Eminent Introductory Post

If you know you are on the right track, if you have this inner knowledge, then nobody can turn you off… no matter what they say. -Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock. Who was she? An American cytogeneticist. 1983 Nobel Prize winner. An independent, determined learner.

Known best for observing the genetics of the maize plant and its heredity, Barbara McClintock is my eminent person. She is, undeniably, a very influential woman in science.

Barbara McClintock was born on June 16, 1902, in Connecticut. Her family didn’t have very much money so she had to live with her uncle from the age of 3 until she began school. She was close with her father but had a poor relationship with her mother from a young age. Her interest in science started growing at an early age as her father was a physician. It continued to develop in secondary school and she expressed an interest to go to Cornell’s College of Agriculture. Her mother disapproved of this because she thought it would make her “unmarriable” and she thought it better for Barbara to marry. With her father’s support, however, she did apply and got into her college of choice.

She became interested in genetics about 2 years after she started college through a class taught by C. B. Hutchinson. Hutchinson noticed and was impressed by Ms. McClintock’s interest in genetics and invited her to a graduate genetics course the following year. “Obviously, this [invite] cast the die for my future. I remained with genetics thereafter” (McClintock 1983). Ms. McClintock later earned her Master of Science and Ph.D. from Cornell’s College of Agriculture in botany because it was reported that women could not graduate in genetics.

She began her research on maize plants after graduating. She eventually discovered mobile gene elements, also called “jumping genes.” Other scientists dismissed her research at first. They were skeptical about the usefulness of her discovery and thought that jumping genes were “useless junk DNA”, though McClintock hypothesized that they had a bigger purpose. It was only after decades that her research was finally accepted by the scientific community and she won her 1983 Nobel Prize. We have since found that these jumping genes are very important to our body. They comprise just under 50% of the human genome and are largely responsible for the many different types of cells we have, even though nearly all of them share the same DNA.  

I chose to research Barbara McClintock because she was an inspiring female that truly made an impact in science. She overcame any obstacles that came at her with confidence and was very dedicated, persevering to get to her goal. Ms. McClintock went against her mother’s wishes for her and never married or had kids, instead choosing to devote her life to her research. She and I share a great interest in biology and genetics and though I do think that I can be a patient person, I aspire to have the same amount of determination and focus as Ms. McClintock.

I think Barbara McClintock exemplifies my goal in TALONS very well because I want to learn to be a more independent and focused learner, much like her. She was described as an independent person from her early childhood years. Though Ms. McClintock and I grew up in different environments, I don’t think this makes us different people as we have a similar personality, interests and learning style. I will, however, address our differences in my speech and do more research about the time and place she grew up in.

Ms. McClintock knew never to give up and keep moving forward. Not only has McClintock left us with a better understanding of the microscopic world, but she also shows us how to be confident in ourselves and even each other. We should continue to remember this wonderful female and all her work. I know I will.  

I am excited to find out more about Barbara McClintock and look deeper into her life. I am also looking forward to finding someone to interview, though I expect that this might be hard, as so far I have not been able to find any living relatives. I will continue to search for other interviewees and more information about the wonderful Barbara McClintock.

Works Cited:

Pray, Leslie. “Transposons, or Jumping Genes: Not Junk DNA?” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 2008, http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/transposons-or-jumping-genes-not-junk-dna-1211.

“Barbara McClintock – Facts.” NobelPrize.org, Nobel Media AB 2018, www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/1983/mcclintock/facts/.

“Barbara McClintock.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Oct. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_McClintock.

“Barbara McClintock.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 29 Aug. 2018, www.britannica.com/biography/Barbara-McClintock.

Images (in order):

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a2/Corn_and_microscope.jpg/220px-Corn_and_microscope. jpg



The Vacationers – Novel Response #1

I am impressed with how calm Franny can remain when she finds out her husband cheated on her. Even though it is quite apparent that she is angry, she still goes on vacation with the whole family. It seems that her husband Jim’s lack of loyalty has proven to be a weakness. He also acts on impulse and gets fired from his job for having intimate affairs with coworker. Throughout the book it is shown that he enjoys this job, “Weekends were fairly easy – he wouldn’t have been at the office, anyway, … The weekdays were the challenge” (61). This shows that he fears losing his job, though this fear came true. On the other hand, he wants a partner who can give him a good support system. At the very beginning of the book, Jim is doing some last-minute packing and thinking, “There were things Jim would have taken out of his bags, if it had been possible: the last year of his life, … the way Franny looked at him across the table” (1). It seems that he was going through something and his wife wasn’t giving him the support he needed. We can see he has a strong internal conflict and regrets his decisions. He also has external conflicts with his wife and at work. I can understand Franny trying to keep everything under wraps until she figures it out with Jim. This would avoid confusion and rumours from spreading. I would also deal with it quietly and only talked to people who were involved with it.  Though what Jim did is completely unacceptable, I think it helps us gain a deeper understanding of him and the other characters.  

Dad is NOT Dying

I believe that Sam did more harm than good by lying. Lots of people were affected in a negative way, much more than were in a positive way. I also think that the people who were affected positively could have been made to feel better in other ways. When Sam first told his lie in front of his class, he immediately affected everyone there, and before the end of the day, nearly everyone had heard bad news about Dave. It seems that in this community everyone knows each other quite well because they visit each other, go to dinner parties together, etc. This means that most people in this community probably really cared about Dave and really were sad when they heard the “news”. Some people cried. There was even a moment of silence “for those struggling with illness.” Though this moment was mainly for Sam, you can tell that so many other people were hurt. Now let’s look on the other hand, to those who benefitted from Sam’s lie. There were only two people, Dave and Morely. In the beginning, “Dave began to feel listless… ‘You’re fine,’ said Morely. He didn’t feel fine. And neither did Morely. [She had] no time for her family and no time for herself.” However, by the end of the story, Morely was getting visits from all her neighbours, and she was spending more time with her family. Dave was getting lots of compliments and he started to feel better about himself. Sam never even intended to help his parents when he told the lie because in that moment he was only thinking about avoiding getting bullied. The lie ended up making both of Sam’s parents feel better and perhaps livelier, but I think that there could have been other ways to do this. For example, I think that if Morely had just taken a second each day to slow down and ask herself where she is rushing, then she wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed. I think that Dave would also feel better if he spent more time with his family. The compliments he was getting were only semi-genuine as people really thought that he was sick and were only trying to make him feel better. Sam could also help his parents by purposely trying to spend some more time with them and talking to them about his own feelings/insecurities. This way everyone would benefit from it and no one would get hurt by a silly lie. I think that Sam’s lie was unnecessary and hurt more than it helped. Though it would have made for a much less interesting story, this is why I think that Sam’s lie never should have existed. 

Why you should camp with Alex

If I got to choose myself a roommate, I would choose Alex. Her personality seems like mine and though we have a few small differences, I think this would advance our friendship more. She also seems like a generally fun and kind person to talk to and hang out with. Alex and I would have lots of fun together as we seem to have a very similar personality. She is an active person but understands the importance of occasionally having some downtime. I can say this because Alex loves playing basketball, but she also likes some quiet activities such as reading and drawing. She says that people think of her as a basketball jock and get surprised when they learn she has other interests. Though basketball is her life, she clearly doesn’t agree with people’s impression of her and she says that she’s “not exactly sure why [people get surprised]” Having a similar personality is important because then we would have much less disagreements throughout our time at the camp. Alex has a well-rounded personality and she seems kind and fun. She is the only person who mentions that she has several different interests, unlike the other possible roommates, who only talk about one interest. I feel like Alex is ready to have lots of fun and spend our time at camp getting to know each other and making lasting connections. To me, the most important part of camp are the memories made there, and nearly all good memories are made with those who are there with you. Therefore, I think it’s important to have a roommate who understands you and who would be there to have some fun, much like Alex. 

Digital Footprint Assignment

Everyone has a digital footprint. I do, you do, everyone does. Whether it’s pictures or posts you’ve made or news articles about you. In the future, these digital footprints can affect us in multiple ways. Here are some examples:

  1. When you are applying for post-secondary education, those who look at your application might look at your digital footprint. Even what you do or say online after you get accepted my affect your education and your future.
  2. When you are getting a job, your future employer may look at your footprint to see what kind of person you are. Often, their first impression of you may be what they see online.

These can, however, be avoided if you keep your footprint appropriate and safe. Take the following steps:

  1. THINK before you post. Make sure to ask yourself, is it True? is it Hurtful? is it Illegal? is it Necessary? is it Kind?
  2. Don’t post anything that might embarrass you later. Don’t post any mean or hurtful comments, inappropriate photos, etc.
  3. Keep your accounts secure. Make sure you review your privacy settings to ensure that only trusted people can view your posts and information.

I believe that I have been taking these steps already and that I have been maintaining a fairly positive footprint. If I did explain it to other students, I would tell them to remember that whatever they post will be floating around the internet for a very, very long time, even if they try to take it down. That in mind, the internet can be a very useful and wonderful place if used in the right way. Just make sure you think and post with care.