Let’s Get Down to Business, to Defeat… Senior Year?


Graduate school applications are approaching…must…survive.

This is definitely how I’m feeling currently. I’m in the calm before the storm (which is funny cause it’s raining  in Riverside, CA where I am). But before I discuss the storm, let’s talk about how nice things are right now!

I have to say summer research is the best. Not that research during the school year is bad (it’s just as awesome all year-round, trust me), but its hard to enjoy the cutting edge science as much when you’re stressed about classes, midterms, grades, projects, and all the other responsibilities that come during the academic year (which again, are really awesome but when put together all at once can be a bit overwhelming).

Anyway, this summer I’m conducting research as a part of the Yin Group at UC Riverside! This is my second summer as a part of the UC LEADS Program, and it’s been great! I am working on some really cool research, which I won’t get into too much but in short: I am working on a materials system that changes color upon stretching or when under mechanical stress. Yeah, materials chemistry is basically magic. It’s been a really cool project and I hope that I am able to finish it before I leave! I’ve also been working very independently this summer, which has been nice to help me prepare for (*crosses fingers*) graduate school. Though it also means that when there’s an issue that arises, I am solely in charge of finding the solution, which is pretty crazy!

As for the program, I’ve loved all the people I’ve been able to meet! Many of the other undergraduate researchers here are from UCR, but a good number of students like me who are from other institutions. I’ve been able to do some pretty fun stuff outside of research, last Wednesday I even went Salsa dancing with a group of friends from the program. Overall it’s amazing. And I won’t forget to mention the apartment and meal plan that my internship pays for (in essence, I feel super spoiled).

And after this amazing program, I will be one of the Resident Assistants for the Summer Institute of Mathematics and Science (SIMS)! I’m incredibly excited for this, we have an outstanding group of scholars this year and I really want to do my best to help them feel prepared for UCSB, STEM, research, the whole shebang. I’m stoked to meet them and I’m hoping I can really impact them positively as one of the RAs. I seriously cannot communicate my enthusiasm, SIMS!

And then I’ll have a short break before…SENIOR YEAR.

Senior Year

That means on top of classes, there will be:

  • SACNAS and oSTEM Co-Chairing and Co-Presidenting, respectively
  • oSTEM Conferencing in Pittsburgh, PA
  • Undergraduate Researching AWESOME SCIENCE
  • Potential Graduate School Previewing (let’s hope so on this one)
  • Fellowship Applying (NSF, yay!)



Honestly, I’m pretty scared. But I also feel really fortunate, I’m happy that I’ve made it this far and I’ve had so many spectacular opportunities on the way. I’m looking forward to it all, even the graduate school applications will be really exciting. It’s going to be a busy year, but an exciting one. I’ll be working hard, but it’s going to be awesome, I’m essentially preparing for a new chapter of my life. More than that, it’s all towards my overall goal: I want to make a difference in the world, and I can do a great job at that with my passion for science and engineering.

Wish me luck, cheers!