Dr. GetReal or How I Learned to Love the Genesee River

What a long and short two weeks it has been… I don’t even think I remember my own graduation ceremony anymore. The day-to-day is starting to settle in and I’m (almost) starting to get the hang of things.

A lot of the concepts I’m learning make sense at a basic level, but I had not given them as much comprehensive thought as I had until now. I always thought that scientific skills always outweighed straight content in terms of importance in a classroom, but I had never found an answer as to how to effectively implement all the skills I wish I had had when I took my intro courses in undergrad. With the newly found knowledge on scientific literacy, all of my former courses look very different in my mind. I better understand why the ones I liked and the ones that challenged me in a positive way were effective. At the same time, it also puts into context why some of the courses I took were not as good at developing my scientific mind (sorry, orgo II, you will forever be repressed in my subconscious).

I’ve gone on more field trips this week than I have in the past year, and I did not know that the city of Rochester had so much natural beauty to offer. Between the three falls and the edge of Lake Ontario, the Genesee river is amazing, especially through a scientific lens. There are so many experiments that can be done using the river and the local nature as a framework to tie it all in, plus it is stunning to look at. I mean there was a swan’s nest in plain sight while I was standing on a walkway at a part the river that would make a Hollywood location scout salivate. Those board of tourism people need a swift kick in the rear if you ask me…

One las thing: I’m starting to think Rochester is really my adopted city now. Sure I’ve gone to school here but now I am really asked to engage in its local history and be part of a solution to its problems. The outings have definitely contributed to that.  To help a community means being a part of that community, which means understanding the pride and joy of that community and I gotta tell ya, there is a lot to admire about the city (and I’m not just talking about garbage plates and Wegmans).

Asa reward for reading through all of that, here is yet another comic from “Surviving the World.” If you want to see the rest of the archive go to http://survivingtheworld.net/. Do it, they’re chock full of scientific and life humor.



Bye for now!

What do you do with a B.S. in Ecology?

I was always an okay student. I graduated high school and college (as of yesterday) with no particular distinctions. My favorite classes in high school were science and English, which then became the subjects of my major and minor respectively. I was a mediocre student, but I genuinely loved to learn.

I always thought experiments were the coolest things ever. That’s why while the rest of my classmates dreaded double-period labs I enjoyed them. So I entered U of R as biochemistry major, combining my two favorite (or at the very least, not physics) science subjects into one major. Then came Bio 112. One frustrating professor, class, and C+ later, I almost lost my love of science.

I almost gave up being a biology major altogether to pursue my other passion, creative writing, but I held out for one semester and with the next bio course came a new professor and a new focus: Ecology. I loved the crap out of ecology. It didn’t seem like a bunch of people in lab coats huddled around a microscope, it was real people, going outdoors and gathering data and still making the same impact in the scientific community.  By the end of my freshman year, I was determined to be an ecology and evolutionary biology major, because I found a department who focused more on the joy of discovery than competition for med schools. In my ecology classes, I was never asked to memorize incredibly complex pathways, I was simply asked to use my critical thinking and use my knowledge to make viable conclusions. This was what I wanted from my scientific education, and I’m blessed to have received it.

Before I sign off I want to leave with my favorite science quote:

“Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.”

Yes, that is from Agent Kay in Men in Black, but it raises a good point. What we know today is not what we will know tomorrow and that is what makes science awesome!

I will also leave a webcomic from “Surviving the World.” It is scientific, it is thought-provoking, and sometimes just plain funny. This one is called “Teaching Beginnings” and I think is worth the laugh. Thankfully we have the guidance from the amazing Warner faculty and know not to use the tips below.


Bye for now! Go GRS!