Another busy past few days - just got in from Duke at midnight last night and it was a packed visit (well…when are these visits NOT packed?). So busy, in fact, that I’m not really even sure what day of the week it is these days, just sort of go to whatever classes my calendar tells me to go to…
I traveled ALL DAY on Tuesday, leaving Caltech at 6:30 AM PST and arriving at my accommodations in Durham, NC at 8:00 PM EST. I was fortunate that on one leg of my trip, I got an upgrade into first class! How, you ask? Well, since I fly Continental every time I travel between NJ and CA, I have gotten enough miles to qualify for Elite Status. One of the perks is a space-available upgrade! The moral of the story - if you’re going to a college far away from home, definitely try to be consistent with the airline you travel on so you can reap the rewards of a frequent flier!
Duke was a beautiful campus. Very different style than Caltech, much more classical architecture and beautiful stonework. One of the defining characteristics of the campus is its Chapel - they actually won’t build anything taller than it so you can (theoretically) see it from anywhere!
Sorry for the poor quality - it was dark and you know how cameras don’t always take the best pictures in low light. So I was really lucky that I got to meet up with an old friend from NJ Governor’s School in the Sciences who goes to Duke! It was really neat to catch up and compare notes on our respective med school application processes (she’s applying MD-only, and has already been to many exciting places I have yet to visit!). Overall, I got to relax and take a bit of a break before the arduous interview days!
Well, arduous is a relative term - the first day was actually pretty chill. The MD admissions office organized the 2 interviews I had that day, plus a tour (which I thought was one of the more informative ones, being a Caltech tour guide we have high standards!). As a bonus we happened to run into Coach K, Duke’s beloved basketball coach! After the day was over, one of the other interviewees, a Duke undergrad, showed us around campus so I got to take some daytime pictures. Again, sorry for the quality - these were taken on my iPhone since I felt weird bringing a camera to the interview…
That night we got to go out with current MSTP students, and it was (as always) very insightful for forming opinions of the school - definitely a great idea to chat it up with current students to get a variety of honest perspectives of what you’ll be going through if you decide to attend the school!
The next day was pretty crazy - 7 interviews (6 faculty and 1 admissions committee) and by the end I was definitely exhausted! As soon as I finished, I quickly changed out of my stifling suit and tight shoes (don’t know how the girls do it in heels!) and got in the shuttle for the airport! Then…after a long time traveling back (and another upgrade!), I got back to 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.