Thursday, April 20, 2017

Deserts and Demos Night!

The chemistry students and faculty put on a demo night for the campus.  The demonstrations ranged between sophisticated oscillating clock reactions to igniting methane bubbles!  Nearly 100 people turned out for the event.








The Galapagos and the Amazon!

The Galapagos 

Jenny was not able to go to the Galapagos. It was really sad not having her there. She was having a lot of trouble just trying to sit up in bed so maybe walking across the beach wouldn't have been a good idea. 

Ariel on the other hand had an amazing time! Day one was spent walking along a beach called Tortuga Bay. The walk just to get to the beach wasn't so fun... "It was the length of like 10 football fields no joke" (Ariel's voice). Despite the long walk the beach was beautiful. We swam with some baby sharks and saw some marine iguanas catching a tan. Overall a great first day! 

Day two was spent sailing to an island called Bartolome. It took about 2 hours and we walked to the top of the island and learned about magma rocks. Afterwards we went snorkeling. That was awesome!! We saw starfish, sharks and lots of coral. For lunch we had spaghetti which was really delicious. On the way back most of us laid at the front of the boat and took naps until we saw some dolphins swimming with us ! They were doing flips and tricks as we sailed. We also saw a whale, a sea turtle and a shark on the way back as well. Our nights were usually spent walking around the island and shopping. 

Day three was spent at a farm where we saw tortoises and walked through a lava tube. The rest of the day we went on a tour and then went to a canal called Las Greitas. Here salt water and fresh water are mixed. Its about 12 meters deep and was really fun. On the last day we went to the Charles Darwin center and learnt about conservation methods for the Islands. We met Charles Darwin and saw more tortoises. 



The Amazon
Thankfully Jenny was able to join everyone when we headed to the jungle. The region we went to is part of the Amazon jungle, but we weren't near the Amazon river. We left at 8 on Saturday morning and had a 9 hour trip to Puyo. Since we got there so late we didn't have time to do much so we got settled in, had dinner, and then relaxed in the hot tub for awhile. 

The next day we went to a city called Banos. On our way there we stopped at a place and walked to a waterfall. It was beautiful! The hike back up to the bus was less fun... However next we got to go ziplinning! It was a lot of fun and had great views of the water. Next we went to a place that had basically a large basket that took you across the river and back. It was more exciting because we convinced Maria to go on it with us even though she is afraid of heights :) When we arrived in Banos our first stop was the bridge so we could go bungee jumping. Ariel and I didn't, but some of the guys took the leap. We had lunch and then time to walk around for a little bit. On our way back to the bus we stopped at the place called casa del arbol where Ariel went got to swing and we had some great views of the mountains in the distance. After that we went back to the hotel and had dinner. The food at the hotel was really great!!

On the third day our first stop was a cave tour. We put on our boots and hiked through the water and even got to swim in a waterfall inside the cave. After some lunch we headed to a town called Tena. In this town monkeys just roam around the town and sometime steal stuff from people! We loaded onto a canoe and headed to an indigenous village. They showed us how they prepare some traditional drinks and preformed a dance. Afterward we played with some of the local kids before heading back to town. When we got back we stopped to say hi to the monkeys and one of them stole Riley's hat! It was quite the hysterical adventure, but finally the monkey dropped it and Riley was able to get his back with a few extra bite marks in it. We headed back to the hotel and walked around Puyo a little before dinner. 

Starting on the fourth day the hotel started to understand how much food the guys can eat and how much we all like bread so they started bringing us even more food for breakfast! Our first stop in the morning was to see some huge fish! They feed them chicken! We headed to another waterfall. On the way we made crowns out of a plant and got some mud masks. When we got to the waterfall we swam for a little bit and it started to rain. We had quite the hike back! Everyone was soaked, the guide was in the back, and the trail was basically a small river, but we finally make it back to the bus. We all stood it the bus so we didn't get the seats wet and headed to a place to change and have lunch. After lunch we visited another indigenous village to play with a monkey and hold a snake and got our faces painted. In the afternoon we made a lot of stops at various places to see alligators, coca, and some great views. The last place had an amazing view and hammocks that we chilled in for awhile. There was also a huge swing and that we all had a lot of fun doing!! After that it was back to the hotel for dinner and packing.

On the last day we had one activity before heading back to Cuenca. We went to another waterfall, but this time we repelled down the side of the cliff next to it! It was a little challenging but lots of fun. We went back to the hotel to change and eat lunch, and then we loaded the bus for our long trip home. 

The rest of that week was vacation for us and all of Cuenca. On Monday we started our practicum! We have finished both our dance and Spanish classes!! Physiology still has another week, and we have 3 more weeks of history class. 

In between our trips we had schedule as normal. Jenny has recovered from the surgery and is back to doing everything. For our student activity we went to Maria's house and cooked a pretty great dinner! 

Sorry no pictures we had a bit of technical difficulties.!! 
WE promise to add some in our next blog !



Friday, April 7, 2017

6 Chemistry Students Present their Research in Indianapolis

Eight students and four chemistry faculty attended the 29th annual Undergraduate Research Conference at Butler University, where six of the TU chemistry students presented their research.


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Observing Kinetics through Mass Spectrometry

Yechan Moon and Dr. Daniel King
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Qualitative Characterization of the Mass Spectra Intensities of Butane Derivatives via ab initio Computational Studies

Gabriel Saliba and Dr. D. Brandon Magers
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Immunochemiluminescence Detection of Chicken Muscle Lactate Dehydrogenase Using a Digital SLR Camera

George Gray and Dr. Dan Hammond
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Ammonium Ligand Binding to dibenzo-18-crown-6 via Density Functional Theory

Brielle Tilson and Dr. D. Brandon Magers
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How Consistent is Volunteer Water Monitoring Data? - from Elementary School Students to Professional Technicians

Jaylin Gadel and Dr. Daniel King
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Assessment of the Parameters and Techniques of the Hoosier Riverwatch Water Quality Monitoring System for Chemical Analysis

Angela Bittner and Dr. Daniel King
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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Since then...


A lot has happened since the last post. We went to a place called Banos which was a spa, El chorro a waterfall, Carnaval, Turi, El Cajas, saw the US Ambassador and are now getting ready to go to the Galapagos. Well, we hope Jenny can.


Banos

Banos is a small city about 15 minutes outside of Cuenca. Volcanoes there produce hot springs. We decided to go there one day after class and settled on a spa named Piedra de Agua. We relaxed in mineral hot springs of varying temperatures which was very soothing.


El Chorro and the Hacienda

El Chorro is a beautiful, majestic waterfall in the mountain. We climbed around and behind it. It was very wet but super fun.

After the waterfall we went further up in the mountains to a place called the Hacienda. There we had lunch and walked around the property which was full or fruit trees and coffee beans. Jenny watched the process of coffee making and while Ariel climbed a nearby mango tree. Jenny had three cups of coffee because both Ariel and Gracia hate coffee. The mangoes were great!


Carnaval

Don’t mistake the name for the carnival we think of. The rides and your average elephant ears or the crazy street parties in Brazil or the Caribbean. We had a few days off classes so both Ariel and Jenny’s families went to the coast. We had a nice time of relaxing and chilling at the beach. Although Jenny came out with a huge sunburn. Ariel’s family left a little earlier, but Jenny went with the rest of the students to a celebration in Cuenca where they have dancing, a concert, and a lot of carioca! Carioca is a soap that they have spray cans of and they spray anyone and everyone. It was crazy, but an interesting cultural experience.


The Ambassador

We met the Ambassador of the US in Ecuador. He came to the church and talked to us for a bit about what he does and how we can get involved in government service. He is a pretty nice guy!

Turi

Turi is a place that for one has a lot of stairs but also overlooks the city. We went on a swing that swings you over a ledge towards the city. It was insane. Talk about adrenaline rush! We both did it and had an awesome time! Afterwards we got ice cream.

El Cajas

El Cajas is a national park in the mountains. We took a hike for about 3 hours but felt like forever. Jenny was dying the entire way while Ariel mostly saw stars while attempting keep Jenny alive. The views were amazing! The walk on the other hand was not. Ariel did eat some pretty good fish afterwards. Jenny drank tea because she was still dying.

Jenny and the Medical Field

After Cajas Jenny was rushed to the hospital where we found out she had appendicitis. She was rushed into surgery and had an operation. An hour later Ariel, Dr. Habecker and MaryLou as well as other students came to greet her with smiling faces. She looked great although a little red. We tried to not make her laugh too much, but of course that didn’t happen. Overall she is recovering well and has left the hospital. So no worries we are not coming back 1 chemistry major short. Also, Ariel’s Jenny pack could not have stopped that.

Classes

Classes are going well. Our Spanish is a whole lot better. The physiology labs are fun. We learned how to draw blood, take blood pressures and preform an EKG. Jenny could have probably preformed her own operation but we did not let that happen.



We will update you after the Galapagos!

Check Facebook for more pictures.

CIAO!!!


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Night at the Planetarium

The Student ACS Chapter coordinated a department outing to Muncie for dinner and the Charles W. Brown Planetarium at Ball State University to view a show entitled "To Space and Back".


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Quito, Cuenca, and classes

Quito

So last time you heard from us we were in the airport. So much has happened since then! In Quito our first day was spent hiking, kayaking, and riding a mule in a volcano called Quilotoa. The lake there is a caldera because it erupted once and the top caved in to make a crater type shape. It is 11,000 ft above sea level and the lake is 900ft below the top. AKA breathing is hard.

                                                     Animal crackers are the best snack!

                                         View of the top where we had to climb down from...
                                                              The lake in the volcano
Kayaking on the lake

Day 2 of Ecuador we walked around Quito and visited different museums, churches, and historical sites. We also visited the Equator!! On the equator we experimented with water, eggs, and our bodies to show the Coriolis effect. That night we went to a "ballet" which entailed folklore dances.

                                                                       The "ballet"
                                       Ariel eating the world while standing in the middle of it
                                           The balcony of their equivalent to the White House
                                     An important statue in Ecuador of a virgin with wings
                                                            Inside one of the churches

Jenny at the equator

Cuenca

After having so much fun in Quito we got up a 2 a.m. We flew to Cuenca and got picked up by our host families. The first day we slept in the morning and then met with Maria de Lourdes (our go to person here) at the church, got some introductions, and a toured the church. On Friday we visited UDA, which is a local university that a couple of our classes are through, as well as the med school where we met our physiology professor and saw a brain (Jenny liked it, Ariel didn't...). Then we went on a city tour where we saw the largest Cathedral in Ecuador and climbed to the top of it (155 steps!! And once again we couldn't breathe). We also toured the hospital where our practicum will be.

                                                                           Brain!
Us and Carlos on top of the Cathedral

Weekends were spent with our host families. Ariel went to a place called Turi, which overlooks the city of Cuenca. It was beautiful! Jenny spent most of the weekend at extended families houses talking and playing games. We all went to Church on Sunday at Verbo, but it was hard to understand much of what was said.

                                                           Ariel and her sister at Turi


Classes
On Monday we were greeted by a Spanish placement exam that left us all feeling like we knew nothing! To our surprise We both made it into the intermediate class. We also got to hang out with the Habeckers who are here in Cuenca for 6 weeks. After that was our first dance class! Dance class was very interesting. Ariel of course had no trouble and compared to the guys Jenny did really well. The guys... well you know. Then we went home for lunch until getting picked up again for physiology. We basically spent 2 hours talking about the syllabus and many, many, bunny trials. The professor is really nice though and his stories are interesting.

Today we had our first actual Spanish class, which went surprisingly well since it was taught completely in Spanish. (We learned that there are 4 ways to say pig). Right now we are waiting to go have lunch with Dr. Moore and then we have our first History class.

We will keep you updated :)


Monday, January 30, 2017

We're halfway there!!



So far we have been up for a total of 11 hours and 11 min. Ariel is tired and Jenny has had 2 coffee's. Currently we are in Atlanta awaiting a 6 hour flight to Quito :/  The whole gang is here and even though we look a little like zombies, we are super excited.

Hope ya'll (Dr. Magers voice)are enjoying the snow ;)  Also here are a couple "fun" displays that we are currently seeing.


We miss you guys! More updates to come :) Try not to blow up the stockroom while we are gone!