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Post-Summertime Post

September 13, 2017 — Leave a comment

It’s still technically summer, so I don’t feel bad about talking about summer semester even though we’re two weeks into the fall semester now.

I did make it through the summer and learned a good deal. The axolotls were a lotl fun and, as expected, working way outside my comfort zone and expertise was great for my mind. The labs of James Monaghan and Justin Crane were welcoming and had unending patience for their somewhat helpless REU students.

By the end of the summer, I could run protocols based on techniques that I read in passing science magazines and never thought I would try. I learned all about axolotl husbandry; something I never expected to see on my resume…

Sonic Hedgehog!

One of the genes important in regulating cell proliferation in regeneration is called Sonic Hedgehog!

With my partner, I made a technical poster with all the trappings of a professional science poster (Ask me about it sometime). We talked about some cutting edge experimental methods to make mice missing certain genes, but to change their genes only in a particular tissue and only when we decided to change their genes. We also had images of tissue samples from the mice that were lit up with fancy colors because we were doing a fluorescent analysis of RNA from genes we wanted to look at.

rna FISH

These are little bits attached to RNA that are lit up using a fluorescent microscope

Co-op Payout

March 23, 2017 — Leave a comment

Last Thursday was the Wentworth career fair. All the students were doing their best to look appealing and professional. Many still had haircuts from over break, because apparently that’s what people do during breaks. Nearly every one of my peers had donned ties or skirts for the occasion, and it was a treat to see so many of them dressed up.

I went with the intent of talking to employers and scouting their departments. The Friday previous, I had committed to work for the summer doing biological research at Northeastern. I found a host of great companies, but most of them did not know they needed applied math majors yet. Of a gym full of employers, only 4 marked that they were looking for applied math majors. Lincoln Labs was the one that looked most enticing. I had a diverting and semi-fruitful job convincing the employers that they were indeed in need of math majors.

Also during this week, I have been accepted to two more co-ops in California and in Wisconsin as well as the Select Scholars program I was talking about before. I guess my trick is to apply broadly ask Lauren from Coops and Careers to make sure my application materials are hire-worthy. The more difficult task is keeping school priorities straight, but most students know how to prioritize academics.

Spring Break Around Home

March 13, 2017 — 2 Comments

Last week was spring break and every day was an adventure. Not every adventure was in Boston, because I was home, but many of them were still nearby.

Kicking off the week, I spent Sunday drilling with a reenactment group based out of Dunstable. These were Revolutionary war reenactors, so many men of my age and ethnicity would be soldiers – I drilled while armed with a firelock :). Some of you may know this group as the End Zone Militia for the Patriots. I forgot to ask if I could post pictures, but I will probably get some later.
After drilling with the men for a couple hours, I joined the ladies downstairs. I learned to sew a backstitch and worked on one seam of a gown. There are some nice needle-shaped holes in my fingers now, but the half-seam I finished in an hour looks fabulous.

The next day was First Monday at Jordan Hall, which is less than a quarter mile from Wentworth. First Monday means free concerts organized by the man who used to be the president of the New England Conservatory. For March, we had chamber music from Schumann, Dvorak, and Crumb. I had never heard of Crumb, but his piece in the concert was a real draw for me. The composition featured an electric flute (who ever heard of an electric flute?? Awesome!)

WIT Student Ben Guest and myself #SpottedAround at Jordan Hall before a chamber music concert

Tuesday, I gave blood and was basically too tuckered out to do anything else. I talked with a really cool medical assistant who appreciated that WIT students still organize blood drives, despite controversy with the FDA.

Wednesday, a couple of my Wentworth friends came over and we hiked around south Massachusetts and northeast Rhode Island. We hit seven geocaches in one day without paying a cent for a geocaching membership!

Thursday I had a throwback day to fall semester and did another “escape the room” puzzle. This time I went with my girlfriend instead of a team of engineers and in Providence instead of Boston (we had coupons). We meant to go earlier in the year, and got snowed out, but the manager decided to let us go for free over break! The experience was different, but the result was ultimately the same, of course. We completed Escape Rhode Island’s ExMachina puzzle, which, at the time, had a 13% winrate *dusts off fingernails*.

Notice anything in common with these things I did over break? I’m a college student on a budget; none of them cost money. Admittedly, the escape game was a gift from nice the manager, so something like that takes a little luck and begging. With a couple friends and a little creativity, you will never run out of things to do around here.