I was glad that we didn’t have midterms or quizzes over the weekend for once. The past three weeks killed my brain, in a metaphorical sense, so it seemd a good idea to have a little extra fun this Saturday and Sunday. Which happened to coincide with a rigorously difficult math set…but whatever.
On Saturday I awoke and decided to research Stephen King’s It (a rather creepy horror story for those of you who don’t know) and other books online until 12. It’s always been a pastime of mine, even if I do now find myself at Caltech doing STEM 24-7. For lunch, a couple of friends and I headed toward Lake Street and ate paninis at the Corner Bakery. I suddenly remembered that I had a few weeks-old eggs still sitting in my fridge that I should probably use up soon–they were bought with the intent of cooking an Asian meal, which had never came to fruition.
“Oh! Do you guys know the Chinese dish fan qie chao dan?” my friend Yuka said. She’s Japanese but knows quite a lot about Chinese culture and language.
My other friend David is actually Chinese, and I’m Taiwanese. We looked at each other and said simultaneously, “Yes! …We should totally make it!”
So we stopped by Trader Joe’s and bought three tomatoes, then agreed to make Asian brunch the next day. For the rest of Saturday, I did some of the math set and had a pretty awesome time at Games Night at the Caltech Alumni House.
Come the Sunday hour of 11 am in the kitchen:
Simmered tomato (hence why we needed a pot with a lid)
Yuka taught me to make those triangular Japanese riceballs with the leftover rice, the most intriguing step of which was rubbing my hands with salt and water, much in the way I imagine people buttering their hands during baking. Before we knew it, it was 1 pm and I had to leave for my piano trio rehearsal. The three of us had managed to gobble down 3 cups of rice and use up two hours on food. But it was a taste of home that none of us had had in a very long time, and I believe that it made all of us more efficient and light-hearted when we went to tackle homework afterward.
*Endnote: We actually didn’t spend all the time after that doing homework. There was also the Caltech Occidental Orchestra concert that afternoon and the Diwali Festival in the evening. All in all, I’d say of this weekend: Less work than I would have wanted to finish, more fun than I’ve had in a long, long time! It translates into more productivity during the week anyway!
Till next time then,
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.