Thursday, July 31, 2014

Last Presentations

Today in class we had our last formal presentations. Our assignment was to do a company comparison. The two companies that I decided to do were Amazon and eBay. Going into this project, I assumed that Amazon would overall be better and more transparent than eBay. As I started to do more and more research, I found out that I couldn't be more wrong. Amazon is probably one of the most nontransparent companies out there. They don't disclose any of their information to the public except for their annual report which is required. eBay on the other hand began to publish a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Report in 2013 and they have kept publishing it each year. In their report they reflect on their work in the environment and being good community members. What really surprised me about eBay's CSR Report was that they disclosed their carbon footprint and they shared that it was getting bigger but they also showed some of their goals towards reducing it. 

We didn't get to finish all of the presentations in the morning so we had to finish them all after lunch. Before lunch, we got discussion questions for the second book that we were supposed to read called Strategies for Sustainability. I was sort of getting sentimental because this could potentially be our last lunch assignment but at the same time, I won't miss having to do them. After we ate lunch, we went back to class to finish the presentations. When we finished them, Aleen gave us instructions on our final assignment. We were to start a green blog and post five different times on something that we learned in this class. I was really excited about this assignment because at this point, I consider myself as a blogging expert so I knew that this assignment would come easy to me. 

We finished the afternoon off by having our book discussion outside. Since we finished early, we were let go early. I started on my blog right when I got back to my dorm because at 6:30 PM, I was going to go to the Creative Writing Presentation to support Jimmy. His creative writing class were presenting some of their work and me, Dani, Alexa, Vicky, and Alie decided that we would go support them. I was really surprised at how talented all of the students were. I do wish that there had been a presentation at the start of the class and one at the end so we could sort of watch the evolution of the students' written works. I ended my evening by having a super blogging marathon in my dorm room while my roommate studied for her BioTech final.

Movie Day!!!!

Waking up today knowing that we don't have to do anything in class was a great feeling and I really enjoyed it. After I got ready I went down to the dining hall and ate eggs, sausage, and fruit. I sat with Lila until she went back to her room to try and do more of her report before class. When I got to class the professor and TA had popcorn for us to eat during our movie. The movie we watched is called Contagion and it's about how an unknown disease spread around fast. The things in the movie was basically the same things we did in the lab. It was my second time watching and I actually appreciated it more than the first time I saw it.

The movie was all we did in class. Then we had time to work on our reports and projects after class but I chose to go back to the dorms and do mine. I still haven't finished my second report but I'm getting there. I really enjoyed the movie though.

I left class at 11:30, went to lunch and ate mac & cheese, greens, and fruit, and then went to the west lounge with Maddie and Amodhya. After a while we moved to Halperin lounge to work because there were people in there who were supposed to have a meeting in there. I have been in Halperin lounge since then trying to finish this work before I go to bed and that's how I'm going to end my night.

Yesterday Was the Past, Today Are the Presentations

Almost another day has passed. The time to spend as much time in the city and with classmates has begun.

We started the day off with presentations. April and I went first. We talked about one of the most popular cosmetic procedures presently being used in the U.S., hyaluronic acid fillers. These are polymers found in the joint and eye fluids, soft connective tissues, cartilage, and skin tissue of all living organisms. These are injected in aged skin that has become dry and brittle due to a decreased production of hyaluronic acids, which act as a "water reservoir" in the skin. We talked about the time and money behind these procedures, how the fillers are made, the differences between different fillers, and more.

I think we did pretty well. We could have been better had we had more time to work on the presentation, but people seemed interested in the topic. We were also able to answer all the questions, much to my relief.

We listened to other presentations on topics such as HeLa cells, biofuels, prion disease, oncolytic adenovirus and reovirus, and the debate on stem cells. I learned a lot from my classmates; I liked the oral presentations, though I personally don't often enjoy public speaking. I was glad to hear from our TAs that everyone in the class received great grades!

We went straight into our discussions. We first talked about what we found was good and bad about the course, and what improvements they could possibly make (like suggest a book or assign reading material before the session starts so that people who haven't previously taken an advanced biology class wouldn't be lost). We talked about how awesome our TAs are, especially compared to those in other classes, and how much we'll miss working in the lab (no more pipetting! No!). We told them how much lab primers, which are like study guides of the lab protocol quizzes, are so helpful! We also told them how nice not having lab protocol quizzes would be, but of course they dismissed that idea.

After discussing the course, we moved on to our reading assignments about animal biotechnology and the possibilities in that field. Soon after, we were dismissed to go to lunch.

I decided to get lunch from a food truck. Kaitlyn, April, and I split a white pesto pizza and garlic fries, which were both delicious. We sat on a lawn and enjoyed the sunshine among the clusters of people enjoying their lunch break.
Garlic fries
Pesto pizza
Oven-baked pizzas made fresh

After lunch Dr. Schonbaum gave us a lecture about biomarkers for disease detection. The information was extremely interesting (it really was!), but this past week of late nights has taken its toll on our class. One of my classmates even has a bruise from pinching herself awake.

We stretched, ate chocolate, and walked around until the start of our review for our second exam tomorrow. I can't believe our last review was more than a week ago. Based on how much I've learned, it feels like it's been so much longer, but at the same time it feels like barely any time has passed!

Once review finished, I walked back to the dorms with April, Kaitlyn, Olivia, and Anna. At the dorms, I checked my emails and started doing some work until to my surprise, it was already 5:50 PM!

I grabbed dinner and walked to the Seminary Co-Op Bookstore with the cohort and Alie. We listened to Jimmy present his paper for his final project. He was so good!! We're all so proud of him!!!

Now, after going to Study Break (tonight Jill's prepared confetti cupcakes--she remembered that my birthday's this Saturday!), I'm studying for tomorrow's exam. I'm both excited and sad for our last day tomorrow. I hope it's a great last day.
Confetti cupcakes!

Last Three Days of Class

I woke up at 8 AM and went to breakfast to eat eggs and fruit. Then I went to class we started in the classroom again to do our last lecture. The lecture was about different types of vaccines and immunodominance. I learned the the disease Ebola is spread through bats to monkeys to humans. Vaccines work because they stimulate the development and saves lives. The types of vaccines we talked about were passive immunization, live attenuated, inactivated, sub-unit vaccines, toxins (bacteria only), and DNA vaccines. Live attenuated vaccines  inject the subject with a live pathogen which has been previously rendered non-pathogenic. In immunodominance not all antigens elicit an immune response.

After the lecture, which was about an hour and a half, we went to the lab to do a  simulating project on a website and then had extra time to try and finish our lab reports. The professor let us out early so that some of us could go get the $1 milkshakes, which is cool, but she only did it because we were barely doing anything. I went to lunch and wasn't able to get one because I went and worked on my report which is still not finished but I'm getting there.

When we got back we had to finish the simulating project if we didn't finish already. I finished and then worked on my report. After class I went straight to my room to try and finish the report and got more done but still didn't finish. Then I went to dinner at 6 PM and ate Sloppy Joe and fries with some fruit on the side. After dinner I went back to my room and started doing more of the report and ended the night with the report. The next day we will be watching a movie called Contagion and Friday we will be presn=enting our posters about the diseases we researched.