Yay, I finally had a really fun weekend, so let me tell you all about it :D
Thursday we got a short tour of a CUBESAT development lab. For those who don’t know, CUBESATs are little satellites funded on a low-cost high-risk model; basically companies can make these small satellites (probably on the order of 2x1x1 ft?) and get them launched for super cheap. While it’s obviously difficult to cram anything super-novel into something so small, it also opens up research avenues for individual labs to send up their own customized sensors. I thought it was both really cool to see a CUBESAT first-hand, getting a tour from an engineer who worked on it to a group of about 10, but also to know more about the business model which I think makes a lot of sense. Here’s pictures:
Friday was a slow day; we got the Friday off because JPL has a schedule called the ‘9/80’ schedule, where we can work 9 hours a day 9 days every two weeks (eight hours on fridays) and get every tenth day off, which means a long weekend EVERY OTHER WEEK. Pretty cool stuff.
Saturday morning I went to the Caltech Summer Preview event and acted as a panelist for a JPL information panel, my second paneling experience. Basically the first twenty minutes one of the admissions staff talked about JPL’s connection with Caltech and stuff, then we were called up (three of us panelists) and she asked us a few questions, and the crowd also did too. I really like being a panelist because it’s a little bit more varied than tours! Maybe it’s also that I get a bit of company, and it’s a bit more interactive, plus less walking (exercise is hard). In any case, it’s an opportunity not exclusively open to admissions students and was certainly a fun one!
Later that day I met up with my friend at Chinatown for a “Chinatown Summer Experience” or something like that. I watched him lose a spicy-dumpling eating contest (in his defense, he went first and so had no idea how fast to go and missed the time cut), then we ordered dinner (I was mostly in charge since I had the best chinese, and his friends really liked my choice of dishes =D), and then we finally took a walk around Chinatown. It was a really cool experience, pictures below (of Chinatown event and the dumplings he had to eat; they evidently aren’t very spicy as you may have guessed):
Finally, Sunday I went on surfing (real surf, not Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, mind you) lessons, my first ever! I would more accurately describe them as falling-off-surfboard lessons, but it was all in good fun; it’s a lot more fun falling off surfboards when you’re doing it with friends :) We got to spend 2.5 hrs for just $45, including rental/instructor, so that was really good deal too! Below is a photo of the instructor with some students:
That really wraps up my weekend in terms of the interesting things. Next weekend I kinda want to go back to the Academy movie theatre; it’s such a cheap yet convenient attraction. We’ll see if there are any good movies/good friends…
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.