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Wordsworth Day One: Discovering ‘the loveliest spot that man hath ever found’

Posted by: on May 26, 2015   |Comments (0)|Undergraduate Research

tarnalMaymester in England
A group of English majors is currently abroad in England as part of the Maymester course, Wordsworth in the Lake District. After a week of study at PC, the students traveled to Grasmere, Wordsworth’s home in the picturesque English Lake District. They are working at the Jerwood Centre and the Wordsworth Museum, where most of the poet’s books and manuscripts are stored. This three-credit course offers a unique opportunity to study a writer’s works in the place where he lived, and to visit the exact places he described. Throughout the week, students in the course will be recounting their experiences as part of this blog. We invite you to “go on the journey” with them.

Today, our first full day in Grasmere, we walked to Dove Cottage to meet Jeff Cowton, curator of the Wordsworth Trust. We started with a tour of Dove Cottage to set the mood; it is lovely. We saw many objects that belonged to William, and were able to walk through the garden. It certainly is “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found.” We also walked through the museum, where we saw not only more objects, but also the work that the trust does with those who suffer memory loss. After this, we went into the library and began our work with manuscripts!

We learned how to handle manuscripts and other museum objects in ways that protect and preserve them. Jeff showed us the oldest surviving letter from Dorothy, as well as many of William’s letters. The amount of manuscripts held at the Trust is incredible. What is even more amazing is that we will be working with these manuscripts and finishing a project that will impact the future visitors of Dove Cottage.

-Patricia Krupinski ’16

Hiking TrailAfter lunch we hiked the hills behind Dove Cottage, often pausing our trek to view Grasmere, glimmering green with sheep spotted pastures and surrounded by steep hills and crags. The sights were breathtaking; and with each breath we took we filled our lungs with sweet fresh air and our minds with inspiration. We saw similar sights that the Wordsworths viewed over 200 years ago, and we felt the same clear-headedness and elevation of spirit that William captured in his poetry. It is no wonder he considered Grasmere a place “Of majesty, and beauty, and repose, a blended holiness of earth and sky.”

We ate dinner in Dove Cottage, in a room where Dorothy could have sat writing her journals and where William would have worked countless times. We even tried seed cake made from a recipe the Wordsworths used. We discussed Dove Cottage’s effects on visitors, learning the dynamics of a museum. All the while, however, we felt the same strong pulls of history and inspiration stirring within us with each bite of seed cake and with each crackle of the coals in the fireplace. It was truly an amazing day.

-Nick Tavares ’16

Maymester in England A group of English majors is currently abroad in England as part of the Maymester course, Wordsworth in the Lake District. After a week of study at PC, the students traveled to Grasmere, Wordsworth’s home in the picturesque English Lake District. They are working at the Jerwood Centre and the Wordsworth Museum, where […]MORE

Stevens and Satisfaction: The end

Posted by: on May 21, 2015   |Comments (0)|Undergraduate Research

Wallace-StevensThe goal of my research project was to learn more about the life of modern American poet, Wallace Stevens, and to decide whether or not his conversion to Roman Catholicism on his deathbed should be considered authentic.

In addition, I hoped to determine if there are any signs of a conversion could be seen in Stevens’ poetry. I read biographies of Stevens, as well as interviews, criticisms, and his own poetic collections for my preliminary research. Then, I wrote on a weekly basis about my thoughts and discoveries. My Honors Independent Research Project turned out to be 43 pages or 16,000 words—just about thesis length (but who’s counting?). I focused on four of his poems—Anecdote of Men by the Thousands, Sunday Morning, Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction, and Of Mere Being—as well as accounts about his final days. I believe that I wrote a convincing paper about why Wallace Stevens’ conversion to Catholicism at the end of his life should be viewed as genuine, and also about the indicators of his affinity for religion that I noted throughout his poetic career.

I plan on continuing to research this project. I felt crunched for time at the end of the semester, and I wish that I could have devoted more time to polishing this paper. But, I still have more reading and thinking to do, and I also plan to write more about this topic. It is close to my heart, and I want to develop my argument to the best of my ability.

Although I found this assignment to be very challenging at times, in hindsight, this is one of my favorite academic experiences as a student at Providence College. I am proud of myself for finishing this project, and I am satisfied with the end result. I couldn’t have asked for a better advisor than Dr. Hogan. He was knowledgeable, flexible, and he always provided me with the encouragement that I needed. I could not have turned out a finished product of this caliber without him. I found it very helpful to meet with him on a weekly basis and to bounce my ideas off of him because they often turned into even better thoughts. This honors independent research project/thesis helped me to grow as a person and in my faith. I found personal inspiration in the life-story and the poetry of Wallace Stevens, and I believe that to complete an essay of this length and depth allowed me to become more organized, self-disciplined, and efficient. I would absolutely recommend conducting research to other students who consider themselves to be up to the task.

The goal of my research project was to learn more about the life of modern American poet, Wallace Stevens, and to decide whether or not his conversion to Roman Catholicism on his deathbed should be considered authentic. In addition, I hoped to determine if there are any signs of a conversion could be seen in […]MORE

A better scientist because of opportunity

Posted by: on May 20, 2015   |Comments (0)|Undergraduate Research

rogersOn April 18th, Matthew Sanborn ’15 and I attended the annual Eastern Colleges Science Conference (ECSC) at Niagara University. The day before, we had taken the long drive to the city of Niagara Falls so we could see the falls. ECSC is a relatively small conference, typically hosting representatives from about 20-30 universities. All of the students in attendance are undergraduates, who give oral platform presentations or poster presentations. It’s a great conference because it’s interesting to see what other undergraduates are doing as research. Also, both the platform presentations and poster presentations are judged as part of a competition. As always, it was fun to meet undergraduates from other schools.

I gave a platform presentation at this conference titled “Characterization of Yeast Bax Inhibitor, bxi1, Function in Cell Death, the Unfolded Protein Response, and Calcium Signaling in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.” The presentation was centered on research done over a number of years by many students. Specifically, our work suggests that the yeast Bax Inhibitor gene has functions both in programmed cell death and the unfolded protein response in yeast. Both programmed cell death and the unfolded protein response are ancient molecular pathways found in organisms from yeast to humans, so learning more about how these processes work is fascinating basic research.

sanborn1I have given a few poster presentations before, but this was my first time ever giving an oral presentation. I was nervous, but I found that I really enjoyed giving my talk. I learned later in the night that I had won an award for the best poster presentation in my group of talks, which I was very happy to receive. The conference was a nice way to round off my senior year in the lab. I’m sad to be leaving PC and the lab soon, but I will always remember what I have learned here. I think that my research in Father Austriaco’s lab has helped me become more competent as a scientist — both in my way of thinking and in my skills at the bench. I hope that many others will have the opportunity for a great undergraduate research experience, just as I have had.

On April 18th, Matthew Sanborn ’15 and I attended the annual Eastern Colleges Science Conference (ECSC) at Niagara University. The day before, we had taken the long drive to the city of Niagara Falls so we could see the falls. ECSC is a relatively small conference, typically hosting representatives from about 20-30 universities. All of […]MORE

A Look Back: Research of Healthcare was a Highlight

Posted by: on May 13, 2015   |Comments (0)|Undergraduate Research

Hi! I completed my independent study for the semester just now, but let me catch you up on what that entailed! With the help of Sabrina Guilbeault ’18, I conducted my research experiment in March and April. We each called 110 primary care practices in Rhode Island, posing as patients with both HealthSource RI coverage and Employer-Based coverage to see when we could get the soonest appoiACA-reportMNntments. We did not actually make these appointments, but came up with a last minute out so as not to disrupt their care delivery!

We found that there was not a large discrepancy between HealthSource RI and Employer-Based Coverage recipients getting access to care. However, we did find that less than 40% of the surveyed practices were accepting new patients all together.  Most notably, we also encountered issues between the providers and insurance company’s communication. For example, the insurance company would list disconnected numbers for the providers in their directory–or worse, had issues with whether or not the provider was in the insurance’s network. Overall, there were considerable access barriers in Rhode Island, which were consistent with issues across the nation.

As for the teaching and further research pieces, Dr. Hackey, Dr. O, and I are going to work on those over the summer. I am also going to submit my independent study for publication review before I start grad school in the fall! Thanks for the research opportunities, PC!  They were definitely highlights of my undergrad career!

Dani

Hi! I completed my independent study for the semester just now, but let me catch you up on what that entailed! With the help of Sabrina Guilbeault ’18, I conducted my research experiment in March and April. We each called 110 primary care practices in Rhode Island, posing as patients with both HealthSource RI coverage […]MORE

Slow and Steady: Science Takes Time

Posted by: on April 16, 2015   |Comments (0)|Undergraduate Research

stephenrSince the beginning of the semester, we [some biology students and Father Nic Austriaco] have been working on two research projects with yeast. We are continuing with the work I wrote about last time, in which we are attempting to see how aneuploidy, or the possession of an incorrect number of chromosomes, affects programmed cell death in yeast. As a part of this project, we are still working to knock out the gene YCA1, which is responsible for yeast programmed cell death, from our aneuploid cells. This work has proven to be difficult despite multiple attempts under different conditions. Father Austriaco has been helping us work through the work, but progress has been slow.

Since I started doing research after freshman year, I have come to realize that research almost always seems to proceed slowly like this project, but I have also learned that even the frustrating times are a worthwhile learning experience. In addition to this research, Alexandra Chasse ’17 and I have just begun another project, in which we are attempting to force yeast to clump together using molecular biology. Doing so would, in a sense, make the yeast multicellular. To do so, we will introduce the gene encoding the human protein E-cadherin to our yeast. This protein helps hold human epithelial cells together, so the hope is that it will be able to hold yeast together in the same way. If this project is successful, we will examine any physiological changes in the yeast once they begin clumping.

In a few days, I will travel with Matthew Sanborn ’17 and students from other research labs at PC to the Eastern Colleges Science Conference (ECSC) at Niagara University to deliver an oral presentation about the research that our lab has been doing. I’m excited to get to give a presentation like this for the first time, but I still have some work to do on it before we leave. I’ll give on update on how the conference went once we return.

Until next time,

Stephen

Since the beginning of the semester, we [some biology students and Father Nic Austriaco] have been working on two research projects with yeast. We are continuing with the work I wrote about last time, in which we are attempting to see how aneuploidy, or the possession of an incorrect number of chromosomes, affects programmed cell […]MORE