This past weekend I found myself with little homework, and lots of time. What does one do in Fulton for fun? Well, there are actually plenty of things to keep you busy! If you want to stay on campus, there are often sports games, Friday night shows (this past weekend it was our hilarious Served Up Crispy Improv Team), and Greek events if you are in a house. I saw the improv show on Friday and they made me laugh so hard my stomach hurt!
Off campus, Fulton has a variety of fun things to do as well. There is a movie theater (with a student discount, it doesn't get any better than that!), a bowling alley, and shopping on Court Street with your friends.
If you're looking to get outdoors, I like going to Stinson Creek Trail for jog or one of the city parks to swing or read outside. I hope to make it to Mark Twain Forest and Katy Trail sometime soon. If you enjoy golf, there is Tanglewood Golf Course just a few minutes away from campus!
There are also a few art exhibits in town. One is right here on William Wood's campus, the Mildred M. Cox Gallery. They rotate exhibits every month. I enjoy going to the meet the artist events. There is also The Champ Art Gallery at Westminster College and Westminster Art Gallery at the National Churchill Museum.
Fulton is home to the National Churchill Museum, a great historical attraction. Winston Churchill actually delivered his "Iron Curtain" speech right here in town! At William Woods we have an exhibit of Helen Steven's Olympic medals. She is from Fulton, went to William Woods, and received a gold medal from Adolf Hitler in the 1936 Olympics 100 meter dash. She is nicknamed the "Fulton Flash" and never lost a race! There is actually a photo of her receiving her medal from Hitler in which he is actually smiling a little. There is also an auto museum that my dad really enjoys when he comes to visit.
Another great thing about Fulton is that we are close to the Columbia, MO, a large college town. I like being in quiet Fulton but always having the option to go to Columbia for a few hours. This weekend I went up to Panera and studied with one of the girls from my sorority.
There sure are lots of things to keep you busy here at school, and even more fun places to go around town. This weekend we have our fall break, so we don't have class on Friday. Last year I stayed on campus and had a blast exploring downtown Fulton with my sorority sisters. This year I get to fly home for a few days which will be nice, but I'll be sad to miss out on all the weekend activities!
This past week I had two really neat things happen. First, my Mentor-Mentee Project started to come together! What is Mentor-Mentee? It is a year-long collaborative project between a faculty member and a student where you research a problem and come up with a solution, perform an experiment, or create something. It is a great way to get experience working on a large task, and you even get a notation on your transcript!
My project is with Professor Jean Kraus in the Equestrian Department. We are creating a problem based learning module for horse health scenarios. There are a few classes at WWU where you learn common horse illnesses and problems, their symptoms, step to diagnosis, and their treatment. Our learning module, which will be online, walks through recognizing a problem, diagnosing it, and treating it. Just this week we actually started creating the website! We have been writing out our scenarios and thinking of ways to make it visual and effective since the start of the semester, and it is nice to see it start to come together. The overall goal is not only to provide a study tool for students, but also to learn the nuances of the scenarios and to understand what parts might be more challenging for students.
The second thing that happened last week was in Genetics. WWU Assistant Professor Kimberly Keller Ph.D did a lot of postgraduate research at the University of Missouri in Columbia. In her time there, she met Dr. Anjete Hesse, a biochemistry professor and plant researcher. This semester, Dr. Keller invited Dr. Hesse as a guest presenter in our genetics class. Not only did she teach us about her research, she actually let us perform some lab work for her!
The overall goal of Dr. Hesse's research is to determine what makes certain plants resistant to some bacteria, but not others. Eventually, this could help in making plants more resilient against bacterial infections, helping the agriculture industry immensely. The US Agriculture Industry generates over $100 billion every year. Millions of dollars are lost due to crop damage from different types of pathogens. This particular experiment involves finding two genetic mutations that negatively affect the ability of a plant (Arabidopsis thaliana) to fight of bacteria. As a Genetics lab class, we isolated the DNA from plants Dr. Hesse's lab has been growing. Because DNA is so tiny and there isn't an extraordinary amount found in each cell, we ran a PCR (Polymerase Chain Recation) which amplifies the DNA so we have enough to figure out what genes are in it. This week we will get to figure out if they have either or both of the two genetic mutations of interest!
It has been a great month so far, and I am really excited to see my Mentor-Mentee project take off and find out what genes are in the plants I isolated DNA from! Hopefully we find something interesting and helpful to Dr. Hesse's research!
When I was applying for college, I never even considered Greek Life. I didn't see myself as your typical "sorority girl", the ones who show up in television shows and movies. Then I went to Freshman Advantage and I met many mentors who participated in Greek Life here at The Woods, and my opinion about Greek Life changed a little bit. Upon moving in, I still didn't expect to join a house, but at the end of recruitment I had fallen in love with Greek Life and Alpha Phi.
Greek Life on campus is a great way to get involved! As a Sophomore, I am an officer in my house and I've made great friends. We have a lot of fun events across the Greek Community and in Alpha Phi.
Every year we have a Father's Weekend in the fall where we invite our dads to come visit. We just had ours two weeks ago, and my dad came and we had a great time!
The highlights of the weekend were a skeet/trap shooting trip, and a BBQ at our sorority house! The first time my dad and I shot skeet was last year during Father's Weekend. We both hit 3 targets out of about 35. This year neither of us hit a single target (we like to blame it on the rain, though that probably had nothing to do with it), but we had a blast anyway! Some of the other dads had lots of shooting experience, and they tried to help us but we didn't get all that far. I'll be able to give my dad a hard time about his aim for a very long time!
When I first decided to join a house, my parents did not really understand what it meant. They, like me, only knew the stereotypes portrayed by the media. After coming to Father's Weekend two years in a row, my dad understands exactly why I went Greek. I have made so many great relationships, memories, and I have learned leadership skills and made connections that will help me later in life.
This coming weekend is Fall Family Weekend for William Woods. My mom is coming to visit and I am so excited to see her! It is nice that my parents can come to Fulton to spend time with me during the school year. They like to "adopt" other girls in my sorority who live too far away for their parents to come. We all go shopping in Columbia, out to dinner, or even just hang out and watch movies. It's really fun! Having so many sorority sisters has given me a home here at William Woods and my "family" has gotten so much bigger!
I hope you are enjoying fall! Remember to spend some time with your family
I cannot believe it is October already! We are well into classes and there are so many fun things to do on campus. This semester I am taking a Biology focused course load. I’ve got 15 credit hours, consisting of Microbiology (+Lab), Honors Genetics (+Lab), Honors Organic Chemistry I (+Lab), and General Psychology II Honors. You’re probably thinking yuck that’s a lot of science (I was too before classes started), but it is actually quite fun! I spend a lot of my time in the biology building learning things that I know will help me later on. Hopefully you’re taking classes that are interesting to you and make you want to know more. That always helps when you try to finally sit down and write a paper, or study for a test!
In Microbiology Lab, we're learning how to culture bacteria and grow them on a plate. We've learned different aseptic (strange word that essentially means sterile, who knew?!) to spread bacteria on a growth plate without getting other contaminants. The first thing we are trying to do is separate out two different types of bacteria that were mixed together so we can practice before we take samples from outside and isolate unknown bacteria. When I first started spreading plates, I was not very good at at it. One of the bacteria turns red at lower temperatures, so my first plates looked more like an elementary art project than a culture. Since then I've gotten a little bit better, but it is definately a work in progress.
In Genetics Lab we are learning how to isolate DNA from cells so that eventually we can analyze its compostion. It is a pretty long process, and it is a little bit scary because you can't actually see what's happening. My professor always says it will be okay, just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't happening. When you do isolate DNA it actually looks like clear, very thin silly string! Sometimes I wonder if I've actually done something right, but so far it has seemed to turn out alright (knock on wood)!
Before I came to William Woods, I was terrified that classes would get really hard and I just wouldn’t be able to keep up! I’ve found that the classes are quite challenging (as any college course should be), but there are a wide variety of tools available to help me succeed. All of my professors know me by name, and they set up office hours so students can get individual help outside of class! I find that going in and asking questions after class really helps me understand the material and I build relationships with my professors. There are also peer tutors available who have taken those classes before and learned from those professors so they have a lot of valuable advice. Every class I am in has a study group so we can all help each other study for tests. I also like going to the library to get some quality study time in to avoid the easy distractions in my room.
With all these tools and resources, I find that it is possible to be successful and my professors are here to try to help me succeed. I might have to pick studying for a test over watching a movie with friends every once in a while, but with effort and study planning there is still plenty of time for fun. When people say there is a big difference between high school and college they’re right, but some effort and time makes the transition really smooth. And who knows, maybe you’ll find a class that you really enjoy and then you’ll be able to say school is fun!