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Scholar Highlights for Week Ending July 17, 2015

July 23, 2015
Shelley in England lab

Shelley in lab in England

Shelley Cobb

Upon arriving in Amsterdam, I experienced a complete culture shock, more so than when I arrived in London. I believe the reason for this was the language barrier. In London, English is the predominant language which allows me to feel more comfortable in becoming adjusted to the new surroundings whereas in Amsterdam everything is in Dutch, their native language. The first challenge I encountered involving the language was determining the correct route on the public transportation system. All of the maps were in Dutch, so I and Ebony, who travelled with me, had to put our ideas together and discover how to decrypt the map. It took us many tries and a long time to finally figure out how to get to our destination because unlike London, there were not people manning the stations to whom we could ask questions.

Sanura Dewa

This week I embarked on a journey to Africa to explore Marrakech, Morocco. We found a place in the square where we were able to get food which consisted of kebobs and salad and it was very good, after we were done we bought bottled water to take back with us back to the hostel where we turned in for the night. The next day I had a tour scheduled to take me to Cascade D’Ouzoud which are the second largest waterfalls in Africa and they are about two and half hours outside of Marrakech. When the ride was over we were in a Berber village and met by our tour guide that would lead us to the falls. Our guide was a native to this village but he was able to speak English and Spanish very well and he was also very knowledgeable about all the places we visited on our way to our final destination. We had to hike for about an hour to get there and when we arrived the sight was amazing and so peaceful; we were able to swim in the water which was needed after the long hike in the 104 degree Moroccan weather. After we swam for a couple of hours we had lunch at a restaurant that had a great view of the falls and then we moved on to complete the tour where we were able to see monkeys and buy authentic Moroccan argon oil. I really enjoyed the tour and I am glad that I decided to do it.

Sanura, Jessica, and Sky in Spain

Sanura, Jessica, and Sky in Spain

Jessica Sainyo

I mean these past weeks have been not only eventful, but a lesson. I honestly am getting “Homesick” if you want to call it that, I think I am more so just missing food, things I am familiar with like waking up on the US time, and English. I mean not many can say that they have been to Spain, Africa, Germany, and Amsterdam in a span of two months. I am even shocked that I got to go to these different countries in a span of two months and learn so much from not only the culture, but the mindset of others.

 Nacarri Murphy

Home life is also going good as well. The time that I spend with my Spanish host family is truly special. This weekend was my Spanish Mother’s 60th birthday so all of her children surprised her by renting a beautiful villa in the mountains of Priego de Córdoba for the whole family to share for three days. I felt so welcome like I was a new addition to the family. For example, as we celebrated, they embraced me including me in every activity from family lunch to sneaking to swim in the pool when all the adults were asleep at wee hours in the morning to sharing stories as we gaze into the stars at the darkest part of the night. Being here in Córdoba, I have learned so much about enjoying life, the importance of family, and how to love others. One day I hope to have a family of my own as grand as the one that my Spanish family has shared with me.

Javonna Williams

Javonna in Scotland

Javonna in Scotland

Back to what’s going on here in Glasgow, last week I mentioned that the University was providing a trip to the Isle of Arran that Saturday. The trip was okay, there was not much to do on the island, but we did get a chance to tour the castle, cheese shop, and brewery while there. However, it was super cold, but the nice chocolates from the chocolate shop made up for the weather.  That Sunday, I decided to take a day and relax and start working on my research paper that is due at the end of this program. So I started on my introduction and my research mentor gave wonderful feedback, and was extremely helpful with giving ideas on how to tackle the few issues in the introduction.

Courtney Lett

In just two weeks will be my last day in France, and the summer seemed to have flew by. The lab has been extremely empty all week with most people on holiday. All of the coding work of my program is completely finished. It works in the capacity that it’s supposed to. This week I created a feature in which the program creates its own original ppm image to segment. It was a fairly simple process but I’m glad I was able to do it. This research has improved my coding skills tremendously. The program creates a 100 x 100 ppm file with simple textures. The textures are varying orientations of stripes but the program recognizes one set of stripes to be unique from another. I’ll be testing different colors and orientations next week in addition to adding the results to my paper.

Ebone in Scotland

Ebone in Scotland

Ebony Monk

I stayed at this cute little hostel, and shared a room with four other people. It was interesting, and really fun. They are from Singapore, and we went around taking silly pictures. Everywhere we went we would take these jumping pictures, it was so funny. I ate fish and chips so many times. Next weekend, I think I’ll go on a trip called the “Harry Potter Castle & Bamburgh Day Trip”. I haven’t seen Harry Potter, but it sounds cool. Going to the Harry Potter Castle– famously known as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! Also visiting Bamburgh to see the great views of the Bamburgh Beach and Bamburgh Castle on the North Sea.

Victoria Doctor

It is the halfway mark of my adventures here in Glasgow, Scotland. I am surprised at how much I have learned about myself in a matter of three weeks. Last weekend was by far the best time I had while studying abroad. In Glasgow, they have a transit system called the Subway; it is similar to Atlanta’s Marta but the Subway is a giant underground train that travels around the city in a circle. Therefore if you miss your stop one can just stay on the train until the stop comes back around.

Prenessa Lowery

Prenessa in Scotland

Prenessa in Scotland

As I sit here and stare at the computer screen patiently waiting for my mind to speak to my fingers, another thirty minutes pass and I still have nothing on the screen. I start to think about what I have learned coming to Glasgow, Scotland. Just four weeks ago, I decided to take this journey and fly across the world to spend six weeks in Glasgow. I will admit that in these past four weeks, I have accomplished so much getting the chance to see culture first hand, and how amazingly different it is from America. While here, I have had encounters with the fellow Scottish people and tried to pick up an accent. Each day, I faced the unexpected weather and never knew what to wear. No matter what the weather forecast says, I will make sure to pack mycoat and umbrella. I also learned and tried famous Scottish dishes. The most popular dish is Haggis, a savory pudding containing sheep’s pluck minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt mixed with stock. I wish I did not know what it was before I tasted it. It was not for me, but I believe people have their own taste buds. As I my time starts to come to an end, I really do appreciate this journey. At the beginning, I was skeptical about coming here. I thought, “What is it really to do in Scotland?” I only knew about Harry Potter and kilts. Coming here and seeing things, I take that back. Each day as I walk to the University of Glasgow, I walk through the Botanic Gardens. I walk the same trail each day, but I see something new each time. Just walking everywhere opens your mind up to peace and the ability to see the amazing city around you.

Asia Payne

My trip to Morocco was one of the most impactful trips I have been on thus far. I believe that I will definitely remember Morocco for many reasons. One reason, it was my first experience in Africa. It has been my dream to go to Africa ever since I was a child as I am of African descent. It was such an overwhelmingly heartwarming moment when my plan touched down, my passport stamped, and I walked onto African soil. The next reason is that culturally, Morocco exposed me to a society that was completely obtuse to my present culture. What made the experience even more worthwhile was that I was able to experience Morocco during Ramadan. Through the clay and brown stone covered pathways, there was a huge open clearing where a big celebration commenced every night during the break from fast. There were open food markets and people performing and dancing in the streets. The city would go from being calm and dark to lights everywhere. I also had a chance to visit this beautiful waterfall in the middle of the Berber Village. There were wild monkeys, fresh grapes, and mountains surrounding us.  I felt as if I could stay in that oasis forever.

Krista in Morocco

Krista in Morocco

Krista Montgomery

Another week has gone by and I am only two weeks away from returning to my normal life in Atlanta. I am excited and  anticipating my friends and family. Nothing major has gone on this week, but last weekend was quite interesting in Marrakech, Morocco. As I stated before I was extremely excited about going to Morocco but after returning I really don´t have much to say. Returning to the motherland was beautiful and I hope to go again son, but I would like to go more south and visit the coast like Ghana, or even Senegal.  I still have two trips planned to the Netherlands and London.

Akeela Lewis

This week in the lab, I transferred my plants that were in dishes to soil. I also ran a PCR to confirm that my wild type samples contained DNA. At this point I am working completely by myself without any supervision.  I will most likely be collecting data up until the day that I am scheduled to leave Spain. I have been asking a lot of questions lately so that I will not be completely lost when it is time for me to present my research.

This week I discovered the Dominican area of Madrid. On the surface it looked like just another shopping area but once you turn down a side street it is like a mini Dominican Republic. There were black hair stores and hair salons full of women getting blow outs. I was craving Dominican food so I went to La Casa del Mofongo. On my way to the restaurant I walked past a gym that was blasting  bachata. I instantly knew I was in the right area. The food was delicious and they even had fresh chinola  which is passion fruit juice.  I had arroz con pollo  which is rice and stew chicken.

Tahylor Tanner

For the next two days, our time in Marrakech was filled with exploration. On the first day we went on a tour to the Ouzoud Falls. This called for a two-hour drive and mountain climb to the Berber village where the waterfall was located. We took some time to enjoy a boat ride near the waterfall and swim in the water. Afterward we ate at a restaurant in the village. I ordered lamb tajine with the name coming from the pot, tajine, in which the food is cooked. It tasted amazing.

Akeela, Krista, Jaycee, and Tayhlor

Akeela, Krista, Jaycee, and Tayhlor

Jett Bagley

It’s almost time to leave. While I’m ready to leave this small island, I can’t believe how fast this month has gone. I’m going to miss my lab mates and friends. On the bright side, no matter where I go around the world after this summer, it’s likely I’ll have a friend not to far away. There are still many places to visit here. Because of the frequent typhoons, the weekend weather hasn’t been travel friendly for some time. I hope this upcoming weekend I can visit a friend of my sister’s. It’s amazing how small the world is, on the opposite side of it you can run into a family friend on a street corner.

Deleonne Clark

This is my first research experience and thus far it has been amazing. I have learned a tremendous amount about myself in these short weeks. For example, conducting research on my own is not favorable for me. I have so many questions, and I love picking the brains of people around me and having great theoretical conversations that I realized I do not like working alone. I also find it fascinating that with every answer if find there are at least three more questions I need answered. I like research and I am looking forward to future projects. I have also been thinking about careers as a mathematician. I find the idea of going to get my Ph. D very exciting and maybe even becoming a teacher. I have interacted with many students in pursuit of their Ph. D and I find it very inspiring. I have always had a plan. And for the first time since I began my journey at Spelman, I finally know what I want to do.

KayCei in Spain

KayCei in Spain

KayCei Moton- Melancon

My weeks are coming to a close in Madrid and based on the grunt work of my experiments being done I have had a great deal of time to reflect and analyze data. In regards to reflection and upon examining the National Science Foundation website, global experiences is to increase the number of students exposed to foreign affairs as well as provide exposure to scientific discoveries in countries outside of the United States. As a student I believe this purpose has been accomplished. Through my experience I was able to travel to a country I had never been before and learn a new different culture. This has allowed me to grow personally and feel re-invigorated for the course work ahead of me.

Jasmin Eatman

Dr S is the most amazing supervisor that I could have asked for. I am not very familiar with the tools that are used in neyropsuchology research and she has totally taken me under her wing in order for me to learn all there is to now about computational tools that are useful in statistical analysis. Not only do I plan to use these tools in future neuropsychology research, but I think that I will be able to really apply some of this knowledge in analyzing data from other academic disciplines. In fact, while I was learning some of the multiple regression computational techniques through SPSS, I thought how useful it would have been to be able to notice those sorts of trends and linear relationships during my molecular biology and genomics class, last semester. Instead of SPSS, in that class, we used R-Studio. I think that some things we used R-Studio for(linear graphs, finding R and p values, etc.) would have made more sense in SPSS and would have been able to tell us a bit more information about our data. There is nothing wrong with R-Studio, but now that I am beginning to get a better understanding of SPSS and all that it can do, I am wondering where it has been all of my life (or at least all of my undergraduate career, so far).

Micah Henson

Micah in Scotland

Micah in Scotland

This past weekend the University organized a day trip to the Isle of Arran. We had to take an hour train ride from Glasgow central station to the coast of Scotland. We then rode a ferry to the island. The island in itself is small, but very beautiful! We took a bus from the ferry to the first stop. Our first stop was Brodick castle. The last owner was Lady Mary. She died in the 1950’s. Though she has many heirs, she chose to leave the castle to the National Trust for Scotland so that I can be viewed by the public. The castle was used as a hunting lodge and summer home. The walls are covered with the heads of deer. It is very ornate. Each room is decorated meticulously. Even the ceilings are carved and painted with excruciating detail.

Martine Williams

My scientific experiences have finally made a breakthrough and I am beyond happy! We have finally been able to amplify some DNA to clone the proteins in Coli. Additionally, this week has also been better for me scientifically because I got even more understanding of my project. I know that there are two parts to my project: to clone my protein of choice in E. Coli and to map the Hepatitis C virus and sequence which nucleotides are involved in its interaction with proteins. But I never understood why were cloning the proteins when we wanted to map the genome’s interaction with the 40s subunit. But I finally found out why!



Jaycee Holmes

The weekend before Jun 13 2015 ten Selman G-STEM Scholars took a trip to Marrakech, Morocco. For many of us, it was our first venture onto the continent and we could not have been more excited! Our very being there was enough to make us shout. The whole adventure held a rhythm of excitement and affirmation that we were home.

We collectively stayed in a Riad, which is a traditionally styled Moroccan home identified by a central garden – typically four trees and a fountain – which the hole house revolves around. We were told that we were very fortunate to have found a Riad in such an easily accessible location in Marrakech, but as it was located in the back streets of the old city, I did not necessarily feel so lucky when trying to find the Riad when I arrived, late Friday night.

On the streets, in the souks, in the public eye we, the ten of us collectively, were the “Obama Sisters”.

Brean Derrett

This weekend I am going to London and I am so excited. I am going with another Spelman student, Jovanna. I have noticed that a lot of people here in Scotland travel a lot among cities and countries within Europe. It is very easy to get to various cities and there is pretty affordable accommodation within many major cities.  We are taking a train and it should not take much more than 4 hours to get there. I am ready for London’s warmer weather because it has been very cold and rainy in Scotland, especially this whole week. I want to do the traditional tourist activities, like see Big Ben, the London Bridge and go to museums, but I hope that Jovanna and I will be able to find something different and unusual to do.

Brean and Javonna in Scotland

Brean and Javonna in Scotland

Ebony Gaillard

A highlight of my Amsterdam trip was visiting the Anne Frank House, the place where Anne along with her family and the Van Pels were in hiding in the Secret Annex from years 1942 to 1944.  It was hard listening to different accounts of Anne’s experience in hiding, like never being able to go outside and keeping the blinds drawn during the day time.  While all of this turmoil was going on around her, she was able to rationalize it at such a young age and beautifully express herself through her diary entries and short stories.  Actually visiting the historical site put key events of the genocide of Jews into perspective.  I remember reading excerpts of her diary in elementary school literacy lessons and being able to actually walk in the environment she was in was remarkable.  I enjoyed listening and learning about what Anne hoped to do after she came out of hiding.  She wanted to become a famous writer and posthumously she was able to do that and more.  Her legacy will be known for generations to come and I hope to be back in the future.

Gabriela Atsepoyi

I’ve been in Costa Rica for almost a month now. A lot about this beautiful country has grown on me. The people in Monteverde are amazing and they all have this interesting cultural that I have yet to fully understand. Monteverde has a strong west coast vibe and the weather is always so perfect. I made it back from our strenuous 32 km (20 mile) hike. We rarely have much down time here and although I was so sore, the next day I had a proposal to submit.  Between finishing my proposal, walking to the center of sustainability for wifi and running errands with my host mom, my day flew by.

Chezlyn in London

Chezlyn in London

Chezlyn Patton

This will be my penultimate journal entry, and I am astounded at how quickly my time here has passed. I am really starting to get in to my project now, and it is an eye opener to how short 5 weeks really is. I have grown to learn so much about the research process and how much adjusting can take place. We have had to implement different experiments when some came to be inconclusive. I’ve also learned to focus more on why I am getting the results I am getting, and understanding what they mean. I have had to be really flexible here recently because I have been dealing with the death of the majority of my sample group. With time to get my experiments done running out, situations such as this have been frustrating, but I am trying to stay positive and do what I can.

Tayhlor Tanner

This experience in Madrid has taught me lessons about taking care of myself and living on my own. One of the biggest struggles when it comes to taking care of myself is budgeting. It is easy to get carried away with spending money especially when it comes to spending money on fast food or going out with friends. What has helped me is to constantly keep track of my account when it comes to how much I’m spending and fitting things that I need instead of want into my budget.

Sky Myers

This weekend I anticipate traveling to Amsterdam, Netherlands. This will be the furthest East I have ever traveled and I’m so excited to experience a completely different culture. I assume it’s very different than the American or Spanish culture. In Amsterdam, I am meeting with a family friend of mine who will aim to fully expose me to a newfound culture of hers. I have planned an exciting weekend full of sightseeing and famous museums. I plan to take a dinner cruise tour of the beautiful canals, visit the home of Anne Frank, the Van Gogh museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the hop on hop off city tour bus. I can’t believe that I was in northern Africa just 7 days ago. My stay in Europe is going by so quickly!

Spain G-STEM Scholars

Spain G-STEM Scholars

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