Sooooooo, I’m done with interview número cinco!I have returned from my cross-country trek to what many call one of the meccas of medicine: Johns Hopkins University! It was my first trip to Baltimore since I was a baby, but I was very excited to see both the school and the city! It was a bit of a shock at first, though, because I left my sunny California morning to arrive in Baltimore on a rainy night. Fortunately, no one was delayed, so all of the interviewees got to meet up in time for a late dinner at an Irish Pub! They had half-price entrees, and I enjoyed my bacon cheeseburger after sitting on the plane for so many hours!
After dinner, I got to chat with my host, Scott, and his roommates! They all live in a HOUSE! Like…a real HOUSE! That’s so cool, and reminds me about how I’m growing up after graduating college, and I wonder if I’m ready…but it’s totally exciting! So I slept on the couch, which was not as bad as you may expect, actually more comfortable than many beds I’ve been on, and then woke up at the crack of dawn (6:45 AM) to get ready for the interviews. Coming from high school, you may be thinking “6:45 AM, not too bad”…but now I feel that anything before 9 AM is crazy-early since my schedule has shifted at Caltech. Fortunately, I am a morning person, which has helped me get through the early wake-up calls.
Then, everyone met up in the MSTP office at Hopkins all dressed up in our suits and ties, and they explained our plan for the next 2 days. Overall, we each had 5 interviews over the visit, which was pretty spread out compared with what I have been used to. Well, I won’t bore you with the details of how everything else went, but I’ll skip to the exciting stuff!
I met a Techer! He graduated in ‘02, so he’s been out for a while. But we still got to catch up over some neat Caltech traditions, like Houses and Interhouse Parties and professors. It’s neat to see how things have changed in 7 years, but also how Caltech still is the same in many ways (read: Core). And though he is a lot older than me, there’s something about the Caltech connection that is really strong. I was definitely able to pass the time between interviews talking to him and comparing our notes on Caltech! Speaking of Caltech, I really felt that the research environment at Hopkins Med reminded me of it - open and easily allowing for communication between labs campus-wide.
OK anyways I will wrap up in a bit, but before that - picture time!!
So now why would I go to Baltimore, which is 150 miles from my house, without saying “Hi” to my mom and dad?! I wouldn’t! After my interview, I took the train up to my BELOVED New Jersey and stayed overnight at home! My mom cooked me a delicious Italian meal, I got to watch some great TV (“Ugly Betty” rocks!), and ran some errands in the morning (including getting my brand-new horizontal 21+ NJ Drivers License!). It was a very busy 18 hours, but then it was time to head back to Pasadena…just in time for the Third Eye Blind concert (more on that in Dannah’s blog!).
Till next time - and then I’m back home for more than a few hours, but actually a few DAYS, while I interview at UMDNJ - Robert Wood Johnson.
Almost a year ago now, I was just about to start my first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at JPL. NASA had sent out an email to all of their summer interns containing a social media template to announce that we had been selected as NASA interns. Excited to show my NASA pride, I posted it on my Instagram story, unaware of what would come out of this small action.
Hey hey! We’re starting a series where I walk you through my best finds for food and drinks in the Pasadena region, and in the LA metropolitan area. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, if you will (although, for copyright reasons we can’t call it that). As you explore your college options, I firmly believe that food and location are more important than your high school guidance counselor may lead you to believe. And I’m here to share my best finds from my time at Caltech with you.
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the mentorship of senior research technologist Dr. Xiaoqing Pi. Dr. Pi’s guidance and mentorship has been instrumental to the development and success of my internship at JPL, where I use machine-learning to enhance the accuracy and integrity of navigation and communication signals. In addition to helping me develop an understanding of atmospheric and ionospheric remote sensing and machine-learning, Dr. Pi has often offered his insights on how to improve my researching skills. Dr. Pi was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions regarding his research and advice for future student interns. I believe many students can benefit from some of the lessons that he has taught me:
The transition period to remote learning was a very uncertain time, especially for research and the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Many hands-on projects had to pivot at the last minute to facilitate off-campus contributions. However, many Techers were able to take advantage of the research opportunities offered at Caltech and JPL to make the best out of remote learning and research. To paint a picture, I’ve interviewed a few talented Techers for some insight on what researching from home looks like for them.