Associate’s Degree of Science
Through Ohio’s College Credit Plus program, I was able to take college level classes while receiving both high school and college credits for these classes. Though this program, I was able to take many classes that relate to my major. These classes include: Cellular and Genetic Biology, Ecology and Zoology, Human Biology, and Anatomy and Physiology I and II. Through these classes I gained knowledge on how to perform procedures such as DNA Gel Electrophoresis, ELISA Assays, and microscopic tissue identification.
While these classes certainly gave vital knowledge that will help me in my major, there is one very important class that should be mentioned. This class being Communications I and II. This class is important to me for two reasons. The first is that it helped me learn to better communicate with others. Before taking Communications, I was very anxious when it came to talking to others. This was especially true when presenting information in front of a large group of people. However, from this class, I learned skills that made me a much better communicator. While I may still get slightly nervous presenting in front of large groups, I can now do so effectively and with confidence. The other reason this class was important to me was the required volunteer service this class required. For the volunteer service, our professor had us help tutor kids from fourth to sixth grade in an after school program. The children who attended this program often had family or social issues that would contribute to their issues in the classroom. Thus, no only did we provide academic help to these children, but also provided comfort and support to them.
The Ohio Academy of Science State Science Day
During my senior year of high school, I decided to participate in my school’s science fair program. In this program, students were to think of an original experiment that they would like to perform. Students then had to do background research and create a procedure to perform their experiment. For my project, I decided to research what affect Barley had on Cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria, more commonly known as blue-green algae, is a bacteria that grows on the surface of water and produce toxic chemicals called cyanotoxin. During my background research on Cyanobacteria, I had discovered a forum in which one pond owner had mentioned that he/she had found that putting barley in his/her pond had seemingly helped clear up the Cyanobacteria. From doing more research, I had found a few publications that suggested how barley may help get rid of Cyanobacteria. However, these publications were rather speculative and rarely had any data that back the theories and suggestions made in the paper. Thus, I decided to test whether barley had any affect on the growth of Cyanobacteria. I also tested whether one theory provided by publications, which was that CO2 given off by the decay of the barley would help other microorganisms out compete with the Cyanobacteria.
While performing my experiment, I had come upon one major issue. My original estimate for the water testing that I wanted to perform to determine how much Cyanotoxin was present was quite low. The water testing I wanted to run would cost at minimum $800 per test performed. Thus, I had an issue with providing quantitative data. Yet, after quite a bit of pondering I came up with a solution. I decided to print images of my water surface on graph paper. I then found how much area on my bucket each square took up. By doing this, I could find with accuracy how much area on the surface of the water was covered by the Cyanobacteria. By doing this, I found that the barley had reduced the bacteria on the surface of the water by 50%.
I then presented this project at my school’s science fair. I earned a superior rating, which allowed me to present my project at the district science fair. At district, I not only earned a superior rating, but a perfect score from the judges. This score allowed me to present at The Ohio Academy of Science State Science Day, which funny enough is held at The Ohio State University. At State, I earned a superior rating, a perfect score from the judges, and two special awards.
High School Tennis Coach’s Award for Leadership
During my Senior year of tennis, we had a major influx of new students joining that had little or no experience in playing tennis. Because of this, our high school tennis coach had problems addressing every issue each player was experiencing. Seeing this, I decided to step up and help address these issues. During and after practice, I would give advice and help to anyone who would ask or who I saw was struggling. One day, my coach asked to speak with me after practice. So, after practice I went up to the coach and asked what he wanted to talk about. Coach told me that he had seen how I had been helping the younger players, and wanted to thank me for doing so. Further more, coach wanted to know if I wanted to step up into a leadership position on my team. Coach explained that, by stepping up, I would be primarily practicing with the JV team. Because of this, I would be forfeiting my position on the Varsity team. I was shocked by this offer. Giving up a position on varsity was never something I had considered. Yet, after thinking for a moment I knew what I had to do. I knew that the future of the team was worth more than the chance of playing on varsity, and by accepting his offer I knew I would be directly contributing to the future of the team. Thus, I accepted the coach’s offer. From then on, I was a senior team captain on the JV team.
At the end of the athletic season, my school has an awards ceremony to celebrate the achievements of the student athletes. That night, I learned that I had earned the Scholar’s athlete award. After the main assembly, the tennis team then met in a smaller group so the coach can give out special awards. During this, he gave me his Leadership Award. While giving it, he cited that while my year certainly didn’t go as I had planned it, he was grateful for the help I had provided and was proud to have had me on the team.
I do have to agree with him. Going in my senior year, I could have never imagined giving up a position on varsity, no matter the reason. Yet, looking back on it now I have never regretted my decision. By accepting his offer, I had gained so much experience on how to be a better leader and a better person that I am not sure I would have learned by staying on varsity. Sometimes, the opportunities given may not be exactly what we want. Yet, by taking these unexpected opportunities, we can sometimes gain something greater than we had ever imagined.