So I’m heading off to my first interview on Sunday - a bit nervous but also exciting! However, before then I have so much to do! Being a senior isn’t as easy as many would have you believe… First off, there’s my class schedule!
Doesn’t look too bad, and I love having Tues/Thurs afternoons off. I actually had to drop my first class EVER here at Caltech this term - Ch 242a (Chemical Synthesis). It was one of those classes that just takes a lot of time, but is really cool. And with 4 other classes + interviews…it wasn’t going to happen. But no worries, I checked with the registrar and there won’t be any problems with me graduating!
Another good thing about my schedule is that there are only 2 sets a week! I sometimes reminisce about the days of Core (my girlfriend is a sophomore and I frequently remind her), when I had 3-4 sets due a week, and then I relax a bit :).
So now although I have finished my official work for the week, the work never really ends for this busy senior! I’ve turned my focus to three things (as you would expect from the title): planning, packing, and organizing.
Planning: There are so many logistics that go into an interview! From flight plans to getting to LAX to getting to the school from wherever I land, there’s a lot that I can think about. And knowing me, seeing that mountain makes me overwhelmed! And though I have that knot-in-stomach feeling that I’m going to forget something major (like my flight number!), I have to look at this just like every other challenge I’ve had here at Caltech: by PLANNING and MAKING SCHEDULES! It’s what I do best, and to that end I am making a “rap sheet” for each school with all my flights, how to get everywhere, important phone numbers, and some research I’ve done on it. Let’s just say it takes a lot of time, but I’m pretty proud of the product! And most importantly, it keeps me cool, calm, and collected.
Organizing: In addition to all this talk about interviews, you have to remember that the coursework doesn’t stop! Next week won’t be too bad - one set and reading half of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, but I can’t fall behind on them! So although I’m done with my work for THIS week, it’s never too early to get started on next week’s (except if you’re a frosh, in which case **PASS/FAIL FROSH!!**). But enough about that, I don’t need to bore you with the details of anatomy/physiology or Mark Twain.
So Sunday begins my trek over to Chi-town! My first interview is at the University of Chicago: Pritzker School of Medicine. Let’s just hope my flight gets there on time!
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.