I’ve been on campus to SURF after spending my first three weeks of summer partly at home shadowing in the emergency department of a children’s hospital and partly driving through the mountains and forests of Oregon and Seattle on a family road trip. The hospital didn’t let me take pictures, and I don’t think pictures would adequately capture the experiences, anyway. The road trip, though. A quick picture recap is kind of necessary:
I became a Junior Park Ranger for the Olympic National Park in Washington, too! It’s now hanging next to my Death Valley Junior Park Ranger badge. (: Let’s see how many others I get in these next couple of years.
So since that happened back in July, I’ve been back and having all sorts of adventures. When I first told my friends back home that I was SURFing for ten weeks in California, they were so jealous. Maybe I shouldn’t have told them that SURF stands for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. I think SURFing is more exciting than surfing, but I wouldn’t mind doing both this summer. (Did I ever tell you how many times I fell off that paddleboard back in May? Probably not–I couldn’t keep count of how many times!)
I must say, summer here is so different from the other three quarters of the year. For one thing, students are here from all over the world to research in our labs and to intern at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). My boyfriend, Mr. K, is among the summer interns at JPL, so it’s been really fun to explore LA with him and get him addicted to boba. (;
My froomie (friend + roomie), Gauri, and I were really excited for summer to come along. We had a long list of DIY projects to do and places to visit and food to try cooking. Now that summer’s here, we were both a bit taken by surprise at how fast the time flies. We both spend most of our weekdays in lab, so that leaves mostly just weekends for our adventures. That’s okay, though, because even now we feel a little too spoiled with all the free time we have.
So here’s to summer. Here’s to great plans that will probably be unfinished. Here’s to the dreams and the funky tans and the smell of sunscreen.
I hope y’all have wonderful summers, too! I’ll be talking more about my research in other posts as I make more progress. I hope a lot of y’all have productive summers, too! Tell me about it in the comments? (:
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.