“It’s day 212 of Day1, the program that gives first-year students hands-on, authentic research opportunities at the very start of their Hope College education, and freshmen Ben Turner and Karey Frink are feeling as comfortable in a Schaap Center laboratory as they do in their cozy Lichty Hall dorm rooms.
After almost a year, the two frosh have streaked a plethora of plates to isolate E. coli cultures, used a DNA sequencer to identify those E. coli strains and other bacterial populations, and analyzed the data with Hope’s supercomputer, Curie. They’ve paddled up and downstream in the Macatawa Watershed to gather water samples, in agricultural areas and residential ones throughout the Holland area. They’ve worked side-by-side with Dr. Aaron Best and Dr. Graham Peaslee, and the students worked on their own, too. In Lichty Hall, where all 13 Day1:Watershed students are housed, they are part of a close-knit, residential learning community that is supportive and collaborative in their similar academic pursuits and challenges.”
Two Friday’s ago, half of the Phage class took to the road to do some TEM work on our mycobacteriophage samples. Having been in the lab a lot and doing computer work, it was fun to get out to a new location with people we have been familiar with all year.
It was actually a really fun day, and if you get the chance to check Twitter, search for my hashtag #phaginghard and you’ll find a stream of tweets from the hilarious things that were said throughout the day.
If you’re not familiar with TEM, its a Transmission electron Microscope. It takes up a small room and works as a beam of electrons is transmitted through a thin specimen. After putting our phage lysates on a thin copper mesh circle (that is really tiny), we loaded our discs into the apparatus and got some cutesy little pictures of our phage! My sample only had four phage, so the microscope operator was giving me a hard time about causing him a lot of work ;).
Each imaging session took around 30 minutes, so while each student was in getting their photos, the rest of us were studying for a big biology test and playing Euchre. Overall, it was a great time had by all, and we got a bit closer to our phage associates.
Hi, my name is Laura Walker and I am currently a second-semester sophomore at Hope College. When I came to Hope, I was originally thinking about being a communication and business management dual major. But after taking part in some of the initial classes I soon figured out that this major was not for me. I began struggling to find what major best fit my personality, so I started talking to some of the girls in my residence hall to see what they were pursuing.
That led me to a girl who lived just down the hall from me (and who is now one of my very best friends) who was majoring in engineering. When we would hang out after she got back from her Introduction to Engineering Lab she would tell me about all these amazing things that she was doing. She was building circuits, taking apart engines, and even making ethanol while I was just sitting in class taking notes! So I made the decision to jump into engineering, too!
During the first semester of my sophomore year I took that Introduction to Engineering course and it was everything that I expected and more. I was able to more fully develop my problem solving skills, dip my toes into many different disciplines of engineering, and create meaningful relationships with my professors. In the final part of the lab, we took part in a program called EDGE, where were were given a real-world problem and had to come up with a solution to fix it. For my lab section our real-world problem came from a man named Norm who has a degenerative muscle disease that is causing his arms and hands to become extremely weak. Because of this disease he is no longer able to put his socks on by himself. So our goal was to create a device that he could use to put on his socks. Being able to work with a team to try to create a device to help Norm was an amazing experience! Because of this program, I have the necessary skills to develop a solution to any engineering problem. I am very grateful that this lab and program brought me to a major that I love, and I would highly recommend this program to anyone even slightly considering Engineering; you will not be disappointed!
Greetings, I am Max Huffman and at the moment I am in my second semester here at Hope College as a geology major and having the time of my life. I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and off campus I enjoy activities like skiing and hiking. On campus I’m part of geology club as well as the outdoor adventure club. But enough about me, I’m here to let you guys know a bit about Michigan Rocks, a class you can take part in as part of the Day1 program. The general idea of Michigan Rocks is that it is a class that starts before your freshman orientation begins. You will join fellow students on a 10 day trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. While there you get the chance to do some pretty unique things (especially if you’re an out-of-state kid like me). You get the chance to do things like take the boat to Mackinac Island and bike around, all while learning about geological history. After that it’s off to the UP. You make stops at places like Pictured Rocks, Tahquamenon falls, and Copper Harbor, just to name a few! You also get to learn the basics of geology -from learning to identify rocks to understanding how the systems of our Earth actually work!
So this course was my first real college experience and I have to admit I was nervous about the whole thing. It does seem intimidating to start college early and go camping with a bunch of strangers, but I can’t tell you how much this trip was really worth. It makes orientation seem like a breeze. Also since the bulk of this four credit class occurs before the official start of the fall semester you will come in with one of your classes almost completely done. (The class meets once a week for the first half of the fall semester after returning to campus.) Something that I thought really helped me make the transition from high school into college was the fact that you got to meet a very diverse group of people. Just because you aren’t interested in majoring in geology doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. When I was on the trip I got to befriend fellow incoming students from a variety of majors, as well as some upperclassmen who decided to come. The upperclassman helped show us the ropes. Not only was it nice to form relationships with other students but it was really nice to get to know your professor too. It was great to see how genuine our professor was and how willingly and enthusiastically he shared his knowledge with us. I would highly recommend Michigan Rocks because Michigan does rock!
Being part of the Phage Discovery Program has been a blast! On my first day of college classes, I was already participating in hands-on research. I love how I got the opportunity to work as a team and as an individual. Ultimately, this opportunity allowed me to grow in all aspects of my life.
My favorite part of this program is when all of my observations suggested I had successfully isolated a mycobacteriophage. The process of isolating a phage was long and detailed, but the feeling I experienced when my results came back positive was monumental. (The snapshot above shows some clusters of my phage, Zsegetron.)