Sunday, April 30, 2017

It’s hard to believe that my time in New Orleans is almost over. It’s been a crazy year full of its ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade my experiences for the world. Deciding to move to a city in the part of the country I have never lived in was terrifying, but so worth some of its stresses. Tulane and this program have been an excellence choice for me and I am so happy I took this leap.

In April, I continued my work with the SPCA. I am glad that I got to continue to volunteer with animals this month and continue to help with the animals of this community. I was also lucky to volunteer with the Starbucks community. April is Starbuck’s month of giving back to the communities we work in. We worked with the NOLA Tree Project again. I am glad that I got the chance to work with such a great organization again. I highly recommend checking this organization out for those considering a different form a community outreach.

As part of our community service, our Environmental Signaling class collected dirt samples from around New Orleans and its surrounding areas. These samples were then tested for the presence of lead and other metals. High lead levels in soil can be very dangerous for both children and adults. After Katrina, the level profile of the city changed and our collection of dirt helps to fill in that profile a little bit more.

Again I am so grateful for the opportunity that Tulane has given me and everything that Tulane has to offer. And for the last time – peace, love, and beignets.

April’s service hours: 8 hours

Semester’s total hours: 18.5 hours

Total year’s hours: 49 hours

Friday, March 31, 2017

March was such a crazy month. After coming back from spring break, I delved right into studying for the shelf exam. I have never studied for something as much as I did for that exam and hopefully I never have to again - definitely way too much stress. But hopefully my hard work payed off and I did well (I have a good feeling about it).

I was able to volunteer this month. I have started spending time at the Jefferson Parish SPCA. I have found that this is a great way to break up my week, and I get to pretend that I have a pet for a little bit of time. I get to walk the dogs, groom them, and just offer them so human interaction. The SPCA does both long term and short term fostering programs and I am greatly considering doing this. This one dog, Dauphine, is the sweetest and I truly wish I could adopt her. I might have to settle for just a weekend with her but that's better than nothing. 

The program is beginning to wind down and its exciting and sad all at the same time. I have learned so much from this program and will be forever grateful for making the choice to come to Tulane. The city, my professors, and the others in the program have taught me so much. I am excited to see what the next two months have in store for me in New Orleans. Until next time – peace, love, and beignets.
Volunteer hours this month: 5.5 hours
Total hours: 10.5 hours

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February has been a great month. I didn't get the chance to volunteer this month, but I really got to get out into New Orleans and experience my first Mardi Gras.

School has been in full force for February. At the beginning of the month we had our exams for the Psychology Block and we ended the month with the Endocrine/Reproductive Block exams. The psychology block has been one of my favorites of the year so far because I really enjoyed the complexity of it and all the drugs that are involved in psychiatric care.

March is going to be an interesting month as well. Our Basic Principles of Pharmacology class is over as well as Medical Pharmacology. Our schedule has gotten lighter, but our Shelf Exam for Medical Pharmacology is coming up and I've already made 400 note cards (and counting) for it. I am nervous for it, but I think my copious amounts of note cards will help.

These past two weeks have been full of my first Mardi Gras festivities. I love how this city treats Mardi Gras as a bigger deal than Christmas. Watching the parades and having my best friend visit from home has been an incredible experience, surely one I will always remember -- thanks to the hundreds of throws that now inhabit my apartment. Until next time: peace, love, and Mardi

Total volunteer hours: 5

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

December and January have been great months. Christmas and the New Year brought good times with friends and families, even though it rained pretty much all of New Year's Even in New Orleans.

Classes have continued to go well and this semester is definitely jam packed, which is proving to test my time management skills. Between classes, studying, and applying for a PhD program, I was able to spend a few hours at KIPP as well as get involved with community service and my coworkers.

At KIPP, I have jumped back into helping both administrators and teachers with projects. At the moment, I (and some other students) are still working on filing and keeping student records up to date. As the semester grows, I look forward to what other projects we may get to help with.

I am lucky enough to work for a great company that believes in getting involved with the communities that they have locations in. Starbucks every MLK day does a day of service and this year I was lucky enough to have gotten to participate in New Orleans. This year, I helped out with the NOLA Tree Project, which is involved in growing stronger communities and disaster relief. One of their big projects in New Orleans is planting community orchards in low income neighborhoods. This was such a great opportunity and I am grateful that I got the chance to get involved in this organization and I hope to continue to help in my time in New Orleans.

January Service Hours: 5

On a side note, I was also able to visit the World War II Museum. If you get the chance to visit the museum, you absolutely should. This is one of the best history museums I have been in - it made you feel like you were walking through the Pacific islands or in the forests of Europe.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November was a whirlwind of a month. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been in New Orleans for the better part of the year. It doesn’t feel like any time has passed because it doesn’t feel as if there is any difference in the weather. It is still sunny and 70 almost every day. It is so baffling for me because growing up in Ohio, I’m used to November being in the 30s or 40s with a chance of snow half of the month. At the same time though, it is nice because I haven’t had to break out my winter coat yet.

I have continued with my volunteering a KIPP. For the better part of November, we have been helping to update their files for all of their students. While the work can be tedious, it is nice that there is a bunch of us working together.

In addition to working with KIPP, I have continued to work with the SPCA. They held an auction in mid-November calling Howling Success. This is an auction whose proceeds go to various programs put on the SPCA like the community clinic, which aids in spaying and neutering pets, and humane education. At the auction, I helped patrons with any questions they had about the silent auction items as well as how to place a bid. It was a great time and I definitely enjoy helping out with the SPCA.
It’s crazy that December is almost here, but with that bring Christmas and the new year. I am excited that I get a break from studying for a little while but it’s hard to believe that I am almost half way through the program. So, again, until next time – peace, love, and beignets.

November volunteer hours: 10

Total hours: 25.5 hours

December has been a blast. It finally is "cold" here which means that sometimes the weather is below 60 degrees. In the midst of preparing for the last round of exams, I continued to volunteer for KIPP. We continued to help pass out supplies, organize files, and even make giant Christmas trees to hang around the school. I'm glad that the semester is over and I can't wait to see what the spring brings!

December volunteer hours: 5
Total hours: 30,5 hours

Monday, October 31, 2016

October has definitely been one of my most fun months in New Orleans, and that's because I have finally started to step more outside of my comfort zone. I've gotten into a little bit of a routine and that helps out a lot as well.

I have continued my work at the KIPP schools, both the primary school and the high school. I really enjoy getting to work with the high school biology students and put my undergraduate and current grad school knowledge to work. With the primary school, we have continued to help out with administrative things that help the school run smoother. I like this work too because I understand the need to have the behind the scenes things be in order for the teachers and staff to get everything done that they need to. I also sat in on one of the primary school’s pep rallies and I thought that was pretty special. I'm definitely looking forward to finding other volunteering opportunities in the upcoming months as well.

I was able to travel some this month, back home to Ohio for a wedding, to Lake Charles (where the picture was taken)
and Hammond for some more Louisiana exposure. I loved that I was able to explore more places that just New Orleans, and it has definitely given me more of an appreciation for the South.

I’m excited to see what the last two months of 2016 bring for me in New Orleans, although I am excited to go home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Until next time – peace, love, and beignets.

Volunteer Hours in October: 4 

Total hours: 15.5 hours

Sunday, September 25, 2016

September has gone by with a blink of an eye. It seems that just yesterday it was Labor Day and I could still pretend that summer was still around. But alas, its almost time for my favorite season and some of my favorite things - jumping in piles of leaves and bonfires.

September might have been a whirlwind, but I continued my volunteering at KIPP. We've helped them out by continuing to organize parts of the media center and getting together materials for standardize testing. I also managed to fix the broken laminator with no prior knowledge, so that's definitely a small win for me!

Another thing we are starting is helping out at the KIPP high school down the road. We are helping out the freshman biology teacher with the labs the run on Fridays. This week I was helping the kids with graphing, independent vs. dependent variables, and testable vs. nontestable hypotheses. I had a good time and I can't wait to continue to help out with the class now and again.

I have also started to volunteer for the Louisiana SPCA. I love animals and volunteering with the SPCA is as close as I can get to adopting an animal right now. The SPCA had their biggest event this past weekend, Nola on Tap. This was a huge festival held in City Park with over 400 different vendors and 25,000+ festival goers. This event raises up to $250,000 for the SPCA so that they can continue to shelter and find homes for the animals of Louisiana.
Our roles for the day were to help take pictures of the event for the SPCA to use on their website and other social media sites potentially. I am excited to continue to help out with the SPCA in other capacities as well.

Until next time -- peace, love, and beignets.

Volunteer hours for September: 11.5 hours