Office of Experiential Learning and Immersion 自慰视频 /immersion Mon, 03 May 2021 18:27:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Economics Research with Janet Stefanov /immersion/2021/05/03/economics-research-with-janet-stefanov/ Mon, 03 May 2021 18:27:43 +0000 /immersion/?p=6037 I鈥檓 Janet Stefanov, a current junior majoring in Economics and Math, minoring in Russian Language and Scientific Computing. Though I was raised in Kansas, I spent a large part of my childhood in Northwestern Bulgaria, specifically the town of Vidin. Growing up in Northwestern Bulgaria, I was a witness to the impacts of trade policy, economic policy, and economic history on people. Most importantly, I saw how economic life in Eastern Europe was shaped by its post-Communist identity. This period of my life sparked an academic interest in the economics of post-Communism.

Though I always had an abstract academic interest in mind, coursework at 自慰视频 really helped me figure out a tangible direction for my research. On that front, the coursework I completed in the Spring of my sophomore year was especially valuable. Two of these courses stand out as being particularly influential. The first was Math 2821: Applied Statistics with where I gained intuition about statistical methods and experiments, and the ways in which statistical knowledge empowers companies, researchers, central banks, etc. to gain a working knowledge of any situation that involves data. Equally important, I learned about some of the limitations of these tools. The second course was Econ 3022: Macroeconomics with , where I learned the workhorse models of macroeconomics, but more importantly, how economists conceptualize and model real-world choices and economic agents using the language of mathematics.

The combination of these two classes led me into a roughly defined field of academic interest at the intersection of macroeconomics and statistics/econometrics. Because I am interested in pursuing a PhD in economics, I saw Immersion as a useful way to get some research experience as an underclassmen, and to perhaps narrow my interests or discover new ones.

From discussions with other students, I discovered that the National Science Foundation sponsors projects to introduce undergraduate students to research and graduate school. During the summer of my sophomore year, I applied to many REUs and was accepted to a few, including one at Rose Hulman Institute of Technology that focused on using data analytics to investigate economic development, which I ultimately accepted. I then completed the full 8 week research experience and have continued to work on this project with my co-authors throughout the academic year to prepare the paper for publication.

In the long term, through my Immersion Project and REU, I confirmed my interests in macroeconomics and statistics, and I discovered that I am really interested in researching endogenous growth theory and human capital. I hope that the research experience I gained through my REU is helpful to me as I am applying to graduate school and in my future research. I would advise students who are thinking about Immersion to think about career and personal development goals and try to figure out how to achieve these goals through an Immersion project. I would also advise that you give yourself enough time to be able to complete your project and to change it as necessary. The best immersion experience for you will change, and that鈥檚 almost encouraged, as long as you can get it done.

Janet Stefanov, Class of 2022
Mathematics & Economics

Janet Stefanov is a junior studying mathematics and economics with a minor in Russian. In addition to economics research, Janet is involved heavily in the Association for Women in Math and 自慰视频 Swim Club. In her free time, Janet enjoys cycling, visiting coffee shops, and scrolling through EconTwitter.

Fashion Sustainability with Abby Schultz /immersion/2021/01/21/fashion-sustainability-with-abby-schultz/ Thu, 21 Jan 2021 15:08:42 +0000 /immersion/?p=5974

The theme of my Immersion project is fashion sustainability. I take donated clothes and materials and turn them into bags, quilts, and dog toys to donate back to the Nashville community. I have been sewing for a while, and I was working in the 自慰视频 University Theatre Costume Shop where we had just finished a quilt for the Wond鈥檙y out of old T-shirts. We also focused a lot on fashion sustainability and upcycling, so I thought it would be fun to combine all of those into a project. I originally was planning on leading workshops where people could bring in their old clothes, and I would teach them how to turn them into something they could use, but COVID made that difficult. People from my church also found out that I was doing this and donated a lot more than I expected, so suddenly my basement was overflowing with old jeans and sweaters to upcycle. Every time I meet with my advisor, my plan changes a little bit depending on what people in the community need or what materials I have. I thought I would be making a lot of hats and gloves, but people had more jeans to donate, and a local nonprofit needed reusable bags for their food pantry, so I ended up making those instead.

I was lucky in the process of finding my adviser because I already was working closely with a faculty member who ran the costume shop. My adviser, , also teaches multiple classes on , so she is a great resource for figuring out what projects to work on and how to go about making them.

My advice to other students would be to stay flexible. Even if you are not working in a pandemic, these projects last a while, and it is easy for things to change. I would also say to try and find something you are already working on. It does not have to be your major; it could be a hobby that you want to explore or an internship that you were really excited about. It does not have to be complicated, just something you could see yourself doing long-term at 自慰视频.

Abigail Schultz, Class of 2022
Spanish & Medicine, Health & Society

Abby is a double Spanish and MHS major. She spends a lot of time in Neely Auditorium working with Professor Sargent Capps in the costume shop and serving as the secretary for . She is so excited to share my Immersion project with all of you

Immersion at Home: Online Resources for Students /immersion/2020/07/01/immersion-at-home-online-resources-for-students/ Wed, 01 Jul 2020 15:55:29 +0000 /immersion/?p=5332

Looking for resources to help with your Immersion project this summer? Whether you are looking for journal articles, eBooks, or online courses and trainings, we can help! Here are four resources that you can access remotely while working on your Immersion at home.

Immersion plan proposals for Fall/Summer 2018 enrollees are due September 7, 2020. Seek advising with an Immersion adviser before submitting your proposal. Advising is available via phone and Zoom, and聽appointments can be scheduled on the Immersion portal.

Immersion @ Home /immersion/2020/05/11/immersion-home/ Mon, 11 May 2020 19:48:40 +0000 /immersion/?p=5169 I know firsthand that the process of leaving campus and moving back home has been stressful, to say the least. Leaving my friends, professors, student orgs, and social life at 自慰视频 was really, really hard. And now with quarantine extending into the summer, there is a lot of uncertainty about summer internships, study abroad, and summer research. I know this may be hard for students who were planning to use these experiences for their Immersion projects, but there are still ways to make progress submitting your plan and creating your project, even from afar. Additionally, it is important to focus on wellness during these challenging times. Here are some suggestions, from one student to another, listed first by Immersion Pathway, with general tips for Immersion and wellness included below.

Civic & Professional

Graphic of a laptop with large text advertising the Civic and Professional Pathway of Immersion 自慰视频

  • Find a way to (safely!) volunteer in your community, whether that be donning gloves and a mask to volunteer at a local soup kitchen, or volunteering to sew masks for healthcare professionals. There are individuals and organizations working to combat the shortage of personal protective equipment.
  • Do some virtual networking. We can鈥檛 meet in person with anyone right now, but email, phone calls, Zoom, and LinkedIn are still good ways to network to form new connections and strengthen existing ones.
  • Online tutoring! As middle and high schools move online across the country, find a way to help with virtual tutoring.
  • Even though it might feel like the world has stopped moving, the Career Center certainly has not! Check DoreWays to see a list of Career Center webinars and workshops; we can all benefit from learning something new!
    • The Career Center is still offering coaching appointments. Use DoreWays to schedule an appointment with a career coach today!
  • Now that most companies have transitioned to conducting their business online, some have begun offering remote internships or project-based assignments. Spend some time on your favorite job search platform; you might find an experience that can be part of your Immersion!
  • Take this time to develop relevant career skills! Sites such as edX, Coursera, Skillshare, and LinkedIn Learning all offer courses across a broad range of subjects.
Creative Expression

Graphic of a piano, musical notes, and drama masks with large text advertising the Creative Expression Pathway of Immersion 自慰视频

  • Seek inspiration from poetry, a short story reading, or the progression of an art piece. Continue to create and share your art from home. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation!
  • Livestream your favorite artist: many artists are taking to social media to stay connected with their fans after concerts and tours have been canceled or rescheduled.
  • If you play an instrument, sing, write music, prose, or verse, set a goal to practice or create new pieces every week. In the words of Robin Williams, 鈥淭here is no shame in failing. The only shame is not giving things your best shot.鈥
  • Take a virtual museum tour.
  • Looking to pick up a new skill? Nikon is offering a catalog of free photography classes! Whether you鈥檙e a seasoned photographer or just starting out, the classes can be tailored to any level.

Graphic of a globe with large text advertising the International Pathway of Immersion 自慰视频

  • Work on learning a new language! Resources like Duolingo are free and easy to use; for a small cost, Rosetta Stone and Babbel offer more structured courses too.
  • Look up somewhere you want to visit once quarantine is over. You can research the history of a city, the best sights to see, and the best restaurants. YouTube can be great for informal learning, while official state tourism sites are likely to provide more nuanced information.
  • Whether you want to hone language skills or learn more about a country鈥檚 cinematography, Netflix offers a wide selection of international films, series, and documentaries. From Alfonso Cuaron鈥檚 Oscar-winning Roma to foodie-approved Chef鈥檚 Table, you鈥檙e sure to find something to suit your taste.
  • If you want to study abroad, make a plan for the courses you鈥檇 like to take during your time at 自慰视频. Say you are an economics and music major with an astronomy minor:
    • Make a plan as though you are only an economics major, and move all of your classes from the semester you want to be abroad, leaving that semester open for special, abroad-only classes.
    • Add in the courses needed for your music major, still making an effort to leave your abroad semester open.
    • Finally, add in the courses for your astronomy minor.
    • You will probably have to take some courses during that semester abroad. That鈥檚 fine! Use the Program Search tool on the Global Education Office (GEO) website to see which programs offer the courses you need. Experimenting with your schedule will hopefully yield a plan that enables you to study abroad!
  • GEO is hosting Zoom advising and information sessions. Learn about options for GEO advising and schedule an appointment!

Graphic of a person icon wearing a white lab coat and holding a clipboard with large text advertising the Research Pathway of Immersion 自慰视频

  • Write a review paper on a subject that interests you. Alternatively, read some of the papers a PI you鈥檙e interested in working with has written and formulate your review around that. Reviews are usually written by experts in a field, so try to become the most knowledgeable expert by doing lots of reading!
  • Go to Google Scholar and search for papers on topics you鈥檙e interested in. Try to read at least one paper a week, and familiarize yourself with its figures and jargon. Look up words and terms that you don鈥檛 know.
  • Design an experimental protocol after familiarizing yourself with the work of a few interesting PIs. That way, when it鈥檚 time for you to start/continue researching, you can show them that you鈥檝e already put a lot of thought into their lab. Include hypotheses, future directions, what you think will happen, etc.
  • If you鈥檙e already in a lab and have gathered some data, work on making visually appealing figures.
  • To access scientific papers at home, search the title of a paper from the 自慰视频 library catalog, , and download it.
General Immersion

Now that we are all stuck at home, you may have more free time in your schedule. Why not do something fun with it? Explore your interests, learn something new, or reconnect with an old hobby. If you feel yourself drawn to one thing more than others, take a moment to think whether that thing can be your Immersion project. If you love to play guitar, maybe you can create online guitar lessons. If you like to read poetry, maybe you can write a collection of poems. If you love playing Ultimate Frisbee, maybe you can create a curriculum to teach high school students how to play the game and develop skills like teamwork and communication. Find something you enjoy, and 鈥減ivot鈥 with it鈥攈ow can you turn your interests into a foundation from which to develop an Immersion project?

  • Get outside! It鈥檚 easy to fall into a routine of sleeping, eating, and working鈥攕witch it up! Take a walk, ride a bike, read a book in the fresh air鈥 so many options! Taking a break every hour will help you speed up and relax, definitely a win-win.
  • It鈥檚 important to have regular sleep and eating schedules. Don鈥檛 let your overall health deteriorate during this crazy time! Make sure you try to eat healthy while away from campus. If you are having difficulty and need help coming up with ideas for healthy eating, campus dining is offering . Additionally, there are many .
  • Apps such as Headspace and Calm are great tools for those looking to implement meditation and mindfulness into their daily routine. The University Counseling Center is also offering services remotely for students in need!
  • Though we may be separated by distance, try to reach out to friends via phone, FaceTime, Zoom, etc. You can even host a virtual movie or game night to stay connected!

These are just a few ideas of ways to stay involved from home, but there are plenty of other opportunities out there. If you have any question about your plan and the possibilities for Immersion 自慰视频, schedule an advising appointment with the Office of Immersion Resources.

Stay safe,
Your Immersion Ambassadors

Prepared and organized by Sarah Lopez 鈥22 with contributions from Andre Arsenault 鈥22, Asia Miller 鈥22, Nolan Siegel 鈥23, and Yurim Hong 鈥22

Photo of students standing behind an information table giving thumbs up with bubble tea
Bubble Tea Ambassador Session in Kissam
Taking the First Steps with Alyssa Levitt /immersion/2020/05/07/taking-the-first-steps-with-alyssa-levitt/ Thu, 07 May 2020 14:26:49 +0000 /immersion/?p=5160 A girl sits happily on a horse. Alyssa Levitt, smiling, leads the horse by the reigns in a rodeo arena. Two women stand on either side of the horse.
2017 Georgia Special Olympics Horse Show

Hi, I鈥檓 Alyssa, a rising junior Medicine, Health, and Society (MHS) major. Growing up I overcame developmental delays from being born premature, and for the past seven years I have volunteered at a therapeutic horseback riding program serving children and adults with special needs. This experience sparked my interest in pursuing a career in the medical field.

At 自慰视频, I have continued to work with people with disabilities. Next school year, I will be the president of Best Buddies, an organization that matches student members with members of the Nashville community who have intellectual or developmental disabilities to foster friendships and provide social mentoring. This spring, I also had the opportunity to learn more about disabilities in an academic setting through a course entitled MHS 2520: Autism in Context that explores the economic, legal, educational, and medical implications of autism spectrum disorders.

Alyssa Levitt poses for a photo with another student, wearing large, colorful glasses. In the photo, Alyssa punches her hand in the air in excitement.
2020 Best Buddies Prom at Bridgestone Arena.

After investigating my Immersion options for a few months, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to promote healthy, independent living for people with disabilities. I first reached out to Jenny Gustafson, an instructor for Next Steps at 自慰视频鈥檚 Peabody College, a 4-year inclusive higher education program committed to providing students with intellectual disabilities a post-secondary education in academics, social and career development, and independent living. Next we had a meeting where we crafted a proposal that includes creating lesson plans and projects for CCS 102: Health and Wellness, a course first-year students must complete in the Next Steps Program. I plan to create new units on advocating for oneself at the doctor’s office and following proper medicine and kitchen safety protocols. I also intend to meet with 自慰视频’s Recreation and Wellness Center to discuss holding modified exercise classes as part of the CCS course as well as start a sports recreation team composed of Best Buddies members.

Once my proposal was crafted, I met with the Office of Immersion Resources to identify an appropriate faculty advisor to sponsor my project. Alissa McKinnon, an Immersion program coordinator, put me in touch with Dr. Erik Carter, a research professor of special education at Peabody College who studies the post-secondary inclusion and peer relationships of people with disabilities. Dr. Carter has agreed to sponsor my project, and I am in the process of collaborating with Jenny to create lesson plans.

Immersion has empowered me to dive deeper into my passion and collaborate with faculty from Peabody to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. I am so excited to have the opportunity to work with faculty from a different college than my home college, College of Arts and Science. When crafting your Immersion proposal, do not be afraid to reach out to new professors, contacts, and the Office of Immersion Resources to create your own original project.

Alyssa Levitt, Class of 2022
Medicine, Health, and Society

Alyssa Levitt is from Marietta, GA. She is majoring in MHS with a minor in Chemistry. In addition to serving as president of Best Buddies, Alyssa is an undergraduate research intern for the Nobis Lab that investigates methods to mitigate epilepsy complications. In her free time, Alyssa enjoys running, hiking, and horseback riding.

Inside Immersion: Meet our HOD Intern! /immersion/2020/04/01/inside-immersion-meet-our-hod-intern/ Wed, 01 Apr 2020 18:58:33 +0000 /immersion/?p=5022 Hello! My name is Cole Bloomfield and I am a Junior studying HOD and History. I am currently completing my HOD Capstone Internship at the Office of Immersion Resources (Immersion 自慰视频 administrative office). I personally believe that the Immersion program has the potential to provide significant long term value to all of our 自慰视频 degrees and to the school in general – that is why I decided to dedicate this entire semester to helping implement and improve this program.

There are a number of ways to describe what Immersion is: an experiential learning requirement, a way to give students official university recognition (on their transcript!) for the amazing projects they are already working on, etc. Personally, my favorite way to describe Immersion is as an 鈥渆xperiential college thesis.鈥 The college thesis is widely considered by employers, grad schools, and the broader academic and civic community as something that indicates exceptional dedication and innovation on the part of a student. Just consider Princeton鈥檚 senior thesis – it is one of the most historic college capstone projects ever. Every Princeton student from Henry Kissinger to Michelle Obama to Jeff Bezos had to write a senior thesis in order to graduate.

Rather than limiting students to just one specific type of project or experience, like a senior thesis program, Immersion allows students to pursue projects that are meaningful to them and perhaps better align with their interests, skills, and goals. That being said, a thesis can still be a fantastic experience, and an Immersion project to boot, if a student wants to pursue it. I have personally seen this when I completed a thesis on the origins of the American private prison industry for my History Seminar. However, considering the breadth of resources and opportunities afforded to us as 自慰视频 students, many students are able to, and would rather, explore emerging interests by creating an art project, a technical product, or whatever they can get their hands on. Immersion enables and empowers students to receive official university recognition for these types of projects that more accurately reflect the holistic nature of the 自慰视频 experience.

Cole Bloomfield, Class of 2021
Human and Organizational Development & History

From Piedmont, California Cole is a Junior studying Human and Organizational Development and History. He is interning with the Office of Immersion Resources and is excited to bring an undergraduate perspective to the development of the Immersion 自慰视频 program.

Setting the Stage with Jared Schmidt /immersion/2020/01/24/setting-the-stage-with-jared-schmidt/ Fri, 24 Jan 2020 20:42:46 +0000 /immersion/?p=4569
Neely Auditorium.

I knew from the moment I stepped on campus that I wanted to do theatre. I was planning on being a theatre major and didn鈥檛 miss a chance to get pictures in front of Neely Auditorium on Move-In Day. No surprise that I was excited for the 自慰视频 University Theatre Ice Cream Social event that promised both a tour of the theatre and ice cream. It was there that I encountered Dr. Leah Lowe, the head of the Theatre department. Later that week I was in her office, talking about the play she was set to direct that fall, The Language Archive. TLA ended up being my first 自慰视频 show, chewing up my whole September with nonstop rehearsals. Throughout that process, I built a level of familiarity with Leah that encouraged me to approach her regarding Immersion.

VU Theatre rehearsal. Photo by Joe Howell.

I wanted to direct a show. I was already eager to take Leah鈥檚 directing class after having done some scene work for her directing students, but as time wore on through my first semester, I got more and more enchanted by the idea of helming my own project. The Theatre department has limited opportunities for directing baked in, and I viewed Immersion as an opportunity to open the door for direction. So I took my directing dream to Leah and she told me she would help me build a plan once the department developed its internal Immersion process. Less than a year later, early this fall, me and Leah devised and drafted my current plan: case studies for all of my Fall 2019 shows (including director interviews), taking the directing course next fall, and then directing a small-scale project after that. It鈥檚 just what I wanted鈥攖he plan aligns with my goals while affording me enough flexibility to can follow whatever artistic path I choose with the final product.

I wouldn鈥檛 be as happy with my plan without Leah acting as my Immersion advisor. I believe the key to making the most of Immersion is finding someone who is interested in your goals and knowledgeable in how they can be pursued, and I was fortunate enough to find that person in Leah. The best part was that I found her where I already wanted to be. My passion guided me to the Ice Cream Social, and to Leah鈥擨 don鈥檛 think that鈥檚 a coincidence.

Jared Schmidt, Class of 2022
Theatre Major

Jared Schmidt is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in Theatre, English, and Political Science. He hails from Spring Hill, TN, and hopes to advance the creation of meaningful theater on campus.

Exploring VR with Amanda Sisung /immersion/2020/01/24/exploring-vr-with-amanda-sisung/ Fri, 24 Jan 2020 20:42:46 +0000 /immersion/?p=4548
A student wears VR goggles in the Emerging Tech Lab at The Wond’ry.聽
(自慰视频 University/Joe Howell)

Ever since I heard about Immersion, I was excited to have a university-supported outlet that would allow me to showcase my passions and talents. My first year, I mainly had Immersion on the back-burner: my friends and I would joke about wacky Immersion projects, and I attended a few info sessions when I was free. However, this semester, with the initial application deadline soon approaching, I began to seriously think about my Immersion project. As someone that plans on continuing my education past 自慰视频, I wanted to use this resource as a way to showcase a part of me that wouldn鈥檛 be on a resume. I started exploring my Immersion project by thinking about interests I wanted to further develop that would not necessarily fit into my applications. Something I have been interested in learning more about, especially here at 自慰视频, was VR. After brainstorming some ways to use VR as a medium for my project, I met with the Immersion office (shoutout to the OIR) to discuss directions for this type of project.

When I met with the Immersion office, they gave me the name of a professor that works with VR in the Wond鈥檙y, Dr. Molvig. When I met with Dr. Molvig, he told me that he would be teaching a University course next semester about VR Design and recommended I take the course. While taking this course, I realized I wanted to use VR to help students learn, study, and understand chemistry. When I told Dr. Molvig about how my Immersion project was beginning to form, he recommended I have a professor in the Chemistry department as my adviser. I then met with my chemistry professor, who put me in contact with a few professors that would be able to help me. I met with those professors, who advised that I write out my Immersion application, send it to them, and they would discuss who would be best fit to advise the project.

Moral of the story: Just start by brainstorming ideas about your interests and then reaching out to professors. If they can鈥檛 help you, they will most likely be able to direct you to some one that can. Also, an important aspect about Immersion I learned through this process is that a student can get help from multiple professors if your project reaches across disciplines, like mine. However, only one faculty member would be formally listed on the application as your adviser, and this is who will approve the completion of your project. Finally, don鈥檛 be afraid to just jump in. We are in a lucky situation because while Immersion is something new to us, it is also new to everyone else on campus. You鈥檙e not going to come up with some master plan that gets you directly from start to finish; our projects are going to change and reform as we work on them. Therefore, people are very willing to help you as much as they can, and then guide you in the right direction as you move toward Immersion.

Amanda Sisung, Class of 2022
Neuroscience Major

My name is Amanda Sisung. I鈥檓 from New Orleans. I am a sophomore majoring in Neuroscience on the pre-med track. One fun fact about me is I almost applied to be on America鈥檚 Got Talent when I was 10, but I got too nervous to send in the video.

Across the Pond with Rachel Wei /immersion/2020/01/24/going-across-the-pond-with-rachel-wei/ Fri, 24 Jan 2020 20:42:46 +0000 /immersion/?p=4442
Celebratory Flags for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, London. Photo by Emma Trawick (GEO Flickr)

Hi! I鈥檓 Rachel, a sophomore from Rockville, MD majoring in HOD and Biology and minoring in English Literature. Although I have a wide variety of interests that I could explore to fulfill the Immersion requirement, I鈥檝e chosen to use my as my Immersion project. I just found it easier and less stressful, since it鈥檚 already part of my graduation requirement for my major.

Since most students complete their Capstone internship in the Spring of Junior year, I wanted to start exploring where I could intern. I鈥檝e heard from other upperclassmen that some students get stuck with less interesting and productive internships when they don鈥檛 plan ahead, so I arranged a meeting with the HOD Capstone Internship Director . In our brief, 30 minute meeting, we chatted about the basic hour requirements and components of the Capstone internship. I was also able to ask Professor Tompkins about interning in London, which is the HOD location I鈥檓 most drawn to. Because I鈥檓 double majoring, I know I won鈥檛 be able to study abroad in addition to completing my HOD internship. That鈥檚 why I wanted to look into ways I could combine the two, and settled on trying to land an internship in London.

Professor Thompkins suggested I speak with a few of the students who interned in London this past semester. Every year, the Capstone Internship hosts a 鈥淟ondon Tea Party鈥 where students speak about their experiences interning in London. Although I missed this year鈥檚 information session, I was able to find students鈥 names and where they interned on the . I contacted a current senior who had interned at the U.S. Embassy in London and grabbed dinner with her. She offered me some valuable advice regarding how to apply for the position, when applications typically come out, and reassured me that conducting my Capstone internship in London would be a great experience.

I鈥檓 excited to continue my Immersion planning in the upcoming months. I鈥檓 looking forward to being able to put what I鈥檝e been learning about and practicing in my HOD classes into action across the pond.

Rachel Wei, Class of 2022
Human and Organizational Development & Biology Major
English Literature Minor

Rachel Wei is from Rockville, Maryland. She is double majoring in Human and Organizational Development, and Biology, with a minor in English Literature. In addition to writing and editing for The Hustler, Rachel is a Member of the Board of Directors for 自慰视频 Student Communications and an active member of 自慰视频 Mock Trial, where she is also the VP of External Operations. In her free time, Rachel enjoys reading sci-fi dystopian novels, investigative journalism pieces and traveling.

Microbiome Research with Asia Miller /immersion/2020/01/24/microbiome-research-with-asia-miller/ Fri, 24 Jan 2020 20:42:46 +0000 /immersion/?p=4435
Asia Miller working in Professor Seth Bordenstein’s lab. Photo by Joe Howell

I tried to make onion juice my senior year of high school, and now I know why they don鈥檛 sell it commercially. I thought that by growing bacteria on different foods (orange juice, chocolate, and onions) suspected of causing halitosis, I could determine which food was the worst for bad breath. In case you were wondering, chocolate ended up best facilitating the growth of oral bacteria. Somewhere between blending chunks of onion and water in an attempt to make onion juice and melting chocolate and spreading it onto a petri dish, I decided that I really loved research.

I knew that I wanted my Immersion project to be the research that I did during my time at Vandy, because I knew that my Immersion project was supposed to be something that I enjoyed (and was already planning on doing). Getting started with research was confusing at first; the first thing I did was run up to my Intro to Biology (BSCI 1510) professor after class, and ask him how I could get involved in microbiology research like him. I joined the Bordenstein lab a few weeks later, and started working on a project that was trying to understand the microbiome of a species of parasitic wasp named Nasonia. Professor Bordenstein was the easiest choice for my Immersion faculty adviser, so that鈥檚 who I went with. Your adviser could be anyone from your PI, to your favorite professor, to a faculty member you think does cool work.

Professor Seth Bordenstein and Asia Miller. Photo by Joe Howell

For those who are trying to develop their own Immersion projects, I would say look to your hobbies or extracurriculars first. Whether it be art, writing, reading, community service, study abroad, research, design, composition, community service, or anything else, you can turn it into your immersion project. Just find anything you care about besides your grades and put a bit more effort and thought into it than you might usually. If you can鈥檛 think of a hobby you want to do your Immersion project on, there鈥檚 nothing wrong with joining an existing organization and making your commitment to it your project. Immersion can really be anything, and hopefully, with how diverse Vandy students are, it鈥檒l be everything.

Asia Miller, Class of 2022
Biology Major

An Indiana Hoosier, Asia Miller is a second year student involved in microbiome research in the Bordenstein Lab. She runs the 自慰视频 Undergraduate Microbiome Society, a service-learning student organization focused on distributing fresh produce to where it鈥檚 needed most, and teaching people about the microbiome. She enjoys ceramics, writing, and daydreaming whenever possible.