Saturday, September 3, 2011

Good Job, Project SEED 2011

I just want to congratulate Marissa and Liz for their awesome work in Denver. Both did an exceptional job at the Sci-Mix poster session and earned those three days off from school. They represented and advocated for our program very well, helping to make sure that Project SEED is available to needy students for years to come.

Also, congratulations to all of Duquesne's 2011 Project Seedlings. We had an productive, rigorous, and hopefully rewarding summer. Good luck in if you're off to college, and work hard if you're back in high school.

Thanks to Duquesne's University, the Department of Chem and Biochem, and all of the exceptional staff, grad students, and professors. Your contributions to the education of these children will be well remembered as they age and proceed through their careers. They will cite you in future meetings and conversations as individuals and mentors who changed their perspective. That's a cool thing and a profound way to maintain the continuity of our culture.

On a personal note, thank your for your continued support of my research and the opportunity to continue to serve the Project SEED students.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Few Pictures From Denver...

One of the first days in Denver we spent some time exploring the city. This is Liz and I, with the city behind us, right before we went to Starbucks for a drink. The dry air made me really thirsty.
Mountains, mountains, mountains and still....more mountains. The part of Denver that we stayed in felt relatively flat, but once we drove out a little bit it was obvious we were in the Rockys.

Another cool part of the trip was the tour of the Cave of the Winds. It felt like a very tourist-y spot to visit, but it was still fun. The tour guide led us through cavers, explaining how they came to be, and telling ghost stories. The caves also had very good acoustics (one of the owners wanted to put an orchestra inside).

Of course, when you're in Denver you have to visit the mountains. We spent some time climbing rocks and enjoying the views from atop.

The aquarium in Denver was huge! It had so many different fish also had a tiger! But, really there were so many! Not all were as colorful as this tank, but it was still interesting. The rooms were really decorated and realistic; one room simulated a flashflood with raging waters and a ceiling that simulated a storm. At the end they had a shallow stingray tank were you could softly graze your hands over the fish.

The Hard Rock Cafe was definitely one of the best places we ate in Denver. We tried a lot of different foods, but the burgers here were my favorite.

There was a lot of art in Denver. Some of which included many different pianos all painted with different designs, set up periodically all down the main street. I can't play, but I wish I could.

Grand Finale

Well, I guess this is it. No more Project SEED. In a way, I'm happy. I've done some research that amazes my friends, gone on field trips to places I certainly wouldn't see otherwise, made new friends and learned so much. Plus I can do something else next summer too! But it's also sad because all of that's gone now, and I'm left with just memories. I'll miss the professors, the students, being amazed and confused as I go through my first week trying to figure out what my project is. Overall, the most rewarding part was the education and the experience. How many high school students can say they already have two summers of undergraduate research on their application essays? Or presented at poster symposiums, both at a college and at a national ACS conference in Denver, Colorado. Nope, not many. But Project SEED wasn't isn't just something to put on a college application. It helped me grow into someone who looks at the world scientifically; questioning, investigating, being skeptical when necessary and accepting nothing short of the facts.

I'm not sure if it's something that can be easily reflected upon now, I think it's easier to look at your teen years once you're done with them, but I know that this has helped me mature a lot. Being around people that highly educated (more so than regular high school students) exerts a certain peer pressure, the good kind, that helps with that. I feel more involved in science now. I care about new discoveries and research and what's happening in the world around me. I realize it's important because most things will effect me in one way or another. I've just learned so much, and it's hard to express in words exactly what the experience was like. What I can say is, if anyone is considering a career in science, in chemistry specifically, do Project SEED. It's opened up a lot doors and certainly had an influence on my college choices and majors. I can't think of any cons, except that maybe you have to get up early in the summer, but I promise it's worth it.

Thank you to everyone who helped make Project SEED possible, both across the nation and at Duquesne. I'm not sure how much you hear gratitude from the SEED students, but we all really are quite grateful. Thanks again and please continue your efforts.

Goodbye Project SEED

Project SEED has taught me so much about myself, and what I am most grateful for is the confidence it has given me. I do not attend a very challenging school so Project SEED showed me that when I am challenged I can step up and succeed. I will never forget my first week of Project SEED when I received articles written by Professors and scientist for other professionals in the field. The reading was beyond my comprehension. I read page after page unable to understand a word of it. Then when I finally finished reading the article I would sit stunned, because I was just as well off as before I read the article. I understood absolutely nothing. It was like reading another language and honestly it was another language. It was scientific language where the reader was expected to know the jargon. Reading one paper took me, well a very long time. Last year I became a better reader, and a somewhat better writer. I also became a more independent person. In high school I always had someone pushing me to do my best, but in Project SEED I didn’t have someone pushing me to do better. I focused on completing my work when it needed to be done and working when I knew I should be and asking questions when I really needed to. Being a high school student in an academic lab I realized that I had to learn very quickly and the only way I could do that was by asking questions. In high school if you don’t understand something you’re usually not the only one that is clueless so you didn’t have to ask all the questions, other students would. I didn’t have that. Project SEED puts you in the situation where you might be clueless, but you have people that can help you. You have to know what you don’t know and ask those questions until you understand the subject you’re trying to learn inside and out, because when you present your data it is going to be to people that don’t understand a word of it, so you have to explain it for them in a way that they can easily understand what you are saying. This is something I learned from my advisor Mr. Lucas who I went to for many reasons, one of them being my inability to understand what i don’t understand. When I did my work I could easily explain why I did each step and how, but I didn’t understand why I used the things I used or how they are better compared to other things and I realized that I still didn’t understand so much. Mr. Lucas showed me that I didn’t understand...anything. So I had to ask a plethora of questions. Now I understand my research inside and out.

Project SEED has also given me an idea of what I want in a college. Spending two summers at Duquesne has allowed for me to experience a medium size college. It has given me a chance to see if I would want to go to a college the same size as Duquesne or if I preferred a smaller or bigger college. Another way Project SEED helped me pick where I want to attend in the future,was the visit we took to Washington and Jefferson. Duquesne is a similar size to Duquesne, but they are very different and Washington and Jefferson is a college that I am considering going to. The opportunities there are very good, and although it is not a big college it still has many things to offer.

Doing Project SEED has also given me the opportunity to decide if I want to choose a career in science. I had opportunities to experience what it is like to work in academia as a scientist and had the chance to see science in industry. Having the chance to talk with people that have done both academia and industry and get advice from them about why they chose their careers was something I am very grateful for.

So overall, Project SEED has really been life changing. Of course there were times when it was really stressful and I felt discouraged, but once I overcame those moments I felt like a stronger person. I really feel like I can take on the world. Last but definitely not least I am so happy I had the chance to meet people from other schools who have similar interests as me, and become such great friends with them. I even had a chance to meet and become friends with people from my school that I did not know very well. The friends that I have made from this experience have become more like an extended family. I still talk to and hang out with students from last years Project SEED, and I feel like I will this year as well. Project SEED is awesome and a great summer experience. Actually, my little brother is very interested in science as well, and I am encouraging him to apply for Project SEED. It really does change who you are.

Goodbye Project SEED and thank you for all you have done for me! You will be missed!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

PIttsburgh Section Wins the ChemLuminary Award for Best Project SEED Program

Duquesne University and The Pittsburgh Section of the ACS has been recognized for two of the last three years as the best Project SEED program in the country!

Tell me that ain't cool...?

The Final Symposium

The Colorado Convention Center was huge! I was expecting something more like the one we have back in Pittsburgh, but this one is so much bigger. It had a lot of art inside too.

They had a lot of hanging art, including the metal waves in the picture above, and some discs that I thought looked like spaceships. Other than that there were a lot of plants (I think they were all real) and different painting and pictures everywhere. It was all really beautiful.

The big blue bear looking into the convention center was a sculpture done by a local artist, Lawernce Argent. It's called "I See What You Mean". It was built back in 2005 to add a sense of fun and playfulness to the atmosphere.

Liz and I got there early to setup our posters. There was a row of boards for the Project SEED kids and I think there were about five of us altogether. I was surprised that some of them were already in college, I didn't know that Project SEED programs ran that long. Other than that they all had really nice posters.

Overall, I think a lot of people visited the Project SEED posters, but I feel like I got somewhere between 20-30 people at mine. Some were fans of Project SEED, being old mentors or high school teachers, but there were others attracted to it because of my Coordination Polymer topic.

By the end of the day, I felt really proud of myself. So many people had come and complimented me on my work and on doing Project SEED. A lot of professors and graduate students asked about my future plans for college and majors, a good number of them urging me to take on chemistry, and still more gave me advice on applying and opportunities I should look out for.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by my poster! Thanks to everyone who made Project SEED possible.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Big Night!

Last night I presented the work that I have been doing for the past two summers at the convention center in Denver, Colorado. I was so nervous about presenting that I stayed up the night before going to Colorado and thought about the presentations. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to present it at such a big convention, and was terrified of what the outcome might be- Would I be able to explain my work properly? What kind of questions will I be asked? How many people are going to come to my poster? What if I don’t have anyone come to my poster?!-Questions like that kept me from sleeping an entire night, but when the big day came I was no longer nervous. I knew I was ready, and as the time grew closer to presenting I became very excited about showing everyone that I could the work that I had done. After setting up my poster I waited to meet the other Project SEED students. I wanted to hear about how they became involved in Project SEED, what the experience has been like for them, and just get to know them. After meeting the other Project SEED students I realized that our experiences were very similar, and found myself relating to them easily. Then the time came to put on my heels and try to grab as many people as I could, which was not very difficult because my posters was in the very front.

After a few moments the doors opened, and tons of people flooded in. I was shocked, and excited, and then I became scared. I wasn’t scared of presenting anymore, I was scared that I was not going to get any traffic. In an instant Marissa had somebody at her poster, and they just kept coming, I guess coordination polymers are very exciting right now. At that moment I thought back on when Dr. Wheeler had shared with us that there was a competition for the most unique and interesting title in the talks he had went to. One of the titles was ‘Pop and Lock’...I really wished that I had an eye catching title like that at my poster, but I did not have to wait very long, suddenly I had many people coming to my poster. As the night went on and I presented to more and more people I became more and more confident. I became so confident after George Richter-ADDO, the professor and Chair of the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma asked me if I would like to work for him. He told me about the research that he had worked on and gave me his card so I can get in touch with him later. He also told me that he had worked with Dr. Wheeler before Dr. Wheeler came to Duquesne, and I was just so happy that he enjoyed my presentation and that I was offered a chance to work for him. My confidence went through the roof after that. I wished I would have kept count of all the people that came to my poster, but to be honest there were just too many. If I had to guess I would say I presented to at least twenty people. After the convention ended I both exhausted and restless(not to mention I could barely walk). I would love to do another convention, it was just so exciting, and I shocked so many people when they found out that I was a high school student. I am so proud of myself, and so grateful for this experience, I really can not wait to show my family. I just want to bring my poster everywhere and present it to everyone!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

First Day in Denver!

First day in Denver woo! From up in the sky everything looked really flat. From down in the's still quite flat. It seems really calm here. Theres not a lot of people or noise and the sidewalks and streets kind of blend together. I found out, at the first place we ate at, that they call their pizzas pies here. Weird. What do they call pies then? After that we stopped by the convention center and got a taste of what it'll be like tomorrow. Its huuuuge and theres sooo many posters. I'm kinda nervous for tomorrow....But anyway, then we walked around Denver some more and stopped by the mall. Its mostly outside, which makes me wonder what shopping is like in the winter...Now we're getting ready to go to dinner, bye!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Last Blog Challenge :(

Interview with Kim

How did you arrive at Duquesne University?
Undergraduate research and wanted to be close to family.

Did you always want to be a chemist?
No, got offered a position in lab and always wanted to be a teacher.

What do you like most about your job?
I always have something new to do everyday.

What don't you like?
It's hard, so basically the pressure and the stress.

Do you have any regrets or missteps?
No, I'm pretty satisfied with everything.

Where is it that your actually from?
Beaver Dell, PA.. where the sinking school was.

Did you ever study abroad?
I didn't, I came from a poor family so really couldn't afford but someone else in my lab does and I just look at her pictures and picture me being there.

Would you do anything different?
Travel more so I can have spring breaks in other countries and also have a summer because I don't have that now.

How many years of school do you have left?
Starting my 3rd year now, and have 3 more to go.

Did you enjoy your summer with Mr. Lucas being in your lab?
Of course!!

Will you be back here next year?
Oh yes, I'm stuck here now.

Quote from Kim "THINGS WORK OUT" no matter what the situation may be :)
Thanks Kim for your time, hope to see you again next year!

Last words from me, project seed has been an awesome experience so happy I did it and I hope to be back next year! GOODBYE :)

This is it.

I cant believe it the final blog post. When I began Project SEED just eight short weeks ago I almost though I would never make it to this point.

I would like to begin by saying that this program was great and has helped me in many ways. First of all it helped me solidify my interest in the sciences. This is something that will be extremely beneficial to me in the future. It has also given me the opportunity to see what its like in the different sectors of chemistry. By that I mean I had the opportunity to see both the academic and the corporate side of chemistry, a privilege that very few get. I now have an understanding of corporate chemistry which could be very beneficial. SEED has also helped make my future choice making a little bit easier with this experience I can now say what interests me a little bit easier.

Its almost impossible to express how much I have learned this summer in a single paragraph. Aside from the things mentioned above I have earned many things. Probably one of the most important things that I have learned this summer is a sense of patience. It was sometimes tough to understand some of the technical papers and things like that but one of the things that I learned to do was be patient until I do. I learned some new ins and outs of Microsoft word and powerpoint that I didn't know before, as well as the proper way to keep your audience interested in what your saying. I could go on, but the point of the previous is to express the immense amount of knowledge that I now posses.

And finally the people that I have met during the summer have been amazing. From my fellow SEED students to my grad students Gavin and Kristen who I would like to thank very much. Also I would like to thank my professor Dr. Gawalt who was also very helpful me me. I would also like to thank everyone else who helped me along the way.

Well I guess thats it this has been a great experience that I will remember for a long time to come.

The final Blog Challenge

Above is an interview that I conducted with Deja's grad students Bonnie and Tim. They had some pretty good things to say and it was interesting to hear part of their story. They ended the interview with some great advice

Chemistry Live! With Graduate Students, Gavin and Kristen!

This week we were assigned to interview different graduate students from other labs and ask them about their research here at Duquesne, why they chose to study chemistry, any regrets and if they had any advice for us high schoolers. We decided to interview Gavin and Kristen from Dr. Gawalt's lab. Both of them were very enthusiastic about helping us and all of their advice was very helpful and much appreciated. Thanks guys!

Last Day of Project SEED Forever!

Wow I can't believe that this is my last day of Project SEED. I still remember my first day two years ago when I was absolutely terrified of this place. Everything was overwhelming and I felt like there was no way I was going to be able to do any of this. Even this year, with my new project and graduate student I was a little overwhelmed.

I've learned a lot though, from my two summers with Project SEED. It really opened my eyes to what working in an academic lab is like and how different the atmosphere is between high school and college; between secondary school and the professional world.

Being from a small high school where most people didn't go outside of our small town, it was an immensely new experience to work with people from India, the Philippines and other places. College is really a place that thrives from it's diversity.

The lab that I worked in is an Inorganic, Organometallic and Polymer Chemistry lab. So a lot of research goes on here. My first year there were a lot of people working in the lab and my project was optimizing the GC and IR for simple reaction mixture analysis of ATRA. A lot of it involved wondering why our machines weren't working...But in the end I got my data.

This year I had a new graduate student, Raj, and a new project, the synthesis of copper(I) cyanide coordination polymers. It was really interesting since this research is recently becoming more popular because of the applications for metal organic frameworks (MOF's). MOF's are porous materials that can kind of act like a net to catch different molecules.

At first we made some known coordination polymers, but then we started synthesizing new ones. Sometimes it was hard to get good crystals for X-ray crystallography, because our coordination polymers would crash out and we would get powder instead. It was exciting when we did get nice crystals though! Those were good days.

Some of my favorite parts of SEED were the field trips. Of course, just working here at first was it's own experience, but the field trips to different companies and research facilities provided even more exposure into the post-high-school world of science. Visiting W&J was really beneficial because, before, I had heard that it was a good school, but I always shrugged it off and never thought it was somewhere I would go. After visiting there's no question about applying for W&J, it's just too nice of a school to not apply and when I say nice I mean in terms of academics, faculty, opportunities, food(!), and more.

Overall, I've learned a lot from Project SEED. It's hard to express in words how much this has has changed me and my future decisions. It's best described as your eyes being opened to something that was there all along, you just had to know where to look and how to find it.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who made this possible; my graduate students, Matt Taylor and Carol Ricardo (first year) and Raj Kaur (second year), my professor (Dr. Tomislav Pintauer, an awesome professor), my advisor Josh Lucas, Dr. Aitken, all of the Project SEED students (2010, 2011 and the alumni who returned), the American Chemical Society Project SEED Office, Sto-Rox High School's faculty and staff, Gavin and Kristen from Dr. Gawalt's lab and everyone else at Duquesne University for making this such a wonderful experience.

Thank you!

Big Blog Challenge

For my interview I chose to do Raj, a grad student from Dr. Pintauer's lab. She's currently studying abroad and had a lot of interesting things to say.

Q: How did you get interested in science?
A: I always wanted to be a part of something sciencey. And the subject where I am now is the ost interesting to me.
Q: Is it everything you expected it to be?
A: Yes, it is very fulfilling.
Q: What is your favorite form of science?
A: Biochemistry or science, definitely. They are both limitless in potential.
Q: What was your biggest fear going into college?
A: I actually had none, I was completely optimistic.
Q: If you have 3 oranges and 2 apples in one hand, and 3 apples in another, what do you have?
A: Not enough oranges! I want more!! Also, really big hands.
Q: How is the study abroad program?
A: It is such a great experience. The culture and people here are so different it's nice to know there is a different world.
Q: If you could change one thing about your academic career what would it be?
A: I think I'd play more sports. FIeld hockey was one fo my favorites.
Q: How do you feel about your project?
A: I feel fantastic, mainly because we are studying coordination polymers at room temperature, which is definitely more green than at 180 degrees celsius.
Q: What was your hardest class in college?
A: Quantum Mechanics for sure.
Q: Are you looking forward to getting your phd?
A: Yes, but at the same time I'll miss it. I feel as though I'm doing the same kind of work now that I will be doing when I get a job, but I definitely will miss the college life. I guess it'll be bittersweet.
Thanks a lot for your time Raj, you were really fun to interview!

Goodbye Project SEED!

Just yesterday it felt like the first day of project SEED and now it is the very last! Time flys! This summer I've made some new friends, made so many memories, learned so many things and met some new people with encouraging words. This program was an experiance of a life time. I learned so much about what college will be somewhat like and how to get my life started on the right track. This is very important to me since i am a junior this year! This is when everything starts to count. From the SATs, ACTs, PSSAs, all that fun stuff that colleges look at. I feel like this program has made me a all around better person and im so excited to take on my junior year and become a successful person. Everything i've learned this summer will stick with me for the rest of my life. I think without this program i would go finish high school and think that college would be a piece of cake and just walk around like i knew everything. From meeting other successful past SEED students i will take there advice such as studying as much as possible and maybe not to travel so far away from home for college and apply it to myself when my time comes for college. I really hope i can be a part of this program next year because i truly love it! I would like to give a special thanks to Josh Lucas for encouraging me to fill out the Project SEED application and Dr. Aitken for welcoming me here at Duquesne. I would like to thank Dr. Wetzel for taking me as her Project SEED student and giving me the knowledge needed for my project. Lastly i would just like to thank the graduate students on the chemistry floor for being so nice and welcoming to myself and all the other project SEED students! Well hope to see you all next year !

Thursday, August 11, 2011

So long and thanks for all the fish

So this is it. This is the end of our program, the annihlation of what has consumed our lives for eight weeks. These weeks were tough, some more than others, and more than one time the question arose in my head if this was worth it. Looking back now, reviewing all my experiences, I can answer that question with a yes.

First off, (when I say this it is in the same league as Oscar the Grouch's voice) what else would I have done with my summer? That's a no brainer though, sit at home, get a dungeon tan, and play video games. Is that neccesarily a bad thing? The lazy teenager in my head says no, but my brain tells me yes. Where else would I have gotten this kind of experience with college level work routines and the college students themselves? I'll give you a hint, the place begins with an n and ends in an e. Give up? The answer is nowhere. Anything I could've possibly did this summer pales in comparison to this project. For once in my life, I really feel as if I've taken the best possible course of action.

I know I'm gushing, but hey it's hard not to. The people here at Duquesne were just fantastic, through and through. My personal mentor, Scott Boesch, has the most patience I've ever seen. Personally, if I had to deal with a know-nothing highschool kid through the long hot summer months, I would've pulled my teeth out with pliers. Luckily for me though he's better than that. he coached me through learning about proteins, equilibrium, use of the Linux operating system, and just about everything else. He isn't the only one who helped though, my professor, Dr.Wheeler, helped me realize how to act in a proper manner. I mean I'm not Conan the Barbian or anything, but I was definitely lacking etiquette. He left it up to me to get my work done on my own, and even set up our group meetings. At first I though he was just being mean, but then I started to look past the actions themselves. What did I learn by him not holding my hand? To take responsibilty for myself, and that when I further my education I'm not always going to have a teacher available. Sometimes, I'm going to need to put my nose to the grindstone and do it myself. Right now I found that concept a little daunting, but hey I still have two years left of highschool, cut me some slack. Last but not least, there's my grad student Linh. When I say nice what do you think of? Kittens? Cookies? Unlimited lives on Pac Man? Well I think of Linh. She was one of the most kind and caring people I've met in my whole life. She supplied me with pictures for my paper and presentations, and her knowledge about cytochrome bc1 itself. Once I learned that my research was going to play a supporting role in hers ( which is a Phd project ) I was very meticulous with my work. Double checking everything as I went,making sure that my numbers were as accurate as possible. These are only some of the many amazing people I met here, and I wouldn't be have been successful in this program without any of those people.

On to my SEED overseer and the project manager. During the school year Mr.Lucas was definitely a different person. He was laid back, joking around, but he always pushed us to do our work. If I remember correctly, he's one of the main reasons I did this program. In the beginning of SEED though, I realized something: Duquesne was no place to mess around. This was a place where people take their learning seriously. I learned that almost immediately and I'm glad I did. It actually surprised me at first, realizing how much I would have to grow up to succeed. Mr. Lucas really helped me at the beginning and most likely set me on a path for success. I had one more influential person in my SEED experience and that was Dr. Aitken. She wasn't around as much as the others, but that was because she was on a sabbatical with RJ Lee group. They are a well renowned research company and I was impressed that she could transfer from an academic environment to an industrial one so well. I should've expected it though, the woman radiates adaptivity. That is why she was so helpful when we spoke, she could see both sides of the coin, and helped me realize that some things just can't be split up black and white.

I can honestly say that this experience was an eye opener. I didn' t think college was going to be easy by any means, but I definitely didn't think my work routine would have to be so disciplined. I'm really grateful that I got to partake in this program, if not for the people I met, then for the oppurtunity to expand my horizon. If all goes well I will do this again next year and have even more fun! Byebye everybody!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Overall Reflection of Project SEED.

Project SEED has helped me notice that I will definitely need to go to college to pursue my career and also that college won't be that expensive because of scholarships, financial aid, etc. As we went on field trips I seen all the different scientists and how successful they are with their career and I want that to be me one day. Project SEED has affected my decisions and choices a lot and I'm glad I did this program this summer, it was a wonderful experience. It allowed me to see that I can accomplish my dreams as long as I stay on task and do what I have to do. Anything is POSSIBLE!

My first summer as a SEED student I learned about amino acids, proteins, cations and anions and how the amino acid effects the ions. We did different things such as, created saltboxes using the different computer programs like VMD and running them through the supercomputer to find more info on them.

I really liked project seed, it really boost my confidence of becoming what I want to be. Hopefully I can do this program next year again. Meeting and working with the other SEED kids was the best, I hope we can stay in touch. I want to thank all the donors for letting us have a chance to experience this, you're greatly appreciated. I'd like to thank Mary Krawczak, my professor Dr. Madura and Tim for helping me this summer with all my work, you guys were a big help. Mr. Lucas and Dr. Aitken, I can't forget about to guys, you also were a great help and I'd like to thank you too for creating this program and making it possible to do productive and important things over the summer break. Finally, I'd like to thank Duquesne University for letting us be here for the summer to experience a great thing such as this. With nothing else to be said, I'd just like to thank everyone for everything. BYE!!!! :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Big Blog Challenge

Interview someone else's professor or a graduate student who you do not work with. Get them to tell you their story. Ask questions like....

How did they arrive at Duquesne University?
Did they always want to be a chemist?
What do they like most about their job?
What are some of their regrets and missteps?
What would they do differently?

Creative questioning is preferred.

Summarize your conversation on the blog. Pictures and video are worth bonus, but there must be written content too. This blog has a high value reward.

The past week

This blog post is a little overdue and I have a lot to cover so lets begin.

Lets start with last weeks field trip to Bayer Materials Science. With a trip to another corporate chemical firm, comes another very informative look into the world of what is the business of chemistry. However Bayer differed from our last corporate trip in a few ways. What we saw at Bayer was the development of things that can, and will directly impact the lives of each and every one of us. From bowling balls, to particle board, to the material that is used in the dashboards of cars Bayer is working to manufacture products that will better the lives of many. Now a word about the people that we encountered on our trip. We began the day meeting some fellow Seed students who were conducting their research at Bayer, as well as their coordinator. We then moved on to meet some of the college students who were also doing research at the company, they were also very informative. We had a series of different tour guides and presenters along the way who were very knowledgeable and could answer any of the questions that we may have had. Overall the Bayer trip was a good one and I now have an understanding of the important R & D that goes on there.

Next I'll move on to the research symposium, and i must say it was the apex of the entire experience. Having the opportunity to present my summer research to interested patrons was a good experience. Also the speakers in the morning portion of the symposium were good. Once again we got to meet some fellow students who had come from West Virginia University to present their research.

The final thing that I have to talk about is the alumni lunch, which happened yesterday afternoon. We had the opportunity to hear of some of the life experiences, as well as get some advice from former SEED students.

So a lot has happened since my last blog post, and the above summarizes it all

The Return of the Alumni

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Yesterday the Project SEED alumni (that could make it) came back to visit, eat pizza, and share their college student wisdom with us. Tim McFadden, Dawnee Sloan, Chrysten Pfabe, Tristan Stagger, Chris Sidun, Amanda Anderson and Sydney Burkholder and Mary Krawzack all came to visit. I feel like this year's reunion went a lot better than last years.

They had some really good advice about preparation for college and what to do once we got there. Talking to them eased some of my fears. I'm still a little tentative about the schools I want to apply to and how much everything's going to cost...It's all going to cost quite a lot. And while cost is something that needs to be considered when applying, I think it should be considered after I look at what the schools will offer me if I go there and after I see what scholarships I can get. For now I'm just going to focus on getting accepted! I'll start looking at scholarships too. I'm excited! I can't wait to just finish school and go to college, but at the same

Almost finished !

The research symposium was last Friday and it was a lot of fun. To see my panels in spot number 40 was a sigh of relief. I felt so accomplished and felt like I did so much to make my research the best it could be. I had 6 or 7 visitors visit me to talk about my research. A lot of people to visit for my first year in project seed right? And Im only junior in high school . I was very shocked. I only thought I would get only about 2 or 3 people, but when i saw people approach me I was very excited to talk about my research. I also visited a person from Washington and Jefferson College which we visited about 2 weeks ago. She shared a lot of information anout her research with me. She also told me a little bit about the college because I am thinking about applying there for college in chemistry. But i still have time to decide. Then it was time for me to leave and return to band camp for my performance. I wish I could of visited more people about there research.

Yesterday was the Project SEED alumni lunch. The alumni were very nice and gave a lot of pointers to get me started into a successful college life out of high school. It was really interesting to see people from Sto-Rox and see how far they have gotten out of a low income school. After hearing a former Sto-Rox graduate, Tim McFadden's story I feel like I could be a very successful person and not hold back at all coming from such a poor and small school.

After today there is only about a week left of Project SEED. Boy does time fly! The last thing to do is write my research paper and then I'm all finished! Even though this program was so much fun I just can't wait until it's over. I want to sleep in, waking up early is so much work.