Friday, August 17, 2012

Safely Home


I was going to wait to post once I had the pictures from my trip to London/Paris, but it is taking much longer than I expected to organize them. I will post them as soon as I can, but just wanted to say that I am safely home.


Monday, August 13, 2012

The last two weeks...what??

Heyyy everyone!

So I meant to submit this one like last week but realized I only saved it as a draft...sooo oops here it is:

Its crazy to see that you are all leaving...i still have two whole weeks left! Last weekend (Sat- Monday) I was in London! It was probably my favorite trip so far...mainly because I got to see GIANT OVER 6 FEET TALL athletes at every street corner. They were required to wear an Olympic tag so I could easily identify them! I was able to book an incredibly cheap flight. On Saturday, I visited Hyde Park and went to high tea..soooo british of me, I know. I met four other people from Emory and we ate fish and chips together. I also got to watch the marathon and triathalon for free. I did the super touristy things on Sunday...the palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the London Eye, etc...I even saw the hospital where I was born. I came home absolutely exhausted though since I tried to cram in so much tourism in such a short period of time....definitely worth it though! My camera ran out of batteries pretty early, so I was only able to take a few photos:

In lab this week my mentor and I are working to finish our N-Heterocyclic carbene catalyst paper, and we hope to submit soon. I have spent the majority of the week perfecting my analytics for all of my catalysts (for exampel, H NMR, C NMR, HR-mass spec, IR-spectrum) so it is "publishable quality." I am now converting the data to text form in the supplemental materials section. Honestly, it has been rather stressful week and I've had to put in long hours to repeat a few experiments.

This weekend I will be going to Basel (in die Schweiz) on Saturday for a day trip with two of my lab mates. On Sunday I will go to Europapark, which is the largest amusement park in Germany and located quite conveniently to Heidelberg.

On a sad note I've had to say goodbye to some close friends this week. Its strange to think that I might never see them again :/ We will definitely try to keep in touch though...and who knows, maybe I'll be back in Germany sometime soon..wishful thinking perhaps??

Until next time,


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chao Bolivia!

It's finally here....the end of my time in Bolivia. I'm sitting in a cafe waiting for my flight to Colombia, where I will spend a week with my family in Bogota! This past week we finished developing our curriculum and educational materials. The curriculum is designed to teach women of reproductive age in Bolivia about vitamin supplementation--the importance of vitamins, which ones are needed by women and children under 5, and how to take each one. Our curriculum is intended to be used by NGOs, community members, and hospital staff and is divided into sections with learning activities and handouts for the mothers. We're hoping this curriculum will help break down some of the barriers to adherence including lack of knowledge and adequate health counseling.

This past weekend we visited the Uyuni Salt Flats--the world's largest salt flat and Bolivia's number one tourist attraction. It was...BEAUTIFUL. But also freezing... living in Hotlanta all my life did not prepare me for such weather. We took a three-day jeep tour and saw lagoons of all different colors, beautiful mountains, flamingoes, the Salvador Dali desert, and rocks in the shapes of trees. I've never seen so many beautiful landscapes! And driving across an all-white terrain was surreal. We also took several silly perspective pictures as it is the tourist custom. One of the highlights from our weekend was the 2nd evening when we got a brief break from the cold and swam in the hot springs. It wasn't easy getting back out and trying to put our 13 layers of clothing back on as quickly as possible, but it was worth it.

Perspective fun: hanging out in a shoe
Giant Lauren

Fish Island: featuring lots of cacti
Lunch on the salt flats
Our hostel for night 1...everything was made of salt!


La Montana de las Siete Colores (Mountain of 7 Colors)

Arbol de Piedra (Tree of Stone)

Red Lagoon

Green Lagoon

A beautiful  vicuña
I'm so grateful for my summer here...I've had so many great experiences learning and working with our Bolivian collaborators, shadowing in a pediatric hospital, and exploring the diverse and beautiful country of Bolivia. Mil gracias to Dr. Roesch, Dr. Quinones, and the IRES program for making it all possible! Can't wait to see everyone back in the ATL...and can't wait for some warm weather, either :)


Tuesday, August 7, 2012


it's my last day in Madagascar, in fact, we're down to the final hours and I'm pretty sad about the whole thing.  I've been traveling around the city today and I realize how much more rich (both culturally and monetarily) it is than I had thought it to be previously.

My time here has been completely invaluable and I don't think I would trade it for the world.

I have experienced more cultural exchange, more generosity, more carefreeness, more genuineness, more happiness than I have ever experienced in my life

I can only describe the people here as amazing.  The people who I have worked with have been an indelible impression on me that I will remember for the rest of my life certainly

Zaka - he's been the funniest, happiest, friendliest person to work with

Dina - he's never managed to not bring a crowd of people to hysterics, whether in English, Malagasy, or Engagasy

Justin - has always managed to keep things calm and relaxed and never failed to keep a smile on people's faces no matter how many days we had gone without showering

These guys have worked beyond hard to help us and the communities we've been working with

Chris, Rachel, Sarah - Despite how many times we almost killed each other, whether it was because I put a duck in your tent or because someone was singing a made up song at 5 in the morning, I still love you guys and would not let down and opportunity to do it again

Tom- Thank you for providing me with this awesome project to work on and be apart of

Cathy, Leah - Thank you guys for awarding me with the IRES Grant.  You've been beyond helpful with every piece of advice you had given me for this trip, no matter how many times I made fun of the fanny packs (or money belts), I didn't get pick-pocketed or robbed or mugged or hurt and so thank you guys for that.

Money People (funders) - Thank you so much for giving our school the money to make IRES happen

Be back soon and see you guys all at Emory


Friday, August 3, 2012

last post :(

This summer has been absolutely amazing.  It was so much harder than expected to say bye to everyone in the lab--they took me out to lunch, got me a gelato recipe book (so I can still have it in the US!...they know me too well), and then I went to happy hour with the people that are our age from the lab. 

After Milan, I met Eurico in Portugal! Lisbon is awesome and the beaches of South Portugal are the best. Then I took the overnight train to Madrid and am meeting Maite in Toledo tomorrow.

While looking through photos, I realized that IRES has given me the opportunity to visit 5 countries (6 if you count the Vatican), 14 cities (see below), and make friends from all over the world.  This summer was unforgettable, and I can't wait to read the blog posts for the IRES Class of 2013.

The ultimate Eurotrip:

Colosseum and Roman Forum

Piazza San Marco

Mole Antonelliana

Roomies! -- Although George Clooney was here the same
weekend that we were, we never ended up seeing him 

Feeding the swans

Colonne di San Lorenzo

Cinque Terre
Most amazing views of the whole trip!



IRES meets the wilderness
(in front of Mount Pilatus from the base of Mount Rigi)


Praça do Comércio

Famous pastries from Pasteis de Belem

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

View from the house

Best seafood I've ever tasted
Traditional beach houses


Museo Reina Sofía -- imitating Dali's legendary mustache .  This museum was my favorite of the trip with many Dali and Picasso pieces.  The famous Guernica is also housed there! 

With Maite in Toledo!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Better late than never!

Heyy all! I am sorry for my lack of recent updates...I have been incredibly busy. Last week a few close family friends came to visit me for the week. We spent the week in Heidelberg and then on the weekend traveled to first steps in France! 

Crepes...even better than the American pancake!!!

View of the entire city...its quite the looker :)

Really interesting cathedral...we climbed up stairs for like an hour to get to the top but well worth it!

In the lab I have been experimenting with various imines and isonitriles and different methods of isonitrile formation for optimization. I have also continued with my platinum catalysis tests and reporting the analytics for these reactions. It was frustrating because one of the starting materials necessary for my reactions was somehow contaminated by another source...of course I did not find this out until all of my long days work was finished. But I guess that is just chemistry have to expect some mistakes every now and then..maybe the third time will be the charm?? I have distilled the starting material for impurities and will try again tomorrow. On a positive note, I have become quite familiar with Gas Chromotagraphy and Mass specs for analyzing catalysis. Sadly though all of the bachelor (aka German undergraduate students) have finished and are now on there vacations so the lab seems somewhat empty. It is also vacation time for several of the PhD students. Also, it is incredibly hot here...but unlike in the states there is NO AC in the lab! In fact, a few of the PhD students took the afternoon off of work to just go for a swim because the heat was becoming intolerable. We also made ice cream with liquid nitrogen to combat the heat...typical chemistry nerds :)

As for traveling I'm leaving for London at 6 am this Saturday! I found a 35 Euro round trip Ryanair flight! I will come back monday morning. I'm so excited to see such a bustling city because of the OLYPMICS! I have been watching the olympics like crazy (our lab streams it while we work) but now I'm going to be there...literally in the heart of the 2012 London olympics. (I'll believe it when I see it).  I'm staying with some friends from Emory who are studying abroad at the London School of Economics. Unfortunately I lost my camera charger but hopefully I can find a new one in the next few days so I can post London pictures. 

Until next time...which will not be that long again!