I spent my Sunday at Liwonde National Park on safari!
We drove through a herd of elephants within the first 15 minutes of being there! I had been warned not to get my hopes up, but luckily saw so many elephants. We saw four different groups of elephants in total. This first herd, pictured above, was the largest at one time with approximately 30 members that we could easily see. As a biology nerd, and just being a person, this was awesome to see! We probably sat in our car for a half hour watching them and only tore ourselves away because we knew we would see all sorts of creatures on the boat ride later.
In fact we saw all sorts of animals on the Shire (that’s pronounced Shear-Ay, not like in Middle Earth) River. I was super excited a week ago to have seen nine hippos, so imagine my happiness at seeing dozens and dozens, maybe up to a score, of hippos on Sunday! There were also yellow baboons, vervet monkeys, monitor lizards, fish eagles, kingfishers, wart hogs, impala (and lots of other similar animals), savannah buffalo, and crocodiles. Lots of crocodiles. And, what’s a safari without a cheesy photo next to a crocodile?
I know the photo is almost too small to really see (darn internet!), but that isn’t a log I’m so excited about. It’s a crocodile taking a nap! Actually, giggling and jostling in the boat woke it up, scary! It’s left forearm stops above the elbow and is all scarred over, a fight with a fellow crocodile perhaps?
Every time we saw some amazing phenomenon I kept thinking, “I’m so lucky!” and “It couldn’t possibly get any better!” but then it always did. The most amazing experience was last. We were actually way over the allotted time for our tour, but our guide spotted an elephant totally in the water so he drove up over to see it. We were able to get really close and watch him cool off! Then we looked to our left and there was a whole herd of elephants! A man, kind of off to the side, once he saw us from a hundred yards away very resolutely and regally walked towards us. Straight at us! He didn’t seem agitated,more curious than anything about us. Reaching the edge of the water didn’t stop him. He would have walked right up to the boat if our guide hadn’t started the engine in time! The elephant’s march was so majestic! What a great note to end the day on!
I’m blown away everyday by the wildlife I see, the people I meet, or the experiences I have here! Translation: More students should apply for the Studenski Award!
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.