Summer Internship Week 1

Hi everyone, this post is coming after my first two weeks of my summer internship in Des Moines, IA. This summer I’m interning at in the Attorney General’s office in area prosecutions, and my specific unit is the Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Unit. I’m going to give a little overview of what we as an office do, and then will look further into what I have experienced so far as an intern. Under an Iowa code that is followed by a number I don’t remember, we are able to review a list of already incaracerated sexual predators that are nearing their release dates. If we can prove that they have a strong likelyhood of committing more sexual crimes when they exit prison in court, we are able send them to civil commitment in which they spend a majority of the rest of their life going through treatment to eventually reintegrate back into society when they are much older.

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COPE: Helping People Move On

Upon arriving in Vientiane, Abby and I spent our first 4.5 days adjusting to jet lag and exploring our new home. In the first few days, what stood out to me most was our visit to COPE center, thus here are my impressions!

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Bo pen yang, sue sue, sok dee

After two straight days of traveling and three different planes, I arrived in the beautiful country of Laos. I did not know what to expect when I began this journey, and I have found that everyday brings unique challenges and surprises. I was fortunate to have a few days to explore my new home before going to work. During that time I caught a glimpse of everyday life in Vientiane, and I got to visit all the tourist sites. My first day working at Village Focus International (VFI) was the best day by far. This remarkable NGO embodies the best parts of development work, and I cannot express how blessed I feel to be a part of this organization. The next nine weeks are definitely going to be challenging: Lao is not an easy language to learn, we definitely do not blend in well, and I know I will never truly understand the lives of the people I am working with. However, the people I have met are genuine, kind, and passionate, and the work I have been assigned is incredibly meaningful.

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Week 1

Since this was my first week back, most of this week was spent making new media and materials (Tris buffer, LBS, plates, purifying ethanol, etc.) so I didn’t have a lot of time left to work on my actual experiments, especially since my first run was unsuccessful. Towards the middle of the week, I began my experiments on the eight strains of V. fischeri that had been found to be resistant to ethanol levels between 4.0% and 4.9%. Since I am continuing the research done by a previous student, the strains were already identified to be able to survive at 4% ethanol but not at 5% so for these experiments I needed to grow the bacteria in a 24 hour culture in 0% ethanol LBS, then grow them in a 3 hour subculture in 0% ethanol LBS, then grow them for 24 hours again in ten different sets of media, from 4.0% to 4.9%, going up in increments of 0.1%. Unfortunately, both times I attempted this experiment this week, it was not successful, since the bacteria were not able to grow at the end of the 3 hour subculture and therefore could not be tested at each of the ethanol levels. This suggests that there was a problem with either the test tubes or the media itself. Since there have been problems in the past with small residues of antibacterial soap being left over in the tubes and making its way into the media, I decided to try again with new LBS media, in new tubes, so hopefully with these new tubes and the new media, I’ll have more success growing these strains next week.

Week 1 at the National Assembly for Wales

I’m Raadhika, a rising senior at W&M, and I’m spending the summer interning in Cardiff with the National Assembly for Wales! This is such a unique opportunity that I’m really excited for – not only do I get to come back to a country I consider my second home, but I also get this incredible chance to experience working with a foreign national government.

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