Wonder why someone with a huge fear of needles decided to choose a medical strand? I had always had an interest in the medical field and wanted to learn more so I decided not to take the Exploration of Health Sciences and Medicine course, but the Medical and Bioscience Research course instead. I was nervous that the class was going to be too advanced for me, but one of the major components of this class is learning new equipment and becoming familiar with techniques used in the medical field.
When I was younger, I had always hated going to the doctor. The idea of shots or needles had me hiding in the bathroom. I have moved on from hiding to passing out every time I have to interact with needles, but I was not going to let that stop me from learning more about the medical field. Knowing my fear of needles, pursuing an interest in nursing or the healthcare field did not seem like a good option so I turned to something different. I had always loved watching Brain Games when I was younger and the brain has always fascinated me so I decided to look into neuroscience and neurology. With the help of the APEX Research course, I was able to further define my career goals and area of interest.
The Research strand has really allowed me to experiment with different research techniques like how to correctly keep a lab notebook that doubles as legal proof of our work for intellectual property reasons. During this semester, I have also learned how to construct and write a proper research lab report which can lead to being published, one of the highest scientific accomplishments. Many labs have deepened my understanding of bioscience. We have created a scientific agarose gel (see picture above) that can be used with DNA such as paternity tests and we even used them to determine whether someone has the cystic fibrosis double allele gene segments which would diagnose them with the disease at birth.
My team and I have been working with the American Lung Association to identify local business policies on electronic cigarettes as they are not a part of the Iowa Smokefree Air Act. Another part of this project has been looking at nicotine concentrations in electronic cigarette liquids through the use of UV-Vis spectrophotometry. The FDA does not regulate these liquids which means the label could be inaccurate, so our team has been investigating what is really in those bottles.
The Research strand could not have been a better fit for me. The mix of problem-solving and critical thinking make it a great learning experience. Dr. Holly Showalter, the current teacher of this class has really helped me succeed by setting high goals for me and other students to help us get the most out of the class. This class has been a huge factor in career exploration and I strongly recommend taking any APEX class as they all will allow you the opportunity to determine what you want to do and how to do it.