Summer Study '96: What Did the Phase II Scholars Do?

Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.

Electrical Engineering Workshop

by Michael, Bror, Jeremy, Jorja, and Matt, '95 Scholars

We took an electrical engineering class for our '96 Summer Study. We learned from the five-day class:

Day 1 - Studied the design and learned the operation of the D-camera.

Day 2 - Learned the mechanics behind the operation of tape recorders and radios. We also got the opportunity learn how to take these devices apart to replace damaged motors.

Day 3 - Learned how CD's operate in conduction with audio-machines such as coding, frequency, and timing. We were also informed of the common errors people make that destroy CD's and how we can educate ourselves and others to avoid these costly mistakes.

Day 4 - Learned how continuation audio amplifiers affect sound distribution and observed the parts of the machine. Also observed the electrical functioning of the machine when it's working and malfunctioning.

In 5 days we learned a lot about how engineering works in everyday objects. It was a very fascinating class.

Game of Life Workshop

by CJ, Shawn, Matthew, and Priscilla, '95 Scholars

The Game of Life workshop was one of those projects where you wish you could keep working forever. The projects that we worked on have been some of the most fun and exciting that we have ever done. The Game of Life was invented by John Conway about 1970. It is a game where there are certain rules that govern when cells die, when they are born, and when they continue to live. Because it is usually played on a grid, you aren't limited to using a computer.

In the workshop, we learned a lot about the programming language C and used it to make some interesting and useful utilities. For instance, Shawn made a program that improves the contrast of a grayscale image. We also have one that fills in a rectangle from the upper left corner to the lower right. One of the most fun things that happened was a result of a mistake made by CJ. While trying to make a fill routine, he ended up making something akin to a screen saver.

After participating in the Game of Life workshop, we came away from it with a greater understanding of C and image processing. More information about The Game of Life can be found in a book by Martin Gardner titled, "Wheels, Life and other Mathematical Amusements."

Technical Communication

by Aimee, '95 Scholar

Our Phase II Summer Study group learned many things with the help of our wonderful instructor, Serena Shubert. We were taught how to develop information suited for viewing on a computer screen. Todd, Jesse, and I used a Mac authoring tool to help us develop a useful and entertaining computer document about our subject: first dates. Our project is called, "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A Dating Manual for the 1990's." As we created the manual, we were taught, and in some cases, reminded, on how to do mapping, links, buttons, create text, use graphics, use advanced organizers, and animation. We challenged our minds, creativity and had a great deal of fun learning about the many aspects of technical communications.

We started by brainstorming our ideas of how to get started, what we would write about, and how we would end our presentation. We ended up creating the different sections to our project using Hypercard. Consequently, we were able to create a title page, an acknowledgments page, two chapters, a quiz over the content, and a glossary of our own special terms. Because of the tact of our instructor, parts of our project were edited.

Our project enticed the readers with an eye-catching title page and a well deserved acknowledgments page. Chapter one informed the readers how to get a date by asking them what kind of person they were attracted to, what kind of places they are attracted to, and asked them how they tried to attract this person. Chapter two told the reader the importance of body language, table manners, morals, religion, avoiding conversation about previous dating experiences, traditional rituals, and the inevitable dilemma of saying good-bye. The quiz was humorous and a little corny. The glossary containing our own terminology was as creative as it is funny.

We had a lot of fun creating our project with our fellow Scholars. We learned a lot and are continuing to learn with enthusiasm. We hope that in the future every Phase II Scholar can have an awesome Summer Study group and have as much fun as we did.

Genetics Workshop

by Rachel, Bill, Bridget, Janny, '95 Scholars

There are different procedures used to manipulate the DNA in order to create a desired protein, molecule, etc. Being able to do this, scientists can do a lot of good in areas of medicine and disease resistance, and it also serves as a foundation for future discoveries to build upon.

During our one-week Phase II workshop, we basically manipulated the plasmid DNA, which is a small circular piece of DNA, by putting the Streptavidin gene in to produce more of and create a certain protein. We also learned about a valuable technique called PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) that allows scientists to make lots and lots of DNA from a very small amount.

We all loved this workshop!!! It's so fun working with all the equipment such as pipetmen, centrifuges, spectrometer, and gel electrophoresis. A few of us are planning on pursuing genetics as a career. Those of us who may not continue this particular field have had an experience we will never forget. Thanks DO-IT!