Tuesday, April 26, 2011


As the summer approaches, the anticipation continues to build for me. It’s hard to focus on classes when there are less than three weeks of school left, the weather is getting nice, and having an awesome study abroad experience lined up in the near future.

That experience just got a little sweeter on Sunday, when I found out I was awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for Study Abroad. This means my trip will be fully funded, a true blessing because I will not be able to earn money this summer because I will be either in Madrid or Mammoth Lakes, CA the entire time. I live a blessed life, God is so good!

The reason I’m actually writing right now is because of the Gilman Scholarship. When I was applying, I had to write an essay on, “how I would promote study abroad and international education at Drake University.” One of the ways I thought I could stand out was if I had “an official” blog on Drake’s website that both current and prospective students could access. My study abroad counselor Annique, put me in contact with Tim Schmidt, the head of Drake’s website. We met, and he thought it would be a great idea, so here I am today blogging for Drake.

Receiving the scholarship is just another way I feel blessed by being able to attend Drake. Although it was I who ultimately wrote the essays, I received tons of help along the way.

Annique assisted me throughout the entire process, and even volunteered to review my papers. Her insight was valuable because she has served on committees that review applications for study abroad scholarships, so she knew exactly what the Gilman foundation would be looking for.

Dr. Mark Vitha, my academic advisor and one of my chemistry also offered useful advice. In my statement of purpose paper, he encouraged me to pursue another direction because he thought I might have offended some who were reviewing my paper which would not be good (I basically had a premise that art classes mainly require creative skills while the sciences invoke logical and analytical reasoning, but he pointed out that both disciplines require equal amounts). His advice paid off!

Tim was great about communicating with me about getting a blog on Drake’s website. We had to check with the NCAA to see if it complied with their guidelines, and he took the initiative to make sure everything checked out.

My mom helped me out by making sure I received all the necessary documents that needed to be submitted.

Last but not least, my dad reviewed and edited my papers countless times and offered constructive feedback.

I am so grateful for all of the people listed above. I couldn’t have won this scholarship without their help. It’s people like Annique, Dr. Vitha, and Tim that gives Drake a distinct advantage over other colleges and universities.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Study Abroad is a Go!

I just received notice via e-mail that Universidad Nebrija has received my application, so everything is all set to go! I've got the plane ticket (thanks dad) and passport too, so all I have to do is wait for May 30 to get here, a little bit unreal that this is actually happening, it doesn't really feel like it with a month of school left.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Giving Back at Drake

One of the things that surprised me when I first arrived at Drake was the amount of people who volunteered their time for beneficial causes. It seemed one way or another; people were giving up some parts of their week in order to give back to the community. I guess I had the perception that when one comes to college, they are too occupied in their studies and social lives to have time to give back. Drake is distinctly different, and I like that.

One of the misconceptions I believe many students have is that volunteering is an arduous chore that one is forced to do in order to “be a good person”. Two ways I have mainly given back at Drake is through the Chemistry Club, and through Upwards sports at the church I go to, Walnut Creek.

In Chemistry Club, almost every Friday we welcome elementary and middle school students into our labs and we help them with simple experiments and show them cool demos. The primary purpose of this is to get them excited about school by showing them it can be fun, and also to get them thinking about college. A person can do much more with their life when they have a college degree. Chem. club has been a blast because the kids’ minds are blown when we run experiments such as “the can crush” and do demos such as “squeezing an egg through a flask without breaking it”. They remind me a lot of myself as well. One of the popular stations is where the kids get to make their own silly putty. Once they are done making it, they are supposed to leave it in a box until they go home, but there have been a few rascals that hold onto it cause trouble the rest of the time. One boy put his putty in another girl’s hair and had to go out into the hall for the rest of the time (I totally would have been that kid, my mom and dad would tell you that I was sent home with many “pink slips” for misbehavior when I was that age).

Coaching Upwards has also been a blast! This past winter my good friend Nolan and I were the coaches of the Bearcats. We coached 1st and 2nd grade boys. Basketball was my favorite sport growing up, so it was fun to teach them how to play the game and share what Christ has done in my life with them. Most of them had never played a single game before this season, so one of the most enjoyable aspects of the season was watching them improve week to week. They were an entirely different team by the end of the season and learned so much! One of the most memorable parts of the season were the jokes they would tell us. They had so many, most of them were knock-knock jokes that didn’t make much sense, but they were still funny! Also I have to give a shout out to coach Henry (aka the Hen), Big Wes, and Justin for helping out with coaching at practices and games as well.

The 2010 Upwards Bearcats
The Can Crush, One of the most Popular Experiments

"Methane Bubles" - An Explosive Demo!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Track Attack!

Sorry for the long delay in posting, as mentioned in the previous post, China kind of almost took control of my life for a short period. I had a big paper due on Monday, and a 40 min debate on Wednesday, but if feels good to be done now. I really just tried to rely on the Lord to get me through that stretch, and he came through once again. Proverbs 1:7.

Right now, I am in Columbia, MO for a track meet. Day One was today, and tomorrow I will be running the 3000m. It could be a real shocker, the potential high of the day is 88, and my race is in the heat of the day. T & F is going to be real busy from here on out, we have meets scheduled every weekend until the end of finals, concluding with the Missouri Valley Conference Meet.

On Thursday I registered for classes, and it looks like next semester will be my hardest ever. It’ll be all chemistry and math classes, but just take a look at some of the classes sizes, it’s spectacular!

Advanced Inorganic Chemistry  w/ lab (4 credits)– class size: 3
Physical Chemistry  w/lab (4 credits)– class size: 8
Applied Differential Equations (3 credits) – class size: 12
Junior Chemistry Seminar(1 credit) – class size: 8
Undergraduate Research with Dr. Mark Vitha  (1 credit) (Analytical Chemistry, will be doing something with UV-Vis Spectroscopy)

Well if I can survive this next semester, I think I can survive anything, it’s gonna be a wild ride. Also, at the last Chemistry Club meeting, it was announced that I will be the President next year, so I look forward to blogging about what it’s like to be a student leader on campus.