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FoFBlogForsyth1.pngHi everyone! It's been quite a while since I've blogged! So many things have been going on lately and junior year is stressful but very exciting at the same time! Last spring I managed to land an internship at the Forsyth Institute to participate in dental research. I knew I wanted to explore the dentistry field in more depth so I thought, why not explore it by going to the root of dentistry: research!

I began interning in the summer and I have already learned so many new things about tooth development as well as new lab techniques! I am updating my wiki lab space page from Dr. Richard Gurney's Organic Chemistry courses and putting in new protocols I have learned. Last week I observed a post-doc extract teeth from a wild type mice and analyze teeth development stages. The teeth were so small it made it difficult to believe that it was real!


Right now I am reading a textbook called Oral Histology to educate myself about the research that is going on in the lab. At the end of the semester I will be presenting in the lab meeting about what I have learned for this semester. I am hoping that I can learn quickly so I could do more hands-on experiments. I plan to continue and write my senior thesis here and I have already confirmed with the PI (Primary Investigator) about the continuance of my internship at the Forsyth during this summer; I just need to find a job that will allow me to stay in Boston!

In addition to the lab, there are also many seminars with guest lecturers who come to the Forsyth Institute and speak about their research and recent findings. Not all the presented research is dentistry related but all of them are very interesting. I think this is truly a great and unique opportunity to be a part of the Forsyth Community. I hope that my time here will help me obtain a better understanding of the dentistry field and help increase my lab skills and experience!

This is a website I found online about dental hygiene for kids! I thought it was such a great way to teach the public more about the importance of oral health care! Check it out when you have a chance!

FOFg550.jpgSo, right now I am sitting at the airport on my layover to Detroit! I did not at all sleep last night because I was still finishing up some work and I was also packing. Let's just say I had a very long morning! My flight from Boston was scheduled to depart at 10:25 AM but of course, my dad being...well, being my dad, made us leave our home at 4 o'clock AM! Along with an early commute to the airport, I had mistakenly forgotten my flight information, thinking I would just be able to print my information when I got to the airport. However, I forgot to check which airlines I was flying with, which determined the terminal my dad would have to take me to.

After numerous phone calls I ended up being dropped off at the wrong terminal, going up and down the escalators with two huge suitcases like a crazy woman with tons of questions. I eventually found my way to the correct terminal to get checked in. Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, the lady checking my birth certificate, college ID, and debit card gave me a scare when she demanded to see my government ID, which was in the wallet that I lost a couple of weeks ago. Luckily, the amount of identification I had with me was valid enough that they didn't give me any trouble.

By the time I got to my departure gate, I was beat and I wanted to sleep, hoping that I would hear my flight when they boarded the plane. I didn't miss the plane, however when I got to Chicago for the layover and walked across the airport to my gate, they told me I was not scheduled to be on that flight and in fact, I was scheduled to fly on a completely different airline. I was going crazy at this point, thinking that I only had half an hour to run to the correct terminal to find my flight information. Luckily I had time to get to my terminal and gate and now, I am sitting at the airport on my layover to Detroit for the Profiles for Success Pre-dental Program at the University of Michigan!

I will be spending seven weeks at the University of Michigan to further explore the dentistry field with clinical, literature, and research exposure. In addition to that I will also work with other pre-dental students to prepare for the DATs, which is a standardized exam required for application to dental school. Well, my flight is boarding now, but I will most definitely be posting more about this amazing once in a life time opportunity soon!

What are you doing this summer?


ACS stands for American Chemical Society. This year, the Simmons Chemistry and Physics department allowed ten students to go to San Diego to present their research projects. Luckily I was part of this group.

It was my first time in San Diego, and my first time at a National conference! We got to visit the beautiful city of San Diego and eat crepes!!! On an academic level, we learned a lot by listening to professors and other students present their projects. One of the most impressive projects, I believe, was about regenerative medicine. One of the professors explained how through the study of chemistry it was possible to regenerate heart muscles after heart damages.

It was amazing discovering other students' work from all around the country. Even students from Puerto Rico were present. It felt so empowering to see so many different faces and yet chemistry brought us together. I definitely want to participate in many other conferences and do more research. We are so lucky to attend a school that supports each of our dreams and financially provides us with great opportunities like attending the American Chemical Society Conference.


Quote of the day: " All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded to the individual" Albert Einstein


I just found out that I am officially graduating with my bachelors in May 2013. This is insane! I'm terrified, and so many questions of whether I should go to Grad. school, or work, or take a year off, are floating through my head! Ahhh!! This has been a roller-coaster of a year, and this news is so unbelievably exciting, so I just need to relax, and enjoy the fact that I'm finishing a year early!

Anyway, both of my internships are going amazing, and I love working with youth, so hopefully that will help me decide where I work in the future! I am also living out my dream by living in Boston this Summer to take two classes! I can not wait to go to Red Sox games, go to Boston Common, and just relax in the beautiful sun! Happy April!!!!!

Above: the beautiful display!

faces_tania.jpg Today, Friday March 16, 2012, was the Spring Induction Ceremony for Beta Beta Beta (Tri-Beta), the National Biological Honor Society! The ceremony was held in the Management Building and in attendance were Simmons students, Simmons faculty, current Tri-Beta members, the Tri-Beta Executive Board, new inductees, family, and friends. Though the weather today was cloudy and wet, it did not dampen the mood nor the excitement surrounding this joyous occasion which I had the honor to participate in as a Spring 2012 inductee! Opening remarks were made by Dr. Renee White, Dean of CAS, and the guest speaker was Dr. Suchithra Menon, Ph.D. After their inspiring talks, the induction ritual took place which was led by the Tri-Beta officers; graduating seniors were honored as well.

photo_tania.jpg A little bit about Beta Beta Beta:
"Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society is a society for students, particularly for undergraduates. It seeks to encourage scholarly attainment in this field of learning by reserving its regular membership for those who achieve superior academic records and who indicate special aptitude for and major interest in life sciences. It desires to cultivate intellectual interest in the natural sciences and to promote a better appreciation of the value of biological study and thus welcomes into associate membership all those students who are interested in biology.

Beta Beta Beta also endeavors to extend knowledge of nature by encouraging new discoveries through scientific investigation and to this end encourages undergraduate students to get involved in research work and report their findings in the journal of the society Bios. It emphasizes a three-fold program; stimulation of scholarship, dissemination of scientific knowledge and promotion of biological research."
(from brochure handed out at ceremony)

I am excited and honored to be an active member of this academic and intellectual society!

Through the Scott/Ross Center, I am the Student Director of Gateway, which is currently a tutoring and mentoring program for a selected group at the John D. O'Bryant School. Gateway is a pilot program founded in New York that offers college access workshops and academic assistance. Incoming high school freshmen apply for this program and out a pool of applicants, fifty students are chosen. The partnership between Simmons College and the John D. O'Bryant allows me to be the person who recruits the tutors and mentors for our program.

Last year, Gateway was more focused on the tutoring aspect of the program and we sort of let the mentoring part of it just happen. Because I had origninally wanted to create a new mentoring program, Dr. Steve London, the Supervisor of the Scott/Ross Center and also a Professor of Sociology, thought, why not do it through Gateway? About this time last year, the Gateway Team and I decided to meet weekly to come up with a proposal for a mentoring program. Through numerous revisions and multiple meetings, my team and I was able to get our proposal approved by the site supervisor of Gateway at the O'Bryant! The Gateway facilitator, Danielle Ehrnstein, and I worked together to complete a grant by the Simmons Centennial Grant funded by the Simmons Board of Trustees. We successfully received funding for our mentoring program!

Mentoring means a great deal to me. I can honestly say that without my mentors in my life, I wouldn't be able to achieve all that I have today. I had a great mentor throughout my high school years, who is still one of my great mentors, Mr. Richard Vaughn, that guided me towards my goals and helped encourage me when I needed it the most. Mr. Vaughn introduced me to new opportunities, and he challenged me to take a risk with what I wanted to do. He was my inspiration in creating a mentoring program like Gateway Mentoring.

I know what it is like to feel lost and want to succeed and if I can ever have an impact in another student and be even a small percentage of what Mr. Vaughn was to me to another student, then this program would definitely have been successful and worth all the hard work! Maybe someday, they too can help another person and guide them to their goals. :)

Mentees Visit Simmons!
This week my mentees were on their winter break and they decided to shadow me in my classes and activities! I am very excited for them to see what college life is like. I feel like it gives them something to look forward to and work towards. I asked my mentees to prepare a reflection on their experience at Simmons and one of my mentees, Jennyde, agreed to let me share her experience on my blog!

Jennyde Dessius
February 23rd, 2012
Shadowing at Simmons College

I personally think that the gateway Mentor and tutoring program is a great opportunity for young students like me to get ahead and stay ahead. On Wednesday, I had a chance to shadow a fellow student at Simmons College. To get a feel on the college life was an excellent experience for me. I'm glad I took advantage of that day and asked questions that seemed to be bothering me about the whole college process as well as what I can do as a sophomore in high school to begin to prepare myself for the near future.

Who knew I would ever step foot in a few college classes as a high school student. I got to sit and observe students as they reviewed for an exam. Their note-taking, study habits and different ways of preparation was impressive. The ambition that each student had was clearly visible and truly skillful. One class that I really liked was Student Government Association. What I liked most about it was that I was able to hear the concerns from the students, their thoughts and what seemed to bother them as well as ideas and new ways to maybe improve their stay and education at Simmons. What really caught my attention was their "Hot topic". They spoke about stress and different ways to solve the issue. I really enjoyed that because it was all so real. I kind of understood what the students were saying and was able to relate.

Would I do this again? No doubt about it. In fact, I think that every student should be able to participate in some kind of experience like this one where they can familiarize themselves with their future, so when the time comes, they will not only be ready but they would already be given the knowledge and guidance of refinement.

faces of the future_edited-1.jpg

My winter break was a blast! I went back to my sweet home Guadeloupe. The weather was amazing (almost 100degrees everyday), I was happy to see my family again, and finally I played a lot of tennis to stay in shape and be ready for two big tournaments. The tournaments did not go as well as I wanted, but I definitely took positive thoughts out of it. My break was productive and I loved it. Now I am back to Boston, and ready to spend a great semester. This semester I am taking organic chemistry, a really challenging class, and an interesting honors class called Paths to Principled Leadership with Professor Betters-Reed. I chose to be part of this class, because I am a pre-med student, and I believe that often we stay really close to the scientific field because of the requirement, but we miss out on classes that build character like this one. So, I am really happy to discover how the class is going to contribute to my personal growth as a person. I am happy to be back at Simmons, close to my friends, and closer to my dream every single day! I LOVE SIMMONS! :)

Quote of the day: "Leaving home in a sense involves a kind of second birth in which we give birth to ourselves." (Robert Neelly Bellah)

At the Edge of Poverty: Empowering Women to Change their lives and their World
I returned back to Simmons three weeks before the spring semester began to take the Simmons World Challenge two-week winter course, classes from 9 AM to 5 PM. I can honestly say that this course is so rich in content and everyone in my class was amazing! During the class, we learned multiple techniques on how to work in a team effectively and were then divided into groups.One of the main goals of the course was to discuss and create a project that would potentially alleviate poverty in the Boston Area. I was in a group with Ruthy Rickenbacker, Krina Patel, and Page Allen and together we created a cookbook/health resource for SNAP and WIC recipients and a local newsletter to potentially alleviate poverty in the community, increase the availability of resources and promote healthier diets for those who are receiving assistance from the government.

When we arrived on Monday, the whole class immediately began by volunteering our services at the Pine Street Inn. Pine Street Inn was a real eye opener for many students and it was a great way to begin the course with an open mind. We were asked to serve dinners at the men's side of the inn and at first, I was sort of nervous. My parents always taught me to avoid "homeless" people on the streets because they can be dangerous, but right at that moment, I was confronted with the truth; they were no different from you or me, but I feel like it has become a social norm to view people living in poverty as a threat, and I think it's time to change that.

For me, there were many things that hit home. When reading one of the two assigned books, "The Working Poor" by David K Shipler, I found myself outraged at the content of the book. I was getting angry that the book was trying to tell me that my family was poor because of my relations to how he described the "poor people's" behavior. I was just so angry because I know that I had a rich childhood filled with love and I know that my parents did everything they could to make sure we (my siblings and I) had what we wanted. But I later realized that the author was trying to make a point. I felt like he wanted to tell his readers that it was okay to feel outraged, and in fact, he suggested that we should be upset! This of course could be a whole discussion all on its own, so I will not get into it.

Something important to remember is that we should not view "poor people" as a stereotype or as one face. Behind every face is someone's story; someone's life.

Pictured below: Two MAD SCIENTISTS!
madscientist1.jpg Madscientists.jpg

Mad Scientists!

As I mention frequently in my previous blogs, I've always enjoyed drawing and painting as a child. The arts allowed me to express myself in a way I felt that I couldn't do otherwise, and as I grew up, I began to develop an interest in the sciences and the chemistry of life.

Now that I am a college student, I want to seek a career that fits my interests. It was never brought to my attention that there was a field dedicated to the arts and sciences until I began working with Dr. Leonard Soltzberg, who is currently retired, in the Simmons College Chemistry labs.

Nnennaya, a junior majoring in chemistry, and I were selected from a pool of applicants last spring semester and began working this fall. This research will continue through next semester. Nnennaya and I both recently applied for a student research grant individually to help fund more materials for the research, so cross your fingers for us!

The research that we are involved with is in collaboration with the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) involving the identification of dyes used in 19th-20th century Japanese block prints. The objective of this research deals with the history of Japanese art and whether or not synthetic dyes were used during the 19th to early 20th century. Learning the history behind the art is important to understanding the cultural background, as well as potentially authenticating a work of art. For example, if our research shows that there were only natural dyes used during that era, then any Japanese painting from that time should not contain synthetic manufactured dyes. If a work did contain a synthetic dye then it can be concluded that it was not an authentic Japanese block print from the late 19th and early 20th century and was created after that time period. We're pretty much crime scene investigators for the MFA. :)

I am so grateful for this opportunity! Each day at work is like a fun day of a fun class! What I love about it most is that I can say anything and not be afraid about being wrong and I especially love that I don't have to worry about getting a grade! I am getting paid for this Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) funded by the Dreyfus Research and I am learning so much!

Pictured below is a Japanese block print sample from the MFA.

My science background:

I am a sophomore standing college student, and I have taken many science courses including Intro to Chemistry 113, Intro to Biology 113, Environmental Science Biology 104, Organic Chemisty 114, and I am currently enrolled in Organic Chemistry 225. I am currently participating in Dr. Richard Gurney's Organic Chemistry 114 & 225 research integrated course. I have developed and learned laboratory techniques such as: safety, scaling of a chemical reaction, recrystallization, preparation of a chemical synthesis, thin layer chromatography (TLC), melting point, rotovap, distillation, Carbon13 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (CNMR), Hydrogen Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (HNMR), and Infrared Spectrometry (IR). I have maintained a Wiki page documenting the laboratory techniques I have learned. I am a highly motivated student and I have made the Dean's list this past year.

Read more about the research:

Continue reading Crime Scene Investigator: Museum of Fine Arts.

The last week of classes is approaching quickly and it's finally settling in that I really have to buckle down and get all these essays and finals over with! I got accepted into World Challenge, so I wont have much of a Christmas break this year, but that's fine. I'm really excited to take this class, and hopefully the week at home will rejuvenate me.

Anyway, I'm going to a Mac Miller concert tonight with one of my best friends so that should be a nice break from work. I only have one assignment due Monday which is an absolute miracle!!! I'm still really sick though, so hopefully the concert won't wear me out too much =[ I hope if you're reading this your finals go well, and we can all get through it! Half way through sophomore year babbyyyyyyyy :)

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