Tuesday, May 8, 2018

S14: Another Semester in the Books

Another Semester in the Books
The last week of the internship always brings bittersweet feelings. On one end, we are happy to be wrapping up our projects and presentations but on the other end we are preparing to part ways with some of our fellow team members. My favorite part of the semester has been traveling to Vegas with fellow teammates. I learned of another conference happening in DC this fall, and my hope is that I will be able to attend and participate in a poster session. Until then, I will be spending part of the summer learning about extracting bee DNA and helping to test different extraction protocols. The other part of my summer will be spent learning about Yeast 2 Hybrid and associated techniques.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

S13:Shout Out to Our STEM Mentors!

Poster Presentation-Arizona/Nevada Academy of Science Conference
Shout Out to Our STEM Mentors!
I think we all need to take a minute and thank our program mentors for helping us get to presentation-ready level with our research and creating the opportunity for us to attend symposiums and conferences. Over the past two weeks, I definitely understood the value in networking and communicating with mentors during the preparation stage for the conferences. I feel like the conference in Vegas went pretty well and I was able to take away what I need to work on in presenting to judges in the future. Aside from the conferences, I am working on making a connection with one of the ASU-West professors in hopes of being able to learn from her in lab. I'm very excited for this opportunity and definitely have Dr. Cotter and Dr. Chapman to thank for that!!!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

S12: It’s GO TIME!

It’s Go Time!
What a week!!! I finished my poster Monday morning just in time to get it sent off to the printer. The rest of the week was spent getting ready for the ASU West Symposium and then the Arizona Nevada Academy of Science Conference. I am so glad that Dr. Cotter recommended going to the earlier poster session to get practice answering questions from the judges. It was definitely intimidating but great practice. I feel like the ASU West Symposium was great practice for the ANAS Conference. Next up is a five hour long drive to Nevada and a long night of squeezing in some homework, but it’s totally worth it!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

S2:11 Seven Students, 2 Research Mentors,1 Van, and a Conference

Seven Students, 2 Research Mentors,1 Van, and a Conference
It's crunch time in the lab this week due to the upcoming ASU Symposium and the Arizona Nevada Academy of Science Conference. I just wrapped up my experiment and am almost finished analyzing my data. I am so glad that I was able to filter the rest of my samples after having the hiccup last week with the vacuum filter.  My poster is about ready to go, I just need to plug in my data and write the discussion section. I am definitely still nervous about having to talk about my project to total strangers because it usually involves maintaining eye contact and not zoning out in my head. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

S2:10 ....A Vacuum With a Sucking Problem?

....A Vacuum With a Sucking Problem?
I was really looking forward to running the rest of my samples this week but then I had an unexpected problem with the vacuum filtration system. Typically the system filters the water relatively quick (about 500mL under two minutes). For some odd reason, I noticed tons of air bubbles between the Buchner funnel and the porous plate. After two hours of trying to figure out what was wrong and testing a few things, we still haven't figured out what was wrong. What I was left wondering was if it is possible for the porous plate to be clogged. After talking with my current biology professor, he suggested soaking the plate in some type of acid. I am hoping to try this tip on Friday so I can finish filtering the water samples. In the meantime, I am trying to prepare my poster for the upcoming ASU Symposium. I am also in the process of registering for the AZ Nevada Academy of Science Conference. 

Source: https://chem.libretexts.org/Demos%2C_Techniques%2C_and_Experiments/Basic_Lab_Techniques/Vacuum_Filtration

Friday, March 30, 2018

S2:9 Just a Girl Living in a Plastic World

Just a Girl Living in a Plastic World
Going into this research project, I knew that people, including myself, use plastic in their daily lives. However, it wasn't until I started my experiment that I realized just how dependent we are on plastic. Think about it and ask yourself, "How many times today did you use plastic or plastic-related materials?" As for me, when I reflected on this, I realized I come into contact with plastic several times a day. Almost everyday, including today, my microwavable lunch comes in a plastic container. The fork I use to eat lunch is plastic. My water bottle is plastic. That's a lot of plastic!
Aside from pondering about how much plastic society depends on, I also began to start my project poster while I waited for the small glass petri dishes to get delivered by Amazon. Once they arrived, I washed them in distilled water and placed them into the laminar air flow hood to dry. It was a long process but pretty to look at.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

S2:8 It's All About Control

It's All About Control
This week was all about brainstorming how to control for the independent variable since. Initially, distilled water seemed to be a good control but when I ran it through the filtration system and analyzed the sample, I saw a significant amount of microfibers and other unknown pieces of material under the dissection scope. As a result, I decided to try and filter a large quantity of distilled water several times in hope that I would see the quantity of microfibers and particles decrease after each filtration. After filtering the distilled water sample three times, I can still see the presence of microfibers and unknown pieces of material. I am going to try and filter the sample a few  more times and see if I can at least filter out all the microfibers.