To start off, I have been absolutely loving my classes so far! My experience with cotton grew immensely at the beginning of the semester, due to my trip to Goondiwindi. It has been quite interesting learning about cotton, as I had pretty much 0 knowledge of the crop before I left. So far in my Cotton Production class, we have discussed the major types of cotton grown in Australia, cotton breeding, irrigation, and nitrogen needs.
My Ecology of Plant Populations class has also been going quite well. I must admit, it was challenging at first, as this is the first ecology class I've taken as a college student, but I have found it so fascinating to learn about how different organisms interact with each other and how small interactions can have large effects on the ecosystem as a whole. We're currently working on the Pollination and Breeding aspect of the unit, which I have taken great interest in, especially in terms of mutualistic relationships between pollinators and plants. Last week, I had my first major assignment of the semester due- a 2,500 word essay on how recent climate change has affected plant populations- and I was extremely thrilled to find out I got a High Distinction on it- the highest letter grade in Australia. This has given me more motivation to keep up the good work. While I am taking 19 credit hours total this semester (4-400 level classes and 1-300 level class), I am trying to make it my personal goal to come back to the states with a 4.0.
|A lot of lengthy codes for R!|
I have absolutely fallen in love with my Genomic Analysis and Bioinformatics class! It is so fascinating to me how with a little statistics and programming, geneticists can predict and discover so many things about the genomes of numerous species. This class incorporates a lot of livestock- including Australia's two biggest largest animals species, cattle and sheep- which I have found quite interesting, since in the past, I have dealt primarily with plant genetics. I am learning a lot about the R program and how to use it for Anova and for QTL mapping and Genome Wide Association studies. I hope I can apply the lessons I have learned to future research projects I contribute to, especially in terms of QTL mapping.
Since I am pursuing a minor in communication, I decided to take a Digital and Social Media class. We have learned a lot about how technology has changed so rapidly since the mid-1900's. We've discussed how social media has become a tool of surveillance, both for governments and for advertising, and how the rise of technology presses many ethical questions, especially in terms of robots and intelligent machines.
As some of you may have seen, last week, I attended the trimester 1 Albies academic dinner. At academic dinners, students in the college are rewarded for their hard work from the previous semester based on the grade averages they received. Our senior common room members were also invited to attend, and we had a lovely dinner, wine, and entertainment throughout the night. This academic dinner was particularly exciting for Albies, as its grade point average had improved 10% from the previous trimester.
In other academic news, I am also thrilled to announce that I was just named the Purdue Honors College Off-Campus Representative. For the next year, I will help keep other off-campus Honors College students in-the-know with upcoming events in the Honors College and provide one-on-one assistance when I get back by holding an office hour each week.