Final Thoughts and Reflections

With the summer drawing to a close, I have realized that the data analysis will continue for some time into the semester. The SOMOS team will hopefully help give me some insight into the best way to approach the campaign against dengue in the community as I present more of my findings to them.

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Plans After Summer Research

Hello All!

I had a great experience this summer conducting research in a molecular cell research lab. I learned so much from my PI and lab members and most importantly, I had the opportunity to pass on some of what I had learned to other students in the lab. By now I hope that all you have had to the chance to read my previous posts to gain an understanding of the specifics of my research, as I am working with Bisphenol a (BPA); however, if you haven’t read my previous posts the long story short of my work dealing with BPA is that it is an endocrine disrupter and it is found in the plastics that we use everyday. BPA is a chemical that, as the term endocrine disrupter suggests, causes damage to the normal functioning of our endocrine pathways once it has entered our bodies. BPA can enter our bodies by leeching from the plastics that we use and go into our foods and drinks. My research is beginning to suggest that at higher exposure levels BPA begins to cause cells to lose their viability. However, I am only speaking for Henrietta Larks cells as I am not yet certain as to what BPA might do at the organismal level.

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The End of the Road

What a close to my final week in Uganda! From Monday to Wednesday, I was traveling around the rapidly-expanding city of Hoima and Lake Albert, which are in the western part of Uganda, to attend a conference on monitoring environmental compliance in the oil and natural gas sectors. This conference brought representatives from dozens of several civil society organizations together with government and oil/natural gas sector officials in an attempt to ensure that all parties involved, most especially marginalized groups, benefit from the recent discovery of Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest untapped oil deposits. However, it often appeared that industry groups and the government sought to limit criticism of extractive activities and their negative impacts on Uganda’s citizens. In our guided tours, we saw much of this. Of the 3 sites that we visited, on buses paid for by Tullow Oil, 2 had been inactive for months and the only active site, Kingfisher Field, we viewed from a distance. This gave valuable insight into some of the issues that Transparency International staff face in promoting an open, productive dialogue between citizens, civil society organizations, government officials, and private industry.

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A Plan in Action

Thursday, June 19, 2014

After a few weeks of doing odds and ends for ObservaCoop we have finally landed our first large assignment for the summer: geocoding a portfolio European Commission projects in Mexico and using ArcGIS to create maps and a final report for the European Union. It was really exciting and somewhat intimidating at first, since we found out that we, as Summer Fellows, would be largely responsible for the execution of this project. Since none of the Fellows at Observacoop, myself included, have any real experience managing such an endeavor, the best we could do was smile and say “ya lo hacemos!” After all, it was going to be a learning experience for all of us – it would be our first time managing a project and it would be the interns’, our primary geocoders, first time geocoding.

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Interviews and Discovery

The past two weeks have flown by in a swirl of interviews and information. For the purposes of this blog, I find that I am struggling with the ability to write concisely. I could write for pages and pages about the conversations, the emotions, and the details of the house and the individuals, but I don’t think I would have enough room. I’ll do my best to summarize the important facts and my insights from the interviewing process.

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