place’s name. It was a nice midnight dessert.

On the way to and from Diddy Riese, a few of us were in a really cheerful mood and we sang a lot of songs out loud including old favorites and new pop songs. Hey! It was summer, and we wanted to enjoy it!

The above images are blurry due to the fact that I didn’t use flash… moral of the story: use your camera’s flash at night to take pictures.

Of course nothing is complete without a party! On the second day of our 3 day stay, there was an outdoor party hosted by Amgen in the evening on UCLA’s really large grassy field. There was an outdoor barbecue as well as many games including volleyball, karaoke, and a large blow-up slide.

Going down the slide for fun!

There was also foosball, and you can tell the person I’m playing against, Arvind, was really into it.

So, I mentioned there was karaoke. Well, being the energetic guy that I am and not having the ability to sing very well, I ended up filling in as the group’s percussion guy instead by using my trusty cowbell.

I found the picture so energetic that I couldn’t help but add some captions. Here are four:

Me: No! Let’s hit the cowbell!

While we’re on the subject of karaoke, let me tell you how it worked during the big outdoor party. Since each group of summer students represented a school, the karaoke would strongly favor a group representing a school over individual singers. This was why almost our entire Amgen group from Caltech was in the stands behind me.

M.I.T. also happened to be a host institution, so they had a group of singers as well. While they were singing, I got another MIT summer student from our group to mess around in the stands behind the singers as a way of having fun. In fact, someone with a camera caught my act in the background.

The karaoke is to the left and in front you can see the tables set up for the barbecue.

The next day, after closing ceremonies, the group left back for Caltech, but it didn’t take too long. The bridge was fixed and we got back quickly. Being the hard working students that we are, most students went back to lab for the remainder of the day. What a great way to end a Monday!

Overall, the symposium was worth attending and was a special feature of the Amgen Scholars program. If you’d like to experience some of these activities, be sure to apply for this program. It isn’t only available at Caltech, bur many other institutions as well!