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Scholar Highlights For Week Ending June 7, 2014

June 12, 2014
stranjae scenery

Cordoba (Photo Credit: Stranjae’ Ivory)

Stranjae’ Ivory

Since the beginning of this week involved us attending receptions, introductions to the school and our research mentors, my full work day in the lab began on Tuesday. This week I made sure to take copious notes in my lab book provided by the program about every step of the experiments and always asking questions when unsure. So far, I have successfully made methylated and un-methylated bisulfite DNA samples, introduced primers into samples, loaded PCR plates, ran PCR experiments, performed Gel Electrophoresis, and analyzed data from both PCR and Gel Electrophoresis results. I have mastered the art of pipetting samples in microliters; making sure to pay close attention to labeling and changing out the tip when necessary to avoid contamination.

Stranjae' Ivory in lab

Stranjae’ Ivory in Cordoba lab

Brianna Burlock

Overall, in just one week, I have had my share of emotions. At times, I was excited and other times I was lonely. But in the end, I am very grateful for this opportunity because it forces me out of my comfort zone so that I can grow in many of the areas in my life. This has been a week of laughs and crying, but nothing can compare to such an experience. I am looking forward to what the next seven weeks bring. Challenge accepted!

Blair Johnson

One strange difference from the United States that I have noticed in Europe is that schools with large groups of children often take trips using public transportation. Normally in the United States, if a class in any grade K-12 took a field trip of some sort they would have a school bus or some predestined means of transportation just for the supervisors and the kids. This shows how safe the Germans deem their transportation system.

Lindsay Stanford

Yesterday, one of the members in the lab invited us all out for an evening in the park. With great enthusiasm I accepted the invitation and headed to the park with the rest of the lab after work. To my surprise, heading to the park after work is actually very common here in Grenoble. The park was full of people and everyone was having so much fun. I felt amazing being invited out with the lab. It made me feel as if I belonged. Everyone was asking me questions about myself and where I am from. I cannot even express in words how great this made me feel. I was so shocked that they wanted to know more about me. By the end of the night, they invited me to present myself formally in a lab meeting. In this presentation I will be talking about myself as well as my current research project.

Niwa Coleman

Niwa lab selfie

Niwa lab selfie in Grenoble, France

 

I was pleasantly surprised with my living arrangements, and apartment was clean and new with all the basic amenities that I needed included internet via Ethernet. It actually reminded me of a studio apartment you would see off of the show HGTV House Hunters International! After unpacking and sleeping until 2:30pm the next day because of jet lag, I was able to explore the local area for the first time. While walking up the street I found the bus stop I need for work, a shop to buy a sim card for my French cell phone as well as a place to purchase pre-paid minutes. This felt like a huge accomplishment, given that I do not speak French and it was my first time exploring Grenoble.

Christina Pollonais

In terms of research, my partner Asia and I presented some of our previous research from our Geoscience class to the Natural Science department at UNITEC. We discussed Buffer Zones in Georgia and how we used the ArcGIS map program to calculate the LP of Dawson, Lumpkin and White counties. It was quite nerve wrecking at first because we truly wanted to ensure our presentation went perfectly and that we not only represented ourselves well, but also our institution, Spelman College. Nevertheless, we were successful and everyone seemed to enjoy our presentation. The room was filled with many eager questions and we engaged in quite intellectual conversations where we were able to compare the environment in New Zealand with that of Georgia and other parts of the US.

Erin Johnson

The fact that almost everyone in the research center was either bilingual or trilingual gave me a motive to really try and learn Spanish. It’s easy because everyone is so willing to help. When people ask where I am from, I say Atlanta and they laugh because they say it sounds like Indiana. Since a big part of science is communicating your results and most things are presented in English, the students in my lab are very interested in improving their English. We have seminars every day where someone from the research center updates everyone on their findings and they are required to speak in English.

Mekhakhem Kheperu

If I had stayed at some European luxurious campus, or somewhere with the facilities I am accustomed to, how would I know how the other 99% of the world lives? How could I even dream of bettering the conditions of the colored people of the world if I’d never spent time in the facilities the colored people of the world encounter everyday.

Faith Reid

One of the more subtle differences that I have noticed in the lab is the use of innovation. Although I have only worked in one lab outside of Cordoba and participated in a few laboratory classes, it seems to me that the approach to the use of scientific equipment is more creative here than in the U.S. My lab here has more advanced equipment than I have ever been exposed to before. However, that does not stop the students from modifying material to better fit their needs.

Faith Kirkland in lab

Faith Kirkland in Cordoba lab

 

Faith Kirkland

When I first arrived, I was surrounded by language that was not my own. Here in southern Spain, they speak quickly and with a strong accent. This made it hard to identify words and understand even a little of what was being said. My host mother knows very little English, so I was forced to immediately use the Spanish I knew and attempt to understand. Throughout this week, she has been my greatest teacher. She speaks slowly, uses simple words and is patient with me and corrects me as I try to express my thoughts and feelings. By the middle of the week, I was coming home to talk to my host mom for 30min about my day. My Spanish has improved a lot because of her.

Faith Kirkland & Maya

Faith Kirkland & Maya

Maya Bryant

This week I was asked to do an interview for the Cordoba newspaper! I was very happy and honored to represent my family, Spelman College, my country, and black women in general by being featured in the news for something positive. The interview was mainly about the Summer Research Program at the university and what Spanish life is like by an American’s perspective. This week my mentors let me do some calculations on the computer. Although it was a little tedious having to punch in numbers for hours, I appreciated doing something outside of the actual lab. I was a little intimidated to start this process, but once I began, I realized that I was well prepared for this from my experience in my lab classes at Spelman. Before this experience, I found the scientific process to be complicated and such a bother, but now that I’m doing research every day, it is finally starting to make sense.

Asia Mosee

New Zealand really embraces the Maroi culture. They hold on to their language and most of their traditions. Children are taught 3 languages in school, English, Maori and sign language. The staff at the university also gave us an official Maori welcome where they greeted us in their language and we had morning tea. They were very friendly. On Tuesday our research mentor wanted to give us a day to rest. We woke up, made breakfast and decided to take the bus to the city. We saw very tall buildings. One building was so tall people would bungee jump off of it. (Bungee jumping started in new Zealand) We also learned that there was a resort downtown where the producers of Avatar presented all of the technology they used to create the animations for the movie. We plan on visiting that exhibit sometime soon.

Ebone’ Monk

Dusk is the time when the wild monkeys, deer, and mongoose come out. I had taken some bananas from the hotel my family had been staying at thinking I might get hungry during the day and want to snack on a banana. Little did I know wild animals were lurking about! Mekha and I have our rooms next to each other and so we kept our doors open. I was sitting on the bed and Mekha was standing next to the wall, and in came…a…MONKEY!

 

Justice Johnson

My first week at the University of Cordoba has been successful. The other Spelman students, and I were greeted by our mentors. We were given a formal reception discussing the University and its importance. We also had a tour of the University of Cordoba so that we could know where everything was located. Additionally, we were given lab coats, a lab notebook, and a cell phone to make and receive calls in Spain. All these things were useful, and helpful as I began my first week of research.

Justice, Faith K, Stranjae', Faith R, Maya with the Universidad de Cordoba team

Justice, Faith K, Stranjae’, Faith R, Maya with the Universidad de Cordoba team

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