Andrew is freshman from Denver, Colorado (the land of Patagonia jackets and unpredictable weather). At Caltech he is the fencing team foil squad captain and SAAC representative, a member of chemistry club and ultimate frisbee team, and the Fleming House food committee representative. In his free time, he likes to hike, write poetry, shoot photos, and explore LA for trendy food.
House Affiliations: Fleming and Venerable
Ciara hails from the small town of Niceville, FL (which, before you ask, is actually a real place). She is a senior triene to graduate with a bachelor’s in chemistry. When she’s not using 200 proof ethanol in lab, she enjoys drinking pH 14 beverages. After graduating, she hopes to get a Ph.D. in alchemy and make the sorcerer’s stone. But, in the meantime enjoy her attempts at weaving bad chemistry puns into weekly blog entries.
Option: Computation & Neural Systems
House Affiliation: Page
Madelyn is a sophomore majoring in Computation and Neural Systems (CNS) from Foster City, California. In her free time, she enjoys going to local coffee shops, making scrapbooks, playing catch, and sewing. At Caltech, she is involved in Robogals, plays cello in a chamber group, does research in a lab, and tutors at the Hixon Writing Center. Find her online @maddieiee on Instagram for more photos!
Option: Computer Science
House Affiliations:Avery and Blacker
Mei-Ling is a native Chicagoan (from the city!) and still misses the winter season. She is part of the intercollegiate volleyball and fencing teams. When not dying over sets, she likes talking with friends and going to the 3D printing lab on campus. Mei-Ling is also an upperclassman counselor (UCC) and Vice President of Blacker Hovse.
House Affiliation: Avery
Noelle is a Texan who used to love cold weather, but ever since the first month in sunny SoCal, anything sub-sixty degrees sends her into shock. Besides the sunshine, her favorite thing about living in Pasadena is having mountains in her backyard. When she’s not struggling through sets, she likes to hike, bake, play soccer, and take pictures. She participates in the Caltech Christian Fellowship, volunteers with Robogals, and writes for The Tech, the campus newspaper.
Options: Computer Science and Business, Economics, & Management (BEM)
House Affiliations: Fleming and Venerable
Hi everyone! I’m Sakthi Vetrivel from Seattle, WA (Let’s go Seahawks!). I’m a member of the Class of 2019 with a dual membership in Fleming and Venerable, and a CS/BEM double major. I’m the 2017-18 ASCIT President, captain of the volleyball team, and an upperclassman counselor. So if you have any questions about student government or intercollegiate athletics at Caltech, feel free to tune into to my biweekly ramblings.
Options: Computation & Neural Systems and Geobiology
House Affiliation: Blacker
Sarah is a CNS and geobiology major from Westchester, NY. She is the ASCIT Treasurer, Blacker Title IX Coordinator, UCC, Health ad in training, Board of Controls representative, and sits on Blacker excomm as a librarian and a social team representative. When she’s not studying rocks and brains, she likes cooking, playing with her pet snakes and crabs, going to the gym, hiking, and having fun with friends.
Option: Electrical Engineering
House Affiliation: Lloyd
Sunny is from Vancouver, BC where it rains over 200 days a year. At Caltech, she serves on the excomm of the Caltech Y and Society of Women Engineers, and plays piano with the chamber music program. When she is not doing sets and lab work, she enjoys hiking, shopping, cooking, drawing, and scouring the internet for items to add to her never-ending bucket list.
House Affiliations: Venerable and Avery
Victoria is from New Jersey, where people enjoy Playa Bowls and good bagels. She is a pre-med involved with RISE tutoring, Pipettes a cappella, Health Advocates, and neuroscience research. She can often be found chilling and reading in Pasadena coffee shops and Avery lounges. Her favorite activities include stuffing her face with yummy food, hanging out with friends, traveling, watching movies / TV shows, and folding origami.
The opinions expressed by Caltech bloggers and commenters are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of The California Institute of Technology or its employees. Caltech makes no representations about the accuracy of the information presented in its blogs.
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.
SURF, short for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, is a quintessential experience for any Caltech student. It is a widely accessible research fellowship for Caltech students that funds your proposed research for one summer term. While many of my classmates did their first SURF the summer after their freshman year, I sent in my first application to the program as a sophomore. As a CS major, I was trying to chase meaningful work that intersected computation with the field of neuroscience. I ended up doing a SURF at the Stanford School of Medicine that first year, studying hand gestures in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since then, I’ve been working in the research space of applying computational analyses to ASD.
This summer, from the confines of my Brooklyn apartment, you could find me typing away on a tiny 13-inch laptop screen. At times I was looking for answers on countless Stack Exchange pages, editing a Jupyter notebook, or making blood flow measurements on a software called Arterys. This was my 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURF) experience.
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.