Animal Rehabilitation in the “Gateway to the Jungle”

YanaCocha Rescue Centre in Puyo, Ecuador originally began as a botanical reserve for endemic plant species of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Noting the large natural space, Puyo citizens began to drop off tortoises that had gotten too large for their backyards, rodents whose mothers had been hit by cars, and any number of creatures to release within the reserve. In 2008, the owner, a botanist-turned-zookeeper, hired a veterinarian, recruited volunteers, and established YanaCocha, a rescue and rehabilitation facility for wild animals located at the edge of the Amazon rainforest. The Centre places a large focus on the release of animals, doing so whenever possible in a nearby protected area in the Amazon. For those that legally or logistically cannot be released, the employees work to provide the most natural conditions possible. I have spent the past week in YanaCocha acting as a volunteer and shadowing the employees, including biologists, animal experts, and veterinarians.

[Read more…]

Diving Into William and Mary’s Past: Research Update 1

Finding a Method 

In this past week, I began searching through the Colonial Echo yearbooks for examples of racism, racial insensitivity, or offensive traditions. I am extremely grateful that members of the special collections team at Swem library put in countless hours of work scanning yearbooks to make them available in the digital archives. After searching for a few keywords in the yearbooks and newspapers in an unorganized manner, I decided the best method would be to scan through each publication in a chronological order. As I search through each publication I’ve been keeping a track of locations of offensive images or language. This week, I began looking through yearbooks. Unfortunately,  I have found some examples of racist language and offensive African-American and Native-American caricatures. I even discovered a group of students who performed minstrel shows in blackface at William and Mary.

[Read more…]

How to Collect Data from 14,500km Away (WEEK 1)

One of the first steps to this research project is collecting data. Given the need to collect visual data from Antarctica, which is approximately 9,000 miles (or 14,5000 kilometers) away from Virginia, the best solution would be to go to Antarctica itself. However, because that is not feasible time- or money-wise, I am instead investigating the Amery Ice Shelf through satellite imagery: data that is remotely sensed by satellites circulating in high altitudes, then posted online as pixelated images.

[Read more…]

Abstract: Analyzing Dye-Sensitized and Plasmon Enhanced Photocatalysis Using Single Molecule Spectroscopy

For my upcoming research project in the summer, I plan on investigating dye-sensitized and plasmon-enhanced photocatalysis using single molecule spectroscopy techniques. The global energy demand is predicted to increase over 25% by year 2040. Solar energy is a clean alternative to harmful fossil fuels, and one method of harnessing this energy is via dye sensitized photocatalysis (DSP) systems. Although currently inefficient, we plan on studying underlying kinetics to further improve the practicality of these systems. This is done via single molecule spectroscopy (SMS) techniques that allow for us to truly understand the photophysics behind DSP systems. In our DSP system, we will be studying Eosin-Y chromophore on a TiO2 substrate under both air and N2 conditions. By studying the interactions of this dye with a substrate, we can begin to have a understanding of the efficiency and kinetics of the electron transfer that is associated with solar energy harvesting. Additionally, I hope to incorporate plasmonic systems with our DSP system to possibly reveal alternative methods to further improve efficiency of solar conversion.


With the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, came new requirements for schools such as an annual testing requirement with particular standards, exams, cut scores, and people to score the exams (p50). These requirements are then met through state education agencies who have obligations to appease to education unions, businesses, and the federal government. The members of these agencies typically have no experience writing or grading tests leading to difficulties (p50). Aside from the exams themselves, implementing supplementary programs to improve test scores created another hurdle for agencies on top of all other challenges. Due to the demands of NCLB, states complained about the lack of resources needed to implement the demands (p53). Agencies sought assistance from test contractors who at times computed the scores of subgroups based on race and ethnicity inaccurately (p51). Contractors also made errors grading exams increasing the amount of time to compute final test scores (p51). In response to concerns, the Bush administration gave states credit for anticipated progress rather than actual progress while failing to meet the demands of the states (p54). From 2007-2009, NCLB had failed to have been reauthorized (p61). When reauthorized in 2009 under the Obama administration the momentum for change from the Bush administration was not present and as states argued for more funding, members of the administration claimed NCLB was adequately funded with a 43% increase from when President Obama assumed office (p62). President Obama’s budget requests did not reach what was needed for NCLB according to certain state budgets (p62). Nine school districts filed a lawsuit against NCLB; however, it resulted in a split decision (p64). This background information displays the reasoning for concerns over a lack of funding for government agencies. This study will provide evidence to defend and refute claims of there being too little funding and there being enough funding for education policies to be implemented.

[Read more…]