Question from a prefrosh: **What do you do for fun? How can Caltech be such a happy place?
**Boring answer: I engage myself in various activities around campus, from music groups to house events. I also make sure I sleep well and
Not boring answer: As an admissions blogger, I have gotten myself into appreciating subtle nuances from everyday life or from my past. Every single one of the quotations of the day (yes, I am generally grammatically incorrect) is from listening to everything around me and appreciating the humor. Also, I take pictures to capture whatever is going on around me (as you can see from my blogs), and I really appreciate the 500 photos I take per term.
First, I accredit my appreciation of Caltech around me to my friends (both Averites and non-Averites). They make situations easier to overcome, from collaboration on homework to the laughs we share. They even tell me to take pictures for the blogs and offer corny quotations to consider (though some are not appropriate for the internet).
Second, I thank my house-mates for giving me a support group and quasi-family at Caltech. When I fell sick at the end of last quarter, my neighbor Grace kept me company in my room when my roommate was not there. I am thankful for their presence every time I see them in the halls or around campus. I can’t say that my support group/quasi-family is higher or lower than my friends (though there is a lot of overlap between the groups); they are just on another dimension.
Third, I appreciate the professors having a sense of humor when they teach and trying to connect to the students with their material.
There are some notable saying from classes and strange occurrences. During PS12 today, Dean Kiewiet said, “You know what the best thing about being the US president? To become the ex-president of the United States.” Also, I found it fascinating that an advisor on one of my high school science fair projects was actually my Bi1 professor’s first postdoctoral scholar, as my professor and I were discussing during an ombudsmen meeting at the Athenaeum about bacteria using different heavy metals in respiration.
Finally, I appreciate the cultures/nuances of other houses. I can’t give specifics because it would be a Rotation Violation, but pictures can be interpreted in multiple ways.
I notice that it’s the nuances that make a school a great place to be. If someone is cranky about a school they attend, they probably haven’t stopped to smell the roses and appreciate the little things that make the school really awesome. Reflecting back on 5/6 of my freshman year, I remember my fearful self when my parents abandoned me to go to the parent orientation. It started with a simple Fibonacci amoeba game, and it blossomed from there.
**Quote of the day: **From one of our physics professors, Sunil Golwala. “Now to answer an everyday question: What size of magnet do you need for the LHC (Large Hadron Collider)? It’s not just something you do in your garage.”
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.