Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Blog Challenge #5 part 2

for the second part of the blog we had to interview someone, i interviewed Steve Wisneski an ungrad in my lab. 1.why did you chose Duquesne? one of four undergard schools, it was close to home. interested in prusing edication program and Duquesne provided both. 2. what is your research on? dimond like materials, interested in physical properties. (band gap, thermo properties, seconf hernionic gen.)physico chemical. 3.how long have you been at duquesne? starting 5th year, have been here for 4 fall and 4 spring, got batilers degree in chemistry. 4. what made you choose science? in high school it was the only class i looked forward to going to. faviorte was chemistry. 5. what was you faviorte thing you learned in your undergrad? most faviorte class was single crystalogrraine corse with Dr.Aitken in inorganic lab, opened up doors to solid state reachtions. helped understanding crystals more.

Blog Challenge #5 Part 2

For the second half of the challenge, we were instructed to interview a graduate student or professor using questions that we made up. I chose to interview Kim Rosmus, a graduate student in Dr. Aitken's lab.

So, why Duquesne?
·         I chose Duquesne because it has a small undergraduate department. I didn't want to go to a big school where there were 20+ students per research group and become overwhelmed. I also like how it is close to home and in the city setting.
Did you give any other schools any thought?
·         I toured the University of Pittsburgh. Each field of chemistry has their own floor and it didn't seem like they talked to each other. I also thought it was too large of a school, I wanted to go somewhere small. Also, the environment wasn’t friendly or creative.
How did you get interested in science?
·         In 4th grade, I got to dissect an own pellet and then reconstruct a mouse skeleton from it, and I thought that was really cool. I love science in general and how you can experiment with everything.
What are you researching?
·         I focus mainly on diamond like semiconductors. The main one is Co2ZnSiS4, started out as an intro in to the lab. The lab found out it that it was a polymorph and she is still researching it 5 years later.
·        Another big interest to her is rietveld refinement.
Do you enjoy your time here?

·         As much as it drives me nuts, I do. There’s always something to do, it’s never boring. I like that it’s not redundant.  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Blog Challenge #5-Part 2

Interview with Dr. Jeffrey D. Madura:

Q: How did you become interested in science?
A: My 5th grade science teacher gave me a soil testing kit, been interested ever since.

Q: How did you end up at Duquesne?
A: Serendipity, just by chance.

Q:Have you taught at any other universities?
A: Yes, University of South Alabama and the University of Texas.

Q:Did you do any research during high school?
A: No

Q:Why did you choose your profession?
A; Tired of washing glasses, had an interest in computers, they were just starting to come out at the time.

Blog Challenge #5

My experience at the symposium was not quit what I expected, in the morning we had to hang up our poster once we had done that we sat through the undergrads talks. I thought it was going to be dual and boring but it turned out to be pretty interesting many of the undergrads have interesting topics. I enjoyed the morning, after the presentations we had lunch. The lunch was outside and it was nice they has many options, they even gave us ice cream. After everyone had finished eating lunch the first half of the poster session began. My number was to which meant I was in the first half. The poster presentation did go as good as I hoped, I wish that I had more people that came up to my poster all in all I had around six or seven people come to me poster. The first was an African American lady; she seemed as if she was an undergrad herself. She asked me what my project was and I told her the characterization and synthesis of Cu- and Li- based quaternary sulfide semiconductors. She asked me how many years I’ve been at Duquesne and was amazed when I told her I’m only a junior in high school. She asked me what school I went to and was also surprised when I said Sto-Rox High School. After I explained my project she thanked me and went about her way. Then my Andrew came up and asked me to explain my poster even though he hear it twice before. The last person to come up was the dean; he asked me if I what my project was about and I explained my project. Then he also asked me if I was an undergrad and I told him not that I was a junior in high school, and that I’m a project first year project SEED student. He told me that I rally new what I was talking about and I thanked him. After it was time to switch the project SEED student took a picture and so did the Aitken lab, after I walked around and looked at some posters and took pictures. All in all it was a good experience and I can’t wait till next year!


For our 5th blog challenge we were asked to come up with 3 potential people that we would be interested in interviewing and come up with 5-10 questions that we would ask.
The three people I have chosen to  interview were Ben Cooley, Dr. Fochtman, and Dr. Ludvico.
I went ahead and interviewed Ben Cooley who is a 5th year forensic science and law student.
Below are the questions I asked Ben during the interview and the answers I got back:

1.Q- How did you end up here at Duquesne?
   A- Ben lived in Pittsburgh and heard about Duquesne's progam and decided that he didn't want to go
        far for college.

2.Q- What are you doing now?
   A- Ben has been working in a DNA lab analyzing enzymes in blood.

3.Q- What made you decide to study forensic science and law?
   A- Ben has liked Biology and Physics growing up.

4.Q- After you're done with the 5 year program what do you plan on doing?
   A- Ben's answer was "I don't know."

5.Q- Is grad  school worth it (staying the 5th year)?
   A- The forensic science and law program is a 5 year program, but Ben said yes, it's a good working

6.Q- When you started college did you know that you wanted to go to grad school?
   A- Again the program Ben is in is a 5 year program, but Ben wants to eventually get a PhD.

All in all, I enjoyed interviewing Ben because he is a forensic science and law student, which is what I plan on eventually doing and it also gave me someone else's opinion on the program other than my co-mentor Leah, who is also in the program starting her 4th year.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Blog Challenge #5

Part 1
This year was Duquesne University's 16th annual Undergraduate Research Program symposium. The program lasts for 10 weeks and gives the students essential research experience for a possible future career. At the end of the 10 weeks all of the students come together to present their research in poster format at the symposium. This was my second year that I presented my research here at Duquesne. I couldn't even begin to explain how nervous I was last year about having to talk to people about what I did for those 10 weeks. Although, it really wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Then again, not many people came up to my poster last year. I think only my family and a few fellow SEED students came to view my poster. Though, I am not sure why considering they probably heard enough of my project from our group meetings! This year I was expecting the same thing to happen and only talk to a few friends and family members. However, many people came up to my poster and started asking questions about my project. There were even people standing at my poster before I got there! It actually surprised me to know that people were that interested in my project. I figured that mainly teachers would be interested in my work rather than students from Duquesne and Pitt. They all had great questions and it was an awesome feeling knowing that I had all of the answers to them. When I told a few people I was still in high school they were completely shocked. They thought it was so cool that I was able to be working at Duquesne over the summer. I also feel that this was a good practice for when I go to Indianapolis for the ACS meeting this year! For me the symposium went extremely well! My father and brother(a new grad student here at Duquesne) came to the lunch and then afterwards came to my poster so I could show them all of the work I had done over the summer. Sadly my mom wasn't able to make it but she heard all about it when we got home. I can't tell you how much I will miss working here during the summer. It was such an amazing experience and I feel like  have learned so much over the past two summers. If I ever get another opportunity like this I am definitely taking it!

Part 2
Possible candidates to be interviewed:
1. Joseph Janicki
2. Dr. Wheeler
3. Jackie

Possible interview questions:
1. What was your initial interest in science?
2. When you started college did you know that grad school was in your future?
3. Why did you choose to come to Duquesne University for grad school?
4. How are you enjoying your grad school experience thus far?
5. What are your future career goals?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Blog Challenge #5

 Part 1
On Friday July, 26 Duquesne held its 16th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. This is a day were all undergraduates and Project SEED students get a chance to present their work that they did over the summer to friends, family, and students. The day started off with a continental breakfast, which was really nice. Then everyone moved to the auditorium for the welcome and keynote address, which was given by Dr. Karl Johnson. He talked about using Carbon Nano- tubes as a filter to clean arsenic filled water in third world countries. Next, some of the undergraduates gave 15 minute presentations about their projects. One of the presenters was my co- mentor Andrew Adams and his presentation was great. To hear him talk about everything that we did over the course of this year and last year was amazing to me. Another presenter was Kelly’s mentor . I thought she did a fantastic job. The last presenter talked about pain receptors in the brain, which was very interesting. Then there was a picnic lunch, which was very nice. I did not have to present the first hour, so I got to walk around and look at other undergraduates’ projects, but that time was shortly lived. The only people that talked to me about my project were my sisters, Andrew, Dr. Partha Basu, and James Claybourne. I mainly talked to James because he used to work in the same lab as me, so he had many questions to ask about the project so far. I also talked to him about his senior thesis because he is going to be running the same experiments that we ran. All in all I thought the symposium was great, especially compared to the one last year. I just wish I had the chance to talk to more people about my project.

  1. Did you participate in any internships in high school?
  2. What made you choose your career?
  3. What made you choose Duquesne over any other college
  4. What made you interested in science?
  5. Was there ever a time when you thought about changing your career?
  6. How is college?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Blog Challenge #5

I apologize for how late this posting is, but the goals for this post are to describe our experience at the URP Symposium and then think of 5-10 questions to ask a grad student of our choice.

The Undergraduate Research Program Symposium started out with a continental breakfast (which looked good, but I was too nervous to eat anything), then moved on to the welcome and keynote address given by Dr. Karl Johnson, Ph.D. He gave a talk about Carbon Nano-tubes and how he wants to use them to purify water in different countries whose ground water is contaminated with arsenic. Some undergraduate students then gave twelve minute talks about their projects and then we went outside for a picnic lunch.
I can sum up my experience at the poster presentation portion in one word: disappointing. A maximum of five people came to my poster, not including the other SEED students who showed up to ask me pointless questions just to make it seem like my project was interesting enough to bother looking at. I think part of the problem was that I was on the right side of the board, hidden from the general population walking past the posters.
The whole experience wasn't bad though, a man from the Mylan School of Pharmacy here at Duquesne University asked me if I would be interested in working in their building after I am finished with college. He said that their department is always looking for engineers and then gave me his card. I was a little bit shocked at my first ever career offer.
Every person that asked me what I was majoring in in college was very surprised when I informed them that I am, in fact, a high school student who hasn't even entered her junior year yet. It was a really good feeling knowing that I am on the same level of research as Sophomores and Juniors in college.
I wish I would have had the opportunity to present to more people, but there's always next year. I know what to expect now and I intend on improving my presenting technique for the symposium next year. This sounds like I didn't have fun at all, but I did! The whole experience was great and I learned a lot about other people's projects, thank you for letting me have the chance to show what I've accomplished over these 8 short weeks here at Duquesne University.

Three potential people that I could possibly interview are:

  1. Sarah
  2. Jackie
  3. Kim 
Possible questions that I could ask:

  1. So, why Duquesne?
  2. Did you give any other schools any thought?
  3. How did you get interested in science?
  4. What are you researching?
  5. Do you enjoy your time here?

Blog Challenge #5

Part 1:

Two Fridays ago was the undergraduate research symposium I had a good time during the symposium and got to see many different research. We first heard talks from multiple people from Duquesne and places like the University of Pittsburgh. There was also a keynote speaker from the university of Pittsburgh and he talked about water declination. I thought he research was very interesting; he like me also used computer simulations to do his research so I thought it was a nice consequence that we both used computers for our simulations. Once we heard about some of the student’s research we ate lunch then got the chance to explore and look at different people's poster and ask questions about their work. There were two hour-long sessions of poster presentations. The even numbers went from 2-3 and the odd numbers went 3-4. My poster was an odd so I went the second hour, which wasn’t as busy and crowded as the first hour.  I personally only got to talk to two people about my project but i had good conversations with those two people. I wouldn't of minded talking to more people about my research but I was fine with two.  I also went to about 10 different posters myself and talked to people about their research. My mom also came to the symposium so I was having her meet some of the people I worked with over the summer and the people I’ve been around since I was here. I showed her most the SEED students’ projects and let her get to know more about the program. Overall I had a great time at the research symposium and i had a ton of fun.
Part 2:
3 people to interview...
 Dr. Madura
 Dr. Wheeler
 Dr. Evansack 

How did you get to where you are today?
What type of schooling did you go through?
How many years did school take you?
Have you taught at any other universities?
Did you do any research in high school or college?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Blog Challenge 5

Part 1:
On July 26th at Duquesne University, Duquesne  held their 16th annual URP (Undergraduate Research Program) Symposium for undergraduate students who have been doing research during the summer.  Gratefully the Project SEED students were involved in this wonderful experience to put their own poster or power point slides, among the many other undergraduate students, on a board for other students, friends, and family to see what amazing work they have completed during the summer.
The students who were involved in the Symposium were to attend presentations that were given by undergraduate students to hear about what they have done during their summer research. In my words I enjoyed hearing the students talk and hearing about their project and comparing it to what I have been working on. I also enjoyed it because without the experience I have had as a high school student having the opportunity to spend my summer at Duquesne, I partially understood what the students were saying and what they were doing, with the help of my project, and compared it to the other high school students who have not had the opportunity to spend their summer doing research who would probably have no idea what they were talking about.
Once the presentations were over the students could spend time with their supportive family during a lunch that was prepared.  The poster sessions were followed after lunch, where half of the students involved went first and the other half went second, depending on the number of their poster. The student then stood by their poster while others came by to appreciate the outstanding work the student had done and answer any questions the visitor might have.
My experience of the Symposium was great. I had a wonderful time and enjoyed every minute of it and with my family coming in from Ohio just to see the work I have done made my day even better. I enjoyed being able to answer the questions people asked about my project and being able to inform them on the research that I have done and the dedication I have to my project.  Working so hard on perfecting my project and my slides paid off and I believe I did a great job. I also had the opportunity to walk around and see the other students poster and see what project they have been working on.  I also got to see some of my fellow Project SEED members posters and slides on their project that they have been working on.

Part 2:
Three potential people that I would be interested in interviewing are:
     1. Ben Cooley (5th year forensic and law student)
     2. Dr. Ludvico
     3. Dr. Fochtman
Questions that I will be asking during my interview are:
     1. How did you end up here at Duquesne?
     2. What are you doing now?
     3. What made you decide to do what you're doing now?
     4. After you're done with the 5 year program, what do you plan on doing?
     5. Is grad school worth it (staying for a 5th year)?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Blog Challenge #5

This blog challenge has 2 very different goals:

1. First you must write a 300 word essay reflecting on your symposium experience. Be sure to include a brief description of what the symposium is and how it was set up.

2. You must choose three potential grad students, professors, or other Duquesne Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences/Mylan School of Pharmacy personnel that you would be interested in interviewing to find out how they ended up here at Duquesne doing what they do. Keep in mind that YOU WILL be interviewing one of these individuals for next weeks blog challenge. If you unsure of a name, you may pick an area in which you might find a person eligible for the interview (i.e. someone in pharmacy, someone in biology). You may not choose your immediate co-mentor. In addition to choosing your potential candidates, you must write out at least 5 questions that you will be asking during your interview. You must post your own five to ten questions, but you may use other SEED student questions during the actual interview.

Good Luck and Enjoy

Thursday, July 25, 2013

SEED Celebration Day Article

Here is a link to a fantastic article about the 10 year anniversary of Project SEED at Duquesne University. Students, mentors and co-mentors should be extremely proud of their achievements over the last 10 years. ENJOY!!!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Blog Challenge #4

                Yesterday was the first celebration of Project SEED we have ever had here at Duquesne University.  This celebration was put together to really exxagerate how great Project SEED is and how it really does help kids in their future endeavors. A few of the Project SEED alumni were brought back to talk about how Project SEED has helped them and how it has influenced their career paths. The current SEED students were also asked to present. The year one students had to give a brief sumarry of their project, whereas the second year students(Charlie and I) had to give a 10 minute presentation about their projects.

I feel that the presentation I gave yesterday could have been much better. I feel that I did really well at our group meeting and it gave me a lot of confidence about the whole public speaking ordeal. However, when we got there, I saw how many people there were and I started to feel the pressure. Not to mention that everyone who presented before me did a fantastic job! That was my first time speaking in front of a large group of people with such a high stature. I remember just sitting there during Charlie’s presentation knowing that I was next up to the podium as I tried to keep myself from shaking.
If I were able to go back and do it all over again I would have done it way differently. I could tell that my voice sounded a bit shaky yesterday and I wish I would have stopped myself to calm down and take a deep breath. I feel that if I would have done that my whole presentation would have flowed a lot better and I wouldn’t have spoken so quickly.  I know that as I went through my PowerPoint there were a few things I forgot to mention that I probably should have. After I messed up a few times I became really nervous and I was so focused on getting it done and over with. I was pretty disappointed in myself about that and I just wish that I would have done as well as I did during our group meetings.                                                                 \
 Overall, I think I learned more about myself than from what the other people were presenting. I realized that presenting in front of all those people shouldn’t have been something to be nervous about. It’s just too bad that I didn’t come to that actualization sooner! It was still a great learning experience for me and I know that I will be better prepared in the future for when I have to speak in front of a group like that again. I feel that not a lot of people get to experience something like this and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity.  

Everyone that I met at the SEED celebration yesterday was incredibly nice to me. They all only had nice things to say. A few actually gave me advice on the career I am thinking of pursuing. The two that I remember the most were Kristine Olejar(not sure if that is spelled right) and the grad student from Carnegie Mellon University. Kristine is actually a student here at Duquesne and she will be in her 5th year in the pharmacy program they have here. It was really cool that I got to talk to her about that considering that could be a possible career for me one day. I actually found out that we live on the same street! I can't believe she has lived there my whole life and I have never even seen her before! So I thought that was really awesome that I got to meet her. The grad student from CMU was also really helpful. We discussed my future and what I plan on doing after high school. She gave me suggestions for colleges in case I decide to become a nurse practitioner rather than going into pharmacy.

I feel that the Project SEED celebration was an amazing idea. We were able to experience our first time of public speaking, see how previous SEED students benefited from the program, and got to make connections with many of the important people who attended yesterday. I know that I would love to come back in a few years and give public speaking another shot and hopefully be able to help the future generations of SEED students. To conclude blog challenge #4, I hope you all have a beautiful day and amazing weekend! :)

Blog Challenge #4

Where do I begin, yesterday at the Project Seed Day Celebration me and my fellow SEEDlings presented the 1st years went then came the 2ed year members went. I was the second to present after my fellow member Melissa who works in Dr, Wheelers lab. In my belief I didn’t do quit well I thought that I talked horrendously slow and was talking up to much time what was a minute and half or so turned into 5 minutes in my head. I felt like I was rumbling through my work, and forgot to say one thing about my project. But after the event had ended I walked back barefooted (because I was wearing heels) with Charles we got to the elevator to go up to the third floor in Mellon hall, we commended each other on how great the others presented. He told me that I really didn’t talk as slow as it felt and that I really gave detail and I looked like I really knew my material and that I explained everything in detail, and I told him how great of a presentation he gave and how he seemed like it was easier up in front of people rather then in front of us..

During this event I learned more about each on of my SEEDlings projects. And that I can actually speak in front of people that I don’t know. I also learned that my fellow members of SEED have some interesting projects. Kelly’s doing stuff with GSR on the SEM, Melissa is building molecules, Deion is make proteins and Charle is trying to find something with C.jijuni. I learned some good schools for Geology and also Some history About my little town from a guy who’s dad lived in McKees Rocks.

I meet some intrusting people there I meet Charles sister Candice Thornton, whom shares the same major I want to go into Geology. We talked about what kind of field there is in geology about how she went to see volcanoes in Utah. I meet I guy named Philip Clark, who’s father lived in McKees Rocks and how he has a book The History Of McKees Rocks and that his father has his picture in it. The third person I meet was Fio-Min and older Chinese lady we Talked about where I was from and what my project was on and about Project SEED. The last person I met was an Older man his name was Manny Miller, we all had a conversation about how his friend was a geologist and how his friend goes to Mexico once a year to look at these caves and the rocks nestled inside. But he hasn’t seen his friend in 7 years. Before I forget we also met the lady from Bayer she commented on how well Emily, Kelly, Melissa, and I presented. She also gave us this really cool pen with the periodic table in side of it.

(: Below are some of the pictures that I took from the Project SEED Day Celebration :)

Blog Challenge #4

Yesterday was the first ever Project SEED celebration day. It was a gathering of current Project SEED members, mentors, alumni of the Project SEED program, faculty members, and donors. This also marks the first time that I ever presented to a large group of people with high stature, so I was very nervous. That being said I think I did okay. If given the chance to present again I would explain my procedures and data more clearly. Also, I would have talked to more people individually during lunch.

 I did get a chance to talk to Tim McFadden, Kathy Fleming, Lauren from Bayer, a woman that networked, and the dean. Getting the chance to talk to Tim McFadden was great, because he did the same thing as me in SEED. I mainly talked to him about college. He told me that it is really fun, but you have to be able to balance yourself out between studying and everything else. He also told me about some of his friends that majored in nuclear engineering, which I thought was intriguing. Kathy Fleming actually came to me and said that her favorite part of my presentation was that I said "Although this isn't the best representation of a gel it was still a great learning experience". She said it was because in life sometimes things don't work out, but you still have to manage. Lauren, the lady that took our pictures, was wondering how I got to Duquesne everyday and if I thought transportation would be a reason not to do SEED. I told her I took the bus everyday and it shouldn't be an issue because Dr. Aitken would help them. The woman that networked told me about networking and how important it is. She also told me to be calm and relax before I presented. The dean was curious about how long our experiments took, which I told him each one takes a few days and we are currently working on a methyl viologen assay. He was amazed at the work that we all do. 

All in all the event was a great learning experience. I learned how great geology is and how to network. I learned that I need to be more confident in my abilities and less nervous. I got to hear from the alumni how the Project SEED program affected them. I learned truly how everyone cares about us and wants to see us succeed, which could just be seen in Larry's presentation.

Blog Challenge #4

Yesterday was the SEED celebration day.  A lot of people came to the event ranging from former SEED students to a head of an organization.  I thought the event went well and everybody had a good time at the event.  Multiple people spoke at the event, SEED students presented, even former SEED students talked about their experiences.

I personally thought my presentation was OK, it wasn't as smooth as i would've liked it to go but i thought i presented fine. I thought Charlie and Emily presentations were fantastic. To make my it even better i think i could've not of jumble my words up as much. I thought i could've of presented more smoothly and just take my time during the presentation and slow down a bit. I think  rushed myself a bit so i tried to speak faster and just jumbled my words.

I learned a lot from the former SEED students i thought they said some valuable things. Such as taking more then the just the research from this experience and take as much as you can from this experience.  They also mention that in retrospect SEED was a great experience and that us students should try to pursue everything possible.

Christopher Sidun, who was a former SEED student who also worked with Dr. Madura and i just talked to him about his research and my research.

I also talked to the ACS pittsburgh chapter chairman Tabitha ????, i dont remember her last name, but i talked her about SEED, college, what i'm interested in taking in college.

Blog Challenge #4

        Celebration of Project SEED day was yesterday and was a formal meeting with former SEED students, SEED alumni, and many very important people involved. There were presenters that included the SEED alumni, former SEED students, and part of the professionals who attended the meeting. Ther SEED I students were asked to give a 2 minute presentation of what their project is about and the SEED II students were asked to give a 10 minute speech.
        Since I am a SEED I student, I only had to give the 2 minute presentation, which was both good and bad. It was good because I wouldn't have to speak very long, but it was also bad bacause I feel like I didn't get to share all the information I should have for the audience there to understand my topic. But I do feel that my presentation went very well, I wasn't as nervous as I thought I was going to be, and adding a little sentence before my speech to make the crowd laugh loosened nerves and helped me present better. I would have improved the way I spoke throughout my speech though. I felt like I talked at a fast pace and the crowd couldn't keep up as well as I wanted them too. What I would have done differently, as I said before, slow down the pace that I talked, so everyone could keep up and follow along to what I'm saying.
        I learned many things during this event. The first thing I learned was, making small little jokes doesn't hurt anything, it only makes the presentation better. I also learned that there is no need to get nervous before a speech because if you practice as many times as I did, then the speech will go very smooth and exactly the way you practiced it.
        I cant't exactly remember the names of all the poeple I met and interacted with, but I know they were very nice and said I did a wonderful job presenting. One of the men who I met and interacted with actually sat beside me. He was an older man who was very interested in where I came from, how I ended  up at Duquesne, and the classes I enjoy in school. He was a middle aged man with galsses and a nice suit on, so he must have been important. He asked me what I want to go into once I graduate high school and if I'm interested in math and different types in science. I also met a woman from ACS who I actually met before the presentations and introduced herself to the SEED students. She was a very nice woman who also asked me how I ended up at Duquesne, how I found out about Poject SEED, an the classes that I'm interested in school.
        All in all, yesterday was a day that will be remembered,  not only because it was my first official formal presentation infront of many importat people, but because I am proud of myself for doing such a great job during my presenation and I was able to inform people of what I do here at Project SEED.

Blog Challenge #4

Yesterday was the SEED Celebration Day lunch. Representatives from Bayer, the American Chemical Society, students and faculty from Duquesne University, and current students and alumni from Project SEED all gathered together in the Power Center's ballroom to discuss what SEED was and what happens if you get accepted into the program. The Summer I and Summer II students gave a presentation lasting anywhere from 1 minute to 10 minutes describing to the audience what their project was and how much they enjoy their time here at Duquesne University.
As one of the Summer I students who had the opportunity to present in front of everyone, I can say that I think I did a better job of presenting than I thought I was going to do. I'm a natural introvert, so public speaking isn't something that I'm comfortable with doing at all, but I don't think I did that terrible. I think I could have done a better job of explaining what it is that I do, but with the time limit restriction, that was almost an impossible feat. If given the opportunity to do it all over, I would change my word choices and explain the more important parts of my project first.
I learned a lot of useful information during the event including the past experiences of former SEED students. I think it's really interesting how much this program has impacted their lives and I know that this program is affecting me in the same ways. Dr. Wheeler also gave me insight on the Bio-Medical Engineering exchange program that they have here at Duquesne. Half of the program is spent here at Duquesne University studying physics, and the other half takes place at The University of Pittsburgh studying engineering. This program sounds interesting to me so I might have to look into it.
I didn't interact with too many new faces yesterday, which was kind of disappointing, but I did get to meet a woman from Bayer who has a program similar to SEED at their headquarters in Sheraden. I also met, though she didn't introduce herself to me, another woman who I believe works at Bayer as well. She praised Emily, Cheyenne, Kelly, and I on our presentations and we spoke a little bit about how much we enjoy the program.
In conclusion, yesterday was a very fun learning experience and I am glad that I had the opportunity to present my project overview to not only Dr. Wheeler, but to everyone else, too. I can't wait until the symposium on Friday!

Blog Challenge #4

For this challenge:

By the end of the day, you must answer ALL of the following questions in at least a 250 word essay based on yesterdays event:

1. How do feel your presentation went? (what could you have improved? what would you have done differently)

2. What did you learn during the event? (this could be from a speaker or from anyone else in attendance)

3. Name (or describe if you can't remember the name) at least 2 people you met and briefly describe your interaction with that person.

Good luck!!!!

Friday, July 12, 2013


Small molecule-protein interactions involving  Substrate 4 of the Vitamin D receptor using computational alanine scanning
Grant, Deion; Madura, Jeffry D.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Center for Computational Sciences
Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA 15281

Vitamin D is an essential enzyme that assists in the mineralization of bone, bone growth and bone remodeling. Experiments have been done to investigate the allosteric effects of ligands in the function of nuclear receptors using a method known as alanine scanning. Alanine scanning involves the mutation of binding pocket amino acids to alanine so that the importance of that amino acid in the binding pocket is determined. The free energy perturbation method in conjunction with the thermodynamic cycle is used to perform computational alanine screening. Using Substrate 4 in the vitamin D receptor the computational alanine scanning method can be validated. Preliminary results of the computational alanine scanning method will be presented in the poster.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Predicting the Structures and Properties of Biochemical Electron Transfer Intermediates
Fowkes, Melissa; Boesch, Scott; Wheeler, Ralph A.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Duquesne University
Quinones, a class of organic molecules, are important in electron transfer.  The para-benzosemiquinone neutral radical is an intermediate between the fully oxidized quinone and the fully reduced quinol. A variety of quantum chemical methods will be used to calculate the optimized geometries, vibrational frequencies and modes, and other properties of this radical in the gas phase and with implicit solvent. The computed data will be compared to available experimental data and methods of detecting the radical in proteins will  be suggested.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


The Investigation of periplasmic nitrate reductase

Thornton, Charles; Adams, Andrew K.; Thomas, John; Basu, Partha

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry;  The Project SEED Program; Duquesne University


The molybdoenzyme, periplasmic nitrate reductase (NapA), plays an important role in the vitality of the pathogenic bacterium, Campylobacter jejuni. C. jejuni is a microaerophilic bacterium that grows anaerobically by utilizing nitrate as an electron acceptor. Infection by C. jejuni is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis in the United States. NapA cloned from C. jejuni has successfully been overexpressed in E. coli. Produced protein has also been successfully isolated and purified for further studies using a reduced methyl viologen assay. Other techniques, such as Immobilized Metal Affinity Chromatography (IMAC) and Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate Polyacrylamide Gel Electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), have been used to further study this enzyme. IMAC was performed to retain the protein in a column that contained immobilized nickel ions for the purification of the polyhistidine tag. SDS-PAGE was done to see if NapA was present in the protein sample.