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Scholar Highlights for Week Ending July 11, 2014

July 16, 2014
Moriah, Kayla D., and Kayla E. in Scotland

Moriah, Kayla D., and Kayla E. in Scotland

Kayla Davie

I can hardly believe this weekend will make it a month that I have been here. I still remember being nervous before getting on the plane and now I am more than half way through my trip. I really miss home but I am already getting sad to leave having to start thinking about souvenirs. Today my professor invited me, Moriah, and Kayla Echols to his home for a dinner the last Sunday we are here. His wife used to work with Dr. Bozeman and I am excited to get to know her better. I am so grateful for the invitation but it saddens me that we are already having farewell dinners. Our presentations are the Wednesday before we leave and our paper is due that Friday so everyone has been working hard at getting everything done in time.

Kayla Echols

When reading how Morandi classifies the 17 wallpaper types, it was necessary that I become familiar with short exact sequences and learn what it means for them to be split or non-split. This gave me a chance to use a lot of information that I have learned in my algebra classes. I noticed that when you look at short exact sequences of the wallpaper groups, only those with glide reflections are not split. This is an interesting fact that I was not looking for, but lead to the conclusion that there is a relationship between subgroups and whether their short exact sequences are split or non-split based on a larger group. This is yet another example of how you can’t always have a set goal to accomplish in research. I know that, at least in my case, studying a subject with no concrete goal in mind can lead to discoveries that you never even thought about exploring. I will miss Gwyn, but he has left me with another key point to write about in my paper.

Meigan Bryant

Meigan in South Africa

Meigan in South Africa

This weekend, I participated in a homestay where I lived in Tambo village with a local family. What I noticed while there were that the poverty levels of the families within the township varied greatly. My family was considered “ middle class” while next-door; families lived in thin shacks with no running water. While at the homestay I was able to attend a local family party and talk to some elders within the community. Although distance wise are far away from each other, I felt right at home with the local families. This experience truly helped me to understand that while our languages may vary the value of family within the African and African American communities is the same.

Stranjae’ Ivory

Last week and weekend I ventured to Madrid and Barcelona. Another G-STEM student and I got a head start on our travels to Barcelona by leaving a day earlier to enjoy the night in Madrid. I looked forward to the idea of being in Barcelona. Every little girl that was a fan of Disney’s Cheetah Girls movie dreams of visiting this part of Spain. We visited Madrid hours before the city’s huge Gay Pride Celebration weekend. People were everywhere! Thankfully, there was another G-STEM student in Madrid so we stayed with her for a few hours before traveling to Barcelona. I met many people from England, France, Germany, America, and Africa while enjoying Madrid’s night life. Until visiting Madrid, I never heard so many English conversations while walking the streets since living in Spain.

Moriah Wallace

My project, ‘Statistics with the human face’, started off with the simple, but tedious task of landmarking the face. Ten different people with braces had their picture taken by a 3D camera. The patient then came back to take a second picture after the braces were removed. Once the faces were in the computer, I transferred the faces between faces with color to a solid brown mesh of a face where only the curves of the face could be seen. Landmarking consists of marking 25 anatomical points on a face in order. Everyone who was landmarked had corresponding points. After the faces were landmarked, they were put into a programming language called R. In R, a wide variety of statistical modeling and graphing techniques are provided. This program is highly extensible and not easy to work in. An analysis method called Procrustes analysis was used to match the landmarking points on the upper part of both the pre and post faces so that the movement and change in mouth shape could be seen.

Brianna in Granada lab

Brianna in Granada lab

Brianna Burlock

I went to a dance show at the Alhambra with my mentors Jaime and Mercedes. It was mostly flamenco with a touch of ballet. The dancers were wonderful and even though it was my first flamenco performance, I could tell that the dancers were extremely talented. They incorporated theatrics and a live band to accompany the dance which made the performance really top notch! The performance was generally easy to follow although it was all in Spanish. Some Spanish history was incorporated within the performance that kind of went over my head, but ultimately I realized how important Spanish culture and history is to them. In everything they do, they incorporate something pertaining to their rich history.

Lindsay Stanford

This week marks 2 months since I have been in France. I honestly still cannot believe it. I have been living in a foreign country for 2 months! I remember in one of our GSTEM predeparture meetings we discussed the stages of culture shock and I can see myself going through each one of them. When I first arrived I was so excited to be here and then I got frustrated because I could not figure out the bus system and everything was so different. Then I got very homesick talking to my family every day. Now, although I am still a little homesick I am really accepting France as a “Home away from home.” I have met so many friends from all over the world and my fellow interns are just amazing. I honestly believe that I am having the best summer experience ever! Words cannot express how thankful I am for getting into this program and being funded by GSTEM.

Christeva Smith

Christeva in South Africa

Christeva in South Africa

The third day we participated in the Health Promoters program and we visited the Mfuleni township and fellowshipped with the women of a support group called Shine. These women were so inviting and loving. This helped to shape this third day of health promotion as my favorite experience thus far in South Africa. We sang, prayed and danced with them. It was so simple but yet so fun. After the prayer session we gave a presentation on breast cancer to which they were a very active audience. They really were interested in the information that we were presenting and we could feel that our presence was appreciated. After a very lengthy photo session we departed the Mfuleni townships with bright smiles across all of our faces. This was the welcoming African experience that we all searching for.

Niwa Coleman

Within my next few weeks here I hope to accomplish all of the goals that I set for myself. I feel that I have grown as an individual here and I hope that I will continue to have opportunities and experiences that will help better define me as an individual. There have been some tough weeks in Grenoble, but I have to say that through it all I have always “Found a way, Or made one”.

Brezana Cross

As far as my research goes it is progressing I think. One of our mentors on site told us to have a research proposal and annotated bibliography finished before Friday of next week and that is what I have been busy doing, as well as formatting my questionnaire for my study on the knowledge, attitudes and stigmas surrounding HIV. I have been in constant contact with Dr. Maloney and the mentor here and right now I am working on an IRB and finalizing my proposal. I am getting pretty excited to see the results. Also Dr. Maloney asked Dr. Wade to review my questionnaire and give me feedback and that was a huge help. I am thankful for that.

Alexis in South Africa

Alexis in South Africa

Alexis Sykes

The Retreat community is a both a drug and gang infested community with little income and congested housing that the people really do not feel safe in. This site is much like the communities I am conducting my research in because my question compares the health of children in formal and informal areas. It was very hard to stomach all the injuries and sick patients who had progressed so far to where the goal was just reduce the pain before death because the people do not seek healthcare until it is too late. I have so much respect for the doctors and nurses that choose to work in the poor areas because they could work in a state of the art private hospital where the patients have the money to pay them what they deserve and have the knowledge to come in to be treated as soon as something goes wrong but instead they rather help those who need them most.

Erin Johnson

What a hectic week! The majority of my time has been spent in the lab working ten hours a day! It doesnt seem that long because I am always busy doing something. By the time I get home, I’m exhausted. Everyday I extract DNA from my plants, prepare a PCR, run the gel, and review the results, which will determine tomorrow’s schedule. I love being in the lab. My labmates are great, my mentors very helpful, and I am learning something new everyday.

Outside of the lab, I am continuing to enjoy myself in Spain. This weekend, the girls from Cordoba, Granada, and I took a trip to Barcelona. We had so much fun! It was the Fourth of July when we arrived and the first thing we did was head to Hard Rock Café to enjoy a good ole’ American burger in celebration of the holiday. Our hotel was not too far from the main attractions and very close to the beach. We had a pool on the roof top and an incredible view of the city.

Ebone Monk

This week I did my rotations at the Douglass Murray “home for the aged” and the Retreat Public Hospital. I was at each facility for two days. To begin, my first day at Douglass Murray consisted of an orientation where the head nurse, Sister Alexander, introduced us to the staff, gave us a tour of the building, and told us about some of the patients. Although the day was rather slow as we just sat and listened to various people talk, I enjoyed my time there because I could see the love that the staff has for their job and the people that they work with every day. Furthermore, I appreciated engaging in their custom of “tea time” in which we had to take a break for tea and treats like cookies or sweet bread. Although it isn’t the norm to take a break like this in America I like how the people here in South Africa value their time for rest and relaxation.

Ebone and Mekha in India

Ebone and Mekha in India

Mekhakhem Kheperu

Independence day brought little joy from me. Probably because I grew up learning that the African Americans of this country were not actually free yet. However, this weekend I did celebrate my own personal independence. It struck me that I was literally thousands of miles away from home and I had figured almost everything out myself: how to get my passport, what a visa was, I’ve taken care of lost luggage, encounters with snakes and scorpions… I felt enabled, and like I was learning to be independent in the sense of not being afraid to take a leap by myself.

Faith Reid

Faith K., Faith R., May, and Alexandria

Faith K., Faith R., May, and Alexandria

It’s funny how you can learn to be cautious and adventurous at the same time. I feel like before my experiences here I was definitely overly cautious about most things in life from riding the Marta to learning to drive a car. I often worried about the unforeseen experiences that could occur in most things I did. Now, having completed my second weekend excursion of the summer, I feel like I am more adventurous than I used to be. Travelling to Morocco a couple weeks ago and Barcelona last weekend have made me understand that there is a time for both sentiments. Being careful is always important, especially when travelling, because you do not what to make yourself unnecessarily vulnerable to incidents like scams and purse snatching. But, it is equally important to be outgoing and adventurous.

Faith Kirkland

The next day we went on a free tour offered by our hostel. It was a tour of the architecture throughout the city by and architect named Gaudi. First we went to some amazing extravagant houses he built for rich families. They were very unique and grand. After visiting the houses we went to his last piece of work called Sagrada Familia. This is a HUGE cathedral that is still being built today (over 100 years after he started it). It is the main attraction in Barcelona and I had seen some pictures of it but had no idea about it and how amazing and beautiful it is. It was built as a project to bring people back to their faith in that time. The whole thing is supposed to be finished in 2025. During warfare, some men intentionally burned Gaudi’s plans for the cathedral so now they don’t know exactly what to do for every part. Gaudi also designed an amazing park called Park Guell.

Maya Bryant

Wow! Time really does fly when you are having fun. I can’t believe that next Thursday I’ll be back in the United States. Where did all of the time go? This weekend, I’ll be wrapping up my voyage in the beautiful Paris, France, but anyway let me tell you about my week. While the others went to Barcelona to celebrate Independence Day, I opted to stay here in Cordoba to gather up some souvenirs and handle other business for my last weekend here.

This week in the lab I have officially completed the experimental part of my course here at the University of Cordoba, so I’m starting to analyze my results from the experiment. It is a little difficult for me to completely wrap my head around the science of my experiment because it is centered around biochemistry, which isn’t my major. Although some may find this as a challenge, I think it’s a good thing because it expands my knowledge in areas of science I’m not fully comfortable with and prepares me for the courses I take in the future.

Justice Johnson

Once arriving to Barcelona on the fourth, and getting settled in to our hotel, the other Spelman girls and I decided to go to Hard Rock Cafe. We heard from people that a lot of Americans went there for the fourth of July, and we all wanted to celebrate Independence Day away from home. After a month of not eating American food, I really enjoyed Hard Rock, and the atmosphere of all the American flags, and red white and blue that surrounded us gave us a taste of America for the day. The rest of our trip in Barcelona was amazing. By just walking around the city, I was provided with a tour. Barcelona is rich in their culture, and architecture. It was incredible to simply observe and intake everything that surrounded me. The next day we decided to go to the beach. The Barceloneta beach was a big touristy area. We all decided to rent a boat that we could drive. It was unreal being on this boat; we truly had the time of our life in the middle of Mediterranean Sea. We all took turns navigating. Barcelona was the best trip I’ve had thus far. I absolutely love exploring, traveling, and observing a new culture. I wish the trip was longer than two days, as Barcelona is so big that there is not enough time to do and see everything.

Jade, Christeva, and Keira in South Africa

Jade, Christeva, and Keira in South Africa

Keira Williams

This week I did my rotations at the Douglass Murray “home for the aged” and the Retreat Public Hospital. I was at each facility for two days. To begin, my first day at Douglass Murray consisted of an orientation where the head nurse, Sister Alexander, introduced us to the staff, gave us a tour of the building, and told us about some of the patients. Although the day was rather slow as we just sat and listened to various people talk, I enjoyed my time there because I could see the love that the staff has for their job and the people that they work with every day. Furthermore, I appreciated engaging in their custom of “tea time” in which we had to take a break for tea and treats like cookies or sweet bread. Although it isn’t the norm to take a break like this in America I like how the people here in South Africa value their time for rest and relaxation.

Jade Warfield

This weekend we went on our homestay, which was by far the best experience; it truly allowed me to submerse myself into the culture. Our housemother was Mama M, and her house was great! She made us a great home cooked meal, and we went right to sleep! Then today we went to Khanyisha community church, which was also really great, they were very welcoming of us it was very nice to have my faith. After church went to a place called Mzoli’s, which is like a place where they have great braai (barbeque). It was a very nice and lively place, and they played really cool music. All and all this week was very interesting!

Bianca Campbell

This past weekend I was in a Homestay in a nearby township called Gugulethu. While in Gugulethu I stayed two days and one night with a family of 20 in their home. It was a humbling experience because the family truly displayed the importance of family and to be appreciative of what you do have and not to focus on what you do not have. During this time I did not have access to wifi or anyway to contact my family members. This experience was different for me because I use my phone and internet on a regular basis. The family consisted of the man of the house, the woman of the house, her nine daughters, and 10 grandchildren. I have gained twenty new family members and have learned so much from them and they learned a lot about me as well in such a short amount of time.


Asia and Christina in New Zealand

Asia and Christina in New Zealand

Asia Mosee

The species that I am mostly focusing on is the red-eared slider, which is a turtle native to the southern United States and Mexico. It more specifically originated around the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. It started out becoming a very popular pet within the United States after the mutant ninja turtle became a popular television show series. Once the turtle became popular within the pet industry it began to travel to places like Australia, Europe, South Africa, the Caribbean, Israel, Bahrain Mariana Islands, Guam, and as far as East Asia. Because they are found in Australia they pose a huge threat to New Zealand. They typically inhabit places of calm still water such as ponds, lakes, swamps creeks streams or slow flowing rivers. They are cold blooded creatures so they prefer a warm climate where they can alternate between the water and sun bathing. During the winter, instead of hibernating, these reptiles actually bromate. So in other words, they become inactive and do not eat until it gets warmer.

Christina Pollonais

To end off our week we took a flight to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. It was so different here. Wellington felt like the place I dreamed of New Zealand’s city life to be. It was so Europeanized. I felt as though I was walking the streets of Great Britain. The people weren’t as friendly, there were more shops, more buildings and it wasn’t as scenic as Auckland. The culture wasn’t as diverse as Auckland. This atmosphere is more geared towards the business and politics of New Zealand. Nonetheless, while in Wellington we took a tour discussing the way Lord of the Rings and other well-known films which were shot or produced in New Zealand. This was quite interesting. I was so astonished to find out that many of the #1 movies we Americans all loved and thought were just American made were actually the works of the production company known as WETA in New Zealand. These include: Avatar, the new movie releasing this month known as the Hercules, Jurassic Park, The adventures of Tintin and the list could go on.

Blair Johnson

This past weekend I spent time in Prague, Czech Republic. I severely underestimated the beauty of this city. Prague was absolutely breathtaking. It was a very quaint city but still had the upbeat momentum of a city like Atlanta. I took a tour that showed us a couple of the traditional Prague sites such as the Old Town Square & Astronomical Clock, Charles Bridge, House of the Black Madonna & Museum of Cubism, the Prague Castle, Rudolfinum – Czech Philharmonic, Spanish Synagogue, St. Nicolas’ Church, Old Jewish Quarter, WWII – Prague Uprising and the notorious statue of Jan Hus. I realized that those living in Prague are much more into fashion and dressing up when going out compared to the Hipster city of Berlin where people love to dress in a grungy fashion.

Alexandria in England

Alexandria in England

Alexandria Sutton

This week has been the most exciting in the lab yet! The weekend before lab, on Saturday, I spent the better part of the day preparing for lab on Monday and the new procedures that I would be doing. I did this by reading over the procedures for cloning DNA repeatedly in order to be prepared for doing the procedure on Monday. On Sunday, I attended the London International Church of Christ, which was a very diverse church with a very enjoyable service. After that we went walking around near the water of the Thames and the millennium bridge. It was a very nice day, and a lot of people asked us for directions. I think many people thought we were from there, which means I appear to have adjusted to life in England well!




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