Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Our Project SEED students would love to be writing this last blog entry, but as you can imagine, they are busy wrapping up their projects, so I've been recruited.
I've been involved in Duquesne's summer programs for three years now, and I have been sending my brightest science minded students to Dr. Aitken since Project SEED started here about 6 years ago. Over the years, I have seen the profound impact this experience has on the social and academic development of my students. These kids come from tough backgrounds and overcome terrible adversity. Project SEED provides them with unique opportunities to grow that we cannot replicate in our economically challenged high school. Each year I struggle (in a good way) to figure out which of my students to select, knowing that it is likely going to give them an advantage over their peers and open doors that leads to financial gains as they mature. It's a tough decision, but over the years, I've gotten good at finding the right combination of smarts, attitude, and personality. This summer's crop of students particularly excelled. They have shown sincere interest and concern and have worked long hours above and beyond the call of duty. Their mastery of the material has been impressive and has lead to rich and engaging group meetings. I'm proud of each of them for how far they've come in such a short period of time, and I look forward to seeing continued growth if they return next summer.
I'd also like to thank everyone who makes this possible. Without the support of the ACS, our generous corporate donors, the professors and staff of Duquesne's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Dr. Aitken, a dozen or so of my students would have had very different futures.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Q:What high school did you attend?
A: Central Cathloic
Q:What made you apply to Project SEED?
A:My chemistry teacher saw potential in me, I was finacially disable to do most of what I wanted, and the thought of actually working with chemicals and beakers sounded really interesting.
Q:How have you used your SEED experience to your advantage?
A:It gave me the opportunity to work in the lab, and it gave me the amazing opportunity to take my basic chemistry knowledge to a college level.
Q:How has SEED helped you in other skills not chemistry related?
A:SEED showed me better ways to be more organized and it basically taught me how to present on a more professional level.
Q:If you could change one thing in your past, as far as high school and Project SEED, would you?
A:No, I don't live in regret because if I lived with regrets I wouldn't be living.
Q:If you could give any advice to the SEED members today what advice would you give them?
A:Tell you friends!!! It's a great opportunity and I think everyone should take advantage of it & never forget where you came from.
Tristan Stagger: "I would like to send my greatest thank you to Dr. Jennifer Aitken and Johnathan Lekse"
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Today, I presented my powerpoint to the whole group! I was so nervous about not having it done, or not knowing what to say. After it was over with, I felt so confident about my work. I got through it and didn't stumble on many things. Unbelievable. It made me feel good that I know why I'm doing this project. About a week ago I was ready to quit. I was so tired, frustrated, and stressed out. I couldn't take it anymore. My whole family kept telling me, "It's okay if you quit. If it's too hard, you don't have to do it if you don't want to." I knew I wanted to do it. This is something I've kept my eye on since freshman year. I know it's something that's going to change my future for the better, which is why I decided to stick with it. Posters for the symposium have to be done by Friday. What am I going to do?? That's three days to construct a poster. And I thought I was stressed last week?! 3 weeks, 3 days left of SEED. Wow, summer's almost over.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Dr. Kingston grew up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He went to a high school called Central Dolphin, in the suburbs of Harrisburg. He said that high school was very difficult because in 11th grade, he was diagnosed with acute dyslexia. He told me that he always knew he wanted to go in to the chemistry field, but he said his first professor was a great influence on his career. After he took analytical chemistry, when going for his bachelor’s degree, he fell in love with the subject. Dr. Kingston said that undergrad school was fun, and challenging. He went to the military, Harrisburg Community College, Millersville, and attended IUP to be his grandmother’s nurse while finishing his master’s and bachelor’s. He said that grad school was even better, and he mentioned that he was a dual major. He earned 2 PhDs, in Analytical and Biological Chemistry and Environmental Science and Management. He believes that he succeeded purely because he loves what he does. His wife diagnosed him with ‘terminal curiosity.’ He said that a successful scientist is willing to put in hard work, must have discipline, and the desire to seek answers. When I asked him about regrets, he told me he regretted something that wasn’t really under his control. He said he regretted not being diagnosed with dyslexia sooner, because he thinks that it would’ve helped him in high school. He told me that he needed to know why he was different, and being diagnosed helped him cope. He said that his biggest accomplishment was getting the Radon Laws to be passed. He worked on it for 18 months before they were passed by Congress. Apparently, they save 45,000 people from bronchial cancer every year. Finally, I asked him what his biggest personal reward he got out of his career and he said, “Watching my students succeed.”
Dr. Johnson was raised in Racing, Wisconsin. He attended Racing Lutheran High School. He said that high school was alright and that he had some decent teachers. Dr. Johnson told me that he went to school for architectural drafting, but it wasn’t what he was expecting, so he changed his major to something he had more of a knack for. Undergrad school, he said, was fun, considering he went to the University of Miami. He told me that grad school was purely chemistry and close related things. He said that he made a bunch of close friends, and that everything got harder as he moved on. I asked him about success and he said, “It depends on what you mean by success. Money doesn’t always mean you’re successful.” He thinks he succeeded because he is willing to do the hard work. He believes that a career should be something you stick with, something you’re going to do for your life, not just something to do for money. “You have to ask yourself, are you truly happy doing this?” I asked Dr. Johnson what his biggest regret, and he told me, “No regrets. None at all. You make your choices and you have to live with them.” When I asked Mitch what his biggest accomplishment, it tied in with his biggest personal goal. He said that when he mentors grad students, and watches them grow as they learn, it’s very satisfying. “It’s nice to see the difference that you’ve made in these kids.”
When interviewing these professors, they both said success results from some related things; hard work, discipline, passion, commitment, dedication, and a good work ethic. It’s so cliché, but it’s something that I will take with me for the rest of my life. They also had some of the same personal satisfactions. They both said that they love to watch their students succeed. I think that is a great quality for a professor, or any teacher for that matter, to have. Knowing a teacher cares about you and your future is an incredible thought. Duquesne is pretty amazing, and their professors are too.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
The next challenge is a little more difficult, so the reward will be a little better. The first student to interview two professors and post a summary of their responses will win. Dr. Aiken cannot be one of the professors. Your objective is to determine the path they took to get to a professorship at Duquesne. Include their whole story. Ask them about their high school experience, undergrad, and grad school. Ask them why they succeeded as a professional scientist, while others do not. Ask them what their biggest regret is. Ask them what their biggest accomplishment is. You get the idea. Be thorough and creative with your questioning. The best interview wins if more than one of you participates.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Looking Forward to An Amazing Oppurtunity Filled Summer,
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
This blog will be authored by the participants of Duquesne University's Project SEED. Here we will document our experiences, accomplishments, and challenges this summer.
The American Chemical Society's Project SEED is a program designed to give economically disadvantaged high school students the opportunity to do cutting edge scientific research for eight weeks during the summer. This year Duquesne University's chemistry and pharmacy departments are hosting six bright students from Carrick and Sto-Rox High School. Thier topics of study will range from the synthesis of semiconductor compounds, to the analysis of chromium in dietary supplements. For their efforts, they will each recieve a $2800 stipend. Students who excel during the program will have the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to present at the American Chemical Society's national conference.
Edited: Mr. Josh Lucas, Sto-Rox High School, Chemistry Teacher.