This term, I’m taking Introduction to Graphic Design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Caltech has a partnership with them where Caltech will pay the class fees for us, and we are able to sign up for the Art Center at Night (ACN) courses. We do have to pay for the materials ourselves though, such as foamboards, x-acto knives, portfolio folders, etc..
It’s very exciting to be able to pursue art here at the Art Center; Caltech does offer a few art courses such as painting and ceramics, but not many. One thing to keep in mind is that the Art Center runs on a semester schedule, so for example, my Graphic Design course is running from January 22 to April 16, while Caltech’s winter term ends on March 16.
The people taking ACN courses come from varied backgrounds – some are working professionals, some are college students not from Art Center like me, and some are from the Art Center day degree program. My classmates are fairly young – I would say that the oldest person is in his late 20’s.
On the first day, we talked about different types and usages of graphic design. In the poster in the upper right of the board in the photo below, there are some different letters. You might recognize some of these from different logos! For example, the C is from the Chicago Cubs. We talked about this common recognition and association with different letters – termed ‘visual stable data’.
We were also introduced to our next project, a typography project! The goal is to find hidden letters in our everyday world, correspond those letters to actual fonts, and form a four letter word with them. I’ll talk about it more in a following post, once I’ve completed the project :)
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.