Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Opportunities at Hand During My Last Semester

by Brittany G., Panther Blogger

After four years of college, I am finally looking forward to graduating this May. As my last semester has started, the work load has increased, but there is nothing more satisfying than continuing my education and having a few rare opportunities presented to me.  I currently have four lab classes, which definitely require several hours work outside of class, but one of the best classes I have is Biotechnology.

This class presented me with one of the rare opportunities as an undergraduate student to be able to get published through the science community at the end of the semester.  The course of action for this class involves an afternoon lab in which we have extracted DNA from plants located in the Ferrum Greenhouse, and we will run several tests to amplify the GAPDH, or glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase, and clone it to obtain genetic information of those plant samples.  As an upper level class, it requires steady and strict laboratory skills in order to produce the results that we want to obtain. At this point, I have extracted the DNA and will continue to work the rest of the semester to copy this GAPDH and write a paper which will be combined with the other students' samples in the class to be peer-reviewed and published!

Finally, another amazing opportunity was presented to me late last semester by several of the science department faculty members. It is something that many of my age and education would not expect to receive, but I have accepted this opportunity and will be traveling to Zambia, Africa with another student to participate in a mobile medical mission.  We are traveling during our mid-summer (their winter) and will be in that area for two weeks to set up clinics where we can see at least 4,000 patients and provide them with the medical attention that they need.  Zambia does not have all of the modern medications that we have here in the United States.  No case is too large for this team to handle, and from the stories I have heard from the previous two students who went, it is going to be life-changing in the case of what we want to do once we graduate.

I am pleased to have these opportunities and it should be an inspiration for everyone to work hard in school to get these types of chances.  No matter what classes someone takes or the type of degree there is, each program has its own perks for working hard once the professors have seen how well someone does in their program.  I cannot thank my professors enough for noticing the hard work and dedication I have to getting the best possible grades and results out of my classes, and for allowing me to continue participating in a variety of things not only to better myself but to represent the college.

If there was one piece of advice I could tell an interested high school student and incoming freshman or transfer, it would be to never give up and always try your best.  The professors will always be there and help you through everything while challenging you because they want to make you a better and stronger student. Everything you learn at Ferrum College and the work that you do will always benefit you in the long run, so keep pushing strong and there will be doors opening for you in the future.

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