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.

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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.

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How to Collect Data from 14,500km Away

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.

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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.

Maternal Mortality Rates in Black Incarcerated Women

Abstract:

The focal question of my research will be, “To what extent does current legislation ensure the well-being and optimal maternal health of Black incarcerated women?”.  I plan to review the health information that is collected on prisoners in federal and state prisons and will come up with recommendations on how to include maternal mortality in the information in the data collected. When looking at information related to incarcerated peoples, it predominantly pertains to time served by offenders and their level of violence. In my research, I will suggest and find evidence to support the idea that more attention needs to be given to the health of inmates, and more specifically to the health of pregnant incarcerated women. I will introduce preventative measures to lower the maternal mortality rates that can be seen in incarcerated women, especially those who are Black as it has been statistically shown that Black women are more likely to suffer from childbirth complications. Additionally, I will focus on how to incorporate the recommendations from newer laws on maternal health into the Bureau of Justice Statistics data collection. Recent maternal health legislation passed by Congress allocates $12 million a year at the state level for Maternal Mortality Review. These laws place an emphasis on providing care for pregnant women, and it is imperative that this same care is extended to pregnant women who are incarcerated. Consequently, is also important to research the best ways in which to apply this new law to incarcerated women. To help determine this, I will be using a database. The resources that I will be using for my research include the data agency that is mandated to collect data on incarcerated populations in the United States, the Bureau of Justice Statistics under the Department on Justice (https://www.bjs.gov).