It’s no secret that UC Berkeley’s student body is comprised of a plethora of people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Being around so many people of so many different cultures is a unique and thrilling experience that I certainly never had in high school. That said, after enrolling as a student at Cal and seeing all the amazing opportunities to engage in cultural exploration, I decided to take a leap of faith and join the Pilipino American Alliance’s production of the 40th annual Pilipino Cultural Night.
Earlier this week, I attended the Star Party with Professor Filippenko, hosted by the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholars Association’s Faculty Committee. In a span of one and a half hours, we got to gaze at stars, planets, and nebula, and talk about fascinating stuff! A large, high-power telescope was focused on the Orion Nebula, and we could see four bright dots in a diamond shape clustered in the center of the bluish cloud of gas and dust, adjacent to Orion’s belt. Professor Filippenko mentioned that it takes a million years for the stars to form out of the particles in the nebula, and each of the bright dots we saw formed at different points in time.
UC Berkeley faculty are amazing. Not only are they world-renowned scholars, literary geniuses, and creative innovators, they also have incredible heart and enthusiasm for their students, teaching, and research. Whether in class, during office hours, at faculty-student events, or even around campus, interacting with UC Berkeley professors is a vibrant, memorable experience.
Although it’s been a year and a half since I’ve taken Chem 3B with Professor Pedersen, I still remember how he made organic chemistry seem practical and pertinent to everyday life with his “molecule of the day” examples, and how he inspired us with a clip from Pocahontas on the final day of class and told us we could change the world. I remember eating dinner with Professor Schekman my freshman year (two years before he won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine) in the Foothill dining commons and asking him what he found intriguing about biology. I also remember my excitement when learning about the longitudinal studies on facial expressions and positive emotionality in Psych 156 (Psychology of Human Emotion) with Professor Keltner.