Bioengineering Blogs by BEGS

November 14th, 2022, marked the first day of the largest strike in all of U.S. higher education. Around 48,000 academic workers across all University of California campuses went on strike, including graduate student researchers represented by SRU-UAW; teaching assistants, tutors and readers represented by UAW 2865; and postdocs and academic researchers represented by UAW 5810. Workers were asking for increased pay, improved benefits, and better workplace rights and protections. The strike lasted for almost 6 weeks, ending on December 23, 2022.

The strike resulted in lots of significant wins for graduate students across all UC campuses... Read More
You’re at a bioengineering conference with approximately 100 eyes staring at you. They’ve poured refreshments for the audience, and you begin to explain the controlled, independent, and dependent variables of your experiment: the room starts to buzz with excitement.  Read More

stinky tofu: KSDT radio segment

By: Alyssa Chiang

One of the things I miss about pre-pandemic life is the KSDT radio booth, the fiercely independent campus radio station. A good majority of the students on campus have never stepped foot in that place, and I think that’s one of the things that makes it special. The people who frequent the place are quirky and interesting, filled with cool stories and experiences - and so willing to share all that. There was always music playing - and it was always different. Read More

Harry Potter and the Book of Superlatives

By: Anonymous Sea Sponge

In case you couldn’t tell from the title… this blog is gonna be about my oh so unoriginal holiday season binge- just under 20 hrs of me and some wizards tryna survive and thrive. Now before you get too excited (or potentially scared?) please note that I am in no way, shape, or form a true “Potterhead.” I’m like 90% sure I read all the books as a kid but honestly I really don’t remember them. So instead of trying to get my lazy ass to open not just one book but seven (yeesh) I just got cozy and began the binge. Read More

ZOOM ZOOM ZOOMing through San Diego

By: Karl Wessendorf

After nine months, most of us are experiencing serious Zoom fatigue. But today, I want to talk about a *ZOOM* that helps keep me active, helps me destress, and has given me a chance to see and experience San Diego county. Cycling has been an essential part of my post undergraduate experience. I was looking for ways to stay active that didn’t involve staring at a wall for an hour (indoor rowing machines become torture machines with enough practice). After rowing for four years, I did the sensible thing and decided to transition to a fun sport. Read More

Lotus Magazine: Pilot Issue Release

By: Alyssa Chiang

In the 2 months leading up to this, we made quite the push, with Alexis working a part-time gig with Mainly Mozart and teaching piano, and my pursuing a doctoral degree in bioengineering. But our mission was important to us. We had discussion after discussion on what would go into the magazine and what we wanted to avoid. “Gossip?” “No - that’s not who we are.” “I don’t want a bunch of fluff.” “Quality over quantity.” We even opened the floor to ideas from our families and friends. We were anxious about delivering something others would be able to relate to on a personal level, no matter who was reading it. After all, the magazine isn’t a project for our own benefits - it’s a project for the people we are bringing it to. It’s for those whose stories haven’t yet been heard. Read More

That Time I Infiltrated An Undergraduate Language Class

By: Joanna Zhang

I can’t remember the last time I took a class for fun. It must have been freshman year of high school when I enrolled myself in a creative writing camp much to my dad’s chagrin. After that, my schedule was always filled with required classes, or classes that I have to take to benefit me somehow in my academic journey. So when I finally finished my required PhD classes, I decided to actually take a class for no reason other than out of personal interest. Read More

Joanna's Virtual Campus Food Tour

By: Joanna Zhang

If you haven’t figured this out already, I love eating good food. So I was very happy when I realized there are actually some very good eats on campus. I’d been thinking about doing a review long before this blog came to existence, but everything was forgotten when the pandemic hit. Alas, I was once again reminded when I finally tried out Dirty Birds which just opened (more on this later), so join me on my food tour as I talk about all the spots that I’ve tried on campus.
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Lotus Magazine: A Passion Project

By: Alyssa Chiang

I’ve recently started a new passion project with my college roommate that I am incredibly excited to share. We’re launching Lotus Magazine, which is a zine by definition since we are self-publishing, and our intended purpose for it is to serve as a platform by and for self-identifying Asian-American womxn. That said, we want our readership to be diverse, so I encourage you to follow what we’re up to and the stories we put out, whether or not you identify - after all, the hope is to fight marginalization, not to perpetuate it. Read More

Local Natives: Notes from a concert-starved lady 

By: Alyssa Chiang

*queue Cafe Amarillo by Local Natives because sometimes blog posts need a soundtrack too* 

As the world around us continues to spiral beyond our control, we are left to keep searching for ways to stay sane. Among the plethora of novel quarantine “things to do”, something I was admittedly doubtful toward was virtual live concerts. I was a frequent concertgoer before the shutdowns, and I felt like virtually streaming them just wouldn’t be the same. I mean, there would be none of that tension before a concert as you’re waiting for the artist to appear on stage, the dank smell of sweat and weed around you, the encore hype at the end as you’re coaxing the artist back out for “one more song!”, the scramble to the front for a copy of the setlist from the stage where all that remains is the ghost of a performance that you only get to experience once in a lifetime before it recedes into memory. Read More

Mesa Housing: An Oldie but a Goodie

By: Tiffany Zhou

It is a common misconception that the Mesa grad housing and the Mesa Nueva grad housing are the same, since not only are the two communities located next to each other, but also people will often shorten “Mesa Nueva” to just “Mesa” when talking about it. But make no mistake; the two are actually very different! Read More

Midnight Sun: An Unfiltered Book Recap/Review (Part 1?)

By: Joanna Zhang

For those of you who are unaware, Stephanie Meyer recently dropped a new book called Midnight Sun. Who’s Stephanie Meyer, you ask? Well, only the author of the masterpiece that was the Twilight saga, detailing the intricate and compelling love story between a glittery vampire and a girl who has the emotional range of a rock. While Twilight was told from the perspective of Bella the rock, I will be reviewing Midnight Sun, which describes the events of Twilight from the perspective of Edward Cullen, the glittery vampire. In fact, not only will I be reviewing the book, I will also be providing short summaries of each chapter for those of you who can’t be bothered to read it (because honestly why would you), as well as my thoughts throughout the entire process. Read More

Perks of Living with a Dog

By: Josh Mesfin

So this is my roommate’s dog: Wilbur! He’s an almost 10 month old dachshund. He's a small boi, but very adorable and can fit in tight places. Read More

Traveling during Grad School: Exporting Josh’s Photo Reels

By: Josh Mesfin

Right as I graduated high school, I had a realization: I want to see more of the world. Part of me was excited to visit friends and family, but I was more excited at the prospects of exploring a new place and seeing what that new place could offer in terms of its culture.

Although I grew up in NYC, I felt weirdly unsatisfied with just getting to know one city, even though you might argue that NYC can probably give you everything you ever wanted (but I digress, I’m biased). Read More

Joanna's San Diego Ramen Tour

By: Joanna Zhang

I'm not going to lie, I was devastated when I realized I was moving away from Manhattan's ~ramen scene~. As someone who lives and breathes ramen, I thought I was never going to find another place that satisfies my ramen addictions like Ippudo or Totto. But thankfully, there are some really delicious ramen restaurants in San Diego, and today, I'm going to tell you all about the ones that top my list and ones that didn't quite live up to the hype for me. Read More

I'm An Imposter Just Like You

By: Josh Mesfin

Person 1: “Oh god, I’m so tired. I have to help my group finish this final project report in a couple of days, but I need to finish looking into a couple of different molecular targets for a meeting tomorrow.”
Person 2: “Oh dang, that sucks. I need to also grade these homeworks by the end of the week and start prepping slides for my lab meeting. I only slept 5 hours last night, but somehow I feel great.”
Person 3: “Rip, yeah my team is doing our project on computationally modeling the population of certain immune cells after being infected with the common cold and tracking how different strains affect those populations. We got the code running in one shot yesterday so all we need to do is just do the write up. Not sure if that’s enough to do well on the final project though so we were thinking of also modeling the flu as well.”
Me, internally: Fuck, I feel like I need to be doing more. Everyone’s doing so much more than me and I feel like I have so much less on my plate. I kinda gotta run some experiments later myself, but damn, maybe I should take on more responsibilities.
Me, externally: “Yeah, same. i got so much to do. I’m like running on 4 hours of sleep for the 3rd day in a row, got a bunch of meetings to attend and also run a couple of assays for the next 5 weeks. Read More

Questionable Words of Wisdom: How I Survived My First Year of PhD

By: Joanna Zhang

Now that I've wrapped up my first year and passed quals (which is why I've finally found the time to set-up this blog), I figured what's a better post to kick off my blogging career than some intense reflection of my first year?

I still remember how lost I felt a year and a half ago, trying to figure out how I was going to move all of my belongings and uproot my life from my dorm at Columbia all the way to San Diego. As someone who's used to living in this country by myself, the idea of leaving behind my friends to make a solo move across the country was still terrifying. But now, as I sit at my desk trying to wax some poetics about the past year, I realized that with the help of many people, I can finally call San Diego home (don't get me wrong though, Manhattan still has a special place in my heart). Read More

Welcome to bBlogs!

By: Joanna Zhang, Josh Mesfin

Hi everyone! Welcome to the bBlogs, the Bioengineering Blogs by BEGS. This is a site dedicated to showcasing what it's like to be a Bioengineering graduate student at UC San Diego. The inaugural bloggers will be blogging consistently about their experiences, likes, dislikes, and overall feelings to help get a sense of what grad school is generally like. Read More

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