After 27 classes, 69 credits, and more exams and quizzes than I could count I am halfway done with my undergraduate career! Seeing how fast these last two years have gone by makes me feel like in a blink of an eye I'll be graduating, which is so crazy! Sophomore year taught me a lot. I started this year off feeling more confident in who I was and it was a great feeling to know what I was I doing and what to expect out of college versus my freshman year, but of course there was still so much more for me to learn.
This year I was challenged with harder classes, heavier work loads, and more responsibilities. I made new friends, I tried new things, I made connections, I grew, and I learned that I am capable of anything and everything I put my mind to.
Here is a recap of my year:
I started the year off by moving into my new suite which was a huge upgrade from dorm life! I was really blessed to have great suite mates and to share a room with my awesome roommate Morgan for the past two years! A few months ago I signed my first lease for the apartment I will be living in next year so I am really excited to take this next step....and wow as I am writing this I realize I'm actually getting closer to being a grown up which is scary haha. Stay tuned for an apartment tour! And click here for the tour of my suite.
19th Birthday! Twenties coming up next!
This year I was blessed to celebrate nineteen years of life! I was so happy to celebrate with family and friends. Getting older is so strange, like you feel the same but at the same time you don't, its hard to explain but I'm sure you guys relate. I just can't believe that I will be 20 in just a few months! Seems really surreal but I'm ready to keep growing and learning!
Charles R Drew Pre-Health Society
Charles R Drew is a pre-health society focused in helping minority students enter the health care professions. This year I had the pleasure to serve on the executive board as Secretary. Through this role, I was responsible for sending out our newsletter, keeping membership points, and I also hosted one of our meetings and planned our Habitat for Humanity trip! I am so excited to serve as Vice-President for this amazing organization next year!! I am looking forward to doing my part to bring this society to new heights and to provide resources for minority students and encourage them to enter the health care field.
Taking a celebratory picture after our successful annual Networking Dinner
We had a successful meeting about first responders!
Team Cascade is my research team in the Gemstone Honors Program, we are a team of eleven undergraduates studying allergies. The goal of our project is to inhibit small molecules in the cellular signaling pathway to decrease degranulation, basically we're doing experiments to find a treatment for allergies.
Over the course of sophomore year, I have learned so much and I am so proud of all my team has accomplished. At the start of the year, our focus was writing our research proposal. We read through so many articles in the literature and worked with our research mentor to complete our proposal.
We started the Spring semester by defending our proposal and finding lab space. Next we had to raise money for our supplies, we did this via a Launch campaign which is the University's crowdfunding platform. We raised our goal of $5000 in one day! This gave us a great head start to buy our reagents. Then we started working in the lab, we got our mast-cell line and started learning how to culture cells. We went into lab 2-3 times a week to count our cells, split them, and make sure they were growing well. By the end of the year we started working on some preliminary assays and will continue working over the summer.
This experience has taught me so much! I learned a lot about research, from reading scientific papers, to writing a research proposal, learning how to explain scientific topics with people and the ups and downs of lab research. I've also learned great team working skills. I'm so proud of what our team has accomplished and I am excited to see what we will do next year! Click here to learn more about our research.
Sophomore year I took a total of 36 credits, 17 during the fall semester and 19 in the spring semester. I also changed my major from Microbiology to Cellular Biology and Genetics, this just changed which upper level classes I would be taking for my biology major. I also have a French minor.
This year I took the following classes:
Principles of Molecular Biology and Lab, Organic Chemistry I and Lab, French Grammar and Composition, Gemstone Team Dynamics and Research Methods, and Gemstone Team Project, as well as Gemstone Leadership (my teaching credit)
Principles of Organismal Biology, Organic Chemistry II and Lab, French Literature, Discrete Mathematics for the Life Sciences, Sociology 100, and Gemstone Team Project
This coursework was more difficult than the classes I took my freshmen year but I really enjoyed them all. I would say my favorite class this year has to go to Organic Chemistry II. In Organic II I learned hundreds of reactions of various organic molecules but it was so fun! My teacher started every class with a molecule of the day which related what we learned about in class to everyday life. This was my favorite part, we learned about drugs, to chemicals found in foods or products, and it made me very excited to take biochemistry and learn more about the biochemical aspects of our lives.
Along with Gemstone Honors Program being a research program it is also a community. This past year I've had the pleasure to take on some leadership roles. I started the year as Chair of the Welcome Crew in which I planned and led welcoming events for the incoming freshmen. Then I started as Section Leader, teaching Gems 100, the introductory course for freshmen in the program. I also took on the new role as Director of Strategic Outreach, a role in which I help with outreach events. Through this role, I planned a "Let's Talk About Race" event within the program to have an honest conversation about race, as one of the few black students in the program it felt very important to me to talk about this. I wanted to improve the black community within the program and so I planned a Black Students Dinner and tried to create more communication between these students. I wanted to continue these meaningful conversations, I worked to plan a discussion about Gender Roles and Women in Academia and the Workplace and ended the year with a Destress Breakfast for students.
I also worked to create a new leadership role: Gemstone Ambassador and Outreach Program. Through this role, students now have the chance to volunteer for outreach events and be representatives for the program. Lastly, I am on the Steering Committee for Gems100 which means I help will recruitment of section leaders, curriculum and administrative tasks. I am really proud of what I accomplish during this past year and already have so many ideas for the next year. I'm so thankful for the Gemstone staff who gave me the chance and the opportunity to take on these leadership roles.
Caribbean Student Association
For the past two years I served as a cabinet member for Caribbean Student Association which has given me the chance to help out at our signature events. I made amazing friends through this organization with whom I could share my culture with. From dancing to soca music to enjoying some rice and peas and jerk chicken, CSA made me feel at home after years of being away from St. Maarten.
One of the most exciting opportunities I was given this year was being accepted into the UM Scholars Program. This is a research program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine which competitively accepts just 14 students from the College Park campus. This summer I will be conducting research at the Center of Vaccine Development and Global Health Department at the School of Medicine in Baltimore. My research is about malaria and I am so excited to challenge myself, learn, and take advantage of this amazing opportunity.
Straight A's Again!!!
I wanted to wait until the end to share that I am SO HAPPY to say that I have gotten all A's for my first two years of college at the University of Maryland! After a semester taking 19 credits with 4 leadership roles, 2 research projects, and multiple responsibilities I ended with straight A's! Knowing how hard this semester was this is the proudest I have been thus far, I was really challenged academically and personally throughout the semester, but I persevered. I am happy to say that this little island gyal has a 3.96 cumulative GPA as a biology major and pre-med!
Overall, this year I've learned a lot about myself and grew as a person. I went through a lot of personal things that made me reflect on myself, my flaws, and also what I want out of life. I know that I want to become a doctor, to advocate for Women's Health, to continue to take on leadership roles to help others, to conduct research, and to make change.
I feel confident in my goals and who I am as a person. I know that going into Junior year I will continue to be myself and aim to do everything I want to and shoot for the stars! I am slowly becoming the woman that I want to be.
I'm happy to take you all along on this journey with me, here is to another great year and to more great years to come!