Monday, August 23, 2010
The night before we left, Amanda and I could not sleep. We were up until 2 a.m feeling nothing but excitement. It was her first time flying ever and my first time flying to another state. We stayed up talking about what we thought was going to happen while we were there. We talked about how we thought the poster session was going to go and we wondered what the other SEED students were going to be like.
Then, we arrived at the airport. Who knew that three teenagers could have so much fun in an airport? We were having a blast walking along the moving walkways, taking pictures of absolutely everything and anxiously waiting for the plane to get there. The three of us talked about the strangest things, but maybe because we were all still tired from waking up so early. It did not hit me we were really going until we got onto the plane.
We got onto the plane, found our seats and just waited patiently to depart from Pittsburgh. Flying is one of the best feelings in the entire world. It's something that not everyone gets to experience. We even had fun on the flight. We took pictures, talked and watched tv. It did not feel real until I looked out of the window and we were low enough to see the outline of the ground.
The view outside of my window was nothing that I have ever seen before. When I first looked out, I could only see the outline of the ground. Everything else looked microscopic. A few minutes later, I looked out of my window again. This time, I could see more environmental features. I could see islands, trees cars moving and some buildings. The sight of the islands were amazing. Then, I looked out again. I saw the beautiful city. The tall buildings, boats everywhere and water everywhere around us. That was when I knew we were there.
We went to the hotel , changed and got ready for the Red Sox game. That was one experience that I will never forget. Who gets to go to Boston AND see a Red Sox game? Us project SEED kids, that's who. Fenway Park was everything I thought it would be. I've heard so much about it but I never thought it was something that I would get to visit one day. It's breathtaking. Even though it rained the ENTIRE time, it was still worth it. The poster session was an experience of a lifetime. I loved having people look at my hard work and ask a ton of questions. The fact that I was able to answer their questions made me feel proud. I was proud of myself for all of the hard work. My favorite part had to be whenever someone would ask you about your research then ask, "So what are you studying in college?". When i would answer that I was only an upcoming senior in high school, all of the different looks that i got amazed me. Most people were unbelievably shocked that i was a senior in high school doing work like this. Some younger adults even told me that I was crazy for taking up my summer time for work like this. In general, I could not help but smile at these comments. It makes me feel accomplished for doing this type of work in just 2 short summers. It makes me so proud of myself as well.
Today, we attended the ACS luncheon and the Poster Session. The luncheon was not what I thought it was going to be. Us project SEED kids were mixed in with all sorts of important people. At first, it was pretty nerve wracking. Being forced to talk to a bunch of people I did not know did make me a little nervous.
I cannot express enough how grateful I am to have been given the chance to go to Boston. I got to have adventures with 2 great friends of mine and 2 great adults who took the time out of their summer to support and be here for me. I cannot thank them enough. I would not be here today if it were not for Dr. Cavanaugh and Dr. Aitkin. As my mentor, Dr. Cavanaugh did everything she could to prepare me for Boston and she took the time to give me an experience of a lifetime. Without the support of Dr. Aitkin, this trip would not have been possible. The things she does for us SEED kids is unbelievable and I thank her for that.
In general, Boston is beautiful. I may never get the opportunity for this again and I greatly appreciate it. Continuing my project SEED adventure was the greatest thing I could have done. I am so glad that I chose to do project SEED. It has been a big eye opener for me. It has lead me to a potential career path, got me in contact with important people and so many other things. I hope future SEED students do not take this for granted. As I have said plenty of times before, it is the experience of a lifetime.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I wish I could have caught every moment on camera, without it being too much, because the airport was such a great experience. We had fun walking on the moving floors for luggage. When you walk, it feels like you're flying! After figuring out where I had to put my things in the security bins, we were free to roam about the airport. So we went to a cafe type thing and got a small breakfast. We switched gates to board, and were finally on the plane!
The plane ride was so exciting. It was my first time flying, and I loved it. The clouds were beautiful and so was the ground from way up high. We got off the plane, into a taxi van, & soon walked into our hotel. We ventured our way to the ballpark through the subway stations. That was another fun experience. Following that, we found Fenway, went to the game. We sat & ate for an hour, then faced the rain at the Red Sox game. After an hour delay, the game finally started! And then it was delayed again because of rain. Mr Lucas left early to give his poster presentation. The three of us stayed with Ms. Hannagan. So after 4 hours of facing the rain at this game, we finally left.
We all came back to the hotel, relaxed for a little bit, & then decided to go see a movie. We snacked on some food at the theater. Then, we faced the rain yet again when we walked home. We (minus Mr. Lucas) have decided that it only rains when we walk outside. Oof. Great luck, huh? Boston has been a great experience so far, except for the one way street that people keep driving the wrong way down. Boston drivers use their horns. ALOT. Tomorrow we have a lunch to go to, a visit to Harvard & MIT, possibly a museum to visit, & posters to present in the evening. It's going to be a busy day.
To end on a good note, the Red Sox won today, 5, nothing, against the Toronto Blue Jays. :)
Friday, August 13, 2010
The field trips we went on including Bayer, PPG, Mylon and my favorite Washington and Jefferson College. They were all interesting in their own way and the car rides to and from were great.
But not everything was fun and games though. The weeks before the symposium and during the lab reports were both frustrating and time consuming. But when looking back on it I do appreciate Mr. Lucas taking his time working on our papers, (especially mine). I hope to think that my grammar skills have improved somewhat since being here.
At the end of it all I learned an incredible amount of knowledge about Chemistry. I worked with HPLC and Microfluidics and accomplished a lot in my short time here. I feel that I made an impact in my lab and it certainly boost my confidence for anything I do later on in life.
There are so many people to thank for helping me here so let me start.
First, I would like to thank Dr. Aitken for choosing me to do this summer research program. I hope she feels she made the right decision by selecting me.
My professor Dr. Mitch Johnson for his guidance and help on me understanding my project.
My student mentors Angela and Sean for their patience and knowledge and help. I know that without them I wouldn't have understood anything.
Mr. Josh Lucas for being my temporary guardian for these past two summers. Everything he has done has been appreciated and I give him my eternal gratitude.
And of course the friends that I made over these summers. Amanda, Sydney, Terrance, Candy, James, Mary, Chris, Ian, Liz, and Marissa have given me memorable moments that I won't soon forget. Thank you everyone.
Everyone says how proud they are of me for sacrificing my summer to do hard research at a program. And every time I laugh inside thinking that "sacrifice" was never the adjective in my mind to describe my time here at Project SEED.
The next day another girl was in my lab, doing the same research as me. She was Phoebe and her dad was friends with Professor Pintauer, and she was also coming to school here in the fall so he let her work in my lab. We had the same project so pretty much all of our work was together. That made me feel a lot better, having someone else that was as clueless as I was, or at least it felt like that. I thought Phoebe was a little weird at first, but you know I ended up realizing she was really cool and in the end, I’ll miss her.
The next weeks were spent reading chemistry books so I could understand my project, ask Matt a bunch of questions and running long scans on the GC only to find that most of them turned out bad, or that whatever it was we shot into it, didn’t come out. The IR also broke that week, so most of our project turned to the GC. It wasn’t that exciting, most days we both would just sit there and read our books. After lunch we would go to the field with everyone and play Frisbee. Except Liz, because she didn’t like Frisbee since apparently it’s a VERY dangerous sport, and sometimes it was. The field trips were fun and some of them were really interesting.
Then came the week of the symposium and I was gone the whole week at band camp. I really miss band before I went, but by the end of camp I really missed everyone here. The way some people talked about the symposium, they made it sound different than I imagined. I was scared some big professor was going to ask me a bunch of questions about my poster that I would have no idea how to answer, but I was able to explain everything to everyone who came over and answer all their questions, along with help from Phoebe.
The week after the symposium, the IR was finally fixed. All that week I spent getting data from the IR and procrastinating going to write my final paper. I actually didn’t start writing it until the final week. The last week here, I was really sad to leave, but I’m excited to finally be able to sleep in this summer.
In the end, I’m really glad I did this and I can’t believe a long time ago back in the school year I thought about not doing it. I would’ve done SEED all through high school if I could’ve. I learned about my project, ATRA, the machinery, and a lot about just working in college in general. It gave me a better perspective on a lot things, and it’s made me think harder now about my future and where I want to go for college, and how I’m going to get there. I really can’t say how much I’ll miss my lab group, since half of them won’t be there next year and all the seniors, even though they’ll come back and visit anyway. I’m glad I get to come back next year, but I really hope we still remember how to get here by then.
Thanks to everyone in my lab for helping me have such a good summer; Matt, Ash, Sean, Will, Carol, Raj, Anita, April, Phoebe and Tom. Also all the Project SEED kids; Liz, Sydney, Amanda, Tristan, Mary, Ian, Chris and Mr. Lucas for making sure we got everything done on time, always helping when we needed it and then sometimes buying me coffee. The cold stuff is still better.
Besides the experience I had getting to Duquesne and coming from Duquesne my first day, I really had fun this summer, and, learned so much, I wish I could do it all over again, just because I don’t want to leave L
After eight weeks of Project SEED, it is now truly the end. I know everyone is probably really sad to be leaving, but I WILL be the optimist! We will definitely keep in touch. This summer I gained lab experience, knowledge, and friends that are indispensable. I'm really going to miss all of the very awesome people that I had the opportunity to meet. That is probably really bad grammar, but in the words of Tristan it would be correct, and there is no better way to describe everyone I met. At the beginning of this, I was really scared, of just working in the lab, but it was really fun, and I learned so much, I hope I have the opportunity to come back next year, because I definitely want to. So goodbye Sydney, Ian, Mary, Tristan, Amanda, Chris, Marissa, Chelsee, Shaun, Tim, and Dr. Cascio, and thank you for letting me work in your lab, and for teaching me so much.
When SEED first started this year, I have to admit that I wasn't too sure of how it was going to be compared to last year. I didn't think that all 7 of us were going to click like we did. Some of us were shy. We didn't know what to expect. Amanda, Tristan and I certainly didn't know what to expect. Within a few days, Mary introduced us to the new addition of her group, Chris. Even though Chris wasn't one of us, we took him in with open arms. Weeks went by and I began to notice how close we were becoming. From making all kinds of jokes at lunch and playing frisbee on the field afterwards to the hilarious car rides on fieldtrips, we had a blast. From working with these different people, I have learned so much. I've learned a lot not only about them, but myself as well.
These past eight weeks have gone to a great load of hard work. In my two years of working in Dr. Cavanaugh's lab, I have worked harder than I ever have. When I arrived back on the first day, I was so excited to be back in the lab. Being in a lab with college students and professors really opened my eyes. Whether I was treating cells with different compounds, doing a protein assay or running a western blot, it all required so much patience and focus.
Project SEED has opened so many doors for me. I'm extremely grateful for being given this opportunity for two years in a row. Not only has SEED given me the experience of working in a lab and getting an early college experience, but it has provided me with a great deal of responsibility. I’ve learned to manage time and have patience with what I’m doing. SEED has helped me grow as a student and person in general. It has showed me to to prepare for just about anything that comes my way. Since I’ve been here two years, my experience has just been continued. I feel like being in SEED these past two years has really prepared me for college. It has also influenced my career choice extremely. To be honest, I really thought I knew what I was going to do after high school. I thought I had my mind set and everything. Boy, was I wrong. After this year, I changed my entire mind on what I want to do after high school. Since I’m now a senior in high school, that means a lot to me. You’d be surprised about how much one thing can just open your eyes. SEED has shaped and changed me into a better person as well. By making new friends, meeting important people and being counted on by important people, it changes you. Making new friends allowed me to bond and become friends with other kids who may or may not have the same interests as me. Meeting important people gives you this sense of pressure, meanig that you don’t want to say the wrong things to them. Presenting my work is a prime example of this pressure. It’s very nervewracking presesnting to people that you are not familiar with and that do not know the subject you are talking about. It adds more pressure if the person you’re working for is there because you don’t want to say the wrong things.
Aside from the nerve-wracking and time consuming stuff, we did have a lot of fun times. Out of all of the field trips we took, I’d have to say that the college visit to Washington & Jefferson really opened my eyes the most (not saying that none of the others opened my eyes too because they did). Being in another college atmosphere really brought this different feeling to me. This field trip really influenced both my college and career choices.
All in all, Project SEED was one of the best things I’ve ever decided to participate in. When I first started, I had no idea what to expect. I came in knowing that it was going to be a good bit of work, but I had no idea that it was going to grow on me so much. I was fascinated with what I was doing and I was very interested to see what my co-workers were also doing. In my second year, I sort of got off to a rough start.
To Dr. Cavanaugh, Darlene, Erika, Mayur and Katherine, thank you for everything over the past two summers. The time that you have all put in to make my experience that much better really means alot to me. I hope to keep in touch with you all.
To Dr. Aitkin and Mr. Lucas, thank you for all of the support you have given me the past two summers. There isn't a day where I won't appreciate everything that you have done for us. Without you, the program wouldn't run as smoothly. I thank you for the opportunity of a lifetime.
To Ian, Mary, Tristan, Amanda and Chris, i'm really going to miss you guys. We've made some great memories that I will never forget. Believe it or not, you guys have really changed me. I'm really going to miss my early morning workouts with Ian, our early morning talks in the batcave, taking pictures on the imacs, having little birthday parties, chilling in the batcave, our hilarious lunch times, the elevator rides, the field trips, learning how to play frisbee, watching the boys play soccer..I could go on and on. I'm honestly going to miss it all. I really hope that we all can stay in touch through the school year.
To Liz and Marissa, i'll miss you two as well. You two better hold it down for the SEED II students. I know you guys will be great role models for everyone else. Just have patience and keep your focus and you both will do great. Don't worry, we'll all be back to visit. =)
To the newcomers of SEED, appreciate what you’re about to participate in and don’t take it for granted. There are a lot of students that are dying to be in your position. With hard work, patience and responsibility, you'll succeed greatly.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
In this picture Amanda is prepping Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS). The ICP-MS is used for analysis of the blanks, standards, and samples involved in this project. Before the processing is started, a calibration curve is made to help determine how much of certain dangerous element is in the supplement. And the results are mind blowing!
Amanda has done incredible work over the past two summers to expose the companies of their negligence and making a safer enviornment for buying supplements. Nice Work!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
So, the veterans are working together on this one. =) This is Tristan. He's a summer II SEED student and he is a senior at Pittsburgh Carrick High School. We've gotten to work with him over the past two summers and believe me, it has been fun. Last year, his project was pretty interesting but, we seem to like his project this year better. We've gotten to spend a good bit of time just hanging out in the lab with him and see what he does.
This year, Tristan is continuing off of last years project. He is using droplet-based microfluidics to create continuous droplet flow using oil and aqueous phases. He is applying ratios to achieve this droplet flow.
In this picture, Tristan is looking into a microscope at a PDMS chip and analyzing the microdroplets flowing through the channel that is chemically etched into the chip. The droplets are formed from t-junction of the aqueous and oil phase. Tristan sets ratios in attempt to achieve the droplet flow that may or may not be successful.
Marissa De Fratti prepares her first of five samples of 1-octene to scan on the Infrared Spectrometer (IR). Different solutions with different amounts of 1-octene diluted to 100 µL with methanol. The results of the scans are spectras with differing peaks depending on the concentrations of octene within the sample. On average, two to four scans of each sample is taken because of instrumental error. The data from the spectras is taken and then graphed in kaleidagraph. If the error is somewhere between 1 and .90, then the data is acceptable. By doing this she hopes to find that the IR is quantative enough so that it can be used to examine simple reaction mixture analysis in ATRA.
Every day Liz is either doing transformations, mutatations, or somedays, both. Today she decided to do a transformation for us. She begins in this first picture by preparing the auto-claved pipette with a sterile tip before taking 1 µL of plasmid from a tiny test tube.
Then the plasmid is added into a sterile 14 mL polypropylene tube (which must be used because it is VERY sterile), while making sure not touch the sides of the tube with anything but the tip of the pipette because that is the only sterile part of the apparatus.
The last step before heat-shocking the sample is to add 50 µL of XL-1 blue Supercompetent cells to the polyproylene tube which will later absorb the plasmid into the cell, thus transforming it. After that the final transformations are sent to Pitt for sequencing, which usually takes about a week to get results. Most of the time the mutations are unsuccessful because of unknown reasons that could include an instrument or apparatus being unsterile, or a problem with the DPN1 restriction enzyme .
1. End of Summer Survey - I'll post this link soon.
Go here and then click on "Student Follow-up survey".
When finished, you must print the acknowledgement that your survey
was received and sign your name and print your name on the page.
2. Thank you cards and poster - Everyone is responsible for writing two thank you card. Everyone must sign all thank you cards written. Thank you cards should be written in word, proof read, and then hand written into the card. Coordinate with each other so you don't write for the same person. Be personable and mention be sure to mention the reason why you are thanking them.
Ms. Barbara Adams- the librarian (thank you for the training) -Liz Thorton
Dr. David Seybert - Dean of the School of Natural Science (thank you for the lunches and salary support)- Ian Carroll
Dr. Mitch Johnson (for assistance and donation)
Dr. Jim Manner (donation)
Dr. Jeff Madura (assistance)- Ian Carroll
Dr. Paul Johnson (donation)-Sydney Burkholder
Mr. Philip Clarke (Participation in events and organizing tour and
financial aid, symposium) -Tristan Freeman
Dr. Michael Leonard (for organizing tour) -Tristan Freeman
Maria Revetta PPG (tour)-Sydney Burkholder
Tom Barclay - Bayer (tour) -Marissa De Frati
Dr. Joshua Pak (Project SEED committee chair) -Amanda Anderson
Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh (donation)
Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh (donation) -Marissa De Frati
Ms. Raihanah Rasheed (Project SEED office)
Ms. Sandy Russell and Ms. Amy Stroyne (thanks for assistance) - Liz Thorton
Local Pittsburgh Section ACS (support) -Amanda Anderson
3. Transfer your photos to my laptop.
4. Finish Dr. Aitken's blog challenge.
5. Turn in papers by Friday.
6. ACS posters by Friday unless you are coming in next week.
7. Each of you must write a final blog post. It must summarize your experience. It must state clearly how this program has helped your grow as a scientist, adult, student, and person. It must contain appropriate thanks and acknowledgement folks who have helped you this summer.
In this picture, Sydney is pipeting cells and splitting them among 35 mm plates. She's doing this to be able to treat the cells with different concentrations of novel compounds. Once all the plates are treated, Sydney will lyse the cells. This allows her to eventually run a protein assay and a western blot analysis.
Sydney's project involves a very serious problem, Breast Cancer, which is a leading cause of death particularly involving women. She works exclusively with Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5 (ERK5)an understanding it's role in breast cancer research. Hopefully, advancements in this research can lead to possible therapies in breast cancer.
As you can see, Sydney's work is not only intriguing but important as well. And her work has certainly helped the ongoing progress of breast cancer research. Great job!
Monday, August 9, 2010
Dr. Cascio came from Yonkers, New York and graduated from Roosevelt High School. It was a public school, so there wasn't many opportunities such as Project Seed. He even went through hard times including being nearly bankrupted at some point. So he really had to work hard to get what he wanted. And he certainly did that being accepted to Cornell University, a prestigious Ivy League school. He double majored in Chemistry and Biology and received his B.A. from the School of Arts and Sciences.
His interest in Chemistry has always been a focal point in his life. He even had a boyhood fascination with fire and mixing chemicals. Throughout his time at Cornell, he was passionate about chemistry, as well as math and physics. He credits his Intro to Biological Sciences teacher Dr. Charles Keaton, for showing how he can apply his physical chemistry knowledge to biological functions. Ironically, Dr. Keaton is the author of the textbook that he used.
His story of how he arrived at Duquesne was almost a non-story. He and his wife were offered positions at the University of Pittsburgh and he would have accepted the offer. However a colleague of his joined Duquesne's faculty and recommended to him that he should join as well. He applied for the position and loved the unique opportunities and atmosphere that Duquesne is known for. From then on out Dr. Cascio remains a member of Duquesne's faculty. A decision he now knows was a right one.
Currently he and his lab works on the chemistry of proteins at the membrane interface. They look at membrane protein structure and function, and the holding and misfolding of proteins at the membrane surface. Which is shown by his Seed student Liz Thorton, who currently works on the structure and function of the glycine receptors. "He's really nice and dependable and a great professor to work with." Says Liz, who really enjoyed working with Dr. Cascio this summer.
Dr. cascio says his biggest accomplishments in life is having three wonderful children as well of having the ability to balance both his professional and personal life. He says there isn't anything he truly regrets which shows how he puts his own life into perspective. I asked him what his futures entails and he says he wants to continue his research alongside young scientist with the same passion for chemistry as he does. Finally, I wanted to know what advice he had for both current and future Seed kids; "Follow your passion and make certain you enjoy what you are doing."
Dr. Cascio has dedicated his life to his research and his family and been undoubtedly been successful at it. And we will see what more accomplishments Dr. Cascio will achieve in the many more years he will be at Duquesne university.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
So Derrick continued to work through high school, going through hardships like everyone else. Some past regrets were letting his girlfriend distract him from his work, not being able to give back enough to all the people that helped when he needed it most and not socializing more when he had the chance.
After high school Derrick went to a small catholic college in Oregon where he continued working on biochemistry. College was at first a little overwhelming with freedom. That's where he found out that all the times people talk about getting drunk and all those other crazy things they do in college really aren't as great as they sound. Although, while they're not always that great, it doesn't mean you shouldn't go party every once in awhile. It's important to find the balance between having fun and knowing all your work will be done too.
Then the choice came to decide where to go for graduate school. It was between a college in Washington, his home, or Duquesne, a college far away, but with good opportunities. In the end he felt Duquesne calling him and chose to come here. It was different being so far away and in a completely new place, but it was also like an adventure. When you move far away you're on you're own and you miss your friends and your family, but that isn't always bad. It's a little more daring, but it also means you get the chance to be whoever you want to be and just explore. From the west to the northeast is a good change of scenery, too.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
When Kim was in first grade she had her first science lab, and that is when she fell in love with it. She was always interested in learning how things worked and how stuff like chairs and phones were made, and by whom. Although she loved science, she also loved teaching, but having a career as a science teacher wasn't very appealing at the time. Growing up with science teachers that wore pocket protectors, and suspenders did not help her opinion of science teachers. To her and her classmates science teachers seemed like big jokes, because all of them wore very unfashionable attire. As she became older she realized not all science teachers have to dress like that, and so Kim became set on being something that would incorporate her two loves, a science teacher. When she was in high school she decided that she wanted to go somewhere close to home, because she's very close to her family, and wanted to have them close. She decided on going to St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa. She went there majoring in education. She soon realized that it's very easy to get caught up in your subject's social groups. When she took classes like Physical chemistry, which was the hardest class for her due to the size of the substance you're working with, she became caught up in the chemistry social group, because they were forced to work together for long hours so socializing with others outside of your subject of study was uncommon. When she finally had the oppurtunity to decide where she wanted to go for grad school it wasn't a difficult decision, because she already knew what she wanted. She picked Duquesne, because of how close it is to her family. Although, deciding where to go was somewhat easy, being a grad was not. She had to learn quickly that not everything was going to work, and after trying something over and over again, you have to stop at some point. Doing so much work on something, and ending up with it being unsuccessful was hard. She said when you become a grad you realize just how naive you were. Her greatest success though was being able to start reseach before college, which did give her some insight for being a grad. Although she loved loved being a grad, because you don't have set hours, she missed the freedom of being an undergrad, and the different people. She regretted not spending enough time on her non chem classes, and that she was shy and didn't ask questions. This is something I can easily relate to, and is one of the reasons talking to her helped so much. Mr. Lucas always says be assertive, now I have someone else pushing me to be assertive too.
Dr. Cavanaugh continued her magical journey called school by going to Franklin and Marshall in Lancaster PA. While she had a good time her freshman year, it is something she regrets because of her somewhat relaxed attitude towards school. It was her first time away from home and she wanted to take the time to relish in her newfound freedom. Since then she has realized that you only have one chance to do it right and that is one of her biggest regrets.
Afterwards however she learned how to manage her time more and buckled down to learn. She majored in Chemistry there but with the wisdom and guidance of her Spirit Mentor(most call them "College Advisors") she decided to go to Penn State College of Medicine for Pharmacology in Hershey because of its practical use, medical relevance, and the combination of both chemistry and biology(she didn't choose Penn State for the chocolate though). She then went to get her post-doc at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Now-a-days though she works at Duquesne University where she educates students. Her favorite part is getting to meet students that are like little birds. Students that require her help to grow and to learn but soon after become very capable and are able to survive on their own. Her second greatest accomplishment has to be helping her students to become independent thinkers and help them become ready to tackle gigantic challenges and obstacles. Her greatest accomplishment however has nothing to do with education. Her greatest accomplishment is her daughter.
Chelsee went to Canon-Macmillan high school and graduated in 2005. She then went to Carlow University for her undergrad and double majored in Biology and Chemistry. She specialized in autopsy technology. She then started at Duquesne.
Chelsee said that during her school life she was a nerd in high school. She was in band (which is awesome! =]) and she was very quiet. She didn't talk to many people. Once she got into college, she opened up a lot more by doing tours at Carlow University. If she could have changed anything, she would have been much more open in high school. I asked her what Canon-Macmillan was like considering it's a very big school and it's very different from where I attend high school. After hearing her opinion, we got into a discussion on opinions about different schools and how their educations differ from one another. Aside from having Chelsee's opinion, I also had some opinions of others in her lab. Chelsee, Tom, Shawn and I discussed the advantages and disadvantages of colleges and their educations. We also talked about the social aspect of college and the advantages and disadvantages of being on campus or commuting from home. Believe it or not, hearing all of their perspectives helped me a little bit.
I asked Chelsee what got her interested in what she does now and she said that there are many reasons. She has always been interested in biology and chemistry. It's something that she has always been good at. She has always been fascinated by the human body and how it works. Another thing that got her interested is that her mother is sick and that got her interested in the human body while she looked at what was wrong with her.
Finally, I asked Chelsee what her future plans and goals were after she was done with school. She said that after school, she would like to go into teaching. She'd like to be a professor at a college.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
This week, we had two field trips back to back. On Thursday, we went to PPG's Monroeville branch. We were able to see some of the projects they are working on, such as photochromics and Teslin paper. Later, a chemical engineer came to talk to us about different jobs you can have with a chemistry degree, something very helpful to all of us SEED students. It was such a wonderful experience.
On Friday, all of the senior SEED students took a trip to Washington and Jefferson College. One of the admissions counselors talked to us about applying for student aid, and what colleges look for. This is very helpful, as all of us will be applying to colleges in just a few short months. From there, we had a tour guide take us on a walking tour of campus. Sydney and I immediately fell in love with it. Next was our amazing lunch, and finally a tour of the brand new science building, fully equipped with all the newest technology. The trip was great. I now have a new college to consider! and to think I would have never known about Washington and Jefferson if it wern't for Project Seed!
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
In ATRA an alkyl halide reacts with a copper (l) catalyst to form a primary radical and copper (ll). The radical reacts with an alkene forming a secondary radical which abstracts a halogen atom from copper (ll) to regenerate copper(l) and form a monoadduct. Recent advances in this field have found that addition of a reducing agent can be used to dramatically reduce copper concentrations, making this method more attractive to synthetic chemists. Traditionally, analysis has been conducted via 1H NMR spectroscopy, which is inaccessible to smaller research facilities. I'm studying this mechanism with the application of gas chromatography and infrared spectroscopy to analyze these reactions.
My first week here I spent learning what all I would be doing. This included how to calculate the amounts of how much AIBN, internal standard, alkene, alkyl halide and solvent I would put into my test tubes to run. It was all a bunch of stoichiometry problems that were simple enough once I got the hang of it. Then the next few days were spent learning how to use the gas chromatographer (GC) and read the scans that it spit out. The first thing to do is turn on the gas tanks; first nitrogen, then air, then helium and finally to light the machine. The machine should always be purged before using it, to clean out anything that may have been left inside the column. To do this the GC is set to run at 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes, or until the scans look clean. Then the parameters are set for the sample; initial temperature, initial time, amount of degrees to ramp per minute (rate), final temperature, and final time. Sometimes this also includes changing the ramp time. Then the parameters on the integrator are set, which is the machine connected to the GC, and prints out the scans. The only parameters that are changed it the attenuation, which is how much the graph is zoomed in or out of the scan, and the stop time, which is how long the integrator should run for. The stop time is calculated by this formula: finial temp - initial temp / rate + initial time + final time = total time. Then .2 micro liters is injected into the column simultaneously while pressing start on both the GC and the integrator. As the machine runs, the sample moves through the column and the substances in the sample will shoot out of the column around their boiling point, as recorded by different sizes peaks on the integrator scan. Sometimes part of a sample will shoot out of the column at a significant time before or after it's boiling point and add and extra unknown peak to the scan. In that case, another scan is run again. At least two scans of every sample is run to confirm that the scan is quantitative. Though, since the machine is old it doesn't always work right and sometimes time is needed to purge again.
The second week I moved to the infrared spectrometer (IR). This machine measures the bonds in samples. First, a background is always collected before using the machine, so that it can tell the difference between what should be recorded, and what shouldn't. Then two drops of the sample is placed between two salt plates and put into the machine. After the IR runs it displays a spectra of the sample, which it obtained by shooting a photon of light through the sample. The light photon causes the connected atoms to vibrate about their bonds and different bonds absorb different amounts of energy, which are displayed in the spectra. The spectras can be checked against the SDBS database for confirmation.
The experiments we did at first were to check if the two machines were quantitative. On the IR we first ran Octene, Methanol, Acetonitrile, CCl4, Styrene, Methyl Acrylate, and Methyl Methacrylate. Then a mystery sample was made of two samples that I had already ran and were mixed together for me to identify what it was. Looking at the scans that I had already done of our materials and comparing the different peaks in the scans did this. If the peaks matched, it meant that the sample did as well. On the GC I ran all of our starting materials a few times, to check that they always came out at the expected time, in the right amounts. This week we've started running our solutions with AIBN, internal standard, alkene, alkyl halide and solvent through the GC. AIBN is our reducing agent and the reason this is used is because it gives a higher product yield than the other reducing agent, ascorbic acid, even though it's more environmentally friendly. We've ran four different scans all with differing ingredients and all but the first one came out okay, but we've yet to figure out why.
Next week the other IR head might be back, the one that's more quantitative, since the one we have now isn't and I might run some samples on that if it does.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The objectives of my project includes trying various ratios to obtain continuous droplet flow using the microfluidic process. The ratios are from both the Oil and Aqueous Phase machines that is connected to syringes. The Oil Phase machine has a syringe filled with three milliliters filled with oil. As for the Aqueous Phase machine, three syringes are used. Two of them are filled with three milliliters of methanol. As for the other syringe, three milliliters of water is used mixed with food coloring dye. These syringes are attached to wire tubes that are connected to the microfluidic chip with droplets that I'm trying to form.
These ligands containing sulfur are found often in the body bonded to molybdenum. My project is to create copper and cobalt version of the man-made form of the molybdenum complex and compare the three using Ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy(UV-Vis), Infrared spectroscopy(IR), and Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy(NMR).
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The big machine on the left is the GC and the smaller on the right is the plotter. Basically we put in 0.2 microliters of our solution into the machine and set the parameters accordingly(most of it is just guesswork) and wait for the plotter to print out scans of what was in the solution. For the last two days we've been looking for the peak of octene-1 and couldn't figure out why it wasn't showing up and assumed we just weren't zoomed in close enough to see it.