Singapore Week One

It’s been a month now since I’ve been in Singapore so there will be some foresight in these next couple blogs on my time so far. These weeks have been met with ups and downs and an overall feeling of being overwhelmed with my new environment. But one thing that has been driving me as I have been here has been a quote from the new documentary Free Solo which I watched on the 24hour plane ride to the other side of the world: “ Nobody achieves anything by being happy and cozy… you face your fear because your goal demands it- that is the warrior mentality.” It has been observed by people around me that I am not a warrior- I don’t necessarily fight my fears head on with a tough face, but I am hoping to change that.

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Week #3 Progress

More data analysis is happening this week. This time I derived quantitative information from our data set, i.e. I tried to figure out exactly how much organic and inorganic species exists in each sample. A quick way to do so is to perform integration on the high-resolution time series plot for the sample set. Let me take the following time series plot for CALE sample set as an example. Notice that the green trace represents the amount of organics detected by the mass spectrometer at that time. If we integrate through the time series for one injection, i.e. calculate the area under one peak, we are able to obtain the number for the amount of organics (Org) present in that one injection of sample. A program file was written for Igor to perform the calculation.

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Some Thoughts on Feminist Metaphysics

I developed an interest in how gender applied to Immanuel Kant’s metaphysics while reading the Critique of Pure Reason as part of one of my spring 2019 courses, Kant and His Successors, in the Philosophy Department. With these concerns, I began a conversation with my instructor, Professor Aaron Griffith, and was referred to a piece by Ásta. In her article, Ásta writes about Judith Butler, a leading feminist philosopher, who proposed a metaphysical theory on gender. Upon reading the article, I felt the work was incomplete. Ásta set the stage for formally applying Butler’s views in a Kantian framework, yet gaps remained. In conversations with Professor Griffith, we agreed upon the promising claims in Ásta’s interpretation and that they required further development. 

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Week 2 Progress

This past week I have continued searching for sources and reading their contents. I began looking more at books and journal articles. I was tasked with looking in specific journals and book publishers. I was also tasked with reading parts of Splintered Accountability State Governance and Education Reform by Arnold F. Shober. I was told to read parts of the book and to think about the autonomy and scope of government agencies. This book helped reinforce ideas I had discovered in other sources I had read. From reading this book, along with outside articles, I have learned that state education agencies are tricky. They are all different and what they are each capable of is in great part determined by the people within the agency. Agencies must keep policy makers, their party, and local government satisfied. This is often impossible because there are conflicting interests. Leaders of these agencies must be strategic in effecting change and must use their power to change the scope of their agency. Agencies want to be autonomous so they can enact reforms and see them through to the end without other reforms overlapping and stopping progress. With this autonomy agencies have power over implementing reforms, policy, and rules. Agencies can increase their scope meaning to increase the tasks and policy areas they wish to focus on. Another thing I learned this past week is that leadership can influence the scope of an agency. Agency leaders can work with researchers, policymakers, and administrators to influence change. State education chiefs have a lot of control and can persuade others to follow a new direction for different reforms. I’ve also learned that agency reforms often end before results are seen. Aside from all these obstacles and organizations, there are also education researchers that can come in and influence agencies and policymakers by providing suggestion for types of reform. All these complex factors have some say in school reform and because of this, agencies must work with other organizations to be successful.

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Week #3 Update

The third week of my research has mainly consisted of continuing scans of EY on TiO2 at 5×10^-10M, single molecule concentrations. I have been taking scans of EY on TiO2 under different laser power settings. This was done after retaking power measurements to create an updated power chart based on waveplate and ND filter settings. The goal of experimenting with different laser powers is to achieve single molecule densities similar to EY on Glass substrate. Through this, data collection of blinking traces becomes more efficient and our scans are also more easily comparable between the two Glass and TiO2 substrates. Experimenting with these different powers, I determined the most optimal power to be 1.45uW which achieved the molecular densities desired, while not being too much power to result in photobleaching nor too underwhelming, such that seeing single molecules on scans becomes difficult.

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