Last week was World Fest. That’s a week of events put on by the Caltech Y, the International Student Program, the Diversity Center and a bunch of other groups.
There were tons of booths with food - I think there were like 30 tables or something, which means – 30 types of food! I ate so much!
The Romainian food, already mostly gone
Each table had like 4 or 5 kinds of food, ranging from appetizers to deserts, so we got a huge spectrum of foods. My favorite “food” was the mango lassie from India and the tomato and cucumber salad from Romania. I also liked the pizza from Italy, the bean dish from Columbia, the pad thai and the Chinese noodles.There was so much stuff,and I really liked a lot of it!! There was a bunch of stuff I had never had before, too!
So, I was most excited to see this:
Caltech sustainability worked with the Y and ISP, who organized this event, to get these containers there. They also supplied recyclable plates and utensils. At least it wasn’t going in the trash :)
It was a great chance to catch up with a lot of people too - so many people were there! I saw a bunch of the ASB people again, and a lot of frosh!
After food, we had a cultural show. There were a lot of awesome events:
There were a lot of other events, but I didn’t get pictures of them. There were tons of people too:
After the cultural show, the Caltech Y also showed a movie, Women Rebel. It is about the revolution in Nepal, especially the women who participated (40 percent of the participants were women). The filmmakercame and talked. I had to leave early for bio recitation, butthe Y got a copy and Iwant to watch it soon!
World Fest Week also had a bunch of other events. I am blogging about another one, LiNK, too! The food fair / culture show was really fun and I had a great time / dinner!
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.
SURF, short for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, is a quintessential experience for any Caltech student. It is a widely accessible research fellowship for Caltech students that funds your proposed research for one summer term. While many of my classmates did their first SURF the summer after their freshman year, I sent in my first application to the program as a sophomore. As a CS major, I was trying to chase meaningful work that intersected computation with the field of neuroscience. I ended up doing a SURF at the Stanford School of Medicine that first year, studying hand gestures in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since then, I’ve been working in the research space of applying computational analyses to ASD.