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Biotechnology

Alumni Posts

Time to Register

by Alumni Posts on November 3, 2012

in Academics

I can’t believe that next week is advising week.  Much like the holiday season, it seems like advising week comes earlier and earlier each year. 

This year, believe it or not, I wasn’t even aware that the spring course catalog had been released.  Usually, I’m looking out for it weeks before its release date.  However, this time, I didn’t even know it was available online until my friend, Steph, told me.  I guess I’ve been too busy with this semester to begin thinking about next semester!

As of right now, I think I have a good class schedule outlined.  I plan on taking biochem (therefore finishing up my chemistry minor), physics 2, evolution, biotech 2 and 3, department research, and an independent study course in neuroanatomy.  But, of course, I need to obtain the proper signatures first, so all of that may change. 

Overall, I’m looking forward to next semester.  I’m excited to potentially have more independent time in the biology labs because I really want to pursue a career in medical research.  But first, I think I’d better put my efforts into the rest of this semester, which will be over before we know it.  So that being said, I guess it’s back to the books for me!

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A lot can happen in 48 hours.  Being overly interested in microbiology and bacteria, I can tell you that a visible colony of E. coli can grow on an agar plate in as little as 48 hours (although 72 hours would probably give you more to work with).  But anyways, as I said, 48 hours is a lot of time.

That being said, I had an extremely busy 48 hours, starting on Thursday and ending last night.  Those two days were the kind of days that make me so happy to be a biology major because I was able to partake in activities that relate to science without being all school- and homework-related.

So what did I do?  Well, Thursday started off with my Plant Biology “Botany of Desire” presentation.  (Basically, we are supposed to read a chapter of Michael Pollan’s “Botany of Desire” and present on it.)  I chose to present on how to best clean an apple by preparing agar plates using microbial swabs of three different apples – one that had not been washed at all, one that had been washed with warm tap water, and one that had been washed with vinegar.   It turns out that all three plates grew bacteria (gross!), but I enjoyed doing my table-top activity in Ryan to show Fontbonne students, faculty, and staff the results of my mini-experiment.

Thursday night was Fall Festival.  The Biological Sciences Organization (BSO) sponsored an elephant toothpaste booth.  Students watched in amazement as we combined hydrogen peroxide, dishwashing soap, and baker’s yeast in pumpkin candle holders and allowed the product of this exothermic chemical reaction to ooze up and over the sides of the pumpkin.

And then yesterday, we took a Biotechnology field trip to Gallus, a research corporation near Lambert Airport.  We attended their poster session, which was a great way to meet scientists and see what they are currently working on.  After the field trip, I went straight to the Science Center and performed two shows at Center Stage.

As I said, a lot can happen in 48 hours.  Last night, I was really tired, but it was a good feeling.  I love being able to partake in science outside of the classroom, and I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with the general public.  But that was enough fun for a while.  Now, I need to get back to the school- and homework-related science I previously talked about.

~ Making a Mess at Fall Festival! ~

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As many of you who’ve ready my previous blogs probably know by now, I came to Fontbonne for the biotechnology program.  This program helps to prepare students for life in biotechnology and biological research careers, which is, of course, the profession that I want to enter one day.

It’s my third year at Fontbonne, and I’m happy to say that I’m finally taking some “real” biotechnology courses.  I’m currently taking Biotech I with Dr. Ned Watson and an independent-study Biotech IV course with Dr. Thomasson.  I absolutely love both classes.

Today in Biotech I, we learned sterile techniques.  Essentially, we learned how to properly pipette sterile liquids into sterile reaction tubes.  This is much easier said than done.  It took us a few tries, and I wouldn’t call us pros yet, but I think we got the hang of it pretty quickly.  Then, we plated E. coli using the streak plate method that we learned back in Microbiology (which has been my favorite completed class thus far at Fontbonne).  But unlike in Micro, we were allowed to use the open flame of a Bunsen burner to flame our inoculating loops.   Is that more dangerous?  Potentially.  Is it more fun?  Definitley.

I took Microbiology my freshman year, and labs were always on Friday mornings.  I remember always being so excited to go to school on Fridays because I had Micro lab.  And now, I’m happy to say the same about Biotech I.  Last semester, I had the luxury of only having classes four days a week, which gave me a three-day weekend.  Going to school for classes on Fridays doesn’t necessarily make up for the lack of a three-day weekend, but I’m happy to say that my Fridays are now for Biotech.

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