Friday, July 2, 2010

The Last Couple Weeks

So these past couple weeks have been incredibly busy!

My project is moving super fast which has been awesome and I've actually had some opportunities to sit down with Tom and talk about my research and some literature. Working in this lab has made me very grateful for my education! I feel like I can actually sit down with Tom and brainstorm ideas and talk about papers without feeling incompetent simply because I'm an undergrad.

The church is doing really well too! Miyoko and I have started our women's bibletalk and have been meeting for 3 weeks now. It has been really cool and a very refreshing time to have conversations about the bible with just girls. Beka has been coming for all three weeks now! She hangs out with us on thursday nights and sometimes goes out with the girls are tuesdays too! That has been incredibly encouraging and hopefully her and I will become good friends!

The Boulder mission team has had more weeks of midweeks. We talked about effort and the effort that it would take to really start the church in Boulder and we talked about our resolutions from meeting together. It really is an amazing group of people! When we talked about resolutions we split up men and women and and went through all the things we had learned over the past month. What we were scared about changing and what we were excited to change! It was very inspiring!
I'll post some more later!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Starting Week 4

I forgot to mention that Sunday I met Barri Lusk finally! Her husband preached on sunday which was really cool too! They are the lead evangelists for Denver so they oversee the North and South and Denver Metro and Boulder regions! Barri and I had talked before I moved to Boulder so it was so nice to finally put a face with the name! She told me that Doug and Suzanne had talked to her that week about finding a way to get me to move here for grad school. That was incredibly encouraging! I've found that I fit here very easily and feel like I have a lot I can offer to the mission team here and so much to learn from all these people! It was nice to hear that I'm wanted here though! Miyokok was laughing because saturday she had d time with Suzanne and Suzanne told her that Miyoko's mission for the summer was to convince me to move to Boulder. She said that's what she's been trying to do for the past 3 weeks! She's great at it too! I honestly don't know wht I'm going to do when I have to leave her at the end of the summer! She's become an amazing friend and I'm so grateful that she's still here even though she's working in Denver!

Monday I came in and learned how to do a Western Blot! Elaine in the lab taught me all her secret techniques! I learned, basically, that you can screw up a western with every step of the process... and it takes an entire day to finish one. The good part however was that my first one turned out very nicely! She helped me with a lot of it so I learned a lot!

I also got to send out my new mutation samples for sequencing and should be getting them back sometime today! (wednesday)

Monday night we had our first women's bible talk for the summer! Miyoko did a great lesson on how Jesus exceeds all your expectations and Becca came nd brought her friend Angela! They were awesome girls who actually added great thoughts to the discussion so it went really well! Hopefully, Becca will be coming out to more stuff so that should be great!

Afterwards I went to hang out with Miyoko and her sister for a bit and then came back and taught some more people how to play NERTS!

Tuesday I was exhausted because we played NERTS til 1:30 in the morning. But I ran my first solo Western Blot! It turned out great! And when I showed it to Elaine she said I was now a Western expert and Art said we have a new lab standard for great westerns and that he would like for me to teach him how to do one! (crazy, I know!)

Tuesday night was pretty chill... I laid out for a little bit before dinner and then Rima and I went to the gym afterwards. We were there for almost 2 hours actually and it was quite fun! We came back and after showers watched some tv together and then passed out.

Today, Wednesday, I woke up early to get breakfast, and then came into the lab early. I was here before 8 which is crazy! I'm now preparing for my telomerase assay and waiting for my sequencing to come in! Hopefully, all the mutations ran well!

Week 3

So last week...

To start things off I was absolutely exhausted after going to Vail for the weekend!

Monday I started off by growing up the mutations that did work from the mutagenesis. There were only 3 out of the ten that worked and the wild type but it was enough to start moving with! I grew those up then tried out a mutagenesis with PCR product (something not normally done...) and then found out the reason it's not normally done is because it doesn't really work haha.

Tuesday was my day to maxi prep all my samples and to extract the plasmid from the cells. I let that run overnight. Monday and Tuesday nights were good nights of hang out time with the SMART kids! I taught Terrance and Rima how to play NERTS on Monday which then became a bigger game with Luis and Marvin added on Tuesday. It was pretty awesome!

Wednesday was my first day of working in the Tissue Culture lab by myself. It was really cool! Everything has to be very sterile so there's a lot of places that you could mess things up. And the tissue culture lab is on a strict time line so it's very important to move quickly but efficiently! On the first day I added my extracts for the telomerase to the human cells. I then worked on the PCR for the other 7 mutants that didn't work the first time.

Thursday I was done way early because I only had to transform the cells with the 7 mutations and trypsinize the human cells in the tissue culture lab. (You don't actually need to know what this means but it only took me 3 hours total for I was out at noon!) Art told me Thursday that I was actually very good in the tissue culture lab which was pretty exciting because most undergrads don't get to learn how to work in tissue culture!

After work Thursday I went to almost a 2 hour lunch and then laid out for a while! It was quite relaxing until the storm clouds rolled in. Miyoko came by and picked me up to take me to Target so I could get some groceries and stuff. Ryan got off work around 8:30 so we picked up and movie and ice cream and went to his place to watch it. They are a really fun couple and I'm not sure what I would do here without them!

Friday is when everything changed here! We've been meeting on Wednesday nights with the Boulder mission team which has been really awesome! The first week we talked about having a vision for your personal walk with God and having a vision for Boulder. Doug Baity made a great point about how people perish without vision. (I have to go back and look up the scripture where he got that from.) Week two we talked about love and being able to love unconditionally and being able to have expressive love. The group is a really cool group of people and reminds me so much of the mission team in Clemson! Wally and Sue Dague are an amazing couple that will be a great sheparding couple on the team. Sue swims... for real. She's preparing now for her second channel swim... but I don't remember which channel she's swimming across. She has a huge personality, a lot of wisdom, and she LOVES babies... she's almost always holding one. Her husband Wally is so cool. He's pretty quite a lot of the time but when he speaks you listen because it's full of wisdom and very insightful. He's also hilarious if you listen to him in a regular conversation and he holds Sue's hand all the time which is so cool to watch!
Doug and Suzanne Baity are leading the north region of Denver and spear-heading the Boulder team until Chris and Becky Clawson move here (they are the new campus leaders!) They are absolutely amazing and were around with Wally and Sue back in the glory days of Boulder. I'm looking forward to writing more about the different couples as I get to know them better!

The reason things changed is because Friday and about 2 it started pouring down rain... In Clemson, when I first moved it rained all the time and was kind of depressing actually. I talked to Stacey Robinson about it and she reminded me that when it rained in the old testament God was watering the hearts of the people. And it proved to be so true with the people in Clemson! So when I moved to Boulder for the summer... it never rained. Clouds rolled through but you got maybe a sprinkle here and there. So as I've been praying for the mission team in Boulder I've been praying for rain. Friday at 2 it started raining and it rained cold rain until Monday afternoon. Granted it was awesome to see God answering my prayer, but I had to remind myself of that when I was freezing and wet haha.

Because of that rain... when Miyoko and I went to her parents house on Saturday to hang out with her sisters she got a text message from a girl. This girl, Becca, was someone Miyoko had reached out to last school year and she was texting Miyoko to find out if we were having any kind of bible study over the summer. Miyoko looked at me and I said, " Well... we do now!" So we told her we were starting a women's bible talk on Mondays at 7pm on the lawn in front of my dorm! (more on that later)

Sunday we had a Luau and I got to meet more of the Denver Metro campus students which was nice. I also got to take a 3.5 hour nap which was awesome. I worked in the lab for 3 hours on saturday too so I was a little tired on Sunday!

All in all the week was very successful and set me up for a great fourth week of work!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Week 2

Wow!! Time surely flies by here! This past week was absolutely awesome! I'm actually getting some real work done in the lab! I sent out my first set of sequences on wednesday (sadly only 4 out of 11 actually worked) but that's more than zero!

Wednesday we had Boulder midweek with the group that is planting the Boulder church in the fall. Such a cool group of people! There are a few couples who were baptized in Boulder who are going to be sheparding the group! Amazing couples with really cool stories. The house we meet it is actually the house that the Boulder church started in many years ago so there's so much history here!

Thursday after a lot of reading in my lab time (since I was waiting for sequencing to come back) we had a group meeting where Andrea presented the data on her project. The background she gave was really helpful in helping me understand the goal of the lab as a whole. Then the three undergrads went out for lunch and talked which was pretty cool since it was out of the lab hang time.

Thursday night was really cool because the "singles" in the Boulder group went out to Scoot Carpenter park to play ultimate frisbee. It was a decent game and I was very proud that I held my own running in this altitude! It was then that I knew I was ready for Vail haha.

Friday after aligning a ton of sequences and after Tom School where we go over a paper that all the undergrads read... I packed to go camping in Vail, CO. Might I say camping in Colorado at this time is spectacular!!! It got down to ~40 but I had layers and a great sleeping bag/pad so I slept really well! We couldn't get a fire going because the wood was kind of wet and we think we were trying to burn Aspen (not easy.) But the stars were amazing. I've never seen so many stars in my entire life. They were everywhere!

The sun woke me up at 7:00 when it started to get hot and we were in Vail village by about 9:45. The Teva Mountain games were going on and I mainly watched the Bouldering events. SO cool. These people are ridiculously strong and quite competitive! I also racked up on free stuff because there were a ton of vendors there for the 1000's of people at the games!

In total, I ended up with 4 hats, 3 t shirts, 2 bags, 2 magazines, climbing chalk, a towel, and a free Jansport back pack that I won in a raffle! All in all I would say it was very productive!

Sunday, d group with the girls was great and Doug preached a great lessons on Josiah's faith. It was really cool. Then Sunday night Miyoko and Ryan and I went to Denver to celebrate Ryan's birthday with some people there. I haven't had so much fun out at a dinner with a group of people in a while. It was an awesome group and we were having such a great time that we ended up staying an hour after the restaurant closed (not on purpose though).

So now I'm back in the lab for week 3! We have no AC and it's in the 90's today so it's a little overwhelming. I am getting to try my own version of mutagenesis with a different template so if it works I'll be pretty proud! Tonight a group of SMART program students are going ice skating at the rec center after dinner which should be a cool ending to a long day!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 6, 7, 8 The Long Weekend

So I have officially been in Boulder for a week now. And the weekend was amazing! Miyoko and Crystyna picked me up on Saturday to go to the mall and do some shopping. I didn't buy anything but I did end up with a free Godiva Rewards Membership. (If you like free chocolate once a month you should definitely do this!) We then went to Noodles and Company which I had never been to before and I had some amazing Mac and cheese! After that was a target run. I had to get a ton of stuff for my dorm room including sheets and a pillow, and stuff like that (Thank you Emily for the SUPER helpful giftcard!) That night I saw Robin Hood with Miyoko and her boyfriend Ryan and that turned out to be a pretty good movie.

Sunday was awesome! We had women's d group before church and man was it nice to sit down with some disciple women. I forgot what a relief it was to spend time with disciples when you're the only disciple on a campus. Suzanne Beaty leads the North Denver Region and our d group and she was working the Boulder recruitment for grad school. There is such a cool parallel to the Clemson mission team here. There used to be a campus ministry in Boulder of 200 students with a Boulder church that had about 600 people. About 100 of those students went into the ministry. Just like Clemson... except Clemson was on a much smaller scale. So right now they are planning the kick off for the Boulder mission team to start in August! They just hired new campus leaders who will be here in July and midweeks will now be in Boulder for people who will be on the team! I'm so excited to get to be here for the planning of this team but it definitely pulls at my heart strings to hear about all of it starting!

I got to talk to Veronique for a while that night which was amazing and long over due! I walked all the way to The Hill (35 min from my hotel and across campus) so I scoped out the area some before I walked back home.

Today was really cool! I moved onto campus which is absolutely amazing! The pictures on this post are of the entry way to my dorm and then the zoom view of the mountains from the entry way. I then got to meet a lot of the SMART Colorado students because they all got here today so I'm super grateful that there are finally more people to hang out with! This evening I got to go to a park down the street and hike some on the mountains... AMAZING.. and it'll probably be my new prayer spot. Then explored some more of the Hill to find some good eating places!

All in all a very great break and tomorrow I get to continue my project in the lab, go to Radiation Safety class, and then meet TOM CECH!! I'm super excited about that!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day Four and Five- I'm definitely here to learn something

So my prayer has been that God would put the stepping stones in my path to lead me on a straight path that I can't miss. I'm finding that I'm supposed to get a lot more out of this summer than an amazing research experience.

I had an incredibly helpful conversation with one of the post docs, Andrea, in the lab yesterday. She gave me some amazing tips about how to pick a grad school and what to look for. Then today I had another conversation with a different post doc, Jacob, who is interested in teaching as well and he was just as helpful! Dr. Cech's lab is full of people with great advice to pass along. Elaine takes the time to super explain the project I'm working on and answer any questions I have about the big picture. Art is my advisor in the lab and I'm grateful that he lets me follow him around and learn from his every move.

He gave me a paper to read that further explains the project I'm working on. It's so cool to see how Dr. Cech looks at the whole picture of a project and the connection it makes to society. I can't write about it on here but I'm so excited about how everything can come together!

The other benefit to being here is that there is an awesome group of people in the church for me to learn from. Suzanne Beaty is in the north region and will be leading our d group on sunday mornings, Barri Lusk has walked me through so much of what is going on in Denver/ Boulder right now and I don't think I'd get anywhere without Miyoko Kim this summer. I'm really looking forward to getting to know all these women and so many more people this summer!

I'm off to eat now but will be sleeping in tomorrow because I don't have to get up at 7 to go to lab! Yay Saturday!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day Three- The project begins!

So I actually got to do some work today which was very exciting! I had to be in the lab at 8 (it'll take me a while to adjust to that actually!)

Last night I had dinner at the restaurant in my hotel. It was a pretty cool place because they have live Blues music almost every night. However eating alone is not preferable. I had something called a Bo burger which is actually a cheeseburger with a fried egg on top. Very tasty if I do say so myself. And everyone can be surprised because I finished the entire burger and all the fries in record time. (my guess is that was because I was very hungry and had no one to talk to! haha)

Today my day started of in a tissue culture lab watching Art Zaug (my advisor in the lab) grow human kidney cells with certain amounts of telomerase. Pretty cool, and I have orientation for using this lab next week!

I then finally got to pick up a pipette! (Feel free to pick on me for that statement)
I got to put together PCR reactions for the mutations I'm working with. I was only supposed to do the six original ones and save the other 5 for tomorrow but I'm staying later to work on the other 5 so I can move this project along quickly!

I forgot how much down time there was in a lab when you're first starting a project. Since I don't have multiple things to be working on right now, I have to wait for things to run. (Today the record time is a 4 hour wait!)

Tomorrow I'll get to start transforming cells with my mutations and finish up to digestion of my last 5 PCRs.

For anyone who would like to write me you can send mail or packages ;) to:

Kristina Kesel
SMART Program
University of Colorado-Boulder
347 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0347

Tonight, I'm meeting up with Miyoko, the former intern in the Boulder campus ministry, to go to midweek! Hopefully that'll give me a good chance to meet some people!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day Two- I've actually learned something in college

Today was a different kind of day for me. I woke up feeling super sick still and have had so much water to drink you wouldn't believe! I walked straight to the lab this morning and didn't get lost like yesterday.

- I think it's a requirement for me to get lost for an hour in a new place. It happened in Clemson too!-

I spent seven hours on campus today and didn't touch a single pipette or flask. I spent the day observing and taking notes. It was different than my typical lab experience. I should get to start on my project tomorrow morning which will be awesome!! I was pretty excited today though because I followed every conversation that took place. I knew what everyone in the lab was referring to and could actually ask relevant questions. It was nice to know that I've learned enough not only in research but also in the class room to actually hold my ground in a lab!

The people in the lab are incredibly nice. And everyone smiles all the time! A little different from what you might expect right??

I have an incredibly early day tomorrow (early for me that is) so I'm heading to bed!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day One- Getting to Boulder

So I rode my first jet today. The flights flew by but it was weird getting to Denver at almost the same time I left Cincinnati. The Denver airport was HUGE and a little confusing but eventually I figured it out.

A senior staff scientist from the lab picked me up at the airport and drove me to my hotel to drop my stuff off and then to the lab to check things out. The hotel is a super hippy hotel but seems like it'll be a really chill place to live for a week. It is all the way across campus from my lab though and I don't know exactly how to get back but I have a map so it'll be my first adventure.

Everyone I met in the lab today was really nice. There is one other undergrad and he's been working in the lab for two weeks already so we won't be at the same place with our projects. The stuff I'll be doing will be an extended look at the processes I already use in Sehorn's lab. Except, I'm starting at the very beginning by creating my own mutations in this gene and then all the way on to expression of the respective proteins. Luckily the middle stuff I have a little bit of experience in.

Sadly, I won't get to meet Tom Cech until next week because he is out of town but apparently I get a two hour meeting with him to do introductions so I'm looking forward to that!

I have now finished my lunch and am going to make my way back to my hotel in order to try to take a nap. I've already been up for 12 hours today and it's only 2:00pm here! I got the scoop on the most "Boulder representative" places to go so I might check some of them out!

I'm also going to give Miyoko, the intern who used to work in the Boulder campus ministry a call today to let her know I'm in town and maybe we'll get to meet up then!

And so begins the adventure...