First I want to apologize for not posting for such a while. This Term has been very colorful and therefore busy and you’ll soon see why.
At Caltech, I often find myself starting a week and thinking that this will be the toughest and craziest week of Term. I get through that week and start the next one and think that actually, this next week will be the craziest week of Term. So, I conclude now that every week is packed and the degree of how pleasant the week ends up being depends on your time management and attitude.
Around the same time, Interhouse parties started up for this Term. We haven’t had any in a while and now we’re having one every Saturday night. In short, there are eight undergraduate student houses and each one hosts and Interhouse party in their courtyard for all the other houses once per Term. My house, Page House, kicked the year off with the first party last Term.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay for the whole dinner because I ran off to an 8pm Physics lecture. Our professor was out of town one day so he held a make-up lecture at night – not the first time and it really makes me appreciate his devotion!
I loved the play and thought it was great when we saw a video of our Caltech President dressed as a king giving the audience instructions on how to behave in the theater before the performance started projected onto the curtains.
That’s it for now since I should get back to work but I promise to post again soon!
Like many students at Caltech, I suffer from a slight boba addiction, where side effects may include over caffeination, minor sugar highs, and of course, a large toll on one’s wallet. This addiction is not helped by the fact that there are at least three boba shops within walking distance of campus. So, after an entire term’s worth of boba runs, I came back from winter break with a new year’s epiphany: it was time to get a job. Rather than try to curb my addiction, I decided to find a way to subsidize it.
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.