Quite literally. Since a couple months ago, the lawns on campus are being remodeled, for lack of a better word. It’s quite a long and arduous process actually. Landscapers come and first get rid of the dead grass with rakes; a lot of the grass is dead so by the end there’s really not much grass left, mostly just dirt.
Then, they’ll add this fertilizer-seed-mixture. A wonderful smell of chemicals and poop surrounds the area. In a week or so, bright green sprouts emerge. And the smell goes away! (a chem/bioengineer could explain this better to you; I can’t figure out how a smell can be so strong then disappear.) The grass is mowed, and looks like this!
You can’t really tell from the pictures, but it’s the brightest green color. It looks like turf but has the sort of reflective transparency that only live plants have. Every single blade uniformly stands straight up. Then a couple days will pass, the grass grows a little longer, and now it’s like a shaggy carpet.
No joke, I’ve seen people stop at the grass and touch it as if they were petting a dog. Okay yea it is just a lawn, but it looks and feels REALLY nice.
Over break I was home in Colorado, and though the weather was warmer than usual, I was still freezing. Pasadena will spoil you; I mean, the Sun shines and the grass grows all year. Actually, in 2005 Caltech pranked MIT where our students went to their prospective student weekend, handing out T-shirts that had the MIT logo on the front. After unwrapping the plastic and putting them on, the students realized that on the back of the shirt, it said “…because not everyone can go to Caltech” with a little palm tree drawn on the side. They’re still sold at our bookstore.
So, to conclude this rather random post, come to Caltech because our weather is great and we have green grass and palm trees!
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.