Weeks 3&4

Since I finished performing PCRs on the DNA strains, I have started the CRISPR process. The first step of the protocol is to perform a “pML104 Miniprep.” pML104 is the plasmid that I am using in this CRISPR protocol. The next step is to digest the plasmid, which is essentially the process of cutting the plasmid. Luckily, my labmate found digested plasmids, so I did not have to perform the first two steps.

[Read more…]

Week 2 in the Lab

During the last two weeks, I have finished performing PCRs on the rest of my yeast DNA strains. After a few trials, I got successful PCRs for all of the DNA strains, which were verified by gel electrophoresis. Then I cleaned and concentrated my PCR products to get rid of unnecessary enzymes and other products. After cleaning the PCR products by using a Zymo kit, I used a machine called a NanoDrop to get the concentrations of each of my cleaned PCR products in which most of the concentrations were around 60 ng/microliter, which were ideal. After getting relatively well concentrations, I sent my DNA strains for sequencing (Sanger).

[Read more…]

Week 3 and 4 Progress

These past two weeks have consisted of going through sources and finding things to put in a literature review. I have finished collecting sources and am now working on a literature review consisting of up to date research that has been done on State Education Agencies. So far, I have discovered that there is not a lot of research that has been completed on these agencies which I have mentioned in previous posts. I have collected 37 sources that consist of journal articles, books, blogs, and other articles. Many reiterated things stated in other sources while others were very narrow. These two weeks I had to decipher which sources were most relevant to my literature review before I began writing. I can clearly see that sources discovered at the beginning of my bibliography are very different than the ones found towards the end of my bibliography. I had to discover which path I was interested in researching and focus on those key questions and topics. Going through my sources, I have discovered that the kinds of sources changed and how I found them changed. With the guidance of my research advisor and a research librarian, I learned to look at specific journals and databases to find relevant sources. In the coming week I will write my literature review and develop questions that will then lead to further research.

Ravensbrück: Week 1

During this first week I split my research up into two components. First, I wanted to further my basic understanding of Ravensbrück concentration camp. Before I dive into primary source research in the coming weeks, I felt it was important to fully grasp the fundamental workings and conditions of the camp, the various groups of women held captive and their relationships with one another, and the role of the SS personnel in charge of Ravensbrück. I spent most of the week reading and taking notes on Sarah Helm’s Ravensbrück: Life and Death in Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women. Last winter, when I was deciding on the focus of my dissertation, I read generally on the topic to understand the state of the historiography. Helm’s book was one of the texts I relied on; I read through her introduction and a couple other chapters. The 2014 book is perhaps the most comprehensive and in-depth examination of the camp; over 600 pages long, it serves Helm’s purpose of providing a full biography of the camp in order to illuminate the wider Nazi story. Helm progresses chronologically and weaves the stories of prisoners together with the conditions of the camp, and the actions of SS officials and individuals living in the surrounding areas. After reading, I examined Helm’s bibliography to identify other books and articles that could be useful in my future research.

[Read more…]

Week 2: UVA Small Special Collections

My trip the the UVA Small Special Collections was a success! I looked through 3 boxes of material carefully, and found many useful sources. Most of the material were papers of a man named Brigadier General Jefferson Randolph Kean, who was a descendant of Thomas Jefferson and a member of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Commission towards the end of his life. Kean’s correspondence and notes on the meetings of the Commission gave me insight into how the commission made decisions about the memorial and interacted with the newspapers and public. Kean’s papers highlighted important figures in the TJMC, including John J. Boylan (the chairman of the commission) and Fiske Kimball. 

[Read more…]