Even though winter break has already begun, I have stayed behind for a few days at Caltech instead of rushing back home to San Diego. I decided to work at JPL Monday and Tuesday to squeeze in an experiment before coming back in January.
Nothing too crazy though–I ran a test on some insulation material in an oven for about 4 hours on Monday…and in between checking it, I read through one of my favorite magazines (I have 4 waiting in my queue to read since I have been too busy with work and finals to read them!)
Setting up my experiment….
The highlight of the day was—THE HUGE POWER OUTAGE that occurred around 2pm that day due to a large transformer blowing up and affecting half of the JPL campus. Many people went home, since the transformer caused all the computers, internet, etc to shut down and there were major repairs to be made. When the lights went out–I hurried down the hill to check to see if my experiment was affected. What a waste if it was!! —But I was very lucky, and building 158 (and consequently my 4 hour test) was unharmed. I did, however, have to read my Glamour Magazine by natural light through the window (and it has been gloomy this entire past week).
In my defense–I know I’m the new kid in town here at JPL—and it was my first day…but I had absolutely nothing to do with the power outage (though my thesis advisor teases me about it). I was actually in the women’s restroom when it happened—and there were no flood lights. So when it became pitch black in there….I panicked. It took me a few minutes to navigate myself out of there.
Ohhh, good times..
I’m leaving Pasadena now–and headed down to San Diego….just in time for my younger sister’s Winter Choir Concert!
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.