Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) features exhibits everything related to pop culture, from rock n’ roll to video games to science fiction, fantasy, horror, and more. It is a bit expensive, with student tickets costing $23. However, if you’re staying in Seattle for the summer like me and have a local mailing address, you can sign up for a Seattle Public Library card. With this card, you have free access to select museums on certain days. Free tickets are released each day, so you need to click fast to get one you want! Tickets for the more popular museums like the MoPOP go quickly, while others like the zoo are pretty open.
I was lucky enough to snag a MoPOP museum pass using my library card, so I could go to the MoPOP for free! By the way, the library card also lets you have access to many books, in print and online, and you can borrow from any branch of the Seattle Public Library system and return to any branch. Even now, I can still borrow eBooks online and download them to my Kindle from Caltech! It also gives you access to free magazines, music, and some movies, but I haven’t explored the music and movie options yet.
This is the outside of the museum – pretty unique design, right? It was designed byFrank Gehry, who also designed the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA!
Inside the museum, the first exhibition you see is one featuring famous filmmakers, writers, and characters in pop culture.
Then, walking upstairs to the 2nd floor (the MoPOP has 3 floors), you get to the main exhibition area, where there’s a huge floor to ceiling collection of guitars. On this floor, there are exhibitions on Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, indie games (you can even play the games), fantasy, science fiction, and horror.
The Nirvana exhibition featured writings from throughout his life, his albums, guitars, and more.
I thought the indie game section was pretty cool, but since a lot of kids were playing, I didn’t really sit down to play any games except for one which featured a cow tumbling over and over to move😂
The exhibition on Jimi Hendrix featured his guitar and all the places he traveled to, as well as notes he took throughout his travels.
Christopher Paolini’s script for Eragon!
Further upstairs, there’s a sound lab, where you can DJ up your own mixes, as well as the Marvel special exhibition. Since I got a free pass, I couldn’t enter the Marvel exhibition, but I’m sure it would’ve been cool.
Overall, an awesome museum! Highly recommend going if you ever have the chance :)
With 45 Nobel Laureates on its Faculty Roster, it’s not surprising that research is an integral part of the Caltech undergraduate experience. One of the programs that promotes such research is the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). There is no minimum knowledge or experience required to participate in a Caltech SURF. In fact, students can participate in a SURF as soon as the summer after their freshman year. It is not difficult to get a SURF. All you need to do is find a mentor who is working in an area of research that interests you and willing to mentor you through a research project. The mentor can work in a Caltech lab, at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), or at another participating institution. Once you find a mentor, you work together to write a project proposal that you later send to the SURF office for review and approval. About 98% of the SURF proposals get approved. This fellowship is a great way to explore various fields of research and obtain real, hands-on experience where you get to apply the theoretical knowledge you’ve learned in class. Not only do you get to work and learn alongside your mentor, but you also get compensated for your time. The length of the SURF is ten weeks, and it starts at the beginning of the summer. However, it is not uncommon for many students at Caltech to continue their research project throughout the academic school year.
Like many students at Caltech, I suffer from a slight boba addiction, where side effects may include over caffeination, minor sugar highs, and of course, a large toll on one’s wallet. This addiction is not helped by the fact that there are at least three boba shops within walking distance of campus. So, after an entire term’s worth of boba runs, I came back from winter break with a new year’s epiphany: it was time to get a job. Rather than try to curb my addiction, I decided to find a way to subsidize it.
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.