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butterflies

Courtney

Science Poster Day!

by Courtney on April 13, 2012

in Academics

Tomorrow, Saturday the fourteenth, the Fontbonne biology department will be hosting the First Annual St. Louis Intercollegiate Undergraduate Science Research Poster Session (lovingly called “Science Poster Day” for obvious reasons).  If you’ve been walking around campus, you’ve probably seen sidewalk-chalk announcements everywhere about this awesome event.  (My friend and fellow blogger Carly calls it “science graffiti” – I secretly just think that she’s just jealous that she didn’t get to draw benzene rings all around campus!)  Let me tell you from experience – campus looks a whole lot bigger when you’re on your knees on the hard concrete drawing and writing with chalk every few yards.  Note to self – bring a garden knee pad next time.

“So what is this Science Poster Day?” you may ask.  Well, let me tell you.  This year, three other biology majors and I have been doing department research with our professors.  Mike and I worked with Dr. Rayhel on her butterfly experiment, and Dillon and Andre worked with Dr. T on his cancer project.  At the Science Poster Day, we will be presenting our work.  And that’s not all.  Biology majors from sister schools like Maryville, Lindenwood, and Webster will be coming to share their year’s worth of research as well. 

All in all, it should be a pretty good day.  A group of us have been busy planning this day for a while now, and I think it’s coming together very nicely.  The event begins at 10am and ends at noon, and you can stay for as long (or as short) as you like.  I hope to see you there!

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Yesterday, three other biology students and I took a road trip out to Novus, a scientific corporation that is attempting to utilize scientific knowledge and techniques in order to solve the problem of feeding our ever-growing population.  We have been working on various experiments this school year, and we were able to present our findings to Novus scientists and other students from all over the state of Missouri.

I worked with Dr. Rayhel and Michael on a butterfly study.  In a nutshell, we were trying to see if Dpp (or decapentaplegic) would induce spots on the butterfly wing.  (Sounds fun, right?!)  Our results were negative; it did not appear that injecting butterfly pupae with Dpp affected the development of spots on the wing.  However, results are results, whether they’re positive or negative. 

Yesterday, after being treated to a lovely breakfast complete one of the best organic smoothies I’ve ever tasted, a Novus scientist (who actually majored in immunology - my dream job!) gave us a presentation about his career path and how he ended up at Novus.  This presentation was amazing.  Not only did it give me a look at the life of someone like me, but he also almost gave a biology “lecture” while doing so.  In his presentation, the scientist combined elements of cell biology, immunology, biochem, and genetics.  I was so happy that I was able to keep up with what he was saying (for the most part, anyway).  I felt like a lot of it was a review of the classes that I have or that I am currently taking – so that’s proof that Fontbonne offers a great biology curriculum and education!

After the presentation, we took a tour of the Novus labs and facilities.  Then, we presented our experiments to the scientists and students.  Later, we took a shuttle over to the St. Louis Science Center, where we attended a panel about how people with science degrees got into the career positions they currently hold.

All in all, the day was amazing.  We agreed that it was one of our top five experiences while at Fontbonne.  We loved the fact that we were reassurred that it’s okay not to have everything figured out as far as careers and graduate education go, and we enjoyed hearing from people who have “been there and done that.”  Plus, we were able to network; I now have contact information for three people that I previously didn’t even know.  As Andre put it, “The information that we got today was PRICELESS.”  I couldn’t agree more.

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On Friday, the Biological Sciences Organization (BSO) took a field trip to the Bufferfly House in Faust Park. After taking a few group photos outside the atrium and looking at multiple glass tanks full of all sorts of different insects, we all trekked through the free-flight atrium. The butterflies were absolutely beautiful, and the floral, tropical landscaping made for many beautiful photo opps. We later watched a short film about the life cycle of the butterfly (which, by the way, was surprisingly well done and interesting) and walked around the outside garden.

Despite the fact that I loved the butterflies, my favorite part of the day was just going out with all of my friends. Two of our professors, the science department’s lab assistant, and the science department’s secretary even went along with us! It was great just spending time together without all of the stresses of classes and homework.

While I’m on the topic of the BSO, I would like to remind you all that we are raffling off a Summer in Saint Louis gift basket. Inside the basket you’ll find loads of goodies, including 4 sixth-row Cardinals tickets, a $35 gift card to The Muny (read my previous blogs to learn about the season lineup), Six Flags tickets, and gift cards to Mom’s Deli, Ted Drewes, and a gas station, along with some other nice goodies. Tickets are just $1, and all proceeds will go toward adopting endangered gorillas. It really is a win-win situation! If you’re interested but haven’t bought raffle tickets yet, you can buy them next Friday at the Environmental Fair. Just look for me and the rest of the BSO at our table!

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