Fool Me Twice

Julie Jester (BS ’14) wanted to make Caltech history—specifically the history of Caltech pranks. As president of the Prank Club, the electrical engineering major knew she had a tradition to uphold. Caltech undergraduates have been devising elaborate and inventive goofs for decades upon decades.

Adding a new chapter to this history took hard work, collaboration, and engineering knowhow. But Jester (yes, that is her real name) and her partners-in-mirth pulled off two major pranks in 2014. One was a tribute to a couple of classics deftly executed in 1961 and 1987. The other revived the mischievous tit-for-tat between Techers and their counterparts across the country at MIT.

Jester—now a spacecraft electronics engineer at JPL and a donor to the Caltech Fund—reflects on the tradition, explains some engineering that went into a headline-grabbing gag, and talks about how the prank is just one of many ways Caltech people dedicate themselves to “doing things that are just one step before impossible.”

Giving Priorities