Last few Weeks at Mote

Today was my last “official” day at Mote Marine Lab. (So this WAS the case when I originally started writing this post…) However, my research is no where near finished. My last weeks at Mote were hectic and stressful. I finally got through all of the site mapping and data file shuffle-ing and got into the actual analyses in R… and then everything just kind of blew up for a while, as research likes to do sometimes. I found no significant difference in the spatial patterns using the Komogorov-Smirnov test… SO Dr. Muller and I decided to try fitting the distributions and then running statistics on the fits. However, I have never done this before and had to start from scratch on figuring out how to go about distribution fitting in R, learning the “lingo” for distribution fitting, and determining just what everything means. I also ran into problems trying to run my old disease transmission model code with the new data. R kept throwing up error after error after error. For about two weeks, I was completely lost. I felt overwhelmed and incapable to solving all of my questions. It took a pep-talk from Dr. Muller over a couple of beers after a 5K put on by one of the local bars to get me to push past my “research plateau.” Sometimes, you just have to fall down and then pick your self back up piece by piece in order to push past problems that occur in your research. When I was driving the struggle bus, I went back through everything I had done to date and wrote everything down step by step and I also went back and re-read a lot of the R instruction manuals. This really helped me understand what I am doing even better than before. I think encountering difficulties during research forces scientists to re-evaluate and refocus to better continue on in their project.

TRAPped Final Post

As school kicks off, it dawns on me that I actually have to stop doing this research. Seven weeks turned out to be more like ten, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. It has been a unique and educational experience, and I am very thankful to the James Reilly Scholarship fund and to W&M for making it possible.

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Post Four: Results

Coefficient P-value
Union Membership -3.36 0.003
Mexican Border 0.467 0.197
Perot Vote 0.565 0.574
Household Income 0.033 0.076
Corporate Contributions -0.313 0.604
Labor Contributions -4.137 0.000

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Thoughts on Researching Abroad

As the research process winds to a close, and before I post my summary, I thought I would do a blog post on what I learned simply from living in Israel for three weeks, and being immersed in a culture so very different from that of the United States.

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Summary of Efforts toward a Loline Synthesis

This summer I have been attempting a total synthesis of the natural compound loline. The summer commenced with running familiar reactions at larger scales to move more material forward in the route. We were able to improve the yield of the RCM (ring closing metathesis) to an impressive 89%, but this was coupled with continually inconsistent results with the preceding acylation. I then ran three new reactions to make the methyl ester carbamate that was critical to our 2011 synthesis. After some initial troubleshooting, I was able to produce the desired product in good yield. Unfortunately, the following reduction with Dibal-H had a negligible yield despite several revisions to the reaction and work up conditions. There are about four remaining steps to loline past this point, so it would be a futile pursuit to continue running this reaction.

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