Summer Study '09: What Do the Phase II Scholars Do?

Phase II Scholars return to the University of Washington campus for their second Summer Study. They meet the Phase I Scholars, learn about college life and career preparation, and participate in a one-week workshop with postsecondary instructors.


Heidi and Samuel, DO-IT Interns

The DO-IT Phase II Scholars in the NOAA workshop looked at modern issues confronting the world, as well as environmental issues and solutions. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is a government organization that focuses on understanding our planet. NOAA studies the big and small, from waterways to global warming. The participants were Phase II Scholars Yomara, Russell, Chris, Nate, and Erik.

We started out with a presentation from Kevin about the bleak story of Easter Island, the most isolated island in the world. From there we discussed various issues, such as global warming both past and present, along with the history of past cultures. Attributes of past cultures and global events that we examined included the Roman Empire with the aqueducts, Mayan Empire as the example of society collapsing, World War I, and the possible war over resources to show the effects of low resources.

From Kelly McCusker and Reid Wolcott, we learned about weather and climate change, as well as some of the career opportunities within the field. Led by Annemarie Poginy, we worked together as a group to develop a presentation for Summer Study's closing ceremonies. Studying environmental issues was both enlightening and terrifying. Today we struggle with our resources, but tomorrow they might be gone.

Neurobiology: Bugs, Mice, and Brains

Robyn, DO-IT Intern
Picture of Brianna, Aaron, and Collin looking at lab equipment.
'08 Scholars Brianna, Aaron, and Collin with Intern and '07 Scholar Robyn at the neurobiology workshop during Summer Study.

In this Phase II workshop, six Scholars (Erica, Collin, Marco, Aaron, Brianna, and Jeremy) and I got the opportunity to explore neurobiology. Over the course of five days we participated in hands-on experiments that involved mice and cockroaches.

In the mouse lab we examined embryo hind brains. The microscope used both UV lights and white light, which allowed us to see the florescent molecules. Using a computer, we recorded the reaction seen through the microscope. Then we analyzed them and made a movie from the results. We also conducted a pharmacologic test using valproic acid, an anti-seizure medication.

The second lab included testing cockroach legs. The goal was to test different leg spines and see how many neurons were triggered when the spine was poked. We created our own stimulus and tested our hypotheses. We then analyzed our data by finding the rate, mapping how many big and small graph spikes there were, and understanding the graph itself.

Over the five days of the workshop, we had the opportunity to do two college planned labs and use the equipment that college students use. At the end of the five days, we put together a presentation summarizing what we learned. The workshop would not have been possible without Marti, Bill, Stephanie, Hiro, and Deva. Thank you all for your hard work!

Second Life

Blake, Lukas, and Peter, DO-IT Interns
Screen Shot of a group photo of particpants' avatars.
Participants of Second Life on DO-IT Island.

As Interns at DO-IT Summer Study, we got to participate in the workshop "DO-IT Second Life." This workshop focused around the computer program Second Life. In Second Life, users create an avatar that lives in a virtual world and interacts with other people. It is almost like a 3-D chat room. You can fully customize your avatar to look like anything, from a businessman to a celebrity. The choices are endless. You can also build objects like houses, teleport, fly, and chat with other avatars or people you know, in real time.

There are a lot of fun destinations that users can travel to in the game, from research places like the NOAA Research Center, to a medical school in London. While this game was fun, there were times when we needed to log out and log back into the game, in order to fix a problem. It was also very hard to build a good project without having to edit it many times. Despite this, one of the many advantages to the game was the benefit of having access to a number of different places. Second Life is an interesting concept, which can be enjoyed by many.

The Phase II Scholars in this workshop included Sam, Stefani, Christine, Carolyn, and Shelby. Two DO-IT Ambassadors, Scott and Noah gave presentations at this workshop. Being an Intern in the Summer Study program was a fun experience.