Friday, April 28, 2017

End of the Program, but Not the End of Volunteering

April community service hours: 10 Hours (6 KIPP; 2 Soil Collection; Park Clean-Up, 2) 
Upcoming May Hours: 14 Hours (8 KIPP; 6 Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation)
Spring Semester total community service hours: 34 Hours (48, including May)
2016-2017 Academic year total community service hours: 68 Hours (84, including May)

Was happy to return to KIPP three times this month. Partook in various task to help out the teachers and administrators: made name tags for students for this event/activity they were having for Easter/Spring Break, filed more papers in the administration office, organized the T-shirts in the KIPP "Clothing Closet," and more. The teachers/administrators were very cordial and congratulatory for my successful completion of the Masters program. Fortunately, as I will be staying here in New Orleans, I will be continuing to visit KIPP weekly; everyone seemed to welcome my return.

For our Environmental-Pharmacology course, each of the members in our program were tasked with going out in New Orleans (to three different sites) and collecting soil samples. In particular, the samples were collected from areas where children often spent time playing, interacting, etc. For example, one of my samples was collected from Audubon Park, very close to the location of our Pharmacology Department Party. The samples were then tested with a high-tech machine in Dr. Mielke lab for lead and other potential toxic metals. In class, Dr. Mielke employed a cheaper, portable device which gave us read-outs of the lead values. It was interesting to see how the data from our class, corresponded neatly with what was previously identified by Dr. Mielke.

A few times this month, with the weather only getting progressively sweeter, I went out with Nora (from our program) to Audubon Park. We took trash bags and just walked around the park picking up an assortment of items: plastic bags, coke bottles, beer bottles, plastic plates, etc. The city does a phenomenal job of keeping the park clean, but still, it's tragic where you find pieces of trash, just bottles left on ledges or benches. The worst part is that a trash can is often only a few steps away. I really dig the park, and look forward to going there more this summer and in the future.

In a few weeks I will be helping out for CDG Day, the Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation, On May 1st, the Hayward Genetics Center is having an event; on May 10th, the Tulane Lakeside Hospital for Women and Children is doing an event. I am not yet sure what I will be doing at to help, but a couple of us, those of us who remain from the program will be participating and it should be a good time.

I have enjoyed this program so much, I am honestly unable to express it in words. I think the experience has been absolutely phenomenal, and I have learned so, so much. Dr. Clarkson does an incredible job with the curriculum, as a Professor, and more. His enthusiasm and dedication for learning and teaching is something every Professor, and every student, should strive to match. I worked hard in this program and it gave it all back 10-fold. I feel prepared for what lies ahead, and know it will make a substantial contribution in my future acceptance to medical school, and more importantly, will help me excel as a medical student.

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Return

The Return.
So ominous, I like it.
What I'm alluding to in my title is my return to Kipp. I had gone on a little bit of a hiatus there but it felt good to go back this month. We were up in the file office again this month organizing doctor's notes, contact sheets, and so on. I'm looking forward to going back next week and hopefully making easter baskets or doing arts and crafts related activities.
In addition to Kipp, I also did some park cleanup at Audubon park which was really nice because aside from volunteering I was able to enjoy the lovely day we were having.
I love New Orleans and cannot wait to spend the next year here. The weather is probably one of the biggest factors aside from the amazing culture and the music scene. We have jazz fest coming up next month so I'll keep you posted (haha posted, get it, it's a blog post) on the scene there.

Other than Kipp I am not really sure what kind of volunteering I plan on doing next month. I like partaking in all of the different experiences that the city has to offer and I think that volunteering is a great way to enjoy NOLA. By the way it’s crawfish season and crawfish ROCKS.

Oh yeah, I did 8 hours this month.
Total: 24

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February American Red Cross Experience - Tornado Aftermath

Instead of writing about my KIPP experience this month. I am going to instead describe what I experienced this month post the tornado that struck New Orleans. 

For the second time this year, we went out on Disaster Assessment for the American Red Cross (ARC). A group of us went around to "sectors" designated by the ARC people. We were armed with "DA Forms" to use on a house-by-house basis. We recorded every house on each street as we walked down. We were each assigned a partner, someone to walk the other side of the street with us. It was up to us to determine the severity of the damage to each home, the levels being designated as the following: destroyed, severe, moderate, mild, and affected.

I have never witnessed in person the aftermath of a tornado. The experience was absolutely flooring for me. I would walk down a street, with approximately 10 houses on each side. House “1 and 2” would be perfectly fine, of course with the exception that they no longer had power. However, as I progressed down the street, the severity of damage increased. For some streets, by the time I had gotten to house “5 and 6” these houses were destroyed. In fact, numerous times I would get a to a certain part of the street, and a house would be completely “missing.” The four walls, the foundation, all of it would be completely diminished to ruble. I was in disbelief. A force on this planet, that could just leave someone’s home, someone’s entire livelihood reduced to essentially nothing. I wish I could say that I will never see anything like that again. But I am not sure. The experience was life-altering. I am glad I could help with the response, while I hope no more natural disasters occur while I’m here, I will look to assist the ARC again should they need it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Return to School

Greetings to my Loyal Fan Base,

I regret to inform you that I have not yet returned to continue my adventures at KIPP Academy. Upon my return to New Orleans/the Spring semester, I have begun working (remotely) part-time for my old employer (Tox Path Specialists) as a Research Associate.

Now, having put the first block exam behind me (with successful performance), and having become comfortable with balancing this program and work, I look forward to returning to KIPP next week.

So as to not disappoint my readers stay tuned, for you all can expect multiple posts to be conceived next month.

On a side note - this is my first winter, since I was four years old, that I can expect to be lacking in any snow fall, and with a very scarce number of "cold" days. Today, it was a pleasant 73 degrees. Couldn't be happier with the change from the Maryland wintertime.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

KIPP - Preparing for the Holidays (cont.), December 2016

December Hours - 6
Total Semester Hours - 34

Our first week back after the Thanksgiving break and we were back to making a "replacement” Christmas tree. Apparently, a child had thrown a tantrum in the hallway and decided to take his/her frustrating out on one of our elegant Christmas trees. Once again, I implemented the “Right-Triangle” method to produce a new Christmas three; it came out great, of course.

We set out to deliver supplies to the various classrooms. We used ‘The Checklist’ indicating what supplies each classroom was supposed to receive to make the appropriate deliveries. Classes got some arrangement of tissue boxes, glue sticks, pencils, Lysol wipes, and large paper canvases.

As we made our way through the halls, it was nice seeing the Christmas trees we had produced last month. The trees were decorated with “ornaments” that had the names of the students. It appears the trees had served their purpose.

As we visited each classroom it was interesting to see how the personality of each classroom was different. Some classes were very high energy, while others had children sitting quietly reading, and yet others were snoozing away during Nap time. The teachers were incredibly friendly as we entered the classrooms, and very appreciative to have their supplies restocked.

During a later visit at KIPP we again assisted in alphabetizing and filing documents in the student folders. It’s always a nice experience to work in the filing office, as we are accompanied by one of the KIPP administrators, Danielle. She is very pleasant and we also engage into conversations regarding pop culture, good movies, and fun things to do in New Orleans.