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This past week has been unbelievably crazy in the office in preparation of opening night! Right now they’re loading in the set and the entire building is buzzing with busy people but it’s so much fun!

I’ve been running around the past few days, getting my hands in so many different aspects of the theater! I got to hang up posters in the lobby to make it all performance-ready, as seen in the photo! Also, I’ve been working on an excel spreadsheet the past few days and let me tell you, I’m so grateful for my MIS class now. Before that class I barely knew how to do ANYTHING in excel, so I can just imagine how scary this assignment would have been if I hadn’t gained the experience in class.

Also, yesterday, the Artistic Associate and casting director at Triad Stage let me sit in on general auditions for the upcoming season. As a theater minor, this was SUCH a wonderful experience for me. It was the first time I have ever been on the other side of the table during auditions. It was truly eye-opening and it made me see how well the theatre department at HPU teaches us how to audition properly. It also gave me insight on how to approach upcoming auditions in the fall! Well, I should probably finish this spreadsheet – Until next time!

 
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Welcome back to the Colyer Lab here at WFU!

 

As I mentioned in my last update, last Thursday I joined the lab group at the Triangle Chromatography Discussion Group in Raleigh, NC. This was a great experience! For my college friends…I had to get up at 5am to get there on time. The day was filled with various presentations mainly focusing on natural chemistry like cannabinoids, natural fungi, wine chemistry, and more. Between the presentations, I got to mingle with the numerous analytical chemistry vendors like Waters and Agilent in the vendor expo (got some free promo stuff). The day was long, however, filled with some interesting topics.

 

Back in the lab, I began my UV/Visible absorbance studies with the SQBA dye and three simple sugars (fructose, ribose, and arabinose). We were collecting absorbance data to determine the excitation wavelength by testing the following solutions: dye only, each sugar only, and a complex of dye and sugar. After some data collection and analysis in Excel…I had my excitation wavelength of 618 nm!  Now I can use that to collect Fluorescence emission data in dye only and dye/sugar complex solutions. The goal in Fluorescence studies is to determine the emission wavelength and emission parameters to use in method development for capillary electrophoresis (CE) separation. My emission wavelength turned out to be 656 nm!

 

All in all, after a few days I completed the UV/Vis and Fluorescence data giving me many data charts to place in my lab notebook (It is very important to keep excellent lab notebook records!). Check back with me soon as I begin my CE method development.

 

 
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I can’t believe that today marks the beginning of week two in my internship with French/West/Vaughan. Time already seems to be flying by. Week one was eventful and exciting. I quickly became acclimated to the office (which is quite possibly the coolest office I have ever seen—pictures to come later) and met some of the staff that I would be working with.

What is great about F/W/V’s intern program is that you are assigned to a supervisor and a team. Instead of just wondering around the office looking for menial tasks to do, you are given real assignments and actually get to experience what working for a PR firm is like. I was assigned to a wonderful supervisor named Lauren who is an account executive. Some of the brands that I am working with are Gemesis Diamond Company, Arena Swimwear USA, The International Gemological Institute and Melitta Coffee. I love working with such a broad group of clients—it allows me to learn about different market and industry needs.

 In my first week of business I became acclimated with the accounts and learned what was done with them in the past and the projects that are currently being worked on. I quickly familiarized myself with some of tools of the trade: websites such as Cision Point, which help you compile media lists, and pitch websites like HARO and Profnet that allow PR professionals and reporters swap story ideas, product promotions, and deadlines.

Now in my second week, I feel like I am beginning to understand what working in this industry is like—fascinating! I really do learn something new every day. For example, I never realized the full potential of social media. I spend a significant amount of my time on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, but I never really understood their great market potential until now. Last week I started working on “pinning” new posts to the Pinterest page for Gemesis Diamond Company. Gemesis is a conflict-free and eco-friendly diamond company that produces laboratory created diamonds. By utilizing Pinterest, we try to connect with the brand with the lifestyles of Gemesis customers. We create boards with topics that tie-into the brand image, some examples being “eco-friendly weddings” and “green celebrities”.

Another interesting assignment has been to write story pitches to editors of major magazines like InStyle. Catching the attention of the right media is crucial to the promotion of a brand. If the story is never shared, it is never told! So that is where a pitch comes in –  you tell editors about a product in hopes that they will include it in their next issue.

 This week I have been compiling media lists for an upcoming event. While working on my lists I have found that having great research skill (yes, our professors are right) really does come in handy. When you can’t find the contact information of a particular media professional, you have to think creatively and figure out how to connect with them. You research other members of that publication or news organization, and eventually dig around until you find what you need to know.

An interesting task for me today was to skim the pages of trade magazines and websites for what is called “hits” or mentions of client’s products. When it seemed like all hope was lost after scouring the pages of about five magazines, I finally found a write up that featured two of our clients and even mentioned French/West/Vaughan!

 
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It’s a crazy week here at the office! Lots of mailings are going out in preparation for opening night of “The Illusion.” I’m learning a lot in the process. I was given the responsibility of making posters that would go around the building advertising what exactly is going on in the upcoming months. I had to use Adobe Illustrator for the first time and it was definitely a learning experience! I played around with different images and fonts to make sure everything was just right. After it was approved, I was sent to go around and place the posters in various locations. Right after that, I went on a few adventures around Greensboro. I had to pick up 1,200 mailing post-cards for “The Illusion,” and right after that I went over to a framing store to drop off some (pretty beautiful) posters to get framed! It’s so great to really experience all the partnerships and connections there are in the marketing field here. I’ve already met so many people from local businesses and it’s a wonderful thing to see how a community works together so well.

Don’t forget – “The Illusion” opens June 10 at the Triad Stage here in Greensboro, N.C.!

 
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This summer I will be interning at Georgia Health Science University in Augusta, Georgia.  My program started May 21, and since then I’ve been doing a lot of reading and observing.  The goal of my research team is to develop new therapeutic targets in treatment and prevention of diabetic retinopathy.  Diabetic retinopathy is a diabetic eye disease caused by changes in the blood vessels in the retina.  It is currently the leading cause of blindness in industrialized countries.  With the increase in diabetes, more research is being devoted in trying to prevent these deteriorating illnesses.

By discovery and analyzing novel biochemical transporters and receptors in the retina, we hope to find a way to prevent or treat diabetic retinopathy.  The specifics of what project I will be working on are still being determined.  However, recent research has categorized diabetic retinopathy as an inflammatory disease.  My mentor identified the expression of GPR109A, a G-protein coupled receptor, in the retinal pigment epithelium of the retina.  A G-protein receptor senses molecules outside of the cell which then induces a cellular response inside the cell. This receptor when bonded to niacin or B-hydroxybutyrate will stimulate anti-inflammatory responses which could help to reduce the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy.  Most likely I will be continuing to study this receptor in the retina because it is an attractive drug target for treatment.