My name is Jordan Swanson, and I am a junior in the Waukee APEX Program. APEX stands for Aspiring Professional Experience. The reason I took APEX was to help me with my career exploration. In addition to that, I get to work with local businesses and create value-added projects, while further developing the local workforce. In the Medical and BioScience Research class, we spend a lot of time in the lab.
Some labs that we have done so far are DNA transformation of E. coli DH5, blood typing, DNA profiling of cystic fibrosis (CF), and gel electrophoresis as a general tool. So far my favorite lab has been the DNA profiling of cystic fibrosis because it was interesting to make the gel and see what the different DNA segment look like that diagnose CF carrier, CF-affected and normal.
Not only do we spend time in the lab, we also get to go to many places around the area and visit them. Some places that we have been so far are research seminars at Des Moines University, Drake University, a tour of the State Hygienic Lab, and a tour of Eurofins Scientific, a local laboratory company. We often have speakers come in and talk to our class.
Some interesting speakers that we have had are Dr. Elitsa Ananieva of DMU talking about her research with primary bone cancer, Dr. John Gitua of Drake University talking about how to keep a good lab notebook and Murph Hutson talking about how his sons deal with cystic fibrosis. Lastly, my instructor, Dr. Holly Showalter, is great. She is always willing to give you feedback on what you can do to improve. Dr. Showalter, or “Doc Show” as we like to call her, really does a great job helping us to get the most we can out of this class. APEX is a great opportunity and I strongly recommend taking any class that this program has to offer.