So I have recently returned from my second Midwest trip this week - this time to the Gateway to the West: St. Louis, MO. I have never been to the city before, so I was excited to check it out! The school I was interviewing for was Washington University in St. Louis (WashU for short). It’s definitely been difficult to talk with my friends and family about it and tell them that this is NOT the school in Seattle (that’s the University of Washington).
Anyway, after a very long wait at LAX going through security, I made it on the plane with 15 minutes to spare and settled in for a 3:15 flight to the STL. Fortunately, this gave me some time to brush up on the professors I would be interviewing with - I had to know what their research was about! Once I arrived and made it to the admissions office, I met the other 8 applicants there this week from all over the country (3 from Harvard, though…interesting…) and got to tour the facilities and the really fun Children’s Hospital! We even saw a baby in the Neonatal ICU, which was really neat (I guess I’m kind of a medicine nerd).
Well needless to say it was an exhausting afternoon, but then it was time to go to our accommodations and rest up before dinner! Well let me just tell you that WashU pulled out ALL the stops for our visit - we stayed in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel and THIS is the room that I shared with one other interviewee! I was literally in shock when I walked in…
So we really were spoiled by the rooms, and definitely took advantage of the space to relax a bit! We then went out to an amazing dinner with some current MSTP’s and enjoyed 3 delicious courses (if Dannah were there we’d probably rate it an A on our food review scale!). But we couldn’t have too much fun…the next day was the INTERVIEW DAY! Very dramatic…
Well needless to say I woke up ready to rise to the challenge, and with 7 interviews ahead of me from 9 AM till 4:30 PM, I would definitely need the energy! The way WashU does their interviews is they have a panel interview of 8 (about your research), 4 individual professor interviews, 1 med school interview, and a wrap-up with a member of the admissions committee. After a long day of interviews (on which I think I did pretty well), I was definitely ready to go out for a nice dinner with a different group of current students - we got to see more of the city and sample some delicious fare.
Me being the BIG tourist I am, I was super-excited to see the Gateway Arch…it’s so symbolic of the city! I think I asked about 10 separate people where the elusive arch was, but to no avail. I didn’t get to see it (not even from the plane!). :(
But I did make it back to Caltech in one piece and not too tired after a busy 2 days. Here’s some pictures from my return!
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.