Sunday was an exciting day for everyone on campus because all the frosh have arrived! The soccer team had morning practice and after we came back from the gym I definitely felt a change in atmosphere.So many more people and new faces!It kind of feels like the first day of high school, but way better because it's college, especially since the friends you make are neighbors.The usual formalities ensued; we officially checked in, got free stuff, nonpreseason athletes moved in, etc. Right before convocation, we took our Class of 2016 picture.
I guess convocation wasn't far from what I expected either in the sense that the presentation was very official. Though unlike your typical college convocation, we were fortunate enough to have Professor Grotzinger speak to us; his rover has already started gathering data on Mars. You can learn more about him here: https://www.gps.caltech.edu/grotz/Research/Mars.html.
We met too many new people to remember all the names. Even a small school can seem to have an overwhelming amount of people sometimes. When returning students are back on campus, there will be even more new faces. I can't wait to get to know more people; everyone here is so interesting in one way or another, and small talk isn't ever really small talk. After asking where someone is from, conversations go straight into physics, proofs, or something of the sort.
At convocation speakers told us how extraordinary we were for being admitted to such a prestigious university; I believed them and all but how many universities don't tell their incoming class they're special? But it's a different story when a stranger tells you the same thing. My friends and I were walking back to campus and we met up with this middle-aged man walking his dog. We started talking and when we told him we were from Caltech, he said, "Wow. I don't even know you guys, but I'm proud of you." Granted, it was a Friday night and we went out for groceries, but that's when I realized how fortunate I am to be attending Caltech.
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.