Saturday, September 29, 2012

An Introduction: The Orange-Loving, Yankee Horticulturist from Richmond

by Brett W., Panther Blogger

Going to Ferrum, and especially just being in the South for the past four years has been challenging for one reason: I’m a Yankee, born and bred. I was born in Bronxville, New York, and I lived in Yonkers until I was seven. Over the next seven years, I moved to Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and then Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, until four years ago, we finally settled our roots in Richmond, Virginia. They say Virginia is for Lovers, but does that mean everyone loves Virginia? I didn’t at first. I was stuck in my way of not knowing that barbeque isn’t grilled chicken, and that camouflage doesn’t match everything, and I was especially adamant on going to college at Penn State. Over the four years, Virginia grew on me thanks to my friends through high school, my family along the way, and the fact that we did get a lot of snow each winter sure helped me adjust. I am now proud to call Richmond my home, even though sometimes I will be asked, “Where are you from?” and I will have to choke back a response of "New York.” Along with the transition, I am so happy I ended up at Ferrum and not another college because there is nowhere else I would rather be.

The other day, after hearing me talk about my four-year plan through college, one of my friends looked at me and yelled, “Well you are like the 1% who has actually known what they want to do since they were born!” Truthfully, I can’t argue with that statement either, except maybe not since birth, but by the age of seven. When I was seven, I claimed I wanted to be a Field Biologist and study at Guilford College. I proceeded to create a whole packet explaining what Field Biology was and how I could use my future skills. As a grew up, I still possessed the same interests, but around the age of twelve, I believe I started turning away from the animal side of the job and more toward the plant aspect. I went through a couple different names for the field I had chosen after that until I was fourteen the summer before freshman year of high school when I decided on horticulture. 

From then on, I tried to get as much experience in the field as I could. I became a member of both the Richmond Bonsai Society and the Virginia Orchid Society, took classes to become a Certified Horticulturist through the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association, and even took advantage of the only agricultural program available in Henrico County. During my senior year, I was President of my Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter through my Greenhouse Management program in the Technical Center, and because I am nationally certified in Landscaping, Floriculture, and Greenhouse Management, I also have a diploma in Greenhouse Management as well. Through the program last year, thanks to my wonderful teacher, I realized that I wanted to teach as well, which led me to minor in Teacher Education so I can get my certification. In the long run, I plan on going to graduate school, getting a doctorate and becoming a Professor of Horticulture at a prominent college, and teaching the information I love to students who share that passion.

Finally, I will throw out some facts about myself. My favorite color is orange, which no doubt is number one. If you see a guy with orange shoes or jacket or glasses or hat or… well anything neon orange, then it is probably me. I am super open, outgoing, and love to have a great time. Come say hi to me or give me a high-five; whether I know you or not, I would do the same thing to a complete stranger as well! Lastly, if you are ever at a Ferrum football game, you better dance with the Panther because the mascot is the symbol of Ferrum school spirit!

Some of God's Greatest Gifts are Unanswered Prayers

by Laken P., Panther Blogger
Sometimes we spend our entire lives wishing, hoping, and praying for everything to go exactly according to our individual life plan. When God’s plans and our arrangements don’t coincide, heartbreak and struggle are often inevitable in the short-term moments, but in the end, we ultimately realize that the outcome far surpasses any scenario that we could have personally formulated. The story of how I came to Ferrum College is an exact example of God having other plans in store for my life that would lead to be some of the best experiences I have ever had.

My name is Laken. I am a sophomore and a double major in Pre-Professional Science and Health & Human Performances. After graduating from Ferrum, I plan to further my education by attending medical school and eventually becoming an orthopedic surgeon with a specialty in sports medicine. I am a member of the Ferrum Cheerleading team, the Minds-n-Medicine Club, Panther Productions, Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, Admissions Student Ambassadors, and the Boone Honors Program.

Since I am involved in so many clubs and organizations and have such a love for my school, no one would have ever guessed that I didn’t initially plan on coming to Ferrum. While looking back and reflecting on my college application process, I realize that I am beyond blessed that I made FC my final choice. I have only been on campus a little over a month, and I have already made friendships and memories that will carry on through the rest of my life. I have quickly learned that choosing Ferrum was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The students are friendly, the professors are helpful, and the atmosphere is beyond ideal. No matter what your personal interests or academic goals are, Ferrum will easily be one of the best decisions you make. When you come to Ferrum, you are not just a student; you become a member of the family. I know God led me here to become a missing hole in the Ferrum Family, and I hope you will one day be led down the same path.

In the end, college is about finding yourself, growing in your knowledge, and making memories that you will never forget. The saying “Everything happens for a reason,” could never hold more true. Between cheering on the Panthers at that first victory of the season, rushing DPhiE, making late night pizza runs, planning campus activities, making new friends and attending study groups, I truly have fallen in love with Ferrum and everything it has to offer. Maybe attending Ferrum is the sole top spot on your list, or maybe it is just a fall back plan. Either way, schedule a visit and become involved; Ferrum will grow on you and you will never want to leave.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Greetings from Ferrum College Student Blogger, Cari!

by Cari A., Panther Blogger

My name is Cari. I am freshman here at Ferrum, and I am from Salem, Virginia. I have big goals in life: I plan to complete my undergraduate studies, attend medical school, and become a doctor. I am not exactly sure what kind of doctor just yet, but I know it’s what I want to do.

Being pretty local, I knew about Ferrum College but never thought to apply until my high school guidance teacher suggested it. I would look at pictures of the campus and some of the activities, and I knew that Ferrum's location was drawing me in. I was born in the city, but my whole family is from Oklahoma, so I am a country girl deep down. I also saw and read about some of the things that go on in the community and activities that students do for their community to help out. I have always been inclined to help others as if it were a second nature. I am a Virginia-certified Emergency Medical Technician, and I love every minute of it.

I love Ferrum's small campus and class sizes; after only a few weeks of school, I feel like my professors already know my name and are getting keyed into my habits. Unlike Virginia Tech or University of Virginia where there are 300 plus students in a class, having only 20 or 30 in a class is less overwhelming and you can feel more comfortable with asking questions and getting engaged in the discussion. I can already tell that the level of education that I will have obtained after my four years here at Ferrum are going to help me immensely in my studies to become a doctor.

This past August, I was selected to be a Freshman Scholar, and that is where I really found my passion for the outdoors and when my eyes were really opened to my potential work-study job. Because of my time as a Freshman Scholar, I am now an employee for Ferrum Outdoors. I am also on the Rock Climbing Team here. You may say… we have a rock climbing team? Well the answer is YES! Yes, we do! It’s brand new and we are ready to represent Ferrum College. I am also a part of the Rec club and the Minds-n-Medicine club. I am currently taking a SCUBA diving class, so if you see a girl in a wetsuit walking around campus, it’s probably me! I haven’t been at Ferrum very long, but by far, my favorite memories are from the Scholars program. The opportunity to work with 11 other students and 9 professors for 2 weeks really leaves you with a lot of lifetime memories and friends.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Out of My Comfort Zone

(Ajarah was one of two students who worked on the Institutional Readiness for Online Education project with faculty mentor Dr. Karl Roeper during the inaugural Freshman Scholars Program in summer 2012.)

by Ajarah N., Freshman Scholar and Guest Blogger

The whole time I was at the Freshman Scholars Program, we did many events that I would have never done at home. When we went to climb the rock wall, I surprised myself by climbing it. I am so afraid of heights, but I still decided to repel off of the rock wall. I was excited as I was climbing up the ladder, but when I got up there, I wanted to turn around. Everyone up there kept encouraging me to just try it, so I did. While I was leaning back about to repel, all I kept saying was "I'm going to die!"  Then I let go and started easing my way down. I was so excited at what I had accomplished.

The Freshman Scholars Program helped me get out of my comfort zone and do things I never thought I would do in a million years!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Web Redesign Project Moves Forward

After a round of feedback from the Web Committee, the Ferrum community via an online survey, and input from the President's office, the public relations office is starting to build out a page template.

Here's a sneak peek at our work:

The Homepage (click on image to see a larger version)

The Inner Page (click on image to see a larger version)

Questions or comments? Do so below.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Living with a New Roommate

by Victoria B., Panther Blogger

For my first two years at Ferrum, I had the same roommate, who was a girl that I was really good friends with in high school. We got along great and always had a great time. This year, she did not return to Ferrum and I am living with a new roommate. Since I’m experiencing living with a new roommate and I know that many other students are doing the same, I figured that I would give some advice about the experience.

Rooming with a person can either harm your friendship or make it greater. When you live with someone, you learn things about them you would never expect, and you must learn to accept who they are. You have to learn to balance your life with your other friends while also trying to incorporate your roommate into your social life.

You also have to establish some basic rules of how to live in the same room. For example, if you have something personal that you don’t want anyone to touch, just tell your roommate; they should understand. If you have a problem with your roommate, you need to be straight forward with them about it and tell them you are having an issue. If you don’t, the problem will usually not resolve itself and could get worse. It is better to have a small argument earlier than a huge argument later on in the year.

Making shirts with paint is a great bonding activity for roommates
Everyone has their own style of living and dorms are a small space. You must both learn to share equally the space you are given while also being able to be yourselves. If you are uncomfortable being yourself around someone you’re living with, it will make for a very miserable year; get to know your roommate and find things that you have in common. It could also help to plan things to do together like movie or game nights in the room. Living with someone new can be a very difficult challenge, but it could lead to a great friendship!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Freshman Scholars: A Life-Changing Experience

(Blake was one of two students who worked on the cAMP Levels in Eschericia coli and Mycobacterium smegmatis project with faculty mentor Dr. Michaela Gazdik during the inaugural Freshman Scholars Program in summer 2012.)

by Blake S., Freshman Scholar and Guest Blogger

The Freshman Scholars program at Ferrum College was a life-changing experience for me. Throughout the course of the two-week program, I gained valuable insight on the profession I plan to pursue, made friendships that will last a lifetime, and grew stronger as an individual. Having the opportunity to work in a lab and perform research that may one day be used to stop a widespread disease is something very few people get to experience. Thanks to this program, I have been able to realize how passionate I am about helping others and how I can do so through laboratory research.

Alongside learning and gaining experience for my future career, I made a friend in each of the other scholars in the program. We created personal bonds with each other while participating in various activities, such as the ropes course, rock climbing, canoeing, and eating in downtown Roanoke. I know that I now have eleven new friends that I can go to if I am ever in need of some help.

The most important aspect of this experience for me was growing more as an individual. I've learned how I can make a difference in someone else's life and that being myself is easier and much more rewarding rather than trying to fit in with the crowd. Through this, I have become a more determined and stronger individual who is focused on achieving each of my dreams and aspirations. Thank you to all of those who played a part in the Freshman Scholars Program at Ferrum College for helping me to grow and learn more than I could ever imagine.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Date with the Red-Eyed Rat

(Caitlyn was one of two students who worked on the Development of an Animal Model for the Cognitive Deficits Observed in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) project with faculty mentor Dr. Megan St. Peters during the inaugural Freshman Scholars Program in summer 2012.)

by Caitlyn T., Freshman Scholar and Guest Blogger

I stared at the plastic box in Dr. St. Peters' hands as if it was the fourth horseman of the apocalypse, carrying with it my inevitable demise. Red eyes gleamed from behind a helmet of white fur, and a wormy tail thrashed about wildly so that I could barely make out the number written there in black marker. I knew that hidden beneath the small nose and long whiskers, razor sharp teeth were awaiting my unsuspecting fingers.

I am going to die, I thought.  Right here. In this lab.

I heard Dr. St. Peters' voice, but knowing that a thin sheet of plastic was all that separated us, I could hardly focus on anything but the white pile of fur in front of me. Suddenly, its tiny claws made their first appearance, and I quickly averted my gaze. I was just in time to hear my mentor explain to us how to handle the scurrying creatures, and I realized that my time had come.

Why am I doing this?  Right. Because I'm an idiot.

At that moment, I wanted to tell my mentor that I had been wrong all along:  that I couldn't work with rodents, that I hadn't understood how scary they actually were, and that everything sounded different when she was on the other end of a telephone conversation. But I could tell by the expectant look in her eyes that I wasn't going to be getting out of this. So with a deep breath, I stepped up to the container resting on the smooth black countertop and tried to suppress the urge to run straight out the door and onto the street.

Hesitantly, I stroked the rodent's soft fur, mentally preparing myself for what I would have to do next. Then, before I could talk myself out of it, I latched my fingers onto the base of its tail before lifting it into the air. For a moment, the animal was flailing, its tiny claws slicing the air in every direction. A shrill squeak escaped its fuzzy body as I plopped it onto my outstretched arm and jerked it toward my body while my mind was still screaming to run for my life and never look back.

And then it was in my arms, nestled against my chest. Looking down at the small creature, I began to notice things I hadn't before -- the softness of the hair, the way the nose would twitch periodically, the fluffiness of its ears. Even through the latex gloves, I could feel the fragility of the little rodent I was holding. 

And suddenly, I wasn't so scared.

The rat wasn't going to hurt me. He hadn't made a single move to bite me since I first grabbed him by the tail.  He had never been a threat. The only part of me that had suffered was my pride. I had just let myself be frightened by something not much larger than the hand that was now holding it. I laughed at myself as I realized that I had just made a new friend -- the red-eyed rat.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Efforts to Balance the Federal Budget

In March of 2012, Ferrum College sponsored the second annual Ferrum College Forum on Critical Thinking, Innovation and Leadership at the Hotel Roanoke.  The 2012 event focused on the Federal Budget and was a featured stop on the National Debt Tour, with previous stops including Harvard University and New York City.

Marvin Phaup
Dr. Marvin Phaup, a member of the Ferrum College Board of Trustees was instrumental in enabling the College to host such a prestigious event.  Dr. Phaup's bio is below.  

In the meantime, Dr. Phaup would like to share the progress of efforts by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget .  He recently submitted a brief introduction and links to two sites that are tracking the federal debt and efforts to curtail it.

 Those Ferrum Family members who attended the widely-praised Ferrum Forum on Critical Thinking, Innovation and Leadership last March at the Hotel Roanoke Conference Center (and others who want to catch up on the issue) will be interested in the latest developments at the Committee for  a Responsible Budget, Ferrum’s partner in this event,

Also check out the blue ribbon group backing the new Campaign to Fix the Debt,

 Marvin Phaup is Research Scholar and Professorial Lecturer at The George Washington University, where he teaches federal budget concepts and policy, conducts research, writes for publication and provides consulting services. From July 2009 through December 2010, he directed the Federal Budget Reform Initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts, whose objective is to improve federal policy by transforming the federal budget into a more relevant and useful source of fiscal information for decision makers and the public. Prior to joining the Trachtenberg School in 2007, he headed the Financial Studies/Budget Process group at CBO. His work has focused on analyses of federal financial policies and institutions and the implications for their budgetary treatment. He is Former Deputy Assistant Director, Congressional Budget Office,Research Scholar & Professorial Lecturer, George Washington University.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Learning from a Great Mentor

(Shannon was one of two students who worked on the Investigation of Natural Product Biosynthesis project with faculty mentor Dr. Laura Grochowski during the inaugural Freshman Scholars Program in summer 2012.)  

by Shannon B., Freshman Scholar and Guest Blogger

Being a part of the Freshman Scholars Program was a great experience. Having the opportunity to meet a majority of the professors before classes started, staying in the dorms, and meeting people from the incoming freshman class were all beneficial because I had a better idea of what to look forward to when the fall semester began. I also already have a group of people that I know will always be there for me.

During the two-week program, there wasn’t anything I didn’t enjoy doing, but the best part of my day was working in the lab with Rachel and Dr. Grochowski. When I first arrived at Ferrum, I had no idea what we were really going to be doing; after listening to Dr. Grochowski give us an overview on all the material we were going to be looking over, I never thought I’d be able to truly understand what we were researching. Although I asked endless questions and made mistakes along the way, Dr. Grochowski continued to explain everything thoroughly so I understood it and assured me that I would catch on to things quickly.

Throughout our first week in the lab, we learned a variety of ways to use the different instruments to either measure out compounds or to create methods on the computer that would run our samples. After the first week of the program, I was more confident in knowing the information we were researching, and I was able to work the various instruments we were using, like the Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC), High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) Mass Spectrometer, and more.

During our second week, Dr. Grochowski trusted Rachel and me to work together without having to constantly remind us what to do next when using all the different instruments to make the samples and programs we needed for our experiments. We even started to come up with new experiments and ideas to expand our research on our own.

Dr. Grochowski was an amazing mentor to have during this project because of her positive attitude and outlook on our research and for never giving up on us when we were lost or confused during any part of our studies. This fall, Rachel and I plan on working with Dr. Grochowski and some of the other mentors in the Freshman Scholars Program to continue and expand our research around Ferrum.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Freedom Rising, My Semester in DC

By Matt Hall

I remember that morning like it was yesterday. I had my suit neatly pressed, new dress shirt just ironed, and new tie ready to be worn. I got up early, prepared, and prayed for a good first day. And I will never forget that morning, when I walked and watched the sunrise over the beautiful United States Capitol Building as a Congressional Intern. I will never be able again to feel that excitement, nervousness, and fulfillment again. I had never seen something so beautiful as that sunrise, and never experienced something so powerful.

I got there because of a stray email that my professor and mentor Dr. Sandra Via sent out to the political science students. It was an email from the Fund for American Studies, and it was about a student program from DC. The Capital Semester program took students from all over the word and let them come live, work, and intern in DC. I wanted to apply so badly, wanting to seek adventure in my life. I come from Cana, Virginia, a small town of less than 1300 people. So DC was this grand adventure that I had only seen once in my life, on a 10th grade band trip. To go and work there would be a dream fulfilled, and a prayer answered. I always have wanted to be a public servant, and DC is the place to find that dream.

So I applied, got help from Dr. Via and the State Senator I was interning for, Bill Stanley wrote me a recommendation. I applied, and waited for about five weeks for the news to come. I remember it was a beautiful Monday in October when I got the email. It was a gorgeous day, and I was getting ready to go play flag football with my fraternity, Mu Sigma Chi. I saw the email, and saw the first line said:
“Congratulations!” I think I screamed so loud that all of Lakeside heard me. With tears of joy, I called my mom and dad. I even cried on the way to play, but as soon as I told my fraternity brothers, I had to get over it. We had to beat Theta Chi Epsilon.
Many preparations were made. Clothes were bought, schedule prepared, things got put together. I felt like an old man at Christmas, because my entire family got me ties. I prepared for the change in my life, and prayed for the best.

I’ll never forget the first morning that I moved to town. I arrived at my dorm, an old apartment house three blocks from the US Capitol Building. I met roommates: one from Chicago, one from Philadelphia, and one from San Diego. I felt like such a fish out of water. Capitol Semester Spring 2012 had six of seven continents represented, everywhere from Egypt to El Salvador. They talked about spending there summers in California or their semester in France. The closest I had ever been to France was the World Showcase at Epcot, so I tried to keep up. But I had the education from Ferrum, the prayers from many, and a can do attitude. Those three things took me a long way this year.

That semester we got to live the life of Washingtonians. Whether it be the 3 hour lecture at the Federal Reserve where we almost all fell asleep, or the State Department Lecture on China and the Global Economy (where I was fascinated at people 10 times smarter than me), we were allowed to broaden our horizons. We toured the Pentagon, Capital Building, and White House. We attended the Conservative Political Action Conference, one of the most hotly contested events during the GOP primaries (and where Mitt Romney’s Secret Service SUV almost ran me over!). And lastly, we got to live and work in DC, which was a great experience, Congressman Morgan Griffith’s office treated me like family. I learned so much from them, and I’ll be forever grateful.

Lastly, I’ll never forget the last sunrise in DC either. I was wearing that same suit, and that same tie, to our graduation on Capitol Hill that morning. I remember getting up that much earlier just to go see the sunrise. I prayed that one day I would be back to work again, because it was the best time of my life. I watched the sun rise in front of the “Lady Freedom” statue. And then I remembered what she stood for. You see, “Lady Freedom” does not face the front of the Capitol Building. She faces the back of the Capitol, so that the sun will never set on freedom. I was blessed to work in Washington, I could have never made it without Ferrum College friends, family, and brothers, and I will do everything in my power as a public servant to never let the sun set on freedom.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Our 1st Soccer Game

by Maryann C., Panther Blogger

The first game for the Ferrum College women's soccer team was against Randolph College on Friday, August 31. Being that it was the first game of the season, there were a lot of nerves between myself and the other girls on the team. We had worked hard during an intense two weeks of pre-season practice, and though I can't speak for the rest of the team, I know I was ready to play.

The girls who played worked hard throughout the game. Some of the girls even had to play the entire 90 minutes and they played very well. In spite of all the girls' hard work, the end result was not what we had hoped for. We lost 3-2 during overtime, but no one on the team seemed upset or mad about the end result. We took the game as a learning experience. It was our first game, after all, and it gave us a chance to see where we are as a team and what we need to work on. I am looking forward to a great season and I am sure the rest of the team is as well. Things are already starting to look up from the first game because we played again on Sunday, September 2 against Hollins and won 4-3!