This past weekend I traveled to St. Joseph, Missouri for the Missouri Academy of Science Annual Meeting. I went to present a poster of the cancer research I've been doing all year with Dr. Nicholas Pullen. Rachel Ostrem and Dr. Hart also went to present on their medical biotechnology research project from this semester. We had a great time!
We arrived on Friday afternoon and got checked in. We were able to check out the room where Rachel would present and I found the spot for my poster. The atrium of the science facility had this beautiful structure of trefoil, which is a protein domain. It so happens that I am looking at a specific trefoil factor for my cancer research so it was really cool to see that, what a coincidence!
On Saturday we went to the opening session. They announce that the journal for Missouri Academy of Science is moving online, and did some other business. I'm hoping that maybe next year some of my work with Dr. Pullen could be submitted to the journal for publication.
The rest of the morning we sat and listened to a bunch of presentations. I was excited that I got to watch Rachel explain her project. We also learned about other current biomedical technology research happening in the state of Missouri.
After lunch it was time for the poster session. I got to talk to a lot of different people and answer questions about my project. I even had some cancer biologists give some suggestions on how to move forward with our work!
Overall this was a great experience. I can't wait to submit another abstract next year, and I hope we get accepted again! I'm so glad that I got the chance to work with Dr. Pullen and represent William Woods Biology.
It has been a very busy few weeks here at The Woods... I can't believe it is already April! Things got hectic leading up to spring break. Last week I returned to Colorado for break and it was beautiful! The weather was gorgeous and I got to spend time with my family.
During the week I was able to volunteer at Colorado State University's Equine Reproduction Lab. In order to be a competitive applicant for veterinary school, it is important to get as much experience shadowing and volunteering at many different types of veterinary clinics. I worked as an assistant last summer, and my boss knew someone up at CSU who would let me come shadow (it's all about connections!).
It was a very busy week and I learned a lot! The entire operation is about breeding and they perform the most advanced procedures. They also work on research to further our understanding of equine reproductive health.
When I wasn't volunteering, I spent time with my family. We went and saw the movie Insurgent (which I highly recommend). We also went to a local pottery painting studio which was a lot of fun! I always enjoy seeing my family, but it is also good to be back at William Woods with all of my friends.
I hope you're enjoying the beautiful spring weather!
This semester I'm taking a new class offered by Dr. Keller in the Biology Department, Microbial Diseases and the Human Body. As you can imagine, lecture is quite interesting because we learn about different diseases that affect people, and even things I've had in the past for instance strep throat! There is also a lab associated with the course, and after taking Microbiology my sophomore year, I knew I'd like working in the lab with different microorganisms.
Recently we learned about the mechanisms behind different antimicrobials. In lab, we got to see how antibiotics really work. We set up plates by covering them with bacteria (two different kinds) and then placed small disks soaked in different antibiotics on the surface of the plate. About a day later, we could actually see which antibiotics worked on the different bacteria! The soaked disks caused different zones of inhibition where the bacteria couldn't grow because of the antibiotic presence, and the two different bacteria were affected by different antibiotics.
It was really interesting to actually see it work! I've been sick and taken antibiotics several times, and I always knew that they function by killing the bacteria and not your own human cells, but to actually physically see the results was pretty cool! We've also been talking about the importance of not taking antibiotics unless your doctor says it is necessary because if you have say a virus then you're not killing the actual problem and instead you reduce the number of healthy microorganisms (which is also why a lot of people have the side effect of nausea when they take antibiotics!). You also have to take the full course of antibiotics and not stop when you feel better because if there are a few bacteria hanging around they can cause a secondary infection, or you could contribute to antibiotic resistance which is no good! I'd heard all these things before, but until learning about it in lecture and lab I didn't know why people said it. Now it all makes sense!
Every semester there are several equestrian clinics on campus, as well as opportunities to show on and off campus. Each seat hosts its own events. This semester dressage hosted Betsy Steiner. I did not ride in the clinic, but I did get to go and watch! Betsy Steiner is a very well known trainer and rider in the dressage world, and she has had a relationship with Karen Pautz and William Woods for quite some time now. There have actually been William Woods students who went on to work at Steiner Dressage!
Watching the clinic was a great opportunity to learn. I saw two full 45 minute sessions in which the main focus was on control at the canter. The riders worked on collection, counter canter, and flying lead changes.I learned a lot of things that I'm hoping to apply to my own riding.
Clinicians offer a unique opportunity to learn. Whenever a clinician comes to William Woods, regardless of the seat, I like to go and watch (often we get a LEAD point for it too!). Every trainer and professional has a different background, and they often have new training techniques and exercises. I like to listen and learn about different exercises and think about the biomechanics and mental challenges they present to the horse. It is fun to try and adapt exercises from a different discipline to my own riding.
This semester is full of opportunities at the barn. A few weeks ago there was a judging clinic for high school students. Last weekend we hosted Betsy Steiner and this weekend we have an on campus show for hunter/jumper, saddle seat, and western! In a few weeks there will be a dressage schooling show on campus, and then our annual recognized USDF show is in April! The other seats also have off-campus shows this semester for students to go to. I'm looking forward to all of the opportunities to support my friends and peers!