I feel like it has been forever since I have posted. Well I guess I should forewarn you that this is my second to last post of the spring semester. It’s bittersweet I know, but I won’t gone for long and next year will be even more exciting. I have registered for my senior fall semester of classes. I mean really, where did the time go? There has been so much going on this semester, some fun things too- like how the class of 2013 found the Crook last night (you all will find out about that tradition upon your arrival to MC). I think my best accomplishment for the semester was presenting at our Celebrating Student Achievement Day on Meredith College’s campus yesterday morning. The day was established to honor the students’ achievements and allow them to present their talks and presentations to the Meredith College community and family and friends. I was among those students yesterday. At 9:30am I presented to a crowded room of faculty and staff members, students, friends and family my semester and summer research on the Peromyscus leucopus. I know you are thinking what?! Well the Peromyscus leucopus is the white- footed mouse and it is very prevalent in the Meredith College forest. I looked at how internal parasite loads affected the weight to body length ratio of these mammals.
The lack of food resources and the infestation of internal parasites within small mammals cause physiological stress on the mammal that could result in either an increase or decrease in weight. According to the scientists Pederson and Greives, who conducted a similar experiment, they found that these factors also play a role in the decline of small mammal populations, speciﬁcally the white- footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus. 120 Sherman live traps were used to trap the target species, Peromyscus leucopus. Traps were set during the evening and then checked the following morning. When traps were found to be occupied by a mouse, I collected a series of data and obtained fecal samples. Although evidence of internal parasites was found in my captures, there is no clear evidence that the infestation caused physiological stress on the mammal. The weights of all mice were within the average weight scale of the Peromyscus leucopus. Therefore the presence of internal parasites does not appear to cause physiological stress that result in a large difference in the weight of our captured Peromyscus leucopus in comparison to the predicted average weight of the mammal.
Monday, March 26 Meredith College organized a panel of five individuals to speak on the topic of North Carolina passing the law to legalize same- sex marriage in our state. The topic brought a lot of individuals on to campus. Students from surrounding and local colleges were present and people in the wake county community also came to listen to the panelist. The panelist included five individuals, two of which were ministers, one was a law school professor, another was a congressman, and the last individual was a Meredith College faculty member who gave her personal testament on the topic. The information provided through the panel stirred up a lot of commotion and questions from those in the audience and also those on the panel. The panelist were split three to two: three supported same- sex marriage and the other two were against the legalization of same- sex marriage. The discussion was not organized to create a riot or a rally for or against same- sex marriage, but was organized to educate the public with multiple viewpoints. Most importantly all the panelist encouraged the public to get out and vote. So I am writing to you all now to stress the importance of your vote on May 8th and how your vote will impact several individuals. Everyone needs to be educated on the topic and ask questions if need be. This is a big event for our state as a whole; let your voice heard: vote.
So much has been going on today with the instillation ceremony of our new college president Dr. Jo Allen. At 7am several students gathered inside and out of Johnson Hall rotunda, Jones auditorium and the Alumnae House on campus to prepare for our distinguished guest and the ceremony. At 8am as a group we headed over to the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in downtown Raleigh. I volunteered as a bus assistant and got the amazing honor to sit with the alumnus that were present. There was an alumna present from the class of 1934 to the present 2011 graduating class. The ceremony focused on a set theme “Remembering Our Roots, Extending Our Reach” and president Allen’s inaugural address focused on that very theme. The celebration was wonderful, and a lot of individuals from the Meredith and Raleigh community were present for the momentous occasion. I am happy to have volunteered and to have been apart of Meredith College’s history in welcoming our President Dr. Jo Allen, who by the way is a fellow angel herself!
Spring break came to an abrupt end when I woke up this morning to an early 9am parasitology class and interview. Now here I am sitting at work reflecting over what all I did during that week away from Meredith. For starters let me tell you about my experience with the Sloan Leadership Experience, a program set in place for Meredith students to travel and complete service and leadership projects.
This year’s Sloan Leadership program took place in Pittsboro at the Carolina Tiger Rescue, Asheboro at the NC Zoo, and ended with some relaxation in Charlotte. While at the Carolina Tiger Rescue we cleared some of the brush around the perimeter of the compound. This was done in order to distinguish between the land of the tiger rescue and public property. With us taking care of the brush and making a clear pathway this will help the rescue facility to create a fire barrier to ensure the facility is safe from wild fires. After clearing the brush we took a tour of the compounds and looked at several of the big cats including tigers and lions, and also some smaller wild cats such as ocelots and bobcats. Later that day we traveled to Asheboro and went to the zoo from our hotel the next morning. While at the zoo we helped some of the grounds people to mulch the parking lot, which took about three hours. Once we finished mulching the parking we were able to spend a couple of hours touring the zoo. After our zoo tour we then headed to Charlotte. That night in Charlotte we were given free time to eat and travel to wherever.
I would definitely recommend signing up for the Sloan Leadership Experience next year. It is a lot of fun and you really get to know other students.
It has been a little over a week now since I submitted my application on February 10 to the Bald Head Island Conservancy. I am now anxiously awaiting their decision for two internship positions I applied for. I am almost certain I should hear back some time soon, possibly during or maybe a little after our spring break. I am both nervous and excited to find out if I will spend my summer at the conservancy. For those of you who do not know what the Bald Head Island Conservancy (BHIC) is let me give you a little bit of information about them.
The Bald Head Island Conservancy is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1983. The Conservancy’s mission is barrier island conservation, preservation and education. It is located in a unique area within the Smith Island Complex which includes Bald Head, Middle and Bluff Islands, all of which are bounded by the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean (http://www.bhic.org/about-us). The main purpose of the conservancy is to preserve its island and the wildlife that inhabit it. They give educational lectures about wildlife, conservation, and preservation and offer camps for youth and adults. The BHIC even gives individuals the opportunity to volunteer or apply to be an intern for the summer. For those of you interested in becoming a volunteer or an intern you can find more information on the website.
Now you all see why I am so very excited and ready to hear back from the conservancy! So I ask that you all please wish me luck and pray that I get the opportunity to work for such an amazing organization.
Well That’s All For Now
Until Next Time… See Ya!
P.S. Here is the website: http://www.bhic.org/
Wow where did January go? Here it is already February 14th, the month is almost over and there is so much going on. Assignments are due along with internship and study abroad applications. Can spring break get here any sooner? Well I wouldn’t say the events taking place are all bad, besides the homework and test cramming there are fun things going on too. Take tomorrow for instance, North Carolina State University is hosting it’s annual Spring Career Fair. This opportunity is great for college students, especially juniors and seniors who may be looking for employment post graduation. Also this week something fun and exciting for the college, the Meredith College theatre department is putting on The Sound of Music this week. So come out to Meredith College for an awesome experience (the musical will take place today until Sunday), and for those of you in college and need an excellent opportunity to network with big- time employers come to NC State tomorrow (February 15th) between 1 and 2 pm.
Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!
Thanks Sara Bareilles for my new favorite song of the semester: King of Anything. This song really helps me to start my day. I literally have to move if I hear no matter where I am. I have been listening to it, since I know the artist now, non- stop. I hope you all enjoy it!
Want to learn a cool microbiology technique? Well in this blog I will teach you a simple way on how to perform a gram stain, a technique used often to classify different types of bacteria as either gram positive or negative. The ability to perform a gram stain is a technique one can put on their resume or CV, especially those wanting to go to graduate school for some sort of clinical research. Gram staining is done in research facilities, doctor’s offices, vet’s offices, etc– so it is a pretty universal technique.
Today in my microbiology lab we used a gram stain in order to determine whether an unknown bacteria was gram positive or negative. First off we had to create controls using two known bacteria– Escherichia coli (E. coli) which is gram negative and Staphylococcus aureus or Staph which is gram positive. We placed these two known bacteria and the unknown bacteria on a slide using a sterile inoculating ring and then used a heat fixation technique (placed the slide through a Bunsen burner flame) in order to do three things– kill the bacteria, make the bacteria more permeable to the stain, and to hold the bacteria in place on the slide which prevents it from possibly being washed off. Once the bacteria are properly heat fixed the first stain can be applied. The first stain is the crystal violet stain and it is to stay on the slide for approximately 60 seconds. After about 60 seconds the crystal violet can be washed off with deionized water. The crystal violet makes the bacteria look a purplish blue color. Next comes the mordant. The mordant is used to help lock in the stain, and the particular mordant we use in our lab is an iodine solution. You then add the iodine to the stain and allow it sit for another 60 seconds. The bacteria still remain a purple/ blue color. Wash the iodine solution from the slide with deionized water and then add the decolorizing agent (ethanol) to the slides. Allow the decolorizing agent to sit for only 5 seconds and then rinse with deionized water. After this step a gram positive bacteria will remain purple/ blue and the gram negative will appear colorless. Lastly you apply the safranin which is a red stain. The safranin should sit for approximately 60 seconds and then can be washed afterward with deionized water. Gram-positive bacteria remains purple/ blue and the safranin stain turns gram negative bacteria into a reddish pink color. Once the staining process is complete and the slides have dried they can be viewed under the microscope using the oil immersion lens. The controlled gram positive and negative stains are important because they serve as a viewing key when trying to determine what our unknown is. According to the gram stain the unknown we worked with today is gram negative because it appeared more red/ pink under the microscope and looked most similar with the known gram negative bacteria, E. coli.
I hope you all learned something today and that this peaked your interest in microbiology or general biology. Research facilities and clinical offices are always looking for individuals that have experience with specific lab techniques, which is why is looks so great on a resume.
Until next time… take care!