Before I had to buckle down to start getting ready for next term, I decided to do fun things that I wouldn’t normally do on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, I decided to go to Old Pasadena and Tuesday I decided to take the LA Metro train to Little Tokyo and Hollywood. It has been raining for the past few days so the ground was wet and there were ducks walking around by Dabney Garden!
I could get pretty close to them without them flying away. I also managed to get some pretty nice pictures of campus while I was walking around campus. I did a photography apprenticeship for most of my high school years and I learned that the best days to take pictures are the cloudy ones (but obviously not raining) because it disperses the light better. For those of you who haven’t been able to come down to Pasadena to get a tour, here are some pictures of campus:
Anyway, I took a long walk to Old Pasadena with my friend. I happen to love Old Pasadena for the weirdest reason. I love the diagonal crosswalks at some intersections. They don’t have them in Chicago and it’s really neat.
I think Old Pasadena is a really nice place to go (and windowshop). Admittedly, a lot of the stores and shops are too fancy and expensive for me to actually buy things from, but it’s a very pretty part of town and a good place to go on a special occasion. There are a few little boutiques and shops worth going to and a lot of good food in Old Pasadena, though. One of these places happens to be the cupcake shop called “Dots”. The cupcakes are worth the walk to Old Pas and the shop is so adorable.
The cupcakes weren’t only pretty, they were also super yummy! I had red velvet cupcakes and my friend had strawberry lemonade. I couldn’t eat all of the cupcakes and had to take the extra two to go.
After hanging out at Old Pas, we took the Pasadena ARTS bus home. It’s a cheap ride at only $1 and it dropped us off near campus so we didn’t have to walk that far.
Tuesday, I decided I wanted to ride the LA Metro for the first time so I bought a day pass and hopped on the Gold Line on Lake Street.
My friend and I got off the train at Little Tokyo and walked around looking in shops for a little bit.
We ate lunch at a famous ramen restaurant known for its spicy ramen. They have walls for thier ramen challenge which is to eat the spiciest ramen in only thirty minutes. They have nine levels of spiciness and, being a wimp, I only got the second to least spicy ramen. If you think you could finish the ramen challenge, you should think again. These bowls of ramen are HUGE.
You can’t really see how big the bowl is from the picture, but I barely put a dent in the amount of ramen before I was stuffed!
The ramen was also super delicious. After being defeated by a bowl of ramen, we visited some more shops and finished off our visit to Little Tokyo with mochi ice cream!
The train stations in LA are so much bigger and so much less crowded than the train stops in Chicago. They also have fishtanks!
I was pretty surprised to see the fish tank but then I saw the Hollywood and Vine stop.
There were film reels all over the ceiling! Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out what to do in Hollywood so we got on a bus that went from Hollywood back to Pasadena. I did happen to have a lot of fun these past few days, though. And what better way to end off an amazing couple of days than with…
…a sprained foot. I sprained my foot somewhere along the way while I was adventuring. I guess this can only help me stay in one place so I can read and study for my SURF project and get ready for spring term.
Research at Caltech looks different for every student, and can often vary term by term. As a chemistry major, my course requirements are on the lighter side for a Caltech major, and many chemistry majors take advantage of the lighter course load to join research groups. This can be whenever the student wants, but many people join labs during their freshman or sophomore years. Some may work in one lab only, and some may switch between labs during the course of their undergraduate studies, depending on if their interests change.
SURF, short for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, is a quintessential experience for any Caltech student. It is a widely accessible research fellowship for Caltech students that funds your proposed research for one summer term. While many of my classmates did their first SURF the summer after their freshman year, I sent in my first application to the program as a sophomore. As a CS major, I was trying to chase meaningful work that intersected computation with the field of neuroscience. I ended up doing a SURF at the Stanford School of Medicine that first year, studying hand gestures in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Since then, I’ve been working in the research space of applying computational analyses to ASD.
This summer, from the confines of my Brooklyn apartment, you could find me typing away on a tiny 13-inch laptop screen. At times I was looking for answers on countless Stack Exchange pages, editing a Jupyter notebook, or making blood flow measurements on a software called Arterys. This was my 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURF) experience.
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.