Advice to Future AP Bio Students



Writing is something that I am very passionate about and it is a way for my to spill out all my feelings onto the paper and let go of my emotions. I started with writing poems and after the support of my best friend, decided to put some on Tumblr. To my shock, the poems received over 20k notes and became famous on the social networking site. The success gave me confidence to keep writing and now I am in the process of writing a book. I hope to continue this hobby when I go to college and apply the skills I learn in my classes to one day get my book published and later turned into a movie. I have also been able to apply the skills that I’ve learned in English class to essay writing and biology, which has given me confidence in both subjects. I have provided my first poem that I put on Tumblr below and hope you enjoy reading it!


Future Plans

After graduating from Notre Dame, I will be attending UC Berkeley and studying biology, specifically neurology. I hope to go onto the pre-med track and eventually pursue medicine and become a doctor. I want to explore all the different branches of medicine in hopes of finding one that is the right fit for me. I also hope to do a minor in English, as writing is something that I am very passionate about. I want to one day get my book and poems published. Traveling is something that I love doing and I pan on traveling to as many different places as possible, in hopes of getting a taste of the different cultures. I want to go to Uganda and visit the children at the Kitabo School where I built a well. I hope to go there during a study abroad period at Berkeley and apply the skills I have learned in the field of medicine to save the lives of children. Lastly, I plan on continuing to swim on a master’s team and my life ambition is to one day go skydiving. I want to go on as many adventures as possible and make the most out of every minute of life with my friends and family.

Reflection on AP Bio

AP Bio was a very challenging, yet thorough course and I found myself in awe of how many aspects the field of study contains. I came into the class not realizing the amount of content the course would encompass but realized that biology is a very diverse field of study. I immediately fell in love with the subject and it being a rather small class, I felt like my teacher was able to reach out to all of the students and keep them on task. I enjoyed all the labs that came with the course (I now feel like an expert in gel electrophoresis) and the amount of technology I was exposed to enhanced my learning. I explored different studying methods and was able to collaborate with everyone in my class at one point or another. Overall, the class had a very positive and encouraging atmosphere, allowing me to go out of comfort zone, branch out, and ask questions. My favorite part of the class was the CSI Investigation Project as I was able to learn about the different body systems in a very thorough. Most of all, I loved how each student supported one another and there was never a point in the course where I felt discouraged. After taking this class, I feel like I have a better foundation of what science is and hope to pursue the subject in college and beyond. 

Reflection on the Website

Creating a website for AP Bio allowed me to integrate what I learned in the classroom to blog posts that shared my love for science with others. I felt like the website was an efficient way for me to look over all the different labs/projects we have done throughout the year as well as see what work my classmates are doing. WordPress is also an excellent way to follow blogs that share your same interest and I found myself following photography and sports blogs. In a way, the websites kept our class connected to one another. Each website is unique in its own way and I felt myself reading posts that my classmates have written and at the same time learning about their interests and passions. Creating a website was unlike anything I have done in my other classes and I found it to be a very rewarding and worthy experience. Today, our society is so focused on the use of technology and our websites are a great way for us to show the world our work and get our voices heard. We all have strong values and opinions regarding different scientific issues and a great starting point has been sharing our views on our blogs. I also learned about coding and how valuable the knowledge is in creating your own website and other uses in technology. Lastly, our blogs served as a way for the students to store all their work in an organized manner. We used our websites to not only interact with one another but to spur our curiosity into the unknown world. I hope to continue working on my website throughout college and since I am a molecular and cell biology major, the website is a great way for me to continue sharing my labs and projects.

Fetal Pig Dissection Lab

During class this week I was able to take part in the Fetal Pig Dissection Lab with my lab partners, Grace and Madison. I was not very comfortable dissecting the pig, so I was able to do the virtual lab in the back of the classroom. At first, I was very disgusted with the idea that we were going to be dissecting a pig. I had gone to many operating rooms and witness open heart and brain surgeries but the thought of dissecting an animal made me uncomfortable. I kept trying to move back to the lab table but found that the smell of the dissection made me feel sick. However, through the virtual lab, my knowledge regarding the different parts of the pig and the functions increased. I learned more about the diaphragm, the tracheae, and the cartilage rings. The diaphragm separates the cavities while the cartilage rings keep the windpipe open. I learned the differences between the male and female pig and how the anatomy of the pig is vital to its survival. I found surprising that the human body is very similar to that of a pig and that they share many characteristics. My lab partners carried out the lab procedure very smoothly and found that the sex of our pig was male. Most importantly, I learned how important the pig is in scientific research and innovation. Scientists have been using pigs in experimentation and hope to use their research to make predictions of the impact of diseases on humans.



Nature vs. Nurture

Scientists have identified two factors that contribute to a person’s intellectual and moral growth- nature and nurture. Nature is the innate qualities and genetics a person possesses while nurture is an individual’s personal experiences or environment. Both factors contribute to a person’s development. The environment in which a person lives in at home, school, and other places affect the actions and behavior of the person. Also, through genetics, some traits and qualities are passed down to an individual and affect his or her growth. Scientists are questioning whether how much of a person’s behavior is based on nature and how much is based on nurture. Could an individual be committed for a crime and then blame it on the environment? Could a student have senioritis and blame their inability to do homework on personal experiences or the school? Scientists are attempting to draw a fine line between nature and nurture but are finding that the two can collide easily. I believe that the only person people can believe for their actions are themselves. I do believe that genetics and the environment affect a person’s intellectual and moral growth and believe that it is very hard to draw the line on which factor affects a person more. In terms of nurture, it does concern me if a person blames the environment for all their actions, including the negative ones.


Do Now Predator

ImageAfter researching more of the “Do Now Predator” topic, I don’t believe that we should kill one species to save another. Every animal species has a right to their own life and I don’t think it is morally acceptable to kill off a species just to save another. Just like humans, animals have their own dignity and it shouldn’t be up to us to decide which ones to kill. However, I do believe that if one species of animals was in danger because another species was killing them off, then some action should be taken so that species doesn’t die off or become endangered. In an article on Huff Post, Bighorn sheep were saved by harming mountain lions and a lot of controversy was created within the sheep recovery act. Since 2007, there has been an increase in mountain lion hunting because of sheep deaths and many people say that the hunting needs to stop while others say that we should keep killing mountain lions to save the sheep. I believe if we don’t need to be killing lions, then we shouldn’t be. In this case, however, the mountain lions are putting the sheep in danger and I believe that action should be taken. Although I hate to think that so many mountain lions are being killed, I do believe that it is necessary to save the sheep. Extending from this particular example, my belief holds true for all animals. I don’t believe that a species should be endangered or go extinct because other animals are killing them off.

In the KQED Do Now Post, the particular example given was that northern spotted owls are experiencing a decline in population because barred owls are outcompeting the northern spotted owl for food and nested areas. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been carrying out experiments to kill barred owls in the areas where northern spotted owls live. I believe that unless the barred owls are directly killing the threatened birds, then they shouldn’t be killed. In the previous example, the mountain lions were directly killing the sheep, making me believe that it should be stopped. In this case, however, the barred owls are not directly harming the northern spotted owls but are just competing with them for food and shelter. I believe that this is a result of evolution and natural selection. This is rather a process of life and survival of the fittest. The barred owls are fit to live in specific environments and as a result, the spotted owls are declining in population. In this case, I don’t believe that the barred owls should be killed off.  I hope that in the future we can better handle situations like these so that no animals are killed or endangered.


St. Pius Science Fair

Going to the science fair at St. Pius this past Saturday allowed me to see the different projects done by elementary/middle school students. I was in awe at how well and in depth the students were able to go into their projects. Each student created a poster board for their project outlining the different aspects of the scientific method. Many had images and a great variety of visuals explaining the goal and purpose of their lab. On top of that, each student also created a binder explaining the details of their project and providing more in depth answers to the scientific method. Overall, the students went above and beyond in the topics they chose and they analyzed and interpreted their data to draw conclusions. As a judge, I was given a scoring sheet outlining the main criteria that each student should have and scored each project to the best of my ability. At the end of the fair, each judge also chose three projects for “Best Idea,” “Most artistic,” and “Best Overall.” A project that I found very interesting was on pop rocks and the topic was “which liquid makes pop rocks dissolve fastest?” The student hypothesized that soda will cause pop rocks to dissolve the fastest and water the longest mainly from the all-time legend that if you drink pop rocks with soda, your stomach will explode. The materials used were four table spoons (20 mL) of pop rocks, 50 mL of room temperature water, 59 mL of Coca cola, 59 mL of vinegar, and measuring cups. The student began by putting liquid into each glass then dropping one teaspoon of Pop Rocks into each glass one at a time. The timer was then used to see which one dissolved the fastest and/or shortest. When the Pop Rocks were put into the vinegar, they sank to the bottom but when put in Coca Cola, they began to pop loudly. The Coca Cola dissolved the fastest at 13 minutes and 40.35 seconds, but the student found that by putting the Pop Rocks in his or her mouth they dissolved even faster in 3 minutes and 32 seconds. I enjoyed reading this experiment because while growing up, Pop Rocks were my favorite type of candy. Another project that also greatly caught my interest was “Hand Sanitizer vs. Liquid Soap and Water: Who Wins the Bacteria Battle?” The student conducted his/her experiment on agar plates and I found that exciting science students do not use agar plates until high school or even college. This was my third year judging at the St. Pius Science Fair and I was again amazed by the work the students presented. I feel like schools and communities should have more science fairs so that students can showcase their love for science and learning. I could tell that each student put great effort and time in their project. Even though technology has negative effects, the students used technology in a positive way to encourage and promote science.


“Never Give Up” Discussion Post

Watch this inspiration talk given by Diana Nyad.

After watching the video, I became very interested to learn more about Diana’s journey. My Mom is a competitive swimmer and I remember her being up to date about Diana’s swim from Cuba to Florida. She would tell my sister and I that Diana persevered and did not give up. Watching the video, I became aware of my own dreams and goals. I have always wanted to be a doctor- a person striving to save others. I know that it is a hard working profession but it is the field that I am so passionate about. Diana mentioned in the video that “life is about journey, not destination” and I came to realize that I have to appreciate all of the positive and negative moments in my journey to reaching my goals. Diana did fail at times but she always got back up and kept going. There have been numerous times where I have doubted my ability to achieve my dream and when thinking of Diana’s story and message, I have to remember that dreams are often scary and big but they are never impossible. I have to remember that I will not always win and there will be times where I will face struggles and will have to pick myself back up and keep moving forward. The talk impacted me in a heartwarming way and reminded me to keep a positive attitude while I continue on my journey to becoming a doctor.