I know I already posted about the insane number of holiday cookies I baked over winter break, but I’m here with an update, and the update is: my mother and I went through a 10lb bag of flour in one month. I’m honestly kind of proud of us, while also a little disturbed by how much granulated sugar we went through during the same period. In any case, we baked an impressive amount of breads, cakes, and cookies while I was at home with my family, and I learned a little about myself at the same time (cue the sappy montage music).
We tried a few new recipes from cookbooks we acquired over the last year- mainly from stars of the Great British Bake Off (a show we love). We made ginger cake and macarons from Martha Collision’s first cookbook.
We also repeated a few recipes that we know and love, almost all from back issues of Bon Apetit magazine. This included the sticky toffee ginger cake, stollen, and babkallah (the unholy combination of babkah and challah which turned out to be incredibly tasty). We also made gingerbread cookies from one of my mom’s oldest cookbooks, which we’ve been baking from since forever.
I also baked with friends- I made nestle tollhouse chocolate chip cookies and Martha Stewart vanilla cupcakes with two different sets of friends over break.
So, what was that cheesy life realization I came towhile baking all of this food? Mainly that I somehow love the routine of following recipes, and spending hours letting bread rise or letting macarons set, and throwing out bad batches and starting again, and yet, three years ago, I abandoned bioengineering research for computer science because I hated the lab work. Baking seems to be the closest “real life” analogue of biology wet-lab work, and yet I seem to only like it when there is sugar involved. Maybe there is something else going on there, or maybe I just really like sugar! Either way, It’s interesting that I get to keep a little chemistry in my life while baking, even though I’ve moved on to other types of work in the rest of my life.
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.
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.