Archive of 'GRAD-MAP' category
Hey everyone! I have a serious problem with consistency......After the 4th night the sleep kicked in and before you knew it I could not keep up to write these blog posts every night.
Since my last post GRAD-MAP has sadly come to a close but thankfully all of us still keep in contact through Facebook. What would we do without social media?! The last half of the project was filled with field trips, speeches, and working to put together our final project. Presentations went amazing and I was so proud of everyone for doing what they did because we honestly did not have that much time to commit towards these projects.
When I entered this GRAD-AMP program I wanted in the end to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. Half way through I gladly figured it out and I couldn't be any happier. Medicine is my next step in life and some may say that 'o, everyone wants to become a doctor...' All I can say is that this feels right... and when something feels as right as this does I'm going to pursue it. What I do hope that the enthusiasm that I have right now carries through into the tough times when I begin to question if this path is the right one for me. My grades aren't all that but I am very determined and persistent.
Spring semester 2016 is a few days away, follow my journey on my 'On my way to Graduation' page. I will consistently post the ups and downs of this semester.
Where do I even begin!?! OMG today was so stressful. This morning we began learning about Python coding and coming into this I had no clue what this was. I had heard about Python probably once and that was on the news. Side note: throughout the week there will be 4 lectures throughout the duration of the program that is geared towards the learning of this. The lectures were fast paced especially for someone like me who had absolutely NO previous knowledge of what this was. Something that may have been helpful that I recently thought about was having reading material or basic videos sent to us to give us an idea of what to expect. I guess because we are college students and we were chosen to come into this we probably could have done this on our own..... though in my defense I heard that the lectures would go slow enough for a beginner to be able to understand it. Most people in our class had previously take some sort of programming class or had played around with Python for a bit. I had not.
I feel like I am ranting a bit too much on how stressed out I am about learning this. To somehow combat this I have begun reading the Python for dummies book online for FREE. I also hope that all this hell I am going though now will absolutely pay off because in the Spring semester I will be taking a Programming Concepts course.
In the afternoon we had an amazing open discussion that dealt with Impostor Syndrome & Stereotype Threat. We did an activity where we were given a scenario and we had to write 4 different fears we would have going into this situation. After, we had to put all of them on a dry erase board and group them together. It was refreshing to see that there were a lot similarities in the feelings that we had. WE ARE A TALENTED BUNCH OF STUDENTS and we each felt like we weren't good enough or we were scared to fail. During our discussion I mentioned that it took me years to get to where I am in terms of self confidence. This is an on going journey and battle but if you take it day by day and step by step you will start to see improvements and achieve great things.
Everyday during this program we bond more and more as a group I had the opportunity to sit with a group of gentlemen during and have a pure, real and raw conversation about academic things we go through in life.
It truly is great to be surrounded by such great minds. Tomorrow we learn more about Python and about the mini research projects we will be competing. Till then....
xoxo CJ Walker
We are FINALLY back to civilization but it was absolutely refreshing being in Green Bank without any cellphones or WiFi. Everyone was forced to talk to one another and overall it was honestly a great bonding experience. I was anxiously waiting for tonight to come so that I could write my blog post and I could check Instagram.
On day 2 we went over the data we collected from the 40 ft radio telescope with our tour instructor. The coolest thing we did all day was visit the monstrous GBT telescope. This was created after the 300 ft radio telescope suddenly collapsed in 1988. After, the West VA senator began rallying for a replacement telescope, and only two years after the collapse, the National Science Foundation approved a new telescope in Green Bank. This would become the largest fully steerable telescope in the world – the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope.
The GBT began observations in Green Bank, West VA in 2000. This radio telescope is the world’s premiere single-dish radio telescope operating at meter to millimeter wavelengths. The collecting area on the dish is 100-meter in diameter and the sensitivity of this area is EXTREME. The impressive parabolic dish covering 2.3 acres, the GBT has the largest collecting area of any fully-steerable telescope in the world. From the base to the top of its huge feed arm, the GBT stands 485 feet tall.
Pretty awesome info right?! This wasn't meant to be too boring or educational but I had to put in everything I learned. Maybe you'll take a visit!
Tomorrow is going to be a full and eventful day. The real work begins and it's probably a good idea after Real Housewives of Atl. ends to shower and retire to bed. Till my next post take care!
xoxo CJ Walker
I decided to write this blog post in the basement of the telescope so here goes........
As I pen blog this post in a 40 ft radio telescope I am surrounded by super awesome people who are bound to contribute great things to the future of science. WHO even gets to say you got the opportunity to spend the night at a Radio Astronomy Observatory AND you got to use an ACTUAL radio telescope to record Hydrogen atoms in space (we have to complete a mini project)?! Pretty awesome if you ask me and I am beyond grateful for this experience!
Day 2 started off with a 5 hour drive to Green Bank, Virginia. We passed a lot of rural towns that you usually see on TV.... a bit of culture shock for some....... it was nice to see something different. About 30 min away from the facility and off in the distance I spotted the largest telescope that I have ever seen. At, first glance it looks like a huge satellite but NOPE it's a telescope! The master of all telescopes we get to tour closer tomorrow and I cannot wait.
The facility over all is amazing and the staff that work here is great. Being in a dead zone (no WiFi or cell phone reception) isn't all that bad because there is a computer lab that we can use. Outside of our "dorms" and past a certain point closer to the telescopes no digital cameras, cellphones or etc are allowed.... bummer because I really wanted to snap some pics to add to this post. Thank goodness for disposable cameras, post cards and our lovely director who will capture us for the 24 hrs we are here. Later, I may be able to post some of the pictures that she shot.
Physics is already having a positive impact on me and I am loving this! Who knows I might actually switch my major now....... Till then we'll see...
xoxo CJ Walker
P.S. Birthday in 4 days!!!! :)
I literally packed everything I needed right before I came here. It was such a struggle to pack because I had no clue what to bring (even though they gave us an idea) and I live right down the street and anything that I left my parents were a phone call away. Coming here I was a bit nervous because you expect to learn about Physics and science but outside of that... what else is in store for us??? You always wonder if when you get there is it what you had imagined, will everyone like you, did you pack the right things? All those things ran through my head from New Years Ever to New Years Day.
The night started off with a light dinner that I missed because my parents are never on time to anything (thank goodness it was optional). After dinner we all met up to formally introduce ourselves and get to know more about the program and what the next few days would consist of. It was great but really nerve racking to know all the things that were expected of us. I must say I really appreciate the emphasis on not only teaching us the ropes of Physics but teaching us how to prep for grad school, internships and etc. Even if we do not choose Physics as the next step of our lives we will have acquired skills to apply to apply to grad school and internships in other areas.
Tomorrow is going to be an early morning because we are heading to Greenback, VA to visit the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. So excited to go but there will be nooooooo cell phone reception when we get there. HOW WILL I SURVIVE??..... taking it back. Other than my attachment to my gadgets I am pretty excited because I have never done anything like this in my life and I never thought I would be.
My day 2 post might be a bit delayed. Day 2 and day 3 more or less will be posted on Sunday. Till then..... take care.
xoxo CJ Walker
So what is this GRAD-MAP Winter Workshop??? This program is a ten-day workshop over winter break on the fundamentals of research in physics and astronomy. The Winter Workshop is aimed at first- and second-year undergraduates (I'm a junior so there is wiggle room) who are potentially interested in going to graduate school for physics and/or astronomy.
The workshop will include a weekend excursion to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Greenbank, West Virginia (weather permitting), as well as tours of local facilities such as UMD physics labs, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and the National Institutes for Standards and Technology (NIST).
Am I excited?! ABSOLUTELY because doing these excursions and learning about what we will is not something that a lot of people know about so I feel special in a sense to be able to tour these facilities and learn about true ground breaking scientific research. I will be doing a daily post of my experiences to document how everything went. I am so looking forward to this!
xoxo CJ Walker