On Friday, I got to stage four of five on my summer project, submitted a pull request, and went home (a little early!). My roommates and I coordinated a fancy dinner: sauteed shrimp and lemon quinoa with a side of twice-baked potatoes. I love cooking with people, it’s so satisfying. We get all together and set the table all fancy. Also it tastes really good.
After dinner we watched Fargo, which Tago (my roommate, a Caltech EE) recommended. I had heard that it was a comedy. It was not. Whoever told me that was either a psychopath or a filthy liar. I could barely sleep that night.
The next day was a sort of slow day. It was an errand day. I made crepes for breakfast, and we cleaned house and went grocery shopping. JD (boyfriend dearest) came over and we watched Galaxy Quest (which is entertaining, unlike the horrifying bloodbath that was Fargo).
Sunday was more exciting. We got up at 7 in the morning and went to the train station, taking a train down to my parents, who met us with a truck. They had also loaded this truck with a small barbecue, matches, and towels. We (me, JD, and my roommates Laura and Chet) drove down to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
I love my beaches! We actually went on a house beach trip last term. I’m glad we got to do this while I’m here.
This summer I had the incredible opportunity to do a 10-week internship at Gilead Sciences in Foster City, CA. For those unfamiliar, Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a research-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative medicines.
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.