This week is my last week in Glasgow Scotland. The feeling is very bitter sweet. I am really excited to go home but I am really going to miss it here. This week was very stressful because this was the week when our final projects were due. I had to present my research Wednesday 27th which was my birthday. That day we listened to presentations from 9:30 all the way to 4:00pm. I was really nervous to present my project but everything turned out well. My research was basically on Viruses and Bacteria in Freshwater environments. I was able to find many pathogenic bacteria in the water sources in Scotland. They were found In The River Kelvin, Loch Ness, Kelvin Grove fountain and Jenny Pond. One of the bacteria’s that I found in the Kelvin River that was interesting was Chromobacterium violaceum. It is a gram-negative rod that is found in the soil and water of subtropical areas. What makes this bacterium interesting is that it produces a natural antibiotic known as violacein. Violacein may be useful for treatments of the Colon and also other types of Cancer.
Overall, I had an amazing experience here in Glasgow. I feel that I have grown in so many ways and learned so much. I have become more independent compared to when I am at home. Here I am responsible for everything I do. I had to cook, clean, and find transportation for myself. I hope that when I go home, I can keep this independent lifestyle up. I am truly blessed to be able to travel out the country. I know that everyone is not as blessed to have this opportunity.
Once I arrived in Paris, I was in complete awe. Paris was everything I imagined and more. The first thing we did once we arrived to Paris was check into our hotel. I was amazed when driving from the train station to our hotel. Everywhere I turned there was something exciting to see. The first site I saw with my eyes was the Eiffel tower. The view was breathtaking. I’ve always seen the Eiffel tower in movies and television but in person it was completely different. I also was able to see the Arc de Triomphe and the Notre-Dame Cathedral.One of the friends I made was nice enough to show us all the areas that were popular during the night. What shocked me the most about Paris was how diverse the people were. In a way, it reminded me of New York in a sense of how populated the area is and also how both cities are melting pots of different people.
The next day, we woke up early to tour all the city. We purchased a pass for the double decker bus called a “hop off hop on”. Essentially this bus took you to all the tourist areas in Paris. We sat on the top of the bus where we were able to see everything. There was also a tour guide who talked about the history of Paris. One of our stops was the Musee du Louvre. This landmark, which once was a fort and then a palace, is now the world’s largest art museum and many also regard it as the best. In the museum, they had the famous “Mona Lisa” paining. Hundreds of people were crowded around the picture and it was very hard to get a chance to view it. There were also other beautiful pictures and sculptures such as the Venus de Milo and Victory of Samothrace. After we finished with the museum we went back to the bus where we were able to see the Champs Elysées.
In my lab I found a very cool bacteria known as Chromobacterium violaceum. It produces a natural antibiotic called violacein, which may be useful for the treatment of colon and other cancers. I found this bacterium in the water sample retrieved from the Kelvin River. With this bacteria, I can test to see how it affects other bacteria I find. The other water samples I retrieved are from Lochness River, Kelvin Grove fountain and Kelvin duck pond. It was interesting to see the hundreds of bacteria that came from each water sample.
This weekend, I was able to go to the highland games. The highland games consist of running, cycling, wrestling, tug o war, tossing the caber, weight over the bar, throwing the hammer, ball and weight, and highland dancing. I did not know what majority of the games were, but they seemed very intense.
After the highland games, we went to a place called the Hill House. It was located on a hill in Helensburgh over looking the River Clyde. The Hill house is known to be Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s finest domestic creation. It showed a mix of Arts and craft, Scottish Baronial and Japanese architecture and design. Much of the house was restored to look exactly how it did in 1904, when its first residents moved in.
Overall, I am enjoying my stay in Glasgow Scotland. I am making some really good friends and I am learning a lot of techniques in the lab that I may need for the future. I hope for the remaining two weeks, I continue to grow as a person and to continue experiencing new things. I am so thankful for this opportunity.
Another exciting day I had in Scotland was this Thursday July 7th. My friends and I were able to attend the Beyoncé Concert. I was extremely shocked to see Beyoncé having such a strong fan base even in Scotland. It was held in Hampden Park in Glasgow. It only took us fifteen minutes from our apartment flats to the park. Beyoncé performed all her songs from her latest album Lemonade. She also played old songs from her previous albums such as “To the Left” and “Ring the alarm”. I was in awe at how powerful she was. What I thought was really breathtaking was her stopping her concert to acknowledge the lives lost in the United States. She asked the crowd for a moment of silence for the two men who recently died, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Also, her backdrop showed several names of different black lives that were lost to police brutality.
I was so thankful that she brought awareness to the people of Scotland. At that moment I was overwhelmed by several feelings. I was elated to be in a different country at a Beyoncé concert but I also felt discomfort knowing that being black in America is still seen as a crime to others. I was sad knowing that black people still have to fight for their freedom.
This week I was able to go on a tour to the highlands. Specifically, we toured Fort Augustus where Loch Ness Locke is located. While driving into the highlands, I was amazed by the beautiful scenery. There were mountains everywhere you turned. I was in awe to see people walking to go hike these huge mountains.
On the weekdays, I am in the lab from 9:30am to 5:00 pm. At first, it was very hard to adjust being in the lab that long but now I don’t mind it at all. I feel like I am gaining so much more from this experience, not only culturally but also academically as well. Some of the techniques that I do in the lab are very similar to what I learned in my microbiology class at Spelman. This research allows me to get more experience and also to become more confident in the different microbiology techniques. For an example, I am now very good at gram staining, PCR, and DNA purification. These are techniques that I did not quite master while in my class at Spelman. What I find the most interesting about my lab and research is being able to go to different water environments and take water samples. Once you plate different dilutions of your water sample onto a nutrient agar plate and incubate it, you will be able to see a wide variety of bacteria on your plate.
This week consisted of a lot of academic work, such as, research collection, taking our first exam, and presenting our research project to the class. But we also got the opportunity to learn about the culture of Barbados and how it was colonized. On Monday, we were able to visit the house that, the first US President, George Washington stayed in while his duration in the Barbados. His house has transformed into a museum where people can see how he lived and learn more about himself as an individual before he became the first president of the US. George Washington traveled to Barbados with his brother to assist with his brother’s sickness of having Tuberculous. It was advised that they come stay in Barbados because the air quality here would help his brother heal more efficiently.
In regards to our research, we are basically complete and in the process of defining our results. This week we conducted a variety of data evaluations to see where exactly we were in our research. We evaluated the total duration of observation on each of our individual subjects of adult female monkeys and compared it to our measuring behaviors. We did so in order to gather an idea of not only where we were at in regards to answering our research question but also to identify what subjects needed to be further observed so that each monkey was observed for an equal amount of time. This simply makes our data more reliable, having an equal amount of observation time makes for accurate distribution of range of behavior. Other test such as independent sample t-test calculated just how significant overall our findings may be to this area of research. Given that we are measuring affiliative, agonistic and stress-related behaviors we organized the test likewise and although there is not yet any significant test results, agonistic behaviors have the best chance of being so.
Monday June 20th was my official first day attending the University Of Glasgow. That morning we had orientation where I met other American students who attended UCLA. At orientation they gave us tips on how to live in Scotland, and how to pronounce certain words. After orientation I was able to meet my research professor Dr. Sonya Taylor. She was very friendly and gave us a brief introduction of the research we would be doing for the next six weeks. After the introduction we were able to leave.
Tuesday June 21st was when I actually got to work in the lab. We instantly got to work. The first thing we did was get samples of different water around the area. I was able to get samples from Kelvin River and also a water fountain in Kelvin Grove Park. Once I got my samples, I went back into the lab and started to make different dilutions from my water samples. I put the different dilutions of my water sample in nutrient agar to see what bacteria would be found.
This week was pretty eventful! We officially began collecting data and observations for our research project. On Monday, we were able to learn about the sea turtle project in Barbados and watch sea turtles lay their eggs deep in the sand and then go back to the ocean. Sea turtles are critically endangered species and need the sea and land in order to live. They need the sea to forage for food and reproduce and need land to harvest and lay their eggs inside the sand on the shore. Due to industrialization and constant tourism in Barbados, this species is suffering from high levels of pollution and distraction. When a female sea turtle lays her eggs in the sand, she makes sure that it is on a slope for her offspring hatch out of their eggs and slide down the hill towards the ocean. Heavy lighting is killing infant sea turtles because they use light, which is reflected on the ocean from the moon, to direct themselves to the water. Because there is heavy lighting on the roads near the beaches, infant sea turtles are being directed to the streets instead which causes cars to run them over. It is a sad situation but thankfully the Barbados Sea Turtle Project is doing their best to save as many sea turtles are possible by patrolling the beaches 24/7 all year long.
Locally this past week, we visited Harrisons Cave. Harrisons Cave is a short underground expedition, which gave us educational insight to the world beneath us as well as how Barbados was formed. Barbados is not an island that sprung up as a result of volcanic reactions underneath the ocean but rather the buildup of sediment that hold decomposed dying hard-shell animals and coral reefs. Inside were underwater springs and pools of water, huge caves, stalactites that hung like glittering icicles. Definitley an awesome experience. We also learned about the local turtles that comes to nest on the island several times a year and had the experience one evening of protecting and watching a few turtles lay their eggs and return to the ocean. The process is about a half hour to an hour long.
My first day in Glasgow was extremely tiring but rewarding at the same time. Before my arrival to Glasgow, I was very nervous and hesitant on traveling. I was not comfortable with traveling by myself and I was very nervous about if I would make friends. However, all of these concerns left once I arrived to Glasgow. I was greeted by a driver, and about 5 other girls who were Arcadia students as well. Our hotel was not ready so we were told to take a look around the city and come back at 2:30pm. At that time it was only 8:30 am. When touring the city I immediately realized the weather was completely different from Atlanta Georgia. The weather outside was very grey and cold. The rain was sporadic and would rain softly for five minutes then stop. As we toured parts of the city I was pleasantly surprised on how modern and trendy everything was. I imagined seeing people in traditional clothing in valleys and mountains. This was not the case at all. Most men and women were vey fashionable. Glasgow had a lot of clothing stores that I would have never thought would be there. I also noticed the city was very lively. There were people dancing and singing.