One of the biggest Caltech Y events each year is MAD Day. Make a Difference Day takes group of 5 to 15students and sends them on a service project somewhere in our community. Projects this year included Beach Cleanup, Rosemary’s Children Services, Chancellor’s Place (a retirement home), the Santa Monica trails, two canyon clean-up trips, Lifeline for Pets, the Gibbons Center, Trash for Teachers and a bunch more. About 200 people participated!
I organized the Beach Cleanup trip with another leader, Richard. Organizing the trips is really easy. Basically, we start planning in January by calling sites and see if there is anything we can do to help them on MAD Day. The Y-MAD Day coordinators give each site coordinator a really easy check-list to follow, and anyone can lead a site. The Y provides food and screened shirts, and our board members drive us to the sites. After MAD Day, we have a big barbeque for all the participants.
I was going to pick up trash from Huntington Beach, about an hour from campus, with my group. I was all excited to go, but on Friday, I strained a muscle in my ankle and couldn’t go on the beach trip. Richard took the group, and I helped out at the Y for a while in the morning registering people and getting them to vote for a MAD Day grant (https://www.truehero.org/projects/vote.cfm?orderby=group&&page=4– MAD Day is the second choice and you should totally go vote for us :) ).
At 10 am, then, my(new) trip left to go to Rosemary’s Children Services. Rosemary’s Children Services is a non-profit that helps abused and neglected children in our local area. They have a few homes for teenaged girls ages 13-18, and also offer adoption and foster parent services.
We were working at their boutique thrift shop, where we sorted and priced a lot of clothing. We were really suprised at how cheap a lot of the items were - there was some really nice stuff that had been donated! Our biggest sucess of the day was a castle, which we built, set out, and sold an hour later!
After sorting through so much clothing that the racks in the shop had no more room, we distributed flyers to local stores. The thrift store is relatively new, so not a lot of people know about it yet.
After lunch, we headed back to the Y. My roommate came back from Trash for Teachers, a company that goes around to other companies asking for their unused materials, very suprised that companies waste so many resources. I’m really glad that we had a group go to see that.
After a short break, wemet up again at 4 for our barbeque. At the barbeque, I saw a bunch of the people I had met during ASB (read my old blogs :) ) again, and it was really nice to catch up! I even helped make the meat burgers. I’m a (very strict and argumentative) veg, so I had no idea when the burgers were ready. I learned, though;I’m just not sure that’s ever going to help me :) Who needs to eatmeat?!!? Anyway, it was a really fun day and a good break from studying!
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.