At the very beginning of the semester, before the semester even really began, I was worried about what my life here at Ohio State would look like. I wondered if I would like my classes and if I would succeed in them. I wondered what opportunities I would have and who all I would meet. Now, almost a full semester later, I love being here at Ohio State. While my classes have been difficult at times, I feel as though I have truly grown in my knowledge and am excited to continue in my learning this spring. I have also had a lot of fun being apart of Biological Sciences Scholars. Having the opportunity to volunteer, meet new people and learn about different programs and research at Ohio State has added a lot to my college experience. If I had not joined this Scholars group I think that I would not have felt as comfortable and included on campus as I do today. It has really helped make such a big school feel smaller. I’m excited for the opportunities that I will get to have through Biological Sciences Scholars this spring.
During my junior and senior years of high school, I was fortunate enough to be apart of a lab-based biotechnology course. Being in this class meant two year of working with my classmates to develop lab procedures, run those labs and write lab reports to discuss the results of the experiment and the different ideas involved in the lab. Another aspect of this class was getting to develop and work on a capstone project our senior year. It was an extensive project that took most of the school year to work on and complete. It involved determining an idea and hypothesis, doing background research, designing a procedure, running the experiment, writing a paper and presenting our findings and results at a capstone competition. Being able to do this project was the reason I decided to apply to the biotechnology program as a sophomore. I had always wanted to be able to research and experiment with an original idea and see what I could learn from the experience.
I worked with a friend in the class and together we looked into horizontal gene transfer of photosynthetic genes between Synechocystis nigrescens (a species of freshwater algae) and Caenorhabditis elegans (a species of nematode). We were inspired by reading a paper about a species of photosynthetic sea slugs to make our project about the potential of other photosynthetic eukaryotes. The purpose of our capstone was to see if photosynthesis was possible in other eukaryotic species. For our experiment, we fed C. elegans with S. nigrescens over the course of a few days. We then put the nematodes through a starvation process to allow any photosynthetic genes to be expressed (which would become a food source for the nematodes). After this was over, both qualitative and quantitative data was taken to determine whether or not horizontal gene transfer of photosynthetic genes had taken place or not. In conclusion, we could not determine whether or not photosynthesis had taken place but we did determine that the C. elegans ate the algae which is not its preferred for source. Because of this, we determined that it was possible for horizontal gene transfer to occur but that further work would have to be done to know for sure.
After completing our project, we presented it at a biotechnology capstone competition for high school students. In the photo below, myself and my partner Megan are standing in front of our poster board that we presented to the judges and to other students and teachers at the competition. Our project earned second place in our category. I felt so proud of Megan and myself when we placed in our category. I was happy knowing that all of our hard work and all of the hours that we put into the project were being recognized.
Being apart of my school’s biotechnology program was the most rewarding experience of high school for me. I learned so many different skills that I have been able to apply not only to other science classes but to everyday life. The two years of in lab experience also left me familiar and skilled in a variety of lab techniques which I know that I will be able to use going forward. Presenting my capstone forced me to learn how to talk about science in a way that any one could understand. I had to learn how to teach someone about the project, what it encompassed and what it meant. In the future, I would love to be able to work in research, both here at Ohio State and potentially in my future career. I believe that being apart of this program has prepared me to be successful in the environment of a research lab.
G.O.A.L.S. is an acronym that aims to define the mission of the Honors and Scholars programs here at Ohio State. The letters stand for global awareness, original inquiry, academic enrichment, leadership development and service engagement. Global awareness aims to help students cultivate their knowledge and appreciation for different cultures and ideas. One way that I hope to expand my global awareness is by studying abroad. Original inquiry aims to help students understand the research process. The goal of academic enrichment is to pursue academic excellence which can be done through taking challenging classes or taking classes that line up with future career goals. Students should also develop their leadership qualities that can be used as a student at Ohio State and in the future. Finally, service engagement aims to give back to the community while thinking past just the physical act of service.
After being accepted into Ohio State, I began to look at the different programs offered at the university and was intrigued by the different Scholars groups. I loved the idea of being apart of group of people that shared academic interests with me and that was able to participate in activities together that pertained to those interests. Biological Sciences Scholars made the most sense for me because I have always been interested in biology and know that I want it to be apart of my future career. The different aspects of G.O.A.L.S also interested me. I knew coming to college that I would want to study abroad, gain different leadership positions and participate in research, all things that Scholars as a whole emphasizes and prioritizes. I look forward to my upcoming years as a Biological Sciences Scholar and as an Ohio State student and am ready to work hard to succeed and fulfill my goals.
Service engagement is one of the G.O.A.L.S of the Scholar’s program and one that I wanted to become involved with soon after getting to campus. One of the clubs that I have joined at Ohio State is the Girls in Science Club. We are a group of young women who are majoring in STEM fields and we visit a local elementary school, Weinland Park Elementary School, a few times a month to provide a science club to a group of fifth grade girls. The meetings consist of presenting about a notable woman in science and her accomplishments as well as doing an experiment with the girls. On of the recent experiments we did was making ice cream in a bag to teach the girls about freezing point and freezing point depression. This club not only provides an opportunity for me to volunteer but also an opportunity to teach kids about the field of study that I’m passionate about. I remember when I was their age doing similar experiments in my own science club. It was those experiments and the experience that I had in the club that are what contributed to my interest in science that I fostered throughout my time in middle and high school. If I had never had some of the experiences, I do not think that I would be as interested and excited about science as I am today. It brings a great deal of gratification knowing that I can help provide these same experiences to these girls and hopefully inspire them to pursue their passions one day.
One of my goals while here at Ohio State is to study abroad and that fits in well with the Global Awareness goal of Scholars. In September, I attended the Study Abroad Expo held at Ohio Union and learned about the many opportunities that I have as an Ohio State student to study in another country. The idea of studying abroad has always intrigued me. I think that being exposed to and learning about other cultures is crucial in many different aspects of one’s life. Going somewhere new forces people to look at the world and at life from another point of view. That, in general, helps people become more well rounded individuals. I believe that this concept also transfers over into the world of science, too. Scientists from all over the world collaborate everyday to solve some of the biggest issues plaguing our planet. This includes everything from trying to fight global warming and climate change to trying to find the cures for the most deadly diseases. These problems will not be solved by any one scientist. They will require team work, open mindedness and empathy. I believe that these skills can be strengthened through travel. Studying abroad would not only provide me an opportunity to explore a new place and meet new people but also a way to gain new perspectives.
This past September, I was able to travel with fellow Biological Sciences Scholars as well as Environmental and Natural Resources Scholars and Health Sciences Scholars on a trip to The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio. The Wilds is a safari park that specializes in conservation science. The care deeply about environmental issues and were even celebrating World Rhino Day the afternoon we visited. I was able to see many different species of animals including zebras, ostriches, rhinos, camels, giraffes and many more. As someone who also cares about conservation and has an interest in biology and ecology, I found the experience very interesting and rewarding. The trip provided me with an opportunity to reflect on those interests and apply them to what I study at Ohio State and to what I want to do with my career after I graduate from Ohio State.
I am a first year biology major originally from Loveland, Ohio. I am a first year Biological Sciences Scholar. I joined Biological Sciences Scholars as a way to form relationships with people with similar interests and to learn about opportunities in STEM fields. At Ohio State I am a member of Girls in Science and Jacob’s Porch, a campus ministry. I am a second generation Ohio State Student. I am interested in studying abroad and doing volunteer work during my time at Ohio State. Some of my interests include hiking and bullet journaling. In high school I was involved in National Honor Society, Student Council, JV Tennis, High School Democrats of America and Ultimate Frisbee Club.