A Night at the Museum

While working all week it is easy to forget where I am. Today was filled with a hectic whirlwind of new experiences, one of which included presenting a biosecurity plan to the participants taking the biosecurity course. But after all of this we went to the local Flint Hills Discovery Museum and I was able to relax. At the museum I got to know the people around me better and I learned about the area around me as well. It was refreshing to read and hear about how the land developed and it reminded me to appreciate my own home’s landscape.

After almost a year of living in Columbus I am only just now scratching the surface of feeling the land around me. I am starting to build a mental map of the area and beginning to feel the rhythm around me. There is nothing more relaxing to me than being able to stand tall in a place that I know well and just breathing in deeply the air that keeps me alive as I gently stare up at the stars above me. Whenever it feels like there is no order to the world around me, it is reassuring to remember the slow, steady rhythm of the ever-changing earth under my feet and around my body.

This seems to be a sentiment shared by the other people taking this course. While eating dinner and walking around the museum with all of these important people, I felt like I was among friends. It felt as if I had known these people for so much longer than the four days since I had first seen them. Tonight has shown me how good the world can be. People on the other side of the planet do care for the same things that you do, and we have so much to learn from communicating with them.

Buff the Bison(Left) and Me(Right)

The Struggle Posed by Mental Exhaustion

Day 3 of my time in Kansas is coming to a close and I am really learning the value of sleep on this trip. Never before have I pushed my mental capacity to be performing at such a high level for so many days in a row. From 6:30 AM until the time I go to sleep I have been challenging my mind to be 100% focused and I am learning that mental exhaustion can lead to mistakes. I found myself thinking faster than I could write today as I composed nonsensical sentences that contained a predicate for the subject and no verbs.

Even though I am getting adequate sleep(approximately 7.5 hours), I am struggling to maintain my mental stamina for the whole day. As a result of this I am resolving to increase this stamina as I would for a sport. I plan on engaging more often on a daily basis by adding daily routines into my life such as reading a research paper a day and maintaining this blog. It is essential that my mind is able to perform at its full capacity when I should be exhausted so that I do not make a critical mistake when it matters.

The task of the day was to work with a team to present an in depth biosecurity plan for the possible outbreak of a plant pathogen in a specific country. This task did not seem so hard at first, but it is important to recognize all of the key steps in this process. Teamwork and cooperation are essential when attempting to efficiently resolve a problem. Even though the solution may seem simple, the specific steps and measures that need to be undertaken in order to reach that solution are numerous and intricate. The hectic nature of today has deeply reminded me of the importance of maintaining a goal and being prepared. In my life specifically, I can be more prepared in my mental endurance. When I need to make critical decisions for an extended period of time I will have to rely on the freshness of my mind in order to ensure that I do not make a mistake.

If I cannot maintain my mental endurance, then I will be doing a disservice to those around me by studying medicine. When people seek medical care it is essential that they can be confident in their caregiver’s ability at all times. Today I realize the importance of preparedness. We must prepare for what we can now, so that we can perform to our fullest potential when it is needed.

How to Practice Basic Biosecurity

The second day of my time in Kansas is now completed and today I can advise you, a normal person, and I can remind myself, also a normal person, in how to practice a basic biosecurity practice. It is practically common knowledge that you should not transport organisms from one region to another without permission. As I was being reminded of this today I nodded my head in agreement, “Yeah, I will never and I have never compromised biosecurity by doing this.” But then the ways in which people transport organisms were explicitly described and I was shocked at how guilty I was.

Last night we went on a hike through the Konza prairie in Kansas as a group. After the hike we went back to the hotel, I took a shower, and I went to bed after writing a blog entry. The next morning I woke up, put on my shoes, and went to the research institute. During that time I did not think I was risking biosecurity. But I was.

The dirt on my shoes had soil on it from Konza prairie. The soil from Konza prairie had so many different organisms in it that I was not aware of. There I was: sitting in a course telling me about how hard it is to control human effect on transporting plant pathogens while I was transporting organisms on my shoes. I did not realize the importance of cleaning my shoes and clothes before leaving an environment until it was being shown to me explicitly. Throughout the day we looked at case studies where humans were a likely cause for how a pathogen arrived in an area. These were case studies in Israel, Australia, Brazil, and everywhere throughout the world. Enormous amounts of damage have occurred due to humans accidentally transporting pathogens.

I recommend cleaning your shoes after leaving nature spots. Make sure that you are not bringing soil from one region to another. Seeds stick to socks, find their way into pockets, and hang onto your clothes for vast distances to places where they should not belong. I myself scrubbed my shoes clean as soon as I got back, and I know that I will never travel the same way again.

I’m looking forward to another exciting and mentally exhausting day tomorrow, hopefully you have a great day. Thanks for reading.


Plant Biosecurity in Theory and Practice

As of yesterday at 3:19pm CDT I arrived in Manhattan. Not the Manhattan of the Big Apple in New York City, but Manhattan Kansas, aka the Little Apple. I am here for a 5-day course in Plant Biosecurity presented by Kansas State University’s Biosecurity Research Institute.

What is biosecurity? How is it defined? There are so many definitions for the word “biosecurity” that what it exactly houses is too crumbly and loose to be unanimously defined. Efforts to protect humans, plants, and animals from disease, pests, and destruction help furnish the basic definition of biosecurity. More than that, I am learning a lot about the people in biosecurity and how passionate they truly are. There are 29 people in this course, and I have had the chance to have a real conversation with 14 of them in just the first day. I engaged with people from Brazil, Australia, Turkey, Israel, New Zealand, and from various places in the United States. Every person that I talked to expressed a great passion for solving biosecurity problems and truly cared for how life was affected by biological concerns. I quickly recognized how privileged I am to attend this course and I am truly excited for each day to come.

Throughout the day I felt like a sponge, from 8 AM til 8 PM I absorbed as much information as my brain could handle. I went into this knowing absolutely nothing about biosecurity, but after today I feel that I have learned a whole semester’s worth of information. The full ten pages of notes that I took barely scratch the surface of what I learned, and I hope that by the end of the week that I have at least fifty pages of knowledge recorded. The most stimulating aspect of today was the discussion. Having a voice in deciding how to approach examples of biosecurity concerns glued my eyes open to how important my voice has the potential to be in my life. In the past I have been a quiet person, one who learns through observation and individual conversation, but so much can happen when I let my opinion be shared with others. The most efficient way to tackle these complex problems is to cooperate with a group of people in order to expand understanding and uncover uniquely effective solutions. This is something that I have found an appreciation for today.

Some of you might be wondering why I, a rising sophomore Biology Major on a Pre-Med track, am taking this course; I was puzzling out the same thing on the plane ride out here. After all, I do not want to be a plant pathologist, entomologist, or even a biological researcher; I want to be a doctor working in high trauma situations. But I feel that this opportunity will greatly affect how I proceed in terms of  my perspective and ability. By conversing with the people here, I realize how fortunate I am to even have lab experience at my age. I am in a country and at a university where I can gain hands on experience in a lab without having to compete against thousands of other people for a chance to use a pipette. It is easy to take for granted the opportunities that I have, but these opportunities are incredibly rare for most people in the world. I already treasure my experiences here, and it is definitely a course that feels pertinent to me.

Even though I doubt that I will change my career aspirations, I am growing in my compassion for helping others and in valuing the importance of the impact I will have on the world. The information that I am learning here is beyond value, and I know that I will never view the world around me the same after this.


The beautiful Konza Prairie in Manhattan Kansas.


On Halloween of 2017 I decided to dress up as a narwhal. Throughout the day I gallivanted about as a narwhal swimming through the ocean. At dinner I enjoyed some of a narwhal’s favorite food. This experience is meaningful to me because it helped grow my sense of community with others and it enabled me to maintain a tradition of dressing up on Halloween in a completely new environment for me.


In Global Awareness I plan on studying abroad in an environment that I would not be comfortable in . Specifically, I plan on studying in Shanghai at some point in my undergraduate career.

For Original Inquiry I plan on assisting in the medical field in the conduction of research into improving current vaccination options.

For Academic Enrichment I am going to make my schedule challenging but reasonably manageable for each semester in order to maintain a balance between rigorous academics and a an active lifestyle.

In Leadership Development I have already become and active member in our university’s Parkour Club and I plan on striving for an office in this club in the future. I also plan on joining Triangle fraternity and pushing myself to be available for office within Triangle.

In Service Engagement I will try to serve others every second of every day. Beyond that, I plan on participating in active service for the community around OSU.

Other goals that I have are to develop a community around me. I want to develop lifelong friends at OSU who I can share meaningful life experiences with.

Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]


[ “G.O.A.L.S.” is a place where students write about how their planned, current, and future activities may fit into the Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.

Global Awareness: Students cultivate and develop their appreciation for diversity and each individual’s unique differences. For example, consider course work, study abroad, involvement in cultural organizations or activities, etc .
Original Inquiry: Honors & Scholars students understand the research process by engaging in experiences ranging from in-class scholarly endeavors to creative inquiry projects to independent experiences with top researchers across campus and in the global community. For example, consider research, creative productions or performances, advanced course work, etc.
Academic Enrichment: Honors & Scholars students pursue academic excellence through rigorous curricular experiences beyond the university norm both in and out of the classroom.
Leadership Development: Honors & Scholars students develop leadership skills that can be demonstrated in the classroom, in the community, in their co-curricular activities, and in their future roles in society.
Service Engagement: Honors & Scholars students commit to service to the community.]


[“Career” is where you can collect information about your experiences and skills that will apply to your future career.  Like your resume, this is information that will evolve over time and should be continually updated.   For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]