Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Fun Experience with the Freshman Scholars Program!

(Alison worked on the Population Structure of Pond Turtles and Relation to Urbanization project with faculty mentor Dr. Todd Fredericksen during the 2nd annual Freshman Scholars Program in summer 2013.)

by Alison, Freshman Scholar and Guest Blogger

For two weeks this summer, I spent all of my time with a group of twelve other scholars along with a group called FOCUS.  As an incoming freshman to college, I was nervous but quickly made a group of close friends who I know will help me succeed for the next four years. I was also intimidated because the reason that we had all come to the program was because we excelled at something. Whether it was math, science, psychology, or any other field, we were chosen over the other applicants for a reason and I didn't want to let anyone down or have my professor regret choosing me. It was definitely some of the hardest work I've ever done before, but it was also some of the most rewarding. I worked with Dr. Fredericksen to study the effects of urbanization on pond turtles, as well as how their environment in and around the pond affected the turtle population. We looked at the sex and age ratios, and we found that the pond with more nutrients had more turtles.

One of my favorite parts of the Freshman Scholars Program was that we earned college credit before even starting our fall semester!  Another favorite part of the two-week program was making connections and having awesome field trips and activities that we did together. While working on our individual projects, we also had time for a welcome picnic, a chance to visit a nationally-acclaimed zoo, and complete the low and high ropes course. We also had multiple game nights, a movie night, an optional worship service on Sunday morning, and a nature walk on the trail behind Dyer Hall.

We each gave a presentation after the first week to share information about our projects with everyone else in the program. It was really cool to see how everyone was doing and to get feedback on our own projects. After the two weeks were up, we presented our final posters to our friends and family. The bonds I made with everyone during the program will last forever and by the end of the two weeks, I couldn't wait to return to campus to hang out with all of these people during the regular school year.  I am even rooming with one of the girls I met in the program!  Having been a part of this program will help me socially and academically, which (as I've learned) are equally important and are directly related to your success at college.  I've also learned that your peers aren't just your classmates who are your own age; your professors are also your peers.  I'm glad that the professors I've met so far on campus are all really nice and are willing to talk to you and go the extra mile to help you with anything you need.  Enjoy the photos!

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