Aaron Bird Bear was a really neat guy. I enjoyed our tour a lot. It was cool to see some of the historical landmarks on UW’s campus, that are more than likely not on the regular tour for students and their families. At times throughout the tour, I found myself feeling angry in hearing about the many ways in which Native Americans have been treated, and are still being exploited to this day. I, Along with Aaron Bird Bear, would like to see the use of mascots representing Native Americans, as a thing of the past. The whole idea reminds me of the “memorabilia” of African Americans that was made to signify a time in our history when Blacks weren’t given equal rights (from slavery to the Jim Crow era).
It was an extremely hot day, so I had a little bit of a hard time focusing, but was able to reflect on the tour when I got home. After the tour, Rudy and I got a chance to talk with Aaron Bird Bear for a few minutes and it was a great experience. He told us about what it was like growing up in Colorado and how it compares to living here in Madison. He likes Madison because he’s got a family now, and he feels that Madison is a good place to raise children, but he is still surprised sometimes by how “white” Wisconsin is and I agreed with him. I’ve lived in Madison for most of my life, with the exception of the few years that I lived in Georgia, and it never ceases to amaze me.
This program has been great for me in terms of generating some serious thought about the next step in my educational career. Before the summer started, the idea of graduate school was in my peripheral, but not right up in front of my face, which is where it should be at this point in my life. Some of the things that I’ve learned about applying to graduate programs have scared me. I used to think that as long as you graduated with a bachelor’s degree, you shouldn’t have a problem getting to the next step. Everyone I know who has gone to graduate school, talks about it like it’s not big to do, but maybe that’s because they were in a good position going in, with good grades, research experience, good references etc. For me, I think the thing that will make me feel the most confident about choosing what programs to apply for, will be the contacts that I make within the various programs. I like for people to know who I am, it gives me a sense of security. Although I spent most of my life being excruciatingly shy, I realize that it severely hindered my progress and possibly affected my chance at taking part in worth-while opportunities. I’m not so shy anymore, and I’ve been working on pushing myself beyond my idea of what’s comfortable or “safe”. I think that applying to graduate programs is an individualized experience, and it’s different for everyone. I want to make sure that for the specific programs I’m interested in, I’m fully aware of the basic requirements, and then I want to contact the advisors of the programs to see what else I should focus on doing, beyond the basic stuff that is available online. My pool of options is somewhat limited because there aren’t too many graduate nursing programs that are available for people who aren’t already nurses. I think that aside from applying to these few programs, I’m also going to apply for a Masters in public health program as a back-up in case I don’t get in to nursing school. As far as figuring out how to deal with conflicting information about what it takes to get into graduate school, I will try to take as much as I can from what people have to say, but in order not to get discouraged, I just need to make sure that I’m aware of my specific programs’ requirements. This is my journey and I don’t want to get worried based on other peoples’ experiences, however I do think that those experiences can and should push me to be my best self and to work as hard as I can.
Since I wasn’t able to attend the in-class presentation on the book “The Big Thirst” by Charles Fishman, I did some research on my own to get a feel for what this book is about. I decided to go to National Public Radio’s website to see if they had any reviews about this book because NPR does an excellent job at covering important issues, and the issue of water scarcity is extremely important. I found a radio interview with NPR’s Terry Gross and Charles Fishman, discussing the book. After listening to the interview, I realize that I take water for granted. I often times don’t even think twice about where our water comes from, and how it is that we have unlimited access to how ever much water we want. It’s crazy. Mr. Fishman noted that Americans individually us about 99 gallons of water per day! He also talked a bit about the hidden uses of water that many of us don’t think about, such as electricity and power plants. Another statistic that he provided was that in this county, we spend 21 billion dollars on buying bottled water, compared to the 29 billion dollars that we spend on our water systems. I agree with Mr. Fishman that if we were to all scale back on the amount of bottled water we purchased, we could concentrate more heavily on making our water system more efficient and up to date in terms of the technology that it currently uses. Since water is neither created nor destroyed, we have to make the best use of the water that we have. Mr. Fishman mentioned that he would like the American public to start to develop a consciousness about the water we use, and that every little bit helps. He himself tries to limit the amount of water that he uses at home as he’s going about his daily routines. According to Mr. Fishman, some cities have already begun to implement programs which will help to conserve water. For example, the city of Las Vegas will pay $40,000 per acre to people who agree to take out their grass. Also, they have found a way to recycle 94% of their water back to the one and only water source that they have. I think that more cities throughout the country should adopt similar behaviors, and pay closer attention to the fact that we are privileged to have access to water in the way that we do, because so many other countries are not as fortunate.
I was pleased today to listen to Edward and Shannon speak about their past as well as present graduate program experiences. As an undergraduate student, it’s difficult to know about all the different particulars that go into the process of getting into graduate school, as well as making it through to the end. Most of my efforts these days go into making sure that I do what I need to do in order to complete my undergraduate career. With that said, I’ve found it somewhat difficult to concentrate much time on my future aspirations and plans for graduate school. As I get closer to finishing my undergraduate program, and with the help of this program which has exposed me to individuals who have either completed, or are in the process of completing graduate degrees, I have been able to take some time to think about the next step in terms of my education.
I enjoyed listening to Shannon talk about her educational path thus far. She made it all seem so easy, but I know that she must be extremely bright, as well as have worked very hard to get to where she is today. When I was in high school, I didn’t fully understand just how important it was to do my best. All I was worried about was getting good enough grades to play team sports as well as to graduate. I realized a long time ago that your performance and involvement in high school MATTERS. I think about all of the opportunities that I potentially missed out on because I wasn’t qualified to apply to certain college programs etc. I don’t want to make the same mistake twice by solely focusing on graduating with an undergraduate degree. For my last two semesters, I would like to get more involved, meet people, put myself out there and seek new opportunities.
I also enjoyed listening to Edward today. The most important thing that I took from him was that family, and personal fulfillment are ultimately the most important things in life, regardless of how successful you become. I liked that he said that because I see how it can be easy to lose sight of the important things in life when you’re immersed in a school program that requires a lot of time and energy. Sometimes it can be a struggle to balance everything and personal relationships, hobbies/passions, can fall by the way side. What Edward said today was a good reminder that where ever my education takes me, my family and friends will always be there for me and I should always be there for them.
I thought the Wiscareers site was really great. I didn’t necessarily learn anything about myself that I didn’t already know, but it was a good experience and it validated in some ways, that my educational career is going in the right direction. Under the occupations tab, I looked into different health care careers. I thought this was beneficial for me to explore because I’m still going back and forth in regards to whether I want work on getting a masters degree in nursing, or if I want to work towards becoming a nurse practitioner. A lot of schools these days are doing away with the nurse practitioner masters program and a doctorate program will be in it’s place. I don’t know if I’m interested in being in school for that much longer.
I explored the education tab a bit and it seems like it’s a really good resource for those of us who aren’t entirely sure about what program we want to be a part of. I know what I want to do, and I can see the big picture, but I don’t know yet where I want to continue my education once I graduate with my undergraduate degree next year. This site has an extensive list of graduate programs, direct links to each school. I’d like to spend more time on this site to start the process of applying to different programs. This couldn’t have come at a better time because I have recently started to put pressure on myself to start exploring my options. What I don’t want, is to graduate next year with no set plans for the following fall. I know that a lot of people take time in between undergraduate programs and graduate school, but I’ve already taken enough time off of school and don’t need any more breaks.
The job seeking tab is also a great resource, but finding a job isn’t something that’s a huge priority for me right now. With that said, I do feel like exploring what’s out there and becoming familiar with the job market in my field, will be extremely beneficial for when I’m done with school and I decide that I’m ready to once again be a part of the working world.
I see how the budgeting tab could be really helpful. I’ve worked at a credit union for 5 years and I know how simply making little adjustments can determine whether or not someone is eligible to be a home owner, etc. Being a full-time student is difficult in this regard because of the lack of a steady income, but it’s a sacrifice that I will gladly make in order to get a good education. However, as I walk my way through this journey, I can still make good choices about my finances.
The planning tab was great. It was neat how after going through all of the questions, the program tells you what courses you should focus on in order to be successful in the career of your choice. There is so much opportunity out there and this whole site will help a lot of us hone in on what we’re good at, as well as how we might go about reaching our educational and career aspirations. Overall this was a really good experience and I’m glad that I got the opportunity to use this site.
Time in: 3:30
Time out: 4:15
Total time: 45 minutes
Today we got a tour of the UW Zoological Museum. What I saw today definitely exceeded my previously established expectations. It was so well organized, and you could just tell that a tremendous amount of work went into it. Our tour guide, Elizabeth, knew about every single animal that was accounted for at the museum. She described to us, the process in terms of what happens as soon as a new animal came in the door of that place. It was all very scientific and methodical. Apparently, many of the animals that the museum gets are donated by regular people (and by regular people I mean non-biologists) who stumble upon dead animals in the wild. Once the museum takes in an animal, they freeze it, thaw it, clean out the insides, stuff it and put it on display. For the animals that are not in very good shape coming in, they get stripped down to the bones and studied by scientists throughout the campus as well as throughout the nation. The thing that I found the most interesting (and most disturbing for that matter) was to learn about the process of cleaning the bones of the animals. The museum staff, along with UW students who volunteer in the lab, take off as much as they can, including the hair, the skin and the bulk of the flesh, and then they put the bones in big buckets full of beetles. The beetles then work hard to break down and eat the flesh that’s left on the bones until there’s nothing left, but bone. Once that process is complete, they put the bucket of bones in the freezer to kill off any bugs that are still alive, and then the store the skeleton for an indefinite amount of time. I appreciate the work that is done there, but I know myself enough to say that I would never, ever, ever be able to work in an environment such as the zoological museum. Yes, I am passionate about becoming a nurse or a nurse practitioner, and yes, I know that I will see a of horrifying stuff throughout my career, but I will be working with the living, to attempt to better their lives in one way or another. I am thankful that there are scientists out there who are passionate about doing things such as the work that takes place in the zoological museum everyday because I recognize just how important the work that they do really is.
I have seen Food, Inc. three times now. With that said, it still does not cease to amaze me and elicit some strong feelings when I watch it. I think that it’s a really important film and I’m glad that we watched it in class. I think that it opened up the eyes of some of my peers, based on some of the discussion that was generating on the walk home after class. I think that everyone should have to watch this film, as well as others like it, to get a different perspective on what’s really going on in this country in regards to where our food comes from, how it’s processed and who is affected by this process.
I, as an individual am willing to change the way that I shop for food as well as the way that I eat. I think that it’s the individual steps that matter so much because eventually those individual steps lead to a collective of individuals who not only want things to be better, but are taking active steps to change the way things are going. With that said, it might be easier for me to make changes to my diet and the way that I shop than for others. As it is, I don’t eat much meat and when I do, I try to buy it at a local co-op because I believe in supporting local farmers, and I’ve also noticed that the quality of the meat is so much better. More than anything, I think that the animals that we eat deserve a chance at a happy, healthy life. It only makes sense to me that we, as consumers, would want to eat meat from an animal that was healthy, rather than from an animal that was laying in it’s own feces all day and couldn’t walk because the growth hormone/diet that it was given made it’s body mature and grow too fast to the point that it couldn’t even use it’s own legs. I don’t eat cow period, but if I did, I wouldn’t want to eat meat from a cow that was so sickly that it had to be pushed into the slaughter house with a tractor because it couldn’t walk on it’s own. As I sit here writing about this, the old saying comes to mind, “you are what you eat”.
When Michael Pollan says, “We’ve skewed our food system to the bad calories, and it’s not an accident”, he means that we’ve found a way to make food so ridiculously cheap that we can process it in bulk amounts. Anything that is derived from corn, soy or wheat, or even meat for that matter because of the way the animals are raised. The citizens of this country have grown accustomed to the idea that bigger is better. I think that the big corporations who are responsible for this, are neglecting the health and well-being of the citizens of this country. I also strongly believe that they, along with the government, have a big hand in the overwhelming rates of Type II Diabetes Melitus which is so prevalent in low income and minority communities in this country. It as absolutely ridiculous that it would cost a family of 5 less to get full off of a value menu at a fast food restaurant, than to cook a healthful meal at home that is full of whole grains, lean proteins and vegetables.
I believe that something needs to change, but it seems like change in the right direction is so far off. In this country, money = power and that’s exactly what we see in terms of the food system. I feel like the best that I can do right now is to take responsibility for myself, and constantly be aware of the impact that I have in terms of the big picture of the food system, and to eventually teach my children (when they get here) so they are educated and have the tools necessary to make a change if they so choose.
The UW-Madison Museum Experience
Chazen Museum of Art
1) Which display best represents your thoughts and/or feelings about your current major and career goals?
Satyr (or faun)
Roman 2nd century AD
This display at first glance is really simplistic. It’s a statue of an armless man with no clothes on. As I looked at it more, I thought about the science of our bodies and from there, it became much more complicated. I have never been one to interpret art, but I think that everyone sees art in a different way, depending on where we are in our lives and maybe even where we intend to go in the future. This structure made me think about the future career that I want for myself as a nurse or nurse practitioner.
2) Which display had the most effect on you, good or bad?
Display: Karel Appel (Christiaan) – “Clown”
This painting elicited some serious anxiety as soon as a came upon it. The confusion and messiness of it reminded me of my worst self. I try to be as positive as possible, as often as possible, but some days I might lack self-confidence or feel particularly anxious about one thing or another. This painting made me think about those negative feelings that I dislike experiencing so much.
3) Which display represents the concept of “growth”?
Display: Albert Bierstadt “The Boating Party”
Location: American, b. Germany 1830-1902
This painting is of an empty boat that rests in a beautiful body of water and off in the distance is the sky. Every aspect of this painting reminded me of “growth” because it’s as if the boat on the open water could take you anywhere you want to go. It made me think of limitless opportunities, but in order to experience those opportunities, you would need to first get in the empty boat. It made me think about my own life and how I’ve passed up so many opportunities and closed myself off to the idea of growing as an individual. Now, I feel like a different person because I have made it a point to open myself up more and seek opportunities that I think will help to enrich my life.
UW-Madison Geology Museum
Time In: 12:10 pm
Time Out: 12:50 pm
Total Time in Museum: 40 minutes
Reflection on the Experience:
This was a really great museum. I have seen similar displays before, but it never ceases to amaze me, just how young the human race is. So much came before us. Part of me became angry as I began to think about how we as humans have had such a large impact (negative) on the Earth and I wonder what makes us think that we have the right. The Earth doesn’t belong to us, yet we have taken over as if it does. As I was looking at the dinosaur fossils, a thought came over me that was actually quite scary. I thought about my children who aren’t here yet, about how once they’re here, they might think of a certain species, such as polar bears for example, as being simply a part of the past as we do with dinosaurs. That is where we are headed if we don’t make some changes and start consuming less as a nation. While we were at the museum, I saw many parents with their kids and I have a lot of respect for those parents. They were engaging with their children, teaching them new things, and hopefully sparking their interests in different topics so they can figure out at a young age what they identify with. I think that in terms of science, it is really important to get engaged at a young age, because as the material gets harder, kids will hopefully stick with it.
University of Wisconsin Zoological Museum
Time In: 12:55 pm
Time Out: 1:15 pm
Total Time in Museum: 20 minutes
We went to the Zoological museum and no one was there to let us in. We did however go downstairs to the first floor as we were waiting for the museum to open up, where there was a display of some things related to evolution and Darwin. It was a really neat display. When we went back upstairs, the door to the museum was still locked and a woman who works in the building said that the woman who runs the museum/lab was out of town, but that maybe someone else would be able to show us around. When no one else came, we decided to move on to the next museum.
L.R. Ingersoll Physics Museum
Time In: 1:30 pm
Time Out: 2:00 pm
Total Time: 30 minutes
This was a really great experience. I liked that the museum was so interactive so we were able to get an idea of how things really worked. I was completely amazed about some of the displays in there. Just as in the geology museum, there were kids in the physics museum which I found really great. It was neat to see their enthusiasm about being in a museum. The different displays made me think about how, even though I didn’t know the complicated science behind how they worked, I could at least identify that science was involved in their creation and it brought me back to the idea that science is everywhere we look. I wondered if the displays were made by students and if so, that is so incredible. I can only imagine how much dedication it must have taken to create the things in there. I think that dedication and time leads to mastery, which is what I saw in the physics museum.
As far as this program goes, my goal is to take as much as I possibly can from this experience. I feel extremely lucky to be a part of a program such as this. It is my understanding that one reason for this program’s existence is for us as minority students, to enrich our lives and that is exactly what I plan to do. I would like to keep a log of my experience this summer by reflecting in a journal at the end of each day.
This goal is absolutely measurable because I will either write in my journal, or not. If I recognize after some time that I have missed entries, then I will need make some changes.
I think that this goal is attainable. I will make it a point to include it into my regular daily schedule. When I was younger, I used to write in a journal every night and I remember how important it became to me. I think that self-reflection is really important and I don’t think that I do enough of it so this will be a great goal for me to work on.
Another goal that I have for myself is to work on networking. I would like to put myself out there in my school community and home community as well to hopefully spark new opportunities. This goal is not exactly tangible, or measurable, but I think that if I commit to it, I will be successful and change my state of mind to reflect this goal.
I think that this goal is extremely attainable because I have the drive to become a better person and after many years, I have finally figured out that it takes the help of others to get to where I want to go. My brother is a great resource in terms of helping me establish relationships with people who might be able to help me succeed. He went to school at Morehouse University in Atlanta, Georgia and has since become an extremely successful individual by his own standards, as well as by those around him. He has helped me throughout my journey and I although I haven’t always been willing to listen, and take in what he’s said, I now have the determination to succeed and I listen to him wholeheartedly.