This past Saturday the William Woods Biology Club took a trip into St. Louis to go to the Science Center. We met early outside the Cox Science and Language building to to make the drive into the city. My grandparents live in St. Louis and my dad was visiting them so I decided to drive separately so I could go see them afterward.
The Science Center was a lot of fun. I had been there before as a kid, but I forgot just how big it is! First we went down to the lower levels to see the prehistoric dinosaur exhibit. They had real dinosaur bones and a triceratops's horn on display for people to touch. They also had a place where you could put together fossil puzzles and dig in the dirt for different artifacts. Then we went over to the energy exhibit. There were a lot of interactive stations to teach people about how energy works, what it takes to create energy, and how much energy people consume. They even have a stationary bike for people to pedal and try to generate energy. You would be surprised at just how hard that is. We couldn't generate enough energy for a blender to make two smoothies!
There were many other fun exhibits, but the highlight of the day was the visiting programs. They had a lot of booths set up to teach about being healthy. At one station some of the people in our group experienced what it was like to scrub in for a surgery.
We also got to learn all about the brain. They brought in PhD candidates and medical students to teach about their neurological research. One group even brought the brain and spinal cord of someone who donated their body to science research. They let people touch it (with gloves on of course) and explained that while it looks small, it is actually large compared to the size of our bodies. Elephants have bigger brains than us, but it is actually small in relation to their body size.
After we finished up at the Science Center, I met up with my dad and we visited my grandparents. Then Dad, Grandpa and I went to dinner at a sports restaurant. Neither my dad nor my grandfather enjoy sports, but they said we had to go because they had the best fries. Even though they complained a little about the noise, the restaurant had great fries!
I will be returning to St. Louis next week for Thanksgiving. The rest of my family will fly out from Colorado and my older sister will drive from her school in Iowa. I'm excited to see them and eat lots of tasty Thanksgiving food!
This semester is going by really fast! Here at the Woods we have less than twenty days of class, and Thanksgiving break will be here in two weeks. The weather just started getting colder, the trees are dropping the last of their leaves, and Walmart has put out their Christmas stuff. Everyone is experiencing the end of semester rush to finish up those semester long projects and take the last sets of tests before finals.
My classes are still going well. I'm towards the end of my last set of tests before finals which is crazy! I can't believe that it is already the middle of November and I'm going to be finished with this set of courses in just a few weeks. I enjoy my classes right now and I'm almost sad that they will be changing, but I'm hoping that my courses next semester are just as fun.
Psychology has gotten really interesting over the past few weeks. Right now we're talking about psychological disorders and the previous chapter was all about stress. While the disorders are not really "fun", it is interesting to learn about how many different kinds there are and what each one entails.
In Microbiology I'm learning all about viruses. They are very strange little things and they come in all shapes and do all sorts of different things in their hosts. We just took a test in Genetics on Monday and are between units at the moment. Last week in lab we isolated plasmid DNA, which is extra genetic material that gives bacteria cool little powers that aren't essential for living like antibiotic resistance or warfare chemicals. We finished up the plant research project a few weeks ago. I had normal plants (boring) but there were a few people who got mutants that will help Dr. Hesse with her research!
Organic Chemistry is quite the challenge, but surprisingly it is still interesting. We have done some cool separations and other techniques in lab. Earlier in the semester we actually identified what a particular compound was based on the temperature at which it melts! It is kind of cool that you can figure out what you have just based on one property. We also spent a few weeks isolating clove oil from whole cloves. We did a test to figure out how pure our extraction was using thin layer chromatography and UV light.
I am starting to get excited for Thanksgiving break. Some of the girls from my sorority are taking road trips to see their families as well, and a few of the people who live far away will tag a long and adopt a family for Thanksgiving if they don't want to travel all the way home. Because my grandparents live in St. Louis, my family is flying here from Colorado so we can all be together! My older sister will drive down from her school in Iowa to be with us as well. Over the break my younger sister will turn 16, and when she gets home she'll be able to get her driver's liscence (scary thought).
This weekend I'm going to the St. Louis Science Center with the Biology Club. I think I've gone before as a kid with my grandparents, but I don't really remember it. I'm excited to go see what's there now and hopefully do some exploring in the city!
This past weekend was a big visit day for our campus. The Admissions team and Equestrian Science Department coordinated a two day event, the Equine Academic Showcase. Students from around the country came to learn about all aspects of William Woods with an emphasis on the Equestrian Department.
Students and their families went on tours of the University, ate lunch in our dining hall, listened to the University President Dr. Barnett speak, and went to all kinds of break out sessions about getting in to William Woods and what it is like to be a college student here.
The focus of the weekend was our Equestrian Studies Department. My favorite part of the weekend was the Parade of Disciplines. Here at The Woods we have all four seats: Western, Hunter/Jumper, Dressage, and Saddle Seat. During the showcase there is an event where a few horses and riders from each seat have time to show the highlights of their discipline. One of the girls from my house actually rode in the Hunter/Jumper section. She is getting ready for a big show this week (they leave today), so she was excited to get some practice in front of a crowd!
After the Parade of Disciplines each barn set up a little session. Everyone toured around and learned about the different instructors and clubs that are associated with each seat. Students and their families fed the horses carrots and learned about how the applied riding and academic classes work over at the barn.
As a University Ambassador, I get to spend time with prospective students talking about all things William Woods. I love answering questions and talking about why I decided to come to The Woods. Over the weekend I served on a Question and Answer Panel and I also was able to host a student. She stayed overnight with me and we watched movies in the basement after all of the events at the Equestrian Complex were over.
Equine Academic Showcase is the event I attended when I was looking at William Woods. It is so important to visit the school because that is how you truly know you belong. I learned all about the Equestrian Program and the Biology Pre-Vet Program when I visited, and I stayed the night to get a glimpse of what it is like to live on campus.
This weekend is another visit weekend called Discovery Day. There are plenty of other opportunities to come for an individual tour or a visit day throughout the year and I strongly recommend visiting! It is always a good idea to come with questions, and don't be afraid to ask them if they don't get answered somewhere along the way. Maybe I'll even be the one to give you a tour!
William Woods Equestrian Studies Page:
William Woods Equestrian Studies Facebook Page:
If you've visited campus yet, you probably heard a lot about the LEAD (Leading, Educating, Achieving, Developing) program. If not, it's about time you find out about this really cool scholarship! Every student is awarded a scholarship upon acceptance to William Woods, in addition to their athletic or scholastic awards. Now when I first heard about this, I thought 'for what!?'. Well, it's not for a high school achievement, it's for college involvement!
In order to continue to earn your LEAD scholarship, all you have to do is get involved and go to events on campus. Sounds easy right? Well it is, and it is actually really fun!
There are always events going on around campus. Whether you want to listen to a speaker at lunch, visit the art gallery, go to a sports game, or watch an international movie, there is always something fun that suits your interest. The clubs you are involved in on campus also go towards your LEAD scholarship.
There are a few events this year that have been highlights for me. Last week I mentioned that our Served Up Crispy Improv Team performed on the previous Friday night. That event was part of our LEAD program and it was really entertaining. I saw the theater department's production of The Glorious Ones just a few weeks ago, and it was great! It can be surprising to see the quiet person in your class come a live in an onstage musical production. All of the plays and musicals put on at William Woods are also part of the LEAD program!
Last week was a busy week of LEAD for me. On Monday I saw Dr. Seth Shostak from SETI speak about the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence as part of the President's Concert and Lecture Series. It was really very fascinating and Dr. Shostak had a lot of funny points about why some of the current alien myths just aren't true. Over the course of the year there are many big presenters brought to the LEAD program through the President's Concert and Lecture Series.
On Tuesday I saw the Missouri Raptor Center present a few birds. I learned a lot about what it means to rescue a bird of prey and how you handle wild birds safely. They even brought an owl, our school mascot!
Then on Wednesday I learned all about graduate school in the sciences from one of the Biology faculty, Dr. Nicholas Pullen. It is amazing how many different kinds of graduate degrees there are across all disciplines. There will be a follow up event that focuses on life as a graduate student in the sciences which I will be interested to see, especially since I am a Biology major.
The LEAD calendar for this week is very full too. I will probably go learn about Study Abroad opportunities, visit the art gallery, listen to the Psychology Club talk about phobias in honor of Halloween, and watch the volleyball team play. I always enjoy having things to do with my friends after class and on the weekends. With the LEAD program, there is never a night without something fun to go see!
For more information about the LEAD program, click on the following link: