Friday, August 21, 2009

D.C. is amazing

Recently returned from D.C. which is by far the most beautiful city that i have been in my far...The city was clean...i am not exaggerating. I had to look for trash and cigarette buds and all i found was a piece of gum. All the buildings looked new and the people i met were nice. The ACS meeting was fun. We were able to see other project seed members and interact with people who are in the science field. One thing i noticed, i was able to hold my own in a convesation with someone who has been studying for years. Also, to say how diverse D.C. is, we ate at 2 American restuarants the entire time we where there. I would talk about sushi, but that is a whole other story. The expo was also really cool. There was a lot a swag and i got a really cool NASA calendar. What a nerd. Overall this was a great experience and i am glad that i did it. Thanks to everyone who made it possible.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

ACS Convention with the Project SEED students.

Suffice it to say, we had a great time. I'll let Candy and James describe it for you.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Here I Sit In The Good Old Computer Lab...

Friday evening, I'm sitting in the computer lab. I still have to return my key for the year, and go visit some offices. I finally finished this paper that I've been stressing over for the past two weeks. I always worked better under stress anyway. I figure that I'm about to post the last post for this year of SEED. Everyone from the group has already left the building. When I first applied for this thing, I had no idea what I was getting into. Some high school girl from some podunk town where nothing happens, except for the occasional robbery. I wrote emails to all my mentors, and anyone important, for that matter. Leaving here feels like I'm giving back everything I did this summer. All the hard work, the sweat, the blood... okay, maybe not the blood. I never imagined I'd actually be doing this. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be working with machines over one million dollars in my junior year of high school. I can't believe I almost didn't do this! This helped me advance a bunch of my skills, also. Mr. Lucas always told me, "Talk! Ask questions! That's how you get oppurtunities!" So I talked, sometimes, and I did make a new friend. We had a bunch of laughs, but we had our serious times too. There is time for work, and there is time for play. We knew the difference. I made a new friend, who is an incredible kid. I hope we get some new kids in next year too! Last year, I didn't have a thought about college. It was the farthest thing from my mind. I was much more worried about the next dance, and the boy next door. This program definitely taught me that the time to plan for your future is now! When I tell kids that I put myself up to 8 weeks of summer research at a college, I always get a funny look. Even after I tell them I was paid $10 an hour, they still think I'm insane. I know that this is going to make my future an incredibly bright one. Having this experience will change my life, I know it. I can feel it. My professor was amazing, and I had a ball. The last thing I have to do is return my key. But that's okay, because I know I'll be getting it back next year.

Final Moments

Well, it finally came. It really only felt like yesterday when I first arrived here scared of what I'm getting myself into. Not knowing who these other kids were, or whether or not I'm even cut out for this. Well, my questions were quickly answered. I made 8 new friends from Sto-Rox and can't wait to see them again. At first I felt my project was too difficult but things became much easier and soon I was handling things on my own. I even accomplished what I wanted to do in detecting picomolar amines. These 8 weeks were fun and trying the same time with presentations, and lab reports it was very stressful at times. But we all persevered through and I can't wait until next summer. These fun times in and out the lab have given me great memories that will certainly last much longer than $2800.

Farewell Project SEED

Well the day has finally's the last day of Project SEED. There's so much that I could say about my entire experience but, i'm going to make it short and sweet. This program has done so much to better me as a high school student and an all around person. Throughout the summer, i've learned, i've laughed, I've made new friends, added on to previous friendships and at one point I completely stressed myself out to no end. I've learned to be patient with what i'm doing and to be patient with other people. Time is such a precious thing no matter what it's dealing with. I've learned how to take responsibility for myself and for others. Responsibility is a big deal whether one knows it or not. I know for a fact that I will be able to take my newly found knowledge in Project SEED and apply it to the classroom. I'm very appreciative for being given this oppurtunity. I thank all the people that made this program possible and for all of the people who helped me make it through. Farewell Project SEED and I hope to be back again!

Goodbye for now untill we meet again...

Today is my last day here at Duquesne for the summer and I had a blast. It kept me busy because I learned and I laughed, all in the process of becoming a great success. SEED bettered me as a person and thought me thing that I could not only use in everyday life but things I can also take into the class room. I want to say thank you to all who help my summer be the most it could be and goodbye until we meet again...!

Our Summer Wraps Up

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

Getting to know my professor

The end is near

Wow. Where has the summer gone? Now that it's the last week of work, time is going so much slower. Since I have no more results to add to my project, i'm just working on my final paper which isn't too bad. Once I got it started, it wasn't too hard to do. The six of us are finishing up or projects, getting final results and writing these papers. I think that we are all really close now. We got to know each other throughout the summer and we even made a new friend! This is going to be an emotional week.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Symposium Success!

On Friday, I attended the annual URP symposium. Leading up to the big day, not just myself but all the project seed members were nervous. My biggest fear was that I forgot important things or that I didn't explained things to the best of my ability to people so that they would have a better understanding of my project. Overall, I feel that I did a pretty good job explaining myself and it definitely got better by each person that came by. The highlight of my day was when Mr. Moss my high school Chemistry teacher at Carrick came by to see how I was doing. He seemed very impressed with my work and proud with that one of his students is doing something as cool as this in the summer. There's only two weeks left and now the big project is the lab report we have to write at the end of the program. Better get started now!


So, Friday was quite an experience. After all the stress I put myself through, the symposium was nothing. I talked to a lot of people and I realized that I really knew what I was talking about. Having my poster there to use as a reference helped me but once I got through the first few people, I felt more confident in what I was talking about. Once Friday came around, I was pretty nervous. As the day went on, I felt so much better. Before I knew it, the hour was just about over and it was time for me to head back to band camp. All in all, it was a great experience. People that I didn't know were challenging me about my newly found knowledge and I feel as if I succeeded.


Friday was an experience I will never forget, I talked to people from hours away who came to take a look at our research....I talked to multiple people who showed great interest in what I was studying....some of which were studying the same thing!!!
It was a great experience not only did I present, I was also presented with a few questions I really did know, which in turn built up my ambition to find out and learn more...!
P.S. Looking forward to future research!!!

URP Symposium

Finally, all the hard work is rewarded! Friday I came to Duquesne and presented my poster at the Undergraduate Research Program Symposium. First, the group went to watch some undergrads present their posters to a room full of people. Most of the presentations were really interesting, and I understood what they worked on this summer. Those students really knew their stuff! Later on, Naudia (the undergrad I'm working with) and I stood by our poster for about an hour, while people walked around and asked questions about it. Many people seemed to be interested in our poster, particularly. Even after I left, I still had people chasing me and asking me questions! For the most part, it was pretty simple. I only had one tough cookie, as far as questions and remarks go, but after she found out I was in high school, she was really surprised. The symposium revealed to me that I truly am doing college work. SEED is really opening doors for me, and I'm starting to really see that. I believe I'm going to have a future compiled of hard work and success. Speaking of hard work, my last two weeks here are going to be filled with paper writing and presentation making... Better get to work!