From practicing for Final Presentation night to creating Final Product, I accomplished a lot this week. Beginning the week, I worked on my presentation. I began by creating an outline of the presentation and then created the powerpoint. I rehearsed my speech at least 3 times before presenting it. It was difficult creating an introduction for this presentation because I wanted my audience to be hooked as soon as I began my speech. Likewise, it was difficult creating an end/conclusion to my presentation because I wanted the ending to have a powerful impact on the audience.
Next, I also worked on Final Product by creating a list of subject headings for the criminal investigation report with my mentor. We then brainstormed ideas for the criminal sketches and how to incorporate them into the report. For example, I can create a sketch of each victim of the Boston Strangler and even create a fake report of the Boston Strangler case as an image to support my forensic research.
Next week, I plan to finish up the report of my Final Product, go on another mentor visit, and present my research and ISM journey to a middle school class.
This week was eventful.
I began this week by finishing up research for Final Product. Then, I went over my research with my mentor during our mentor visit. We discussed the different aspects I need to include in my research and case report. We then discussed how to incorporate sketches into my Final Product. We came up with the idea to visually represent how the case played out from the investigator’s perspective. Likewise, we discussed Final Presentation Night, such as how to construct the presentation, what to address in my speech, and how it will look for the audience.
Next, I began constructing my Final Presentation. I began by creating an outline with bullet points and slide numbers to plan out the order of my presentation. Next, I created the presentation. I added charts, graphs, pictures, and information about biochemistry in general.
My next steps will be to complete the presentation. In addition, I need to begin practicing the speech portion of the presentation and finish the case report for my Final Product.
Likewise, as AP testing week is approaching. I need to be careful with how I spend my time. Time management and organization skills will be key these few weeks.
This week I visited the Toxicology Laboratory at Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences to interview Dr. Erin Spargo. Although the initial goal was to tour the facility, due to privacy policies, I was unable to tour the laboratory. However, I was able to discuss the fundamentals of forensic biochemistry and ethics of criminal investigations with Dr. Erin Spargo. She helped to underline the importance of the different techniques used to extract and examine DNA samples. She described how analysts take apart the data from immunoassays and the various steps the lead up to pinpointing a culprit.
This week I also spent time creating a Final Presentation Invitation. Because the invitation must match my color scheme while also eye-catching, it took 3 rough drafts to finally create the final draft of the invitation. In the invitation, I incorporated an image with a grey color scheme.In addition, I reflected upon my interview with Dr. Erin Spargo and added any new information to my Final Product research document. Lastly, I began researching the specific crime I want to base my Final Product over.
Next week, my plan is to start creating the sketches and report for the crime scene, meet with my mentor to review Final Product, and begin creating my Final Presentation.
This week I finished up the majority of my research regarding forensic biochemistry and began finding specific criminal investigations to analyze. For example, I researched clinical serology and forensic serology. I described the types of serology, results, and its application to both medical and forensic sciences. In addition, I created a list of frequently confused vocabulary terms to help create my case report. Likewise, I finished up research over DNA analysis and technology by adding the different amplification techniques. In addition, I reflected upon my mentor visit and added any new information to my Final Product research document. Lastly, I began researching the specific crime I want to base my Final Product over.
Next week, I plan to go over my research and specific crime scene with my mentor and interview a forensic scientist. In addition, my mentor and I have been contacting toxicology and forensic laboratories for the Final Product that we hope we can tour; however, this process has been difficult since many facilities do not provide tours to individuals. In addition, setting up mentor visits for the upcoming weeks will be a top priority. Next week, I also plan to begin composing my Final Product (sketches and case report)
This week consisted of extensive research on the different applications of DNA to immunoassays. In general, the five main types of immunoassays and how they are used and why they are used was researched. In addition, DNA analysis research was completed by adding different terms used in crime laboratories and how the various advances in DNA technology affected DNA analysis. In the end, I compiled all my research into a single document for referencing back to when I began creating the forensic’s case report and for easy access.
In addition, I had a mentor visit this week as well. First, we discussed the Final Product. I asked my mentor about DNA and forensic terms I did not know. He provided me with a biochemistry book as well. Next, we walked around UT Southwestern Medical center and observed the different lab groups. For example, we went to a lab group that was injecting human tumors into live mice, which I found very intriguing. In addition, he showed me the instruments and machines biochemists use on a day to day basis.
Next week, I plan to begin composing my Final Product (sketches and case report). In addition, my mentor and I will be visiting a forensics laboratory so I can get hands-on experience with my Final Product.
This week I began the intense process of research for my Final Product criminal investigation report. I began with a healthy refresher of forensic biological chemistry and reviewed the basic process of DNA transcription and translation to help me understand the idea behind forensic research and investigations. Next, I analyzed a variety of articles that introduced the topic of DNA extraction and amplification. In addition, I found information over how DNA databases are created in different countries and how forensic investigators carry out criminal investigations and research. As a result, I came across many different techniques and types of forensic investigators that I could incorporate in my report.
My next steps will consist of compiling this information into a research folder. In addition, I will begin researching immunoassays and their importance to DNA research while also researching serology and its use on DNA. Likewise, I will keep an eye out for any specific crime scenes that I would like to base my sketches and criminal investigation research over. Next week, I plan to also further analyze DNA and its application to forensic biochemistry. In addition, I plan to also meet with my mentor to review my research so far and observe the daily routine of biochemists in a university laboratory.
Due to spring break, this week was very relaxed and laid-back. It consisted of researching for Final Product. By following the Final Product Calendar, I began with a quick overview of forensic biochemistry. I found a wide variety of biomarkers and research journals that I could use in further research areas. Then, the next step consisted of creating a folder for all documents relating to my Final Product. Afterward, I began analyzing immunoassays such as the different type of immunoassays and different techniques. As a result, I came across different types of assays such as ELISA, a test that detects and measures antibodies in your blood.
Next week, I plan to further analyze immunoassays and their application to forensic biochemistry. In addition, I plan to also meet with my mentor to review immunoassays and observe the daily routine of biochemists in a university laboratory. Likewise, next week I hope to also begin researching DNA/RNA analysis and their specific subsections such as extraction, amplification, detection, and interpretation. In addition, since spring break has ended, I must get back into my school routine by staying focused and completing all tasks before their assigned due dates while also preparing for AP testing.
This week I was able to catch up on previous assignments such as updating my digital portfolio, organizing my ISM folders, and reflecting on my mentor and teacher feedback. I began my week by creating separate files for each assessment and other assignments related to ISM. This organization made the task of updating the digital portfolio much easier than before as I was able to place my weekly reports and assessments efficiently onto the website.
In addition to completing these tasks, I also reflected on feedback for Final Product Proposal. After viewing both mentor and teacher feedback. I realized that I need to be more specific about the type of crime scene I would like to study and adjust the time frame for completion.
Therefore, my next steps for this week will consist of completing the Final Product Proposal and Calendar based on the feedback given and perhaps even a rough outline of the different areas of research. In addition, setting up mentor visits for the upcoming weeks will be a top priority. Likewise, as spring is approaching and the weekend/holiday mentality sets in, I must stay focused and complete all tasks before their assigned due dates.
This week was very exciting!
I finally found a mentor for my ISM journey this year. After much consideration, I asked Dr. Uttam Tambar to be my mentor because he seemed the most passionate about biological chemistry while also being very open-minded to teaching a high school student, like me, the different career opportunities biological chemistry provides. In addition, Dr. Tambar is also extremely qualified to be a mentor as he has attended Harvard University, California Institute of Technology, and Columbia University. In addition, he has published many publications over catalytic reactions, medicinal chemistry, and natural product synthesis.
This week I also reflected thoroughly upon my Original Work/ 1st Semester presentation and I saw some recurring distracting manners throughout my presentations this year. For example, I noticed that my voice was very low and I had many fillers and poor enunciation of words. To correct these habits, I plan to practice my speaking skills often and develop a stronger presenter voice before a presentation by practicing breathing exercises. I can also practice hand gestures when I am casually talking to my peers.
My goals for next week is to begin researching and analyzing crime scenes for my Final Product and update my digital portfolio and mentor bio.
This week I presented my Original Work and described how my first semester in the Independent Study and Mentorship went. This presentation took a lot of preparations as the time limit was 18 to 21 minutes. I began preparing by watching my past presentations and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses. Next, I created an outline of key points I wanted to incorporate into my speech and created a visual (powerpoint) to support the ideas I was presenting. In addition, I outlined the development and process of my Original Work and created a short description of what my Final Product will encompass.
However, this speech was much more difficult than my previous presentations because of the timing. Although I prepared for this speech ahead of time, I rushed through my words and slides on the powerpoint and finished very early. In addition, I had many fillers, I fidgeted many times, and I had a low voice that impacted the delivery of my presentation.
To improve these areas, my goals for the next few weeks are to control the number of fillers and fidgeting and raise my voice when I talk to big crowds. In addition, I plan to research and analyze crime scenes for my Final Product.