This Side of Paradise
F. Scott Fitzgerald
a review by August Polite
The story of Amory Blaine is an interesting one; though not an immediately gripping dialogue, it does not fail to interest the reader in a way that most books simply cannot accomplish. The story of Amory is relatable, but mysteriously captivating, and funny at times. The story is an American classic and it holds up surprisingly well, offering a different style of writing that isn’t really used much today. The story doesn’t begin with a proper exposition of the characters, instead it starts by dropping you right into the story of this peculiar character, letting you get a feel for what is happening in the world. Throughout the first sections of Amory’s life it feels more like a biography instead of a novel. The character seems so real and is described in such a realistic and detailed manner that at times, you forget that he is in fact a piece of fiction. He comes across as a conventional advantageous and affluent young man in the twenties, striving to get ahead in life; a very relatable format, although some may find lulls at points in the story.
Many have claimed that “This side of Paradise” is not one of Fitzgerald prize works, but that it was a necessary step for him to find his rhythm. I have only read some fragmented sections of “the Great Gatsby” (one of Fitzgerald’s most prestigious works) and somewhat agree with the book’s critics, however “This Side of Paradise” has a different appeal. It feels more like a window into Fitzgerald’s past and offers a look at his climb to fame.
I knew exactly what the topic of my capstone would be by the time that I entered high school. I have had an interest in animals ever since my first pet dog named Rex. However, it did not stop with him. I was fascinated in animals of all sorts. I remember that my family would buy my books about animals. In particular, I would enjoy reading about reptiles. My interest in reptiles came about when I went on a kindergarten class trip to the Philadelphia Zoo, a place that would eventually become the headquarters of my capstone project.
After entering the Reptile and Amphibian House that first time, I noticed that it contained a variety of animals that were like nothing that I had ever seen before. All of its inhabitants were scaly. Some were legless, and others had shells. I had always seen pictures of reptiles, but finally being able to see how unique that they were in person gave me a lifelong curiosity. After leaving the zoo that first time, I was eager to go back and observe things that I was not able to notice the first time, given my young age. As such, when high school gave me the chance to volunteer at the zoo, I eagerly accepted it. This happened when I chose the zoo for my tenth grade Individualized Learning Plan (ILP). Being able to finally wear the zoo uniform to the zoo took my already present excitement about my internship over the top, as the animals would now look to me not as a visitor, but as a keeper.
After I had finished my internship, I felt emptiness in my body. I knew that for my life to once again be complete, I had to find a way that I could incorporate the zoo into my life. I quickly realized that the perfect idea was to have my capstone project have something to do with the zoo. Although I wanted to use it to learn more about what the zoo does behind the scenes, I knew that I could make a more productive use of my time with the zoo. Instead of being selfish, I thought that it would be a good idea to work with the zoo to make the already amazing experience that each zoo visitor has even better. While I was thinking about how to achieve this, I remembered what I did when I volunteered at the zoo in the tenth grade. Then, the idea came to me to improve the zoo’s already valuable education program in any way that I could. This one thought helped to shape how I was going to do my project.
I knew that although the zoo did educate its zoo visitors about the animals in its care, it did not really get the chance to take notes about how each zoo visitor responded to the information that was being presented to them. I knew at that point that it was my obligation to take observations on the engagement level of each zoo visitor that I came into contact with in locations throughout the zoo. This led my project to a halt, as I had to decide what my definition of engaged should be. However, after collaborating with the zoo, we decided that the best way to accurately judge the engagement level of a zoo visitor was by counting the number of questions that they asked. If they asked more than two questions, I would assume that they were engaged. If not, then I would assume vice-versa. To go with this, I would also record the expression on zoo visitors’ faces, the amount of time that they spent with a zoo presenter, and some of the questions that they asked. Taking the data was the activity that took the most of my time to do, as the zoo required for me to volunteer for at least eighty hours.
After I had taken data for months, I compiled it all together to come to a conclusion. I had originally planned to educate zoo visitors myself, but I ran out of time. However, I was pleased with the findings that I was able to gain. I concluded that the best way to present information to zoo visitors was by way of a visual presentation, as more questions were being asked under these conditions. I shared this information with the zoo in hopes that it would help them in any way possible.
Looking back, I am happy to have had the chance to work with my favorite place twice in my life to do something that I enjoy doing. Although doing a capstone may have seemed like work to some of my peers, for me it brought sheer enjoyment. This experience is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life, proudly bringing it up when I feel the need to do so. It is my hope that next year’s seniors will have an experience as wonderful as mine.
As my capstone I decided to make my own choreography concept video. A choreography concept video may sound more complex than it actually is. Basically it has a storyline that is complemented by dancing. The dancing should tell the story. Dancing has been one of my hobbies since before I can remember. I always liked to dance but never in front of people. The only people that knew that dancing was one of my hobbies were my closest family. Coming to SLA I was exposed to an openly creative and unique environment, providing the perfect opportunities to show what you’ve got in a sense. It took me until this year to take advantage of that by means of this project. I wanted to do something that interested me and also show a side of me that not people knew. I knew from the get-go that it wasn’t going to be some kind of paper or science experiment because I’ve been there, done that. My project was more personal to me in helping me become more comfortable with myself and kind of putting my talent to the test.
As for the the core values there are five of them. I think collaboration and presentation are most obviously applicable to my capstone. My final product was to be a video that told a story. In order to do that many things in terms of how to present the story to the audience had to be deciphered. While doing my research on videos similar to what i was trying to do, I found that most of them didn’t have a lot of talking. But because of the storyline I chose, the audience would better understand with talking and voice overs. I didn’t realize how major collaboration was going to be in this project until I got into it. I had three guy dancers and two girl dancers. I also had someone filming for me and extras here and there. As far as inquiry goes I questioned what would make a good video based on what I wanted to include. I looked at tons of dancing videos on youtube. I found that the ones I enjoyed the most had a story and I also found that I like some specific choreographers. Studying what I liked help me create something that I thought my audience would enjoy. When it comes to reflection this is that aspect of my capstone.
The first thing I did for this project was come up with some story lines. I eventually chose one and then wrote a full script. The script wasn’t that hard considering I was used to creative writing as part of my english class first/second quarter. It was in between those two quarters that I had to do a bibliography. I had watched a lot of different choreography videos by a lot of different choreographers, but then i realized my sources couldn’t all be youtube videos. I then started studying two of my favorite young choreographers and a famous one. When I finished the story line and research I had actually choreography three separate dances. This took me longer than expected so I started to film the speaking parts before I finished the choreography. I had six other people that I needed for my capstone. It was hard trying to get them all in one spot every time I need them. I sent out tons of emails about when I wanted to use them but everyone had a different schedule so it got frustrating trying to accommodate everyone. To overcome this obstacle I often worked with the girls and guys separately. However when I needed to film with everyone together I made sure I would let them know at least three day in advance. I guess all the people that I asked for help are the resources that I taped into. Two weeks before capstone was due, I spent both of my lunches editing. I definitely took advantage of the equipment Mr. Herman had. Without it my project wouldn’t be nearly as good.
I feel like my capstone showed how I blossomed asa person since going to SLA. I’ve become more comfortable with myself, although not entirely. Despite the stress and even tears I was able to get it done. I learned a lot about myself by doing this project. I was able to put myself to the test. There was no doubt that I could dance but I wasn’t sure if I could choreograph. There were definitely times when I was ready to quit because I could come up with a move that went nicely with the beat I had chosen. I’m also proud of the fact that I had people who care enough about me to deal with me and help me out. If I could do this capstone all over again I wouldn’t want to do anything differently. It was hard at times but everything can’t be easy. I enjoyed doing this with my friends.
Being at the end of my senior made me realize that I didn’t really leave my mark in SLA until this year. Before this year I wasn’t to big on expressing my opinion, I’m still not really big on it but there has been much progress. I’ve brought some calm moments to SLA and some loud ones too.I don’t know for sure if I’ve made SLA a better place but I know that I haven’t done the opposite. I’m not going to say that SLA would be nothing without me. The truth is, I would be nothing if I didn’t get the chance to experience SLA.
For my capstone I wrote a business paper that outlines how to create a program that conducts research and activities in the subject it was built around. As for why I chose the project, I chose this project because for the past 4 years I have founded and built a program that focuses on doing research in the Astronomy field along with improving Astronomy education and STEM education in general. While I was creating and building the program from scratch, I had no guideline in how to build a program while creating my program, so for my capstone, my program advisors and I came to the agreement that I should write a guide to creating a program so that people aren’t building a program without guidance.
My capstone addresses the core values in two different ways. The first way is was my process of building Project S.P.A.C.E (Scholastic Program for Astrophotography and Celestial Events) since during that process I went through Inquiry, Research, Collaboration, Presentation and Reflection numerous times to refine the program and bring to where it is today. The second way was the actual paper writing because while I wrote the paper I had to ask myself questions in the shoes of an outsider to identify what I actually did at the start of my process for Inquiry. For Research, I recalled my memories of actually creating the program and looked through documents I had written at the start of the program for resources we used. Collaboration was my capstone mentors helping me recall memories and identify steps I took that I missed. Presentation is the 25-page paper I put together at the end explaining how to create a program and Reflection was the constant refining I did with my peers to make the paper great.
My process for the capstone was complex due to trying to recall precisely every step I took to create my program. The steps I took to complete the paper were Recall steps, Approach mentors about whether the steps recalled were accurate or there were some before it and then repeat this process until I had an outline for the steps so that all I had to do was to fill in information for each step. While I was recalling, my mentor Derrick Pitts had to point out some steps I missed because those steps seemed natural for me but he pointed out that they might not come naturally to others as they did to me. To overcome this, I went to Derrick when I completed the outline and went over what each step in the outline represented and meant which allowed him to point out steps I skipped over.
A lot of the resources I used to complete my capstone were human resources like Derrick Pitts and my original founding members of the program. Although they made up most of my resources, they did not make up all of them. I also used the same resources I used when we first started to help me remember some of the tools I used to start researching in Astronomy. I also used notes and random writings on my computers to piece together memories completely.
What I’m most proud of in this capstone is what others stand to gain from this paper. I’m most proud of that because I remember why I created my program: to improve education in Astronomy and STEM. This paper allows others to create programs similar to mine whether they have the same goals or not, it doesn’t matter because the programs are created to improve an aspect of a life. Whether that aspect is education, environment or a concept, I’m happy to know that my paper can help to improve things faster due to those innovators having a guideline to make creating a program easier for them than creating it from scratch. I learned a lot from my process because I reflected on everything the last 4 years related to my program. It’s helped me to see where I could do better and what I need to work on moving forward. One of those things to work on is notifying the program members far ahead of time since I’m still not doing well with that.
If I could do this capstone over again the only thing I would change is getting more people to help me recollect the steps I took since although I got it done and wrote the paper, there are still pieces that come to me every once in a while that I wonder if I should of put into the paper. SLA is a better place because I was a student there because I created a student-led program at SLA that is soon going to become a national program. I remember hearing one of my superiors at The Franklin Institute telling me in a meeting this, “There are two things that came out of SLA that are no place else: Educon, the educational conference held and run by the school, and your program, Project S.P.A.C.E, the only student-led program to be created by a student for students that does research into a subject like Astronomy with minimal adult direction.” One of the biggest ways that I’ve made SLA a better place since I was a student there is that through running and building my program, I’ve created awesome new connections and opportunities for students at SLA whether its still being able to go to Wednesdays at the Franklin as freshmen or giving students more ILPs to do at TFI. Personally, I think I have done what Lehmann once told me which was, “You’ve ‘maximized’ your experience at SLA”. I truly believe I have since I don’t think I could answer how I could of made better use of the time I had at SLA.
June 7, 2013
For my capstone project I designed and built the Science Leadership Academy mascot costume, the rocket. I decided to do this project because I felt this was something the school could use at sporting events, fund-raising events and even just use it to boost school spirit. I feel that all the SLA core values are represented within the project. From the moment it was decided that this would be my project all the way until now, the core values have been considered and returned to for guidance.
This particular project definitely took a lot more planning then I had initially thought. The idea is simple enough, make a costume but the more planning that occurred, the more questions sprang up to delay the construction. But first things first, I had to find someone who knew what they were doing. Extremely luckily for me, a family friend owns a costume and display company, Character Translations Inc., where I was able to work under careful direction. After ensuring I would be able to work here, the fun began.
The scale model phase took approximately 6 weeks. This included, choosing the main material, deciding on a basic structure and sketching and building models. After being sure of the desired structure and material, I began assembling the pieces. This involved making paper outlines of each type of piece so that they would all be identical. These outlines would then be traced onto sixty gauge plastic which would then be cut out. The next phase was assembly. Almost all the pieces on the rocket are riveted together, only excluding the inner harness, which was screwed in after riveting. After the rocket was in order, I began making the flames and fins. The flames are different sized materials that are all cut and sewn to an elastic band which is Velcro-ed to the inner bottom rim. The fins are made of hard foam that was cut, shaped, sanded, and painted. After drying, they were glued on to the bottom. At this point all major construction sections were done, so I moved onto to details. All of the plastic on the rocket was originally silver but using spray paint, I was able to add the some school colors. Before painting, sections of the rocket had to be very securely masked off to cover silver sections and fins. Once the paint had dried, all that was left to do was add the decals. Simple brown glue was used to place the “S L A” and American flags on each side. This entire process spanned over 5 months.
The main problems I faced when trying to complete this capstone were time and knowledge. Finding time to come to the work shop in Norristown was difficult. I often used Wednesday afternoons and national holidays for work time on the project. Of course, things come up and I was not always able to make it to the work shop but overall, I feel I had the perfect amount of time to complete the project. My lack of knowledge proved to make this project more testing. I had no idea the amount of work I was signing on for when I chose this project. I knew very little about costume design/production and at times, it showed in my work. Without the help of employees at Character Translation Inc., this rocket would not exist. They taught me as we went along and I learned a great deal from working with them. In the end, my original obstacles became some of my favorites parts of this project.
I am most proud of this project because it is something I can give back to the school that has given so much to me. Of course, I am happy with the way it turned out and the experience I gained but I am more pleased to be able do something that will maybe have a positive affect on the school. I learned a lot about design and construction but probably one of the more important things I learned was how to work with people in a professional atmosphere. The things I learned from the project and also the things I have learned from attending SLA for four years, are things that I will use and cherish for the rest of my life. Thank you.
Research- I looked throughout the internet and found that the element I was chosen to study was a dangerous chemical that none the less was used in rat poison and cigarette.
Collaboration- I had different people at my biochemistry group help me look over my work. I had most help from my table partner Tomi.
Presentation- In the end I chose different colors that represented either danger, poison, or the colors arsenic was.
Reflection- In the end I found that this project took a lot of accuracy and time. The amount of focus you need will shift throughout the project for study to crafting.
For my side project I did iPhone Photography
check out the insanity behind the "linsanity"
The title of the book I read was called Double Dutch by Sharon M. Draper. She is mainly an author for teen books. Sharon M. Draper is an award winning author. She has been on the New York Times bestsellers list for the book “ Copper Sun”. Sharon M. Draper is also a Coretta Scott King award winner for the books such as “Copper Sun” in 2007” and ” We beat in the Street”. Also in 1998 she wrote “Forged by Fire” which was also an award winner for the Coretta Scott King award.
This book is about a girl named Delia Douglas. She has a passion for double dutch. Delia, her friends Yolanda and Charlene attended on competing in the World double dutch Championship. The World double dutch championship is when kids all over the world from places such Taiwan, Germany and Canada face off in a battle to win first place. Delia practices at the YMCA gym with Yolanda. Delia notices a boy name Randy, he’s in her class. they both have one thing in common.
As they interact with each other inside and outside of school they gain a bond with each other. Never the less to say that neither one of the has exposed their secret to one another. The conflict in the story is person Vs. Person. I believe this because in the story you Have a boy named Randy who would be her potential boyfriend and a Girl named Delia. They both share the same interest. Each one has a secret that neither are willing to share upfront. But in the end they conquer their fears and give in. Randy discovers Delia’s secret, she can’t read. Delia discovers randy’s secret, His dad was missing for weeks and haven’t heard from him since.
Over all my favorite character is Delia because she shows courage. From this book you will take away that “ the road remains wide open, while your dreams are alive . Only fear can block the way. “ ( "The road remains wide open . . . rainbow by halfpasteleven on Etsy." Etsy - Your place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage, and supplies. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 June 2013. <http://www.etsy.com/listing/102018796/the-road-remains-wide-open-rainbow . ) Fear has two meanings 1.) Forget Everything And run or 2.) Face Everything And Rise. The choice is yours.
I do not believe I can relate to this book because I never really Had a something that I was ashamed of. Yes, I have had fears but I had conquer them. For example I used to be scared of getting on rollercoasters. Then when I first got on one I was so scared. but afterwards I felt the rush and now i’m not scared anymore. So Actually I can conclude I can relate.
Overall i thought the book was Excellent. Strong points of the book would be how the characters were portrayed. Each character created the right amount of suspense. You could also understand and identify the characters personality. However it lacks in humor. Setting a tone for a book is very important because a reader will pick up the theme or message when everything is properly balanced.
I would highly recommend this book. Especially to teens how do not read enough because if you set time aside for just reading for 20 minutes a day. I assure you that you will feel glad that you did it.
Inquiry- I asked questions like, What are some interesting facts about Zinc? How can I show Zinc in an interesting way?
Research- I researched zinc in order to gain a good understanding of what it is, how it was discovered, what it does and why it is important. Then I found interesting and fun facts about zinc.
Collaboration- I collaborated with my classmates in multiple ways. First of all, we helped each other to come up with ideas for out sketches. Then we worked together to help out people that were struggling with the linoleum block carving. Finally we helped each other to figure out how to properly matt the sketch on the construction paper.
Presentation- Presentation is here on SLATE. The sketches are being presented to one another through the blog post where everyone can see the sketches.
Reflection- I learned a lot throughout this project. I found it to be a great way to combine art and science. I feel that I did a good job on the project, if I was going to change something, I would carve the features deeper on the linoleum block next time so that the print appears better.
Jayd Jackson is a 16 year old who is the main character of the book. Her story starts when she goes back to school to South Bay High aka Drama High. She lives with her grandmother who is one of the many Louisiana conjure women which means she has powerful powers from Louisiana gods. Jayd has a lot of drama in her life because her grandmother is a conjurer and her next door neighbor is a evil voodoo queen who wants to take Jayd’s powers for her own. The drama is worse in school. It’s close to Valentines Day, and love is in the air sort of speak. Jayd has to face the fact that her crew is falling apart and her frenemy Misty is getting help from her evil next door neighbor. Jayd will need more than her inner strength. She'll need the help of her gifted ancestors, to save herself and her crew.
I can relate to this book because it seems like my life is always filled with drama. My mom thinks it’s because I don't mind my own business which is somewhat the case, but at the same time people tell me everything and then it just goes downhill from picking sides or friends being mad at the other. At home it’s not as bad because my grandmother isn’t my main care taker. I live with my mom and she’s around when I need her. My relationship with my dad is like Jayd’s. I can’t say I hate my dads side of the family because I don’t really know them but my dad wasn’t really around he was in Ohio for 13 out of 15 years of my life. Sometimes he does try to be a dad but it doesn’t work out the way I want it to and it’s the same way with her dad.Another thing is Jayd cares a lot about her grades and friends. Like with me my school grades are a lot more important than buying new things or the new show on tv. It’s hard for Jayd because she also has a soft side for her friends. She feels like she always have to fix things because she’s the only mature on of the group. No one else wants to grow up and try to fix things. When her to main concerns start to mess up it becomes too stressful to think and you just want to crawl back into the bed. I can relate to that, I really do care for my friends if one of them is hurt I’m always there but it seems like no one there for me. It’s the same way for Jayd the only person who understands all her stress is her grandmother and ex boyfriend who is in his own world.
Over all Holidaze was a good /interesting book. I’m a sucker for drama books, mysteries occasionally I like horror and romantic books. I love the Drama High series once I start reading the book I can’t get enough of it. I have actually recommended the series to two of my friends who have also enjoyed the books. I want to keep reading the series until I finish all the books. The one thing I think can be cut back on is Jayd’s powers. I think it’s great she has them but her and her grandmothers traditions go against my religion. Sometimes it’s a lot to read about and it’s the same thing, I want something fresh. That little problem still doesn’t stop me from reading my book. When I’m done the series I’m going to wait for the 16th book in the meantime I am going to be reading The Other Boleyn Girl, I will be writing a book review for that so stay tuned. Book cover is shown below
I recommend this book for people teens and young adults of the age 13-20. Adults can read it because my mom enjoy the books too but it reaches out to kids in high school. This can be for both genders but it seems like girls would understand the drama that’s in the book. To boys it would probably be silly the stuff they fight about in the book. Overall this book is good for people who can tolerate cliffhangers and don’t mind reading more than one book to get to the ending. It’s a romantic drama for teens. If you give it a rating it’s rated P.G 14 it has it’s moments where it gets graphic with violence and the language. It’s a book that will keep you reading because you want to hope that Jayd will get a better life outside of South Bay High. The first book in the Drama High series is The Fight.For my creative project I made a prezi that shows how Jayd overcame her obstacles that kept her from her mission.
Negative space is the space around and in between shapes. If you draw the outline of a shape, without adding detail inside of it, you are drawing negative space.
How did you find negative space?
I found negative space in my cut-out based on what was shaded and what wasn't shaded in the template. Everything that was shaded represented the negative space. I found the negative space in the drawing by just drawing the outline of the shapes and not drawing the lines inside of it. I basically just drew what the shadow would look like.
Why does it help an artist to see in negative space?
It helps an artist to see in negative spae so that they can get a different perspective on their art. That way, they can think of new creative ways to draw the same thing in a different way.
Does seeing in negative space enhance drawings?
Seeing in negative space does enhance drawings because it gives you two perspectives to look at. On one hand, you're looking at the objects themselves, and on the other hand you're looking at everything around them. This way, the drawing looks even more sophisticated and if you do negative and positive space in one drawing it looks more abstract.
The Full Spectrum
Have you ever observed your life? Looked at anyone else's? Well, it's time to take a view of, "The Full Spectrum." The book, "The Full Spectrum," is by several different authors, edited by David Levithan and Billy Merrell. The book is about a, "new generation of writing about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and other identities." The best seller rank for, "The Full Spectrum," ranks 847,611 on Amazon.com.
The book, "The Full Spectrum," is an amazing book. It is a book based on short stories about teens. This book tells stories about the experience about teenagers who experience problems about different situations. Mainly, it focuses on the sexuality. There are several stories told that catch my eye. All are interesting and each have their own mind. Every new story told is a way for each author to express themselves. Most of the stories are conflicts having to do with person versus self, and person versus society. Interestingly enough, it seems like they all overcome.
The main characters are very interesting and different, but all seem to have the same thing in common. Most of their problems stem from either family or how society view them. The stories are of teens who are gay and need a way to express themselves. They get this done by telling their story. My favorite memoir is by Stefanie Davis and it is called, “ All you need is love.” This story is about a girl witnesses her family adjusting to her sister becoming a transgender. She doesn’t know whose side to take. She wants to please her mom and dad, who hates the idea, but she also wants to support her sister. It catches my eye because this is a real life thing and it makes me sad. Everyone does need love no matter what. Her sister was denied that, but she stuck by her side.
I related to, “The Full Spectrum,” in so many ways. I know people who have gone through the same experiences. It is both sad, but also interesting because you get to see and watch people overcome their struggles, but they also get mistreated along the way. Not only that, but I saw my old best friend go through this second hand. No I did not go through it, but I was there for her. This made it hard for the both of us, but we both were able to become aware of what the situation was. My own self? I have experienced some of these things, but I will not go any further than that.
In all honesty, I loved the entire book. Every story I read had me either in tears or laughing the entire time. It was so delicious to read these stories and get to see these things. If I could, I would not change anything about this book. I wouldn’t because if I did, it would not be the same stories. It shouldn’t even need to be changes. I would recommend this to anyone. The entire book was good. I don’t care who you are, you would relate to this book. It was great, so if you’re looking for something interesting, “The Full Spectrum,” is the book.
The Secret: My Secret
The One that holds me back,
The One that no one knows,
Except the friends I’ve told.
Not even my mother,
Nope not at all.
I feel that this secret is not me,
But, yet a phase.
One that will go away,
Just a feeling in the moment.
But, the feeling, it overshadows me.
Keeping me in the dark and not wanting to come out.
My thoughts, they’re mines,
But it takes over when the oppurtunity presents,
When it presents, it wins,
All the time.
No, I am not ready to accept my secret,
The Lie that I tell myself everyday.
You probably no by now,
But, I am still not ready to share.
To me my secret is an untold truth,
But a lie to myself being.
It may be true,
But, right now, I am not ready to accept, “The Secret.”
My capstone addresses the SLA core values in many ways. For one, collaboration was a major, if not integral, portion of my capstone. It was often necessary to reach out to coworkers to give feedback on my proposal as well as research paper. I also had to gain the backing of a knowledgeable team. With a great team behind me, it was easy to move forward with conducting our research. Another very important piece of this project was research. Countless hours were spent understanding the water hyacinth plant, removal and disposal methods, and its anatomy. This information was vital to properly conducting the project. Understanding the growth pattern of water hyacinth along with the tidal patterns of the Delaware made conducting research easier. In terms of the value of presentation and reflection, a great deal of attention was paid to the detail within the research paper. After reading some other published research papers on water hyacinth and its applications, I made sure that my paper was read over by many pairs of eyes. This ensured the quality of the project was evident in its documentation.
To complete this capstone, four steps were followed. Research, comprehension, application, reflection. These steps were used countless times during the process of my capstone. Research was used to layer the basic understanding of all elements incorporated into my capstone. From understanding scientific measurements of the biology of a river to using probes for water quality testing. This research was often revised and revisited. Comprehension played a key role in the project. After conducting all the necessary research, the team got together to ensure that all information was not only relevant, but that it could also help us to direct our study areas to those in which finding/identifying water hyacinth would be possible. This step was also used to devise the course maps for the project. Application was the manifestation of our research and planning. We took everything that we learned and went into the field to collect our data. Over the course of two days, the team managed to visit 6 different sites. Three sites were on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River while the other 3 were on the Pennsylvania side. These sites were chosen after careful deliberation with the project team. We ensured that all sites had a relative proximity as well as being easy to navigate to. Reflection was the final step in completing this capstone. Reflecting on the team’s work, it was evident that our research could have a long term impact in the quality of our river. After conducting the project, it was evident that we needed to reach out to other agencies to ensure that the right people were aware that water hyacinth may have spread to Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey.
One major obstacle that presented the project team early on were the effects of the sequestration. Due to the sequestration, it was unclear at times whether or not the research project would be able to move forward. Another factor that affected the project was the equipment needed. The boat that was set to be used had not yet undergone its inspection and checklist. For this reason, the course map was redrawn to allow us to visit sites in which we knew water hyacinth could exist while having access to the shore. In the end, these two factors caused the project to be conducted from shore instead of using the boat. During the course of the project, there were often many a time in which other knowledge bases were needed. Often, I tapped in to my coworkers. They proved invaluable with a plethora of information about conducting research projects, writing a clear research paper, and quality assurance standards to use while conducting research.
I am most proud of the experience given by this capstone. Most students in high school do not get to conduct their very own research project. Having the experience of conducting and leading a research team for a project was very exciting. It showed me a lot about collaboration as well as effective use and consolidation of resources. When we found that we could not use a specific program or tool, we quickly turned gear to find another way of doing things. This project has also taught me a lot about environmental science as a major. It gave me a deeper understanding to the things that environmental scientist and engineers do on a daily basis. If I could do this capstone over again, I would change the timespan of the project. Having the research conducted in two days was sufficient for the scale of this project however, with a greater timespan, we could most likely get more locations surveyed.
My capstone has made SLA a better place because of the people that I have inspired. When underclassmen would ask me about my capstone, they were instantly intrigued that I got to lead and conduct a research project. This also allowed me to network people to bring about more resources and materials for science learning at SLA.
Research: I found amazing facts online. I also found the signature of Hans Christian Oersted who is a big factor in the founding of aluminum.
Collaboration: I collaborated with Lizzie to see if the signature would work well. Also she helped me draw the signature.
Presentation: The colors of the print collaborate very well together. The brown from the background allows the colors to stand out even mor. I like the way it turned out.
Reflection: It turned out awesome for me but I wish I could of added more colors. I think I should of use contrasting colors.
Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma (MTC) originates from mutations in calcitonin-producing parafollicular C cells of the thyroid, is a rare malignancy, accounting for 3-4% of all thyroid carcinomas. It occurs in a hereditary form (HMTC, 25%) or in a sporadic form (SMTC, 75%). The prognosis for patients with MTC is poor, as the tumor metastasizes at early stages; and the only curative therapeutic option so far is radical surgery. Genetic analysis helps identify inherited cases at a stage where prophylactic surgery can be offered to carriers of such mutations to prevent the disease. This approach may also be used to determine better treatment options for patients who are already diagnosed with MTC.
The goal of this project was to develop a comprehensive mutational panel for the detection of clinically relevant mutations in MTC samples. A total of 143 mutations (nucleic acid variations) in 8 human genes were selected from numerous papers and public databases and included into the MTC mutational panel. The selection criteria were based on the coding mutations (mutations that occur in the coding area of the genes) that were reported to occur in MTC patients and considered functionally relevant. Some of the mutations included into the MTC mutational panel (such as BRAF gene V600E mutation) were also described in other types of thyroid cancer, but most of the mutations were unique to MTC (such as all RET gene mutations). The entire assay design was carried out using Sequenom's online design tools (ProxSNP and PreXTEND (https://www.mysequenom.com/Tools) and Assay Design software (v. 3.1)).
The final file comprised from 115 assays corresponding to all 143 mutations included into the MTC panel. This file will be further processed using the SEQUENOM® Mass-ARRAY iPLEX® platform for DNA genotyping of clinical samples by the cancer research scientists at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Save for Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma (ATC), MTC is the second most aggressive type of thyroid cancer. Hereditary mutations that could lead to HMTC need to be found as rapidly as possible, as the onset age is only 5. This Mutational Panel is one of the best ways to diagnose any type of MTC, be it hereditary or sporadic, and give a small beam of hope to the poor person diagnosed with the mutation.
The decision to make this panel was a hard one, as at the time that I started it, I was going to take pre-calculus in Drexel University. It was an insane amount of work, but I managed to compile the list of mutations over the summer, and continue the analysis during autumn. The actually write-up was finished much later, when I decided that I could use that project as my capstone.
Simply put, the project was not easy. It took me a long time to understand the basics, and even a longer time to be able to manipulate small details, but in the end, the project was amazing. I have to say, that out of all the work I did while I was in SLA, this capstone project is the one I am proud of the most!
Also in my creative piece I have four people hanging by nooses on a wall. I tried to incorporate a more litteral depiction of the term wallflower, and for a person to be a wallflower. The depiction of the term is also in a sense non-litteral, by it being pushed slightly towards a creative edge while still incorporating a meaning. Each flower pot on the heads of the drawn characters represents the feeling of shyness and brokenness. Every single flowerpot on their heads are broken, thus representing them being a wallflower. Each of the drawn figures are hung up on the wall by a noose. This noose to head action isn't simply just a dark twisted way to represent wallflowers, by literally hanging them up on a wall (see what I did there?). In the very beginning of the book Charlie's best friend from middle school killed himself, and so I cleverly added that into the whole wallflower depiction by having all of the people I drew hanged. Charlie may have always been a wallflower, even before he introduces himself to us (the reader) the day before his first day of high school; but the death of his friend Michael would really give any person the perks of being a wallflower (I am so clever today).
The book's setting is in the early 1990's, and is based around the life of Charlie, which is a generic name he gave to us because he doesn't want us to find out who he is. What I got from this novel is that charlie is conceptually writing to us (the reader). Charlie is writing to us because we are good people, and because we didn't sleep with that one girl, that one night, at that one party... because we could have (inside joke from the story).