I blog to you today from my desk in lab as I wait for a centrifuge to become available. I, and many of the other bloggers, have been busy for the last several days and are now just settling into our summer jobs. Here’s what you missed: complete chaos. Shortly after commencement, all students leaving campus for the summer had to move out of their rooms and put anything they were not taking with them into storage. All students staying on campus for the summer had to move into their summer room assignment. Of course, if you’re moving into a new room, first someone else has to move out of it, and that person might have to wait for someone to move out of their new room, etc. This results in everyone moving all of their belongings into the hallway, like this:
All of my worldly possessions, minus my keyboard, guitar, and pet snake’s terrarium.Now, I was lucky enough to be the only person piling stuff in this hallway. Some of our hallways were practically floor to ceiling with stuff. It’s kind of frustrating, but there’s just no other way to do it in a college dorm, and it could be a lot worse. Caltech is probably one of the only places where I could leave my keyboard, guitar, macbook,wallet, ipod, phone, etc. chilling in the hallway for hours without worrying about someone walking by and stealing any of it. The honor code: it works, and it is awesome.
In addition to moving into a bigger room this year, I got this as a bonus!
Caltech has a mural policy that allows students to paint murals in the hallways and in their rooms(although for rooms you have to pay a fee to cover the cost of painting over the mural if a future resident does not want it). With my new room I inherited this mural painted in 2006. It’s an album cover for the punk band Operation Ivy, whose music I have yet to listen to, but I think I need to so that I may fully appreciate the art.
Eventually, all of us got settled into our new rooms, and then the invasion began…
To be fair, the Caltech SURF students (barely) outnumber the visiting summer students, and a lot of the summer students are cool people. I even have a friend here this summer who I met when she was SURFing last summer. Now that we’ve all been through check-in and safety training, we’re settling into our labs and getting down to work. Speaking of which,the centrifuge is now available, and I must get back to my experiment. So long for now!
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.