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Scholar Highlights Week Ending June 17, 2016

June 21, 2016

Amani Lee

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.

Yvan week 3 Gaina-Yvan Pierre

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.

Natasha Spence

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.



Scholar Highlight Week Ending June 12, 2016

June 15, 2016

Amani Lee


Amani and Gaina onsite at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve

This week was my first full week in Barbados. So far my experience has been filled with extraordinary readings and field trips. This week, a group of us took a trip out to what is called Welchmen Hall Gully which is home to wild monkeys, majestic rainforest trees and delicate native plants. The gully is one of the only places where native plants and animals inhabit and roam freely. But due to the sugar plant cultivation, only about 700 out of the 2100 plant species, that are native to Barbados, are located in this nature reserve. The Director and Nature Specialist, constructed the gully and it has been running under her wing for about 9 years. She believes in conserving wildlife and protecting the native plant life in Barbados. Also, she believes in teaching young kids about conserving wildlife and nature by establishing a camp which makes it fun for them. It fascinated me how confident and passionate she is in her work and how much it concerned her

Gaina-Yvan PierreYvan 3

This first week here in Barbados has been very busy and fast-paced, both academically as well as in regards to the international experience
So far during class time, we have been studying how to properly create a reliable basis for research as well as gaining background information on primates and their behaviors. The readings How Monkeys See the World, Measuring Behavior as well the two films watched so far, Chimpanzees and Monkey Island have all contributed to the further understanding of the research we will be/have been conducting. By expanding knowledge on the usual behavior of monkeys, as well as comparisons to other primates such as baboons, chimpanzees and macacs it helps give basis to my research groups hypothesis of how rank can affect these behaviors. For example the chimpanzees located in an African Rainforest were very territorial in relation to their resources and that is a behavior I have repeatedly seen with my own eyes of the green monkeys of Barbados when being fed, or throwing sunflower seeds/peanuts. We have also been asked to put together presentations and activities (in small groups) every other day in order to reflect our understandings of our readings and engage our peers in discussion on topics to aid in clarity. I do find these to be helpful because sometimes just reading (especially technical teachings with multiple terms that have similar definitions) can be difficult to absorb during a condensed learning situation. But I have engaged in summer school before and expected nothing less.

Scholar Highlight for Week Ending June 5, 2016

June 9, 2016




Amani Lee

Amani week 1

Amani Lee at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve.

This week we visited the Barbados Wildlife Reserve for the first time and took a tour of it. It fascinated me how much freedom the animals had and their confidence levels were high when it comes to being surrounded by humans. The monkeys were very free roaming and ambitious whenever food is around or given. There were about three infant primates, who were just born sometime this week, attached to the stomachs of their mothers. There were lots of what are called “juvenile” and “ilngs” primates which the next step above being an infant. I am also learning how to be a leader in the classroom. This week, my discussion group had to present chapters 3 and 4 from the book, Measuring Behavior by Paul Martin and Patrick Bateson.

Gaina-Yvan Pierre 

The country so far is amazing. There are a lot of things that are similar to America as well as similar to my home country of Haiti. There’s an amazing mix of city to country and farm, to jungle. I haven’t gotten a feel of the locals yet, but hey it’s the weekend! So we’ll be going out a little bit more and interact, maybe get to ask a few questions to locals. I can’t wait to further experience it so as to gauge my personal class discussion topic of what the major traditional influences the sociocultural and political roles of Barbados.


Faith Kirkland

May 19, 2016

Spelman College 2016 Valedictorian

G-STEM Summer 2014 – University of Cordoba (Spain)


Faith K

Faith K in Spain

As most seniors, Faith Kirkland was busy trying to cross all her T’s in order to graduate. She was actually surprised by the notification that she would be recognized as the 2016 Class Valedictorian. “I have worked really hard but I did not even think about it,” she shares. “I came to Spelman wanting to honor God and my parents. I am lucky to have such strong support.” Humbled by all the attention, she is also quick to credit a group of dedicated friends who have helped each other through many a late night study session. In fact, her roommate is another star G-STEM student, Alexandria Sutton, who will be attending medical school at Wright State University next year.

Reflecting on her Spelman journey, Kirkland knew as a freshman that she was interested in physical therapy. After deciding on a biology major, she sought additional opportunities to develop her skills. Her interest in G-STEM satisfied two things, a love of research and a desire to travel. “As a biology major, it is hard to fit travel into a regular semester, but nine weeks in the summer was really good.” Kirkland’s program was based in a lab at the University of Cordoba which teamed her with graduate level students. Her mentor helped her for a week but then she was expected to take responsibility for her own work. She confesses that learning new techniques was often hard, “It was a really huge project that my mentor gave me for the amount of time. But I got a lot of it down and got some information that he said that he could use for publication.” Kirkland also won first place for her Spelman Research Day poster presentation which is mandatory for all G-STEM participants.

Faith Faith Maya2

Faith K, Faith R, Maya in Spain

Kirkland credits her G-STEM experience for helping her gain a sense of independence. She and her cohorts travelled across Europe together. They became quite confident in making plans, jumping on and off trains, and negotiating across language barriers. It is obvious that this experience allowed her to tap into a level of confidence that she did not even know was there. This summer she will enter Emory University’s Doctorate of Physical Therapy program. She is clear about the positive affect that touch can have and envisions opening a center for integrative healing one day. She also does not want to give up on her love for research and might also pursue a PhD in Applied Physiology Therapy. Kirkland is definitely preparing to make a difference in the lives of her future patients, and perhaps even someday, she will present groundbreaking discoveries from a global platform.

Commencement 2016 Recap

Program Highlight- Week Ending April 1, 2016

April 5, 2016

G-STEM Scholars met with Under Secretary of Education Dr. Ted Mitchell for a roundtable on their global research experiences and outreach to K-12 students in Atlanta area schools. #spelmangstem

G-STEM Scholars with the Under Secretary.4.1.16Pictured left to right; Asia Payne Biology Major, Micah Henson Math Major, Ebone’ Monk, Physics Major, Qaasimah Lang Environmental Science Major, Dr. Ted Mitchell, Faith Reid Environmental Science Major, Jade Warfield Biology Major, Sky Myers Biology Major, Alexandria Sutton Chemistry Major. Second row; Ebony Gaillard Biochemistry major.

Ebony Gaillard; Biology Major; Class of 2017, Summer 2015 Scholar – London

Micah Henson; Math Major; Class of 2017, Summer 2015 Scholar – Scotland

Qaasimah Lang; Environmental Science Major; Class of 2017, Fall 2015 Scholar – Demark

Courtney Lett; Math Major; Class of 2017, Summer 2015 Scholar – France

Ebone Monk; Physics Major; Class of 2016, Summer 2014 Scholar – India and Summer 2015 Scholar – Scotland

Sky Myers; Biology Major; Class of 2017, Summer 2015 Scholar – Spain

Asia Payne; Biology Major; Class of 2017, Summer 2015 Scholar – Spain

Faith Reid; Environmental Science; Class of 2016, Summer 2014 – Spain

Alexandria Sutton; Chemistry; Class of 2016, Summer 2014 – London

Jade Warfield; Biology; Class of 2016, Summer 2014 – South Africa

Scholar Highlight for Week Ending October 9, 2015

January 14, 2016


Qaasimah Alexis Lang

I am finally beginning to notice the change in seasons here in Denmark. When I woke up for classes Monday morning, it was dark outside. It was only 630 but it was still dark. Biking down to catch the train, I was able to see the sunrise. It’s not only the lighting that has changed, the weather has changed as well. Now when I wake up it’s in the 30s and sometimes doesn’t get above 50 degrees all day. The wind has started blowing furiously too. I live right on the ocean, so I get a really cold breeze blowing in from the ocean. I’ve had to start wearing gloves when I bike, and now I bring a hat and scarf with me everywhere. Heating is definitely treated differently here. In America it seems we are obsessed with having perfect temperature indoors. Our thermostats can be set very precisely. Here the heat is either up very high or it is not on at all. Therefore I am always shedding layers. I’ve noticed that the Danish people around me do not seem to find the wild temperature variant strange. They sit on the train or indoors with heavy coats and scarves on when the heater is turned up to like 80. Another observation I’ve made, is that a lot of the trees here in Helsingør do not turn orange or red. The leaves stay green until they start dying, then they turn brown and fall off.


Scholar Highlight for Week Ending September 11, 2015

January 14, 2016

Qaasimah waterfall greeneryQaasimah Alexis Lang

Our last day of the excursion, we went on a cultural tour of Møns. We went on a nature walk in one of the few preserved forests in Denmark. It is preserved because all of the farmers in the area surrounding it own a bit of it and thus outsiders cannot come in for wood. We also got to see various aspects of the town. It was wonderful to see this aspect of life in Denmark that was so different from Copenhagen. I did notice an interesting cultural dynamic between Sealanders and Jutlanders. People from Copenhagen especially, but also people from Sealand in general seem to hold disdain for Jutlanders. I thought it was odd seeing how the Danish people always talk about how everyone is so equal and friendly here yet they have prejudices against people in their own nation.