Two weeks ago, the CMS (Computing and Mathematical Sciences) department held their annual Meeting of the Minds mini-conference. This event is held every year during alumni weekend as a kind of showcase of student work for the visiting alumni (some local tech companies attended this year as well). The event begins with a keynote talk, which is followed by a two-hour poster session of student research and projects.
This year, students in every project class running third term were required to present their projects during the poster session. I’ve been excited about this since the beginning of the term, partially because I’ve never made a research poster before and I thought it would be cool, and partially because I thrive while working under artificial deadlines, and having enough of my project finished by week 7 of classes (instead of week 10) was enough to keep me from procrastinating on my rather open-ended database project for CS123.
I had the opportunity to learn how to make a research poster when the class I am TAing, CS141, arranged for a staff member from the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach to give a lecture on the subject. Not every project class had integrated this into their curriculum, but I found it extremely helpful. Many students had made posters before but since I was brand new to the medium, I really needed some help. I went through two drafts of my poster, incorporating more diagrams (replacing lots of text, which was hard to read), and using different types of system architecture diagrams (called sequence diagrams, a type of UML diagram, if you’re curious) to demonstrate different aspects of my database’s functionality and structure. It took me about a week to complete it.
The actual event was really fun! The keynote time slotwas shared by Dr. Anima Anandkumar, the newest CMS faculty member, and the Vice President of Amazon AI, Swami Sivasubramanian. Both of their talks were interesting and engaging. The lecture hall was packed with students and alumni.
The poster session after the talks was also packed. Around 70 posters were presented. I’m sorry I forgot to take a picture of the whole session, but imagine dozens of easels set up along a walkway outside, with posters and poster boards set up on every easel. Oh yeah, and there was a live band, too!
Here is my poster:
I’m very proud of it, so please, only compliments in the comments :P
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.