Procrastibaking: baking delicious foods because following instructions to create new products is almost like doing your coding homework, but allows you to put off doing your homework for at least one hour while still feeling productive.
I love procrastibaking :P
Recently I’ve ramped up my baking productivity, perhaps because we are nearing the end of the semester and the urgency of my work deadlines is growing and the irrational desire to procrastinate all of that work is growing proportionally.
I have taken advantage of my brand-new donut pan to bake chocolate donuts! I also discovered something amazing: if you mix maple syrup and unsweetened cocoa powder together in a 2:1 ratio, you can create a glaze that mimics the Dunkin’ Donuts chocolate glaze almost exactly.
I’ve also discovered that banana bread muffins, made out of overripe bananas from open kitchen, can be a fantastic breakfast alternative to the cereal and fruit in open kitchen that you’ve been eating all year (and also make a great study snack).
Another weird discovery, not related to food: Silicon Valley has been filming on campus! They filmed a few scenes in the student center a couple of months ago, and filmed a big scene in front of the Annenberg Center (the computer science building) last week. Apparently they do all of their filming in LA but the characters are supposed to be visiting Stanford, so they came here to shoot. I spent the entire afternoon that day inside of Annenberg working on my CS122 project, so getting in and out of the building around the camera crews was extremely difficult (especially during live shooting). But seeing actors from one of my favorite shows up close was very cool. I managed to get a creepy photo from my professor’s office during a scene (please don’t judge me).
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.
This summer, from the confines of my Brooklyn apartment, you could find me typing away on a tiny 13-inch laptop screen. At times I was looking for answers on countless Stack Exchange pages, editing a Jupyter notebook, or making blood flow measurements on a software called Arterys. This was my 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURF) experience.