This term, my weekends are almost as busy and hectic as my weekdays. Despite the fact that I have 2 homework sets due on Mondays, I also have group meetings, dance classes and of course, can’t forget the fun stuff!–it’s the weekend after all.
I kicked off this past weekend by going out into Los Angeles to celebrate one of my friend’s birthdays on Saturday. We went to a bunch of different places throughout the night, but my favorite was hanging out by the gorgeous pool at the luxury hotel, Viceroy in Santa Monica. All in all, it was nice to get dressed up and go out on the town with new and old friends.
On Sunday–it was back to work. I woke up early to go to ballet class and then went straight to a meeting for E/ME 105. At this meeting we discussed different design possibilities for the centrifuge. We all came with a few sketches with new ideas and concepts and just passed them around. We also had to plan out our separate roles for the midterm, which will comprise of a group paper and group presentation on the work we’ve done so far. I have been assigned to focus on the certain risk and failure analysis factors that could affect the success of the product.
We had a few technical issues in the beginning as we set up skype to video conference with our Guatemala partners. But we ended up figuring it out (I mean, we’re Techers after all!) and it was as if they were sitting right there with us during the meeting. We got a ton done in terms of figuring out different options for redesign–we definitely have our work cut out for us!
A few hours later, and after 3 cups of coffee, I met my study group in the library to work on my Control Theory set and my Econometrics Set. All the study rooms were taken in the Sherman Fairchild Library (that’s where my E/ME 105 group meeting was) so we had to work in the basement of Dabney Library. That night was epic–stayed up till 4am to complete the econometrics set, and then ended up working the next day from noon till 5pm on the control theory set. But the good thing is having a fun study group that cracks jokes throughout the night and you can collaborate with.
Anyway, even though all my sets were due earlier this week on Monday–I have a ton to do for the rest of the week also! Including an interview with a defense technology and homeland security company this afternoon!
Wish my luck!
This summer I had the incredible opportunity to do a 10-week internship at Gilead Sciences in Foster City, CA. For those unfamiliar, Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a research-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative medicines.
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.