Welcome to La Carpio

From July 17, 2012

La Carpio is an impoverished immigrant community of  predominantly Nicaraguan residents.  Gail Nystrom is the director of the Costa Rican Foundation and my primary contact for research within the immigrant community.  On July 17th, she picked us up at the Parque de Diverciones, several minutes from the border of La Carpio.  This arrangement was required because taxi drivers would not drop us off at a location inside the community due to La Carpio’s reputation as an area with a high crime rate.  In fact, Costa Ricans from San Jose strongly discouraged us from collecting data in La Carpio for fear of violence.

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A Look Back at the Summer

Now that the summer is over, I can start to evaluate the progress that I made on my research project over the summer.  First of all, I definitely did not get as much finished as I thought I would, but after talking to other researches that stayed for the summer, I don’t think I’m the only one.  Even though I didn’t do as much as I had hoped, this summer was definitely  a great experience and I feel like I learned so much.  It was nice to be able to focus solely on my research project for a couple of months, as compared to having to juggle it with my other classes during the school year.  The experience definitely gave me a new perspective on research in general.  I am starting to appreciate just how slow science can be.  Between doing the background research, finding procedures that work for your experiment, and getting a large sample size it can take a while.  But it’s definitely worth it!

Williamsburg in the Summer

Being in Williamsburg for two months this summer was definitely much different than it is during the school year.  For starters, it’s much hotter, which is no fun.  But there also seems to be much less stress around campus.  Everyone is able to move at a slower pace because there are no exams to study for or club meetings to attend.  As the fall semester is starting to get into full swing, I’m starting to miss the summer atmosphere.  I am definitely enjoying my classes and other activities I’m doing this semester, but it was so nice to be able to have no stresses after 5 or 6 pm when I left the lab for the day. But I must admit that it’s nice having the dining halls and the gym open for longer hours and now that everyone is back on campus, there is definitely more energy and excitement on campus.

An attempt to summarize

I have no idea how to go about summarizing the research I did this summer. I’ve already spent a great deal of time explaining what I’ve learned and how this summer has impacted me in my other posts. So how should I focus this, my final one? Should I focus on the people I met while in Ireland?

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Senior Summer 2012

The newest derivative chosen is much better than my second choice.  The synthesis is pretty good, meaning it does not take up too much time and the reagents are not undesirable.  I began to purify it when a fellow chemistry student noticed my purification procedure on this occasion was not so great. She helped me improve my technique and even helped me while I conducted the purification.  I had a great time this summer.  Thank you to all who made it possible.  Prof. Harbron, fellow lab-mates, the Charles Center and Ms. Libby Costas from the Cummings organization.  Who could forget the awesome W&M Chemistry Dept.