Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

Gabby Brown shadows OB/GYN

by   |  08.15.11  |  Honors Student Achievements, Uncategorized

Through my experience of seeing several different OB/GYN’s and their practices, I realized the innate humanity of the doctors. It may sound strange, but I realized that the OB/GYN’s are people. They each have their own personality quirks and their own idiosyncrasies, even though they practice the same branch of medicine. Don’t think that the miracle of birth, or the business of the office were not interesting and exciting, but my extended time shadowing this branch of medicine allowed me to look beyond the facade of MD, and into the life of a doctor. I believe that this was important for me to see. Because I witnessed the personalities and lives of the Doctors themselves, I have a more through understanding of what it means to be an OB/GYN, to be the doctor that ministers to women in their most personal of moments. I saw the knowledge required to minister in the office, and the skill needed to work in surgery. I saw beyond what a student shadowing a doctor would see and into what the doctor themselves might see, though I lack a few years of schooling. All in all, I think that my decision to shadow extensively this summer was a good decision before I apply to medical school and begin the journey I believe that God set out in front of me.

Ana Rodriguez spends summer in Italy

by   |  08.15.11  |  Uncategorized

It has now been ten weeks that I have been immersed in a new culture. While working for ACLE, I have had the wonderful opportunity of being able to be a part of hundred of children’s lives. By teaching English to Italian children, having to travel by myself across the country, and staying with host families, I have never before felt so humbled, happy, and challenged all at once. 

Beginning on May 29th, I had to complete a one week orientation in San Remo where I learned the basics of teaching simple grammar skills with energetic games and skills that would make teaching enjoyable. In the Italian scholastic system, children begin to take English classes in elementary school. They learn the ins and outs of all the grammar skill throughout the nine years of school. However, they rarely spend more than one hour a week practicing auditory and speaking skills. Another problem with the Italian scholastic system is that they have no budget for the arts and literally spend most of their day locked up in a classroom with little hands-on activity. When the children arrive to us, they are expecting the same type of summer camp they would normally expect to go to: more school. Italians have not grown up with the summer camp culture that Americans have, and when they get to experience native English speakers and be forced to practice their English they have a lot of fun. They also get to play academic games and be in competitions, as well as performing in a final show at the end of the camp. They get to dress up in costumes, memorize and perform an English show to their parents. Overall, these nine weeks have been grueling in terms of teaching English. As a tutor, we have to show up at 8:30 in the morning and be with the kids all day until 5:30 in the afternoon. I had the opportunity of working in Giampiliari, Messina, Catanzaro Lido, and Soverato. Each camp taught me new things about myself and the Italian culture.

There are many stereotypes I came into Italy having. I thought that being here would tear away the stereotypes I had, but being here has just reinforced my love for these stereotypes. For example; Italians wait at least one hour before swimming after eating, they do not walk in the house (or anywhere) without shoes, they have melodramatic hand gestures, and a three hour multi-course meal is the main night family activity. There are some more things I also came out learning. They really do say ‘Mama Mia!’, they love eating french fries with their pizza, and wine really does compliment every meal. Italians are obsessed with their sports, and families (especially in the South) really do completely out of their way to accommodate their guests. Personally, I know I will come home saying “bo” which is a typical sound that Italians say when they mean “I don’t know”. I will probably insult Americans with my over dramatic hand gestures that I have grown so accustomed to doing. I have genuinely fallen in love with the Italian culture. I know my host families make me eat their amount of food, plus another two or three portions, and still tell me I haven’t eaten enough. “Mangia Mangia”! “Moko Moko”! I am thankful I ran around chasing kids everywhere because if not I would be 5 kilos heavier.

In terms of the language barrier, I was fortunate enough to know Spanish which really helped me pick up on the Italian language quite quickly. I know the first week I was here I was not able to order at a fast food restaurant, and now I am the main translator for my friends and fellow tutors. At first, I was able to understand more than I spoke. However it is true when people say that when it is necessary to learn a language you pick it up fairly quickly. Because I got placed in the South of Italy for all of my camps, six weeks of my time here was spent in an environment where barely anyone knew English except for my camp directors and tutors. My host families knew enough to stay a few phrases but that was about it. To a lot of people this might seem like a nightmare, but you will be shocked at what determination and pantomiming can accomplish. I can have a fairly decent conversation with someone and understand almost everything that is said when in the appropriate context. I hope to hopefully learn how to speak Italian as my third language. Apparently this language has more grammar tricks than English, but I am excited for the challenge.


Overall, I have learned quite a bit. There is an enormous power in understanding distinctive types of languages and families. It is also so interesting to learn the different and unique ideas and philosophies they have about life. It is amazing realizing the influence we have to transform lives and make learning fun. It is so easy and fun to meet new people if you take the opportunity to melt into a new culture. There is a huge importance in getting to know more than your bubble and what you are accustomed to. Getting out of your comfort zone truly is rewarding. I am grateful and happy for every moment spent in Italy this summer. The most important lesson I learned was that genuine happiness is always found in the company of good people, good food, fun places, and even better memories. There is a common Calabrese dialect phrase that I learned that translates into “eat the world”. It basically means that it doesn’t matter if you are in Italy or Abilene, happiness is all in taking advantage of every opportunity to grow and learn.

Nate Hurley’s summer internship in computational chemistry at the University of Vienna

by   |  08.04.11  |  Honors Student Achievements, Uncategorized

This summer I have an internship in theoretical and computational chemistry at the University of Vienna through a program called Partnership in International Research and Education (PIRE).  Every summer the PIRE program takes place in either Pisa, Italy; Santiago de Compostela, Spain; or Vienna, Austria.  For the program, undergrads work with PhD students on various theoretical and computational chemical projects.  I am working with another undergrad from the University of New Mexico and a PhD student from Yale University.  We are using classical mechanics to model a simple reaction, the reaction of a hydrogen atom with a hydrogen molecule (H + H2 → H2 + H).  Classical mechanics is much less computationally intensive than quantum mechanics, allowing the properties of larger reactions to be calculated faster than is possible with quantum mechanics alone.  However, classical mechanics is inadequate for completely describing this system as some quantum effects interfere.  One of those effects is tunneling: a reaction can occur even when there is insufficient kinetic energy for the reaction to occur classically.  Ultimately, the purpose of this research is to create a quasiclassical means of including tunneling in calculations without having to do an exact quantum calculation.

Most of the work accomplished so far this summer has been done to replicate the most accurate quasiclassical calculations that have been previously.  In order to do a quasiclassical calculation of the reaction, the three atoms involved are placed along a collinear energy surface that is a function of the two internal coordinates (the distance between the first atom and the second atom and the distance between the second atom and the third atom).  Two graphs of the energy surface are shown.  For some initial kinetic energy of the impacting atom, the initial position of the impacting atom is varied randomly within a range that corresponds to a complete vibration of the reactant molecule.  Then, multiple reaction trajectories are run and the percentage of successful reactions for the given energy is noted.  Classically, no reaction can occur unless the impacting particle has enough energy to reach the saddle point, the highest point along the reaction trajectory on the energy surface.  A graph of a successful trajectory is shown.

The eventual goal of this project is to utilize a concept called Ring Polymer Molecular Dynamics (RPMD) to include tunneling.  Each particle can be represented by a number of beads in a ring of harmonic springs.  In the limit of an infinite number of beads, these systems are equivalent to an exact quantum calculation.  Although the center of mass of the beads may never be above the energy barrier, different beads may at different times pass over the barrier.  Further work will see whether this method can approximate the exact quantum results with a computationally reasonable number of beads.

Honors student Christy Lewis describes summer internship with Dartmouth Medicine Magazine

by   |  07.14.11  |  Honors Student Achievements, Uncategorized

As I begin to write my article on the over-diagnosis of pulmonary embolism (and yes, I had to look that term up before I could even begin going over the background research), I still can’t believe the enormous opportunity I have been afforded this summer. My internship at Dartmouth Medicine magazine is giving me a wonderful glimpse of what my dream career – science writing – could be like. These past two weeks I have been challenged to look past the jargon associated with medical research while maintaining an unwavering focus on the important information.

My time as an editorial intern in the magazine’s office has been a refreshing contrast to my role as a staff writer at ACU’s student newspaper the Optimist. Rather than the exciting pace induced by the ever-present deadlines of a twice weekly newspaper, the magazine editors have  happily allowed me to spend much of my first two weeks  researching my subjects and scheduling  interviews. While my newspaper articles were all reviewed before being published, every step of the writing process has been reviewed during my internship – from my letter of introduction to my interviewees, to my interview questions, to my article outline. Everything is checked to make sure my voice is in tune with Dartmouth Medicine’s voice.

I have also had the opportunity to get a taste of Dartmouth’s culture. My editor gave me a tour of Dartmouth hospital – a sprawling, sophisticated, shopping mall of a hospital with its own internal bank and gift shop. I was invited to attend a session of Dartmouth’s medical rounds, at which I learned of an instrument Dartmouth is developing to instantly and noninvasively test the oxygen levels in tumors to help doctors decide when to treat the cancer. It was a lot for me to swallow, too!

The town of Hanover, where Dartmouth is situated, is a charming, closely knit community with many “shoppes” and cafes that I am systematically patronizing. The only damper on the place is the weather. I imagined New England as cool in the summer, but I didn’t anticipate a week of drizzling 55 degree weather. There’s nothing like spending a June day watching children in their hoodies playing in the cold, wet grass under a cold, wet sky.

But the chilly state has many warm, welcoming people. I have been consistently humbled by the friendliness and kindness shown to me by the Dartmouth staff and church goers of New Hampshire. It is they that are making this internship worthwhile, and I look forward to spending another eight weeks getting to know them.

Honors Student Travels to Portugal for Deaf Olympics

by   |  06.29.11  |  Honors Student Achievements, Uncategorized

Honors College Gets New Dean

by   |  05.23.11  |  Honors College News, Uncategorized

Business student Joseph Austin participates in study for ACU’s Center for Business and Economic Research

by   |  05.16.11  |  Honors Student Achievements, Uncategorized

More from Nepal: Monkey-ing Around

by   |  04.27.11  |  Uncategorized

Rule Number Ten (While in Asia): Monkeys apparently love ice cream.

One monkey in particular decided that he loved MY ice cream! A friend and I went to visit the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu yesterday. The Buddhist temple is on a hill overlooking Kathmandu. It’s very beautiful at the top, but the hike up that hill is a haul. There are over 100 steps, and they’re so steep I felt like I had climbed Mount Everest by the time we reached the summit. We decided to cure our exhaustion by eating ice cream! Little did I know, the monkeys at the Monkey Temple do not play nice. They’re wild, and dozens of them run around the temple (thus its name); however, they are quite accustomed both to tourists and thievery. Right after getting our ice cream, a monkey spotted the delicious treat in my hand and began moving toward me with an alarming determination in his eyes. I got a vaccination for rabies right before leaving, but I had no desire to be bit by this aggressive little creature. So, in order to save myself from attack, I sacrificed my ice cream by throwing it on the ground. Within seconds the little bugger had snatched it up and started licking away.

I’ve been in Kathmandu for four days now. I’m staying with a family affiliated with the Nepalese organization Red Thread works to support, and my oh my, do they know how to cook (now I know how Buddha got his big belly; homemade Nepalese food is incredible)! Last night, I helped make homemade momos! I didn’t think I would be able to eat that many, but the family jokingly told me if I couldn’t commit to eating 20, then I wasn’t allowed to eat any period! Needless to say, it was not hard at all to eat the delicious dumpling-like delight.

On Friday, I met with the International Organization for Migration to learn more about their work to combat sex trafficking in Nepal and if there may be room for future collaboration. IOM does work in counter-trafficking and has, within the last few years, been researching rehabilitation strategies for victimized people returning to Nepal. However, the strategies of IOM and the organization the RTM supports are very different. IOM focuses on reintegration and rehabilitating Nepalese people who are returning from India and the Middle East following a situation of trafficking that resulted in slavery. Approximately 200-300 Nepalese victims of slavery abroad are returning every year to Nepal; this includes victims of both labor and sex trafficking. IOM is seeking to provide livelihoods for these individuals, while helping them gain citizenship. In Nepal, citizenship is obtained after the 16th birthday. As many people are trafficked out of Nepal before turning 16, it is currently difficult for them to return to Nepal and gain their citizenship. This is due to the fact that citizenship is passed through family affiliation, and, due to stigmatization, many families are unwilling to claim family members who have been victims of human trafficking.

While IOM is working toward a noble cause, the organization we support has found it most effective to combat trafficking through prevention, as thousands of girls are being trafficked into India on a yearly basis for purposes of sexual enslavement. While reports list the number somewhere around 12,000 girls per year, NGO’s predict the number to be closer to 30-40,000 women and girls being trafficked from Nepal into India every year. Rehabilitation for people who have survived enslavement is certainly necessary, but in my opinion, the bigger problem lies with preventing the trafficking before it has a chance to result in slavery.

The Nepalese organization we partner with is working to eliminate the need to rescue and rehabilitate women and girls who have already been enslaved outside of Nepal by both stopping these women and girls on the border before they cross into India. They are also working to develop communities by empowering women and girls in villages toward successful business practices and anti-trafficking education.

This morning I also had the pleasure of meeting with the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. He is the head of UN programs in Nepal and took nearly an hour out of his day to be briefed on the Red Thread Movement and the work of the Nepalese organization we support. Every three to five years, the United Nations programs operating within a country get together to set new goals for the upcoming three to five years. It is a time for them to reevaluate and decide how they can best serve the people of that country. New goals are currently being compiled by the United Nations programs operating in Nepal, and the UNRC informed me that upcoming priorities for the UN will include assisting vulnerable and sexually exploited women and girls in Nepal. The meeting I had with UNICEF later this afternoon also spoke to this goal. These meetings both provided information into the UN’s work toward anti-trafficking in Nepal and opened the doors for potential collaboration down the road.

“Who Am I?” Project By Student Drew Thomas

by   |  04.27.11  |  Uncategorized

In the Core 120 (The Question of Identity) course that Drs. Cullum, McCracken, and Stephenson are teaching, students are producing creative “living artifacts” as the course draws to a close. Here is Drew Thomas’s project, which analyzes the question “Who am I” by looking at certain pieces of paper. It was filmed on his laptop.

More From Nepal…

by   |  04.26.11  |  Uncategorized

After Awhile, Crocodile
By redthreadmovement

Rule Number Nine (While in Asia): They will assume you have rhythm and like to dance.

I have been to my fair share of countries, so I think I’m qualified to say that, compared to the rest of the world, Americans are rhythmically challenged. Apparently, the Nepalese are not aware of this because I cannot count the number of times they have asked me to dance. I think they assume that I have some moves they’ve never seen before (which is true, my dance moves probably have never been seen before, but that’s because I’m so bad at it!) I should probably also clarify that when they ask me to dance, they’re assuming that I am just going to dance, by myself, in front of them, to Indian music I’ve never heard before. Yeah, no thank you!

I had two new experiences today:

1. I learned how to drive stick shift. Perhaps I should clarify. I was not actually in the driver’s seat (if I was I probably wouldn’t have lived to be writing this post). The driver simply allowed me to move around the stick while he drove, so that I could learn how to change gears…baby steps.

2. I rode on a motorcycle! I am now convinced that the first vehicle I purchase will have two wheels (and a motor! My mom and dad thought I should also only have two wheels for college, but their version involved pedaling).

A woman in the market yesterday asked me where I was from. When I told her the United States, she seemed thoroughly shocked. She told me that my face was so cute, I must be from the Middle East! While I’ve been told that I look Middle Eastern before, it’s never been justified by the fact that I have a cute face. I got a good laugh out of the encounter!

This morning, I met with the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Analyst. We had met by the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu on my previous trip to Nepal in January, so this time I asked him if he would like to come out and visit one of the border stations supported by the Red Thread Movement. I enjoyed going back to the border and visiting some old Nepalese friends, while showing him around. He is doing research right now for the 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report that will come out this summer, featuring a section on the trafficking in Nepal. To read last year’s report, check out the 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report.

I also left for Kathmandu today. It was really hard to say goodbye to the girls. I am an emotional wreck when it comes to goodbyes, and as soon as someone else starts crying I just lose it. So, it was a pretty tearful farewell. I only have one brother, so I’m not exactly sure what it feels like to have a sister, but I think it’s safe to say that those girls really became like the sisters I never had. Despite being victimized by trafficking, cheated by love and deceived by lies, these girls taught me what it means to be “home,” how to love purely and fully and what it looks like to be lit from the inside by this contagious joy. I may never see all of these girls together again, but I consider them my adopted family, and the virtues they’ve taught me will stick in my heart for a lifetime.

More to come from Kathmandu:
Tomorrow: Meeting with International Organization for Migration
Monday: Meeting with UNICEF and UNDP

April 16, 2011
Happy New Year!
By redthreadmovement

Rule Number Eight (While in Asia): Not only is Nepal 10 hours and 45 minutes ahead of the Midwest, it is also ahead by approximately 57 years!

Yes, on April 14, I celebrated New Year’s for my second time this year (this due to the fact that Nepal runs on a different calendar than most of the world).  In honor of this happy event, the girls and I went for a picnic in a park about three hours from the safe house.  They loved the field trip, and the drive to the park was beautiful!  I am a native Minnesotan, so even the foothills here look like mountains and take my breath away.  What also took my breath away was how close our driver got to the edge of the road driving on these “mountains” (I’m not so good with heights).

On New Year’s we also celebrated the House Mother’s birthday with a delicious black forest cake that I hunted down in the market.  The birthday party was a blast as we ate and danced to Nepali/Hindi music (I was also so relieved to get some sugar back into my system).  The Nepalese people, probably for the best, don’t tend to eat many sweet things.  They much prefer salt, lots and lots of salt (oh, and don’t forget the chili peppers).  Needless to say, my mouth has been on fire for most of my time here!

Sugar cane juice has taken the place of coffee in my life!
Yesterday, one of the girls offered me this digestive tablet that you’re supposed to chew to help you digest your food.  The girls were all eating them with genuine delight, so I figured they must be good (and I can use all the help here with digestion that I can get).  I should have known, however, that if the Nepalese liked them, I was probably in trouble.  Chewing that little tablet was like drinking salt water from the Dead Sea (which I have accidentally done), and it was probably one of the top five grossest things I have ever tasted in my life (with pig intestine soup also being on that list). It took chugging a litre of water to get the taste out of my mouth.

In my personal opinion, Nepal’s two greatest attractions are its mountains and its markets!
Since being here, I have also learned some of the girls’ stories, as to how they ended up at the safe house.  The following is only one of these stories, but it provides great insight into what the trafficking process looks like and how it operates.  For the girl’s safety, I have not included her name:

This is the story of a 13-year-old girl who studied to grade six.  Due to the size and poverty of her family, she could not complete her studies, so she helped her mother in household activities and her father on their farm.  Her parents were very happy with her, but she was not happy because she had to drop out of school.  One day, a stranger came into her village and proposed that she marry him.  She was young and scared to marry him and initially refused his proposal.  However, the man was not ready to give up, and he and his parents forced her to marry him.  He was 26 years old, twice her age.  Although she did not accept her marriage, she was complacent to go with her new husband when he asked her to leave Nepal for India.  He promised that he would keep her happy, and she believed him, so they went.  On the border of Nepal and India, they came to a border station supported by the Red Thread Movement, where a counselor working there asked the two of them questions regarding their travel into India.  The man told the counselor that they were married and beginning a new life outside of Nepal.  However, the counselor did not trust the man, because he was so much older than the girl.  So, both were separated and asked questions individually, and the girl told the counselor how she had met the man. The counselor explained to her what trafficking was and told her that she had encountered and rescued many girls with stories like her’s, who had been forced to marry men intending to traffick them.  It was then that the girl understood she was going to be sold by this man now claiming to be her husband.  The counselor offered the girl an opportunity to leave the man and receive shelter and additional training at a safe house, and the girl agreed; the man was turned into the police stationed at the border.  After a year at the safe house, the girl has just returned home with an education in sewing and a new chance at life in her village.