One of the best things that has happened since I started at William Woods is that I have found my passion. Now I still don't know yet exactly what I want to do with my life, but I do know that it will probably involve vet school and eventually a PhD. I get to go to my classes every single day and enjoy what I'm learning. I find myself making connections to concepts in my current classes with the information I learned nearly three years ago as a freshman! It is an amazing thing to really enjoy class and reading the textbook!
This year I've had the opportunity to work with Dr. Pullen on a research project involving eukaryotic cell culture. We work with several types of human cancer and I have learned how to keep these cell cultures alive in the lab so we can study them. The goal is to find out something new about these cell lines by looking at the proteins they express.
Last week we started to think that maybe our approach wasn't going to yield well quantifiable results. This means that I get to learn about another lab technique I haven't done before! I've found that I really enjoy the challenges Dr. Pullen gives me in the lab. Often times things don't work out either due to a mistake or just luck, but it turns out the feeling you get when something finally works is just that much sweeter if it didn't go the way you'd planned the first (or second or third) time. I'm learning that lab work requires a person to be resilient.
Whether you're interested in science, American Sign Language, equestrian science or business, I hope you find that the professors here at The Woods help you find your passion. Through the experiences I've had with my professors here, I've figured out that I really enjoy learning about the science you can't see (cell biology) and I want to continue to do things in the lab that broaden our understanding of how life works.
Last night four fraternity men and two sorority women participated in Alpha Phi's Heart Throb competition. The goal is to raise money and awareness for women's heart health. Many people don't know that heart disease is the number one killer of women (and men!) in America, accounting for 1 in 3 female deaths each year. Alpha Phi members across the country raise money to support heart health research, education about the importance of heart health, and hands only CPR training for college students.
All of the sororities and fraternities have specific organizations that they raise money for. At William Woods, Alpha Chi Omega supports CARD-V (Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence), Chi Omega supports Make-A-Wish Foundation, Delta Gamma supports Service for Sight, Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) supports the Scleroderma Foundation, and Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) supports Fulton Special Olympics. Every group hosts events to raise money and awareness for their cause, and the entire campus comes together to support them!
Heart Throb is a fun event where the fraternity and sorority community nominate people to compete by showing off their talents and sharing their knowledge of Alpha Phi and heart health. The winners are crowned Mr. & Mrs. Heart Throb! It is a fun time and I really enjoy watching all of the contestants. This year fellow blogger Alaina Leverenz competed and it was great to watch a friend up on stage! This year's talents included singing, dancing, lip-sync, a pogo stick routine, painting, and a reenactment from the poetry slam scene in 22 Jump Street.
Last weekend I attended the Association of Fraternal Leadership Values conference in Indiana as a representative of William Woods Panhellenic Council. I got to go with six other William Woods students (including fellow blogger Alaina Leverenz, check out her page if you haven't!) and the Director of Student Involvement, Lacey Sweeten Randall. We took a bus with schools from the Kansas City area all the way to Indianapolis to learn more about what it means to be a leader in a Greek organization.
I was expecting to meet other Panhellenic presidents, listen to some speakers, and work with people from different fraternities and sororities across the country. What I didn't expect was how much I would learn about what it means to truly live your values as an individual and an organization. (In case you haven't heard the words Panhellenic Council before-- it's a group of women from all the Greek sororities on our campus who work together on projects and events!)
One session I went to was all about purple cows. We were told to think of things that we and our organizations do differently or better than anybody else. I have to admit that it was hard to think of those things at first. The speaker then went on to say that if you're truly sticking to a set of values and you are portraying them to the people around you, then the things that make you unique will be what you value most. When I think about my personal values, the list often gets pretty long, but after this conference I realized that the things I truly value come out in my every day actions. I'm hoping to bring this concept back to our Greek community and the other student organizations at The Woods.
I certainly learned a lot of great things at AFLV, but we also had a fun time too! I've driven through Indiana before but never had the chance to see Indianapolis and our view from the 27th floor of the hotel was beautiful. We could see the capital building and the Colts stadium. Many of the keynote speakers gave us a good laugh and there were plenty of little activities like a cupcake bar and t-shirt auction to keep us busy when we weren't in sessions. One of the coolest events was an affiliation luncheon where we got to sit and eat with all the conference attendees from different schools who are in the same fraternity or sorority as us. I met Alpha Phis from all over who served on their Panhellenic or as officers for their chapter!
I am so grateful that William Woods supports student leaders and helps provide us with opportunities like AFLV!
It has been a very busy start the semester! We're almost two weeks in and it feels like we've been here for a month! I am so glad to be back as a University Ambassador blogger. I took a semester off in the fall because I had a very demanding course load, but this semester I just couldn't stay away (despite taking an overload at 19 credit hours).
Not only do I get to give tours and write about my life here at The Woods with University Ambassadors, I am back in a riding class doing what I enjoy. Over the summer I got into a horse related accident as a veterinary assistant, so unfortunately I had to take last semester off from riding. I did, however, get to take Horse Management Practicum I, fondly referred to as keeper here on campus.
As a keeper, you're responsible for the daily care of a number of horses. Being a keeper 1 with a large crew of other people, I had two mares in the Dressage barn. I was certainly able to get my horse fix even though I wasn't riding! I knew I would learn a lot from the hands on nature of the class, but I wasn't expecting to make such a bond with my horses. I spend time with them every single day making sure they were happy and healthy, including turning them out to run around together. I was glad to get to come back and say hi to them after our long winter break, and I still catch myself trying to head out to the barn to put a blanket on, even though I'm not in charge of that anymore!
Getting back to riding has been an interesting process. I find that my ankle (which was injured) is quite stiff so it is not as easy to move the way I used to. The dressage instructor, Karen Pautz, has been wonderful in helping me figure out what types of exercises I need to do in the saddle and at the gym to get back into riding shape and work with my new limitations. It has been good to get back on the horse!
I hope you're enjoying the first month of the new year!