It might seem like this is a less-than-exciting post from the outside, but for me, presenting at group meeting was really exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. My mentor has decades of experience in the field of tissue engineering and the rest of the grad students and post docs in the room definitely know way more about this topic that I have learned in my 10 weeks here, so it was pretty intimidating to be up there presenting on a topic that most people knew more about than I did.
I got completely peer-pressured by the grad students in my lab to present, so my mentor didn’t even know that I had prepared something until 5 minutes before I presented. Apart from minor technical difficulties with the projector at the beginning, my presentation went off without a hitch. I even got a few compliments later in the day from some of the grad students (and they totally sounded genuine!).
The part I was most nervous for was question and answer time… A newly minted PhD (he had just successfully defended his thesis 3 days before!) asked a question about the cells I was using that I was able to answer very easily. Then my mentor raised his hand and my stomach dropped when he said “Yes, I have two questions for you…” Luckily, they were pretty easy: “What was your favorite part about this summer and what was your least favorite part?”
My favorite part was probably theAdvances in Tissue EngineeringShort Course that my mentor put on. It was awesome to hear all the speakers and I got to learn a lot more about the field. My least favorite part was probably just that I didn’t really know what I was getting into at the beginning of the summer. The projects that people do in this lab are not those that can be scaled easily into a 10 week period. For that reason, it was initially hard to determine a good project for me. It all worked out in the end though, and I’m actually pretty excited to present on SURF seminar day in October (I have to write a paper and make a poster first though….).
This is kind of cheesy, but here are some of my slides! It’s a really bite-sized overview of my research (without all my other commentary).
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.