Another week down! Can you believe we’re already starting
the 4th week of the term? Up until now, it’s been all about starting
fresh and getting acclimated to our new classes, but sometime this week, the
new wore off and we all got settled into our schedules. Speaking of schedules,
the other frosh on my alley and I have developed this standing appointment that
I think I’ll name “Friday Mad Dash”. The frosh schedule this term has worked
out so that many of us have all of Friday afternoon off after 1. Consider also
that the chemistry set is due every Friday at 4, and this becomes a recipe for
some serious procrastination. Now, under normal circumstances, 3 hours is not
really sufficient time to complete a set, even with collaboration. But behold
the power of rushed, stressed Techers working in large groups at top speed.
Somehow we’ve managed to knock that thing out by 4 every week so far. And if
that’s not intense enough for you, this week, due to the holiday, our physics
set was also due Friday at 4. This meant that Friday Mad Dash was one big
mix-up of frosh done with chem but not phys, frosh done with phys but not chem,
and a handful of frosh half-done with both. This resulted in an alley full of chairs,
papers, people, and shouts of NMR interpretations alongside Lorentz
transformations. With all the confusion, I won’t be surprised if I tried to
determine the momentum 4-vector of methyl ethyl ether at some point on one of
my sets. Oh well, point is, I got ‘em turned in! *(Note: This frosh blogger realizes she is setting a horrible example of
procrastination for others.) *
Other cool events of the week? Most obvious is the presidential
inauguration. Problem is, us folks out here in California kind of got the short
end of the stick that day. While those on the east coast spent their late
morning/lunch beak watching the ceremonies, our party kicked off at 7:30AM.
Chandler dining hall set up a loaded breakfast buffet and invited the whole
Caltech community to come and watch together, so I got to chomp down on fried
potatoes, eggs, and yogurt while watching. Not too bad! There were cameras all
around, catching the action as the room clapped and cheered throughout the
inauguration. To top it all off, as I was walking out, I caught sight of these
Obama cookies! I didn’t manage to snag one, but I ask myself if I would really
have been comfortable eating the head of the President. Hmmm…depends on how
good the frosting is, I guess.
So, it may seem impressive that I got to hold President
Obama’s [cookie] head in my hand, but I had an even closer brush with stardom
today. Let me first say that I am such a giant Red Hot Chili Peppers fan that,
when I was getting ready to fly over here for PFW, my friends gave me a card
that said, “You’re going to California! Now you’ll get a chance to see what the
Chili Peppers have been singing about this whole time!” Well, imagine how
delighted I was when I discovered that RHCP’s Flea would be coming to Caltech
to play his jazz trumpet. So delighted
that I went to wait outside Beckman Auditorium at 6:20 for an 8:00 show, in
hopes of a good seat. I got it too! Front and center, baby! I was freaking just
a little as Flea walked out, and of course, he was excellent, but what I wasn’t
expecting was how stellar the Caltech Jazz Band is! Now, as a New Orleanian, I
love jazz, and listening to the Caltech Jazz band sent me right back home to
the city. And it was all a free show! You can’t beat that. Well, yes you can.
You can beat it if you rush the stage afterwards and snap a picture with Flea
himself. Which I did. Unfortunately, it came out terribly blurry, so instead
enjoy these (clearer) ones my friend took during the show.
Now, it’s my understanding that this is likely my last blog before
a new blogger takes over The Frosh Experience, so let me say goodbye. Blogging
has been such an excellent experience: Taking time to stop and reflect on my Frosh Experience has made me realize how
unique my freshman year has been, how many cool opportunities I’ve had, and all
the things I don’t want to miss out on for the rest of my frosh year.
Take care, and as always, you can email me at jtheriot [at] caltech.edu.
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.