Devin hosted a planetarium show on the roof of the Mathematical Sciences Building on April 26th. Over 60 people showed up, filled all the 50 seats, and left little place on the floor. The dome of the planetarium was a perfect screen to project the starry night sky, and for a moment it was as if the audience are watching the milky way directly from a desert camp.
The UCLA planetarium is operated and maintained primarily by UCLA Astronomy graduate students, and shows are presented voluntarily by students. Devin is a third-year Astronomy PhD student. He fell in love with the night sky early from his childhood in Hawaii. Devin joined UCLA after his undergrad at Dartmouth, and studies the stars around the black hole.
Astronomy observations demand extremely clear weather, which is why most telescopes at the US locate in Hawaii and Arizona. Devin’s research takes him to the Keck telescopes in Hawaii every summer. The Hawaii trip is the highlight of Devin’s graduate experience, as he has the chance to collect large amount of high quality data for his research, and to spend summer with his family.
Devin was also excited to see many astronomical technologies find their way to our everyday life. Many high-resolution cameras developed for telescopes are now used for medical imaging. Meanwhile, more advanced technologies are continuously created to allow observation of celestial body much farther away. By exploring the space around us, we get to better understand the existence of the earth and human beings.
It took Athena a little while to find the music café by the inverted fountain (she had actually never heard of the fountain before). Studying in the north campus, she seldom makes her way south of Ackerman. Athena moved to LA from NYC last fall for school, and lamented the fact that she had not had a chance to explore the UCLA neighborhood yet.
Athena used to be a competitive swimmer before coming to business school. She obtained a Bachelors of Psychology from Yale, where she served on the varsity swim team for four years, made her way to the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2012, and competed post-grad for the New York Athletic Club. The admission to UCLA Anderson was unexpected, and she was nervous for such a big change after a long time of no school. But as she looks back, “You can’t wait until you’re ready to do something. You will never feel ready. When an opportunity like this shows up, you just have to dive in and figure it out as you go.”
Athena was admitted to FEMBA, the part-time MBA program at Anderson. She currently works in Digital Advertising at a publishing company while taking courses on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Studying part-time is hard and stressful, and demands time management. Athena had to put a lot aside. Her swimming career was the first, and she gradually surrendered social life to homework. But the program has its advantages – “When you learn something useful, you can apply it at work literally the next day.”
What Athena likes the most about the FEMBA program at Anderson is the opportunity to meet a very diverse group of people. There are people who own a brewery, manufacture tortillas, started a new entertainment company for kids, and practice at a family dentistry. In addition, unlike the full-time MBA program where people quit their jobs to attend school, FEMBA students get to network in a less competitive atmosphere, as often times fellow classmates are already employees of the companies others want to work at.
However, Athena felt that she shouldn’t be confined to Anderson. She wants to get to know students from other majors on campus, and as an attempt to do so, applied and got accepted to the International Grad Student Association’s “Graduate Family” program at UCLA. As a first-year, there is still a lot for her to explore, and she hopes to be able to experience all of what UCLA and Los Angeles have to offer.