Archive for the ‘Meet the authors’ Category

March 18

What it’s like to be a student presenting research at a conference…in Hawaii

By ebriars

Hi there! My name is Emma Briars and I am a current senior in the College of Arts & Sciences double majoring in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BMB) and Mathematics. Outside of my academics I am a Project Manager Fellow for One World Youth Project, Vice President of the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Hosts, and a Training Coordinator for our Admissions Ambassador Program at the Admissions Reception Center. However my academic passions fall in systems and computational biology, and for the past ten months I have been doing research in Professor Daniel Segrè’s lab in the graduate program in Bioinformatics.

Waikiki sunset

A sunset in Waikiki during the conference

A few weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to attend the 1st Annual Winter q-Bio Meeting: Systems Biology on the Hawaiian Islands. This meeting brought together principal investigators, industry professionals, PhD students, masters students, and me, an undergraduate senior in our College of Arts & Sciences, to share ideas about innovative research in systems and synthetic biology.

Systems biology is an emerging discipline as a consequence of recent advances in technology and high-throughput data generation. It takes advantage of large biological data sets, bringing together ideas from engineers, physicists, biologists, chemists and mathematicians. As a student double majoring in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Mathematics, systems biology is an attractive field for my inter-disciplinary mindset. So, when a graduate student in my lab told me about this conference, I knew I had to apply to attend. I submitted an abstract of my research project entitled “Genome-scale Architecture of Small Molecule Regulation” to the conference committee, and was fortunate enough to be accepted to present a poster. The next step was to find funding to get me to the conference. I did a little research and discovered that BU has a lot of ways to provide funding for students to attend conferences. I was able to apply for both a George R. Bernard Jr. Travel Award from the Biology Department and a Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) Travel Award to help fund my way to the conference.

Each day of the conference started with an early morning breakfast featuring piles of tropical fruit, croissants, and plenty of local coffee. Every day I looked forward to grabbing some breakfast while mingling with other attendees. I met scientists from all over the world including Brazil, Scotland, San Diego, Chicago, and Vermont and I made conversation with academics ranging from first year PhD students to tenured professors. The breakfast, coffee, and lunch breaks throughout the days were great opportunities to share ideas with other conference attendees. We would debrief presentations, share research interests, and make connections with each other—all while sitting at the ocean, or around the coffee area.

The bulk of the conference programming was the eight feature presentations given by leaders across the fields of systems biology. The first speaker of the conference was none other than BU’s own Jim Collins, a professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department, and a pioneer of synthetic biology. His talk entitled “Radical Approaches to Antibiotics and Microbial Threats” discussed research in therapeutic synthetic biology and emerging drug treatment. He even brought in a public health perspective, discussing how our anti-bacterial craze is hurting, not helping our society.  I had such a great feeling of BU pride as he presented, and Professor Collins’ talk was definitely a fan favorite throughout the week.

Another notable speaker was Craig Venter, the father of the Human Genome Project, and the first human with his full genome sequenced. His presentation entitled “Synthetic Life: Control Over Nature for the Benefit of Society” also explored the cusp of synthetic biology—thinking of our DNA as software and how we can make the conversion from biological to digital information. Another BU alum, Timothy Gardner, who received his PhD and continued as a faculty member in our Biomedical Engineering department, gave a featured presentation on the research at his company Amyris. He brought the industry perspective to synthetic biology with his talk “Transforming Yeast from Moonshiners to Oil Barons” and how he formed the bridge from academia to industry by implementing standardization in synthetic biology, and taking the research and development approach.

The third day of the conference was my big day: the poster session. About 80 different participants took part in the poster session, showcasing research that really spoke to the diversity of systems and synthetic biology. My project looking at genome-scale networks of small molecule regulation in metabolism drew attention from a variety of viewers, and gave me the opportunity to answer questions, receive suggestions, and just throw around ideas about enzymes and genomics. I even had the opportunity to talk with Ned Wingreen, a professor in Princeton’s Molecular Biology department and a conference featured presenter, about the different modules of regulation on enzymes. Other posters in the session featured ideas about bacterial competition, synthetic cellular networks, a new computational tool for predicting cellular responses, and engineering small-molecule biosensors. It was exciting to see the diverse amount of research being conducted, and especially the youth and enthusiasm driving the field. The evening of the poster session concluded with a banquet on the beach. Although I had only been there for three days, looking around the event, I felt like there were many familiar faces. It was great hanging out with new friends in the laid-back environment, even though the conversation always made its way back to science.

The opportunity to attend this conference was such a culminating moment for my experiences here at Boston University. I felt like I was able to combine both my textbook knowledge and hands-on research experiences to interact with and learn so much about the systems biology field. As I complete my last semester here at BU, including finishing up my research projects and taking a systems biology course, I hope to continue making these inter-disciplinary connections.

February 6

What is there to do in Boston during the Winter?

By Katie Kocourek

BU students on the Frog Pond

Hello! My name is Katie and I am an Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications for BU Admissions. I’m also a BU alum who graduated from the School of Management in May 2012. In our office, I have the unique opportunity of working with the recruitment team and individuals from each of BU’s schools and colleges to develop our integrated communications for prospective students. I am lucky in that every day I get to represent the university that I love and reflect on the wonderful experiences I had as a student.

Originally from Minnesota, I am no stranger to winter. This was always one of my favorite times of year as a student. Not only does the campus look beautiful covered in snow, but the colder months bring some of the best that Boston has to offer. After all, who can resist the idea of a pick-up game of soccer in the snow on the BU Beach or cozying up with a good book and a cup of coffee at the George Sherman Union?

There are thousands of things to do in Boston during the winter, but here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Enjoy an evening skating at the Frog Pond
    Located in the heart of the Boston Common, the Frog Pond is one of the most visited sites in the city. During the winter, this iconic pool is transformed into an ice rink—so grab a bunch of friends and get ready to skate the night away. On Tuesday evenings, the Frog Pond even offers half-priced admission to students who show their college I.D.<
  2. Take in a performance at BU’s Huntington Theatre Company
    Known for its eclectic seasons of up-and-coming plays and classics, the Huntington Theatre Company is one of the premier theatres in Boston. For the past 30 years, the theatre has staged nationally-renowned productions that have enhanced the artistic culture of the city. Lucky for us, this remarkable venue offers discount tickets for students and members of the BU community and is only a Boston University Shuttle ride away.
  3. Cheer on the Terriers in the Beanpot
    This hockey tournament, played the first two Mondays and Tuesdays of February, showcases Boston collegiate rivalries at their best. Every year, the men’s and women’s hockey teams from Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern, and Harvard face off in a fierce tournament unlike any other in the country. The cheers are deafening, the fans shake the arenas, and the games are incredibly intense. Be sure to get your tickets early, because this is one event you do not want to miss as a student!
  4. Hit the nearby slopes on a day trip
    Boston has many ski and snowboard areas that are only a short trip away, making it easy to hit the slopes. The BU Ski & Board Club, a student-run group on campus, welcomes skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. Each season, they organize multiple trips to local ski and board areas for great prices. Additionally, many outdoor sporting goods stores such as Eastern Mountain Sports organize ski, snowboard, or even snowshoe day trips, allowing you to experience New England outdoors during the winter.
  5. Spend an afternoon taking in Boston’s museums
    We have some of the best museums in the world right here at our doorstep, and a chilly winter day is the perfect time to check them out. The Museum of Fine Arts features one of the most comprehensive collections of art in the world—consisting of everything from a renowned display of Egyptian artifacts to an entire wing devoted to the great artists of the Americas to the largest collection of Japanese works under one roof outside of Japan. Smaller than the Museum of Fine Arts (but equally fantastic), the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum provides a cozy, intimate environment for viewing a unique collection of more than 2,500 paintings, sculptures, furniture pieces, and decorative arts. This collection, personally compiled by Isabella Stewart Gardner herself, is housed in a beautiful 15th-century Venetian-style palace surrounding a gorgeous courtyard. Finally, a trip to the Museum of Science, located along the Charles River at the Science Park T Station, is a great way to spend an afternoon. This museum offers visitors shows at the Charles Hayden Planetarium and Mugar Omni Theater, a number of live presentations, and over 500 interactive exhibits highlighting topics ranging from the ecosystems and wildlife of New England to lightning and weather.

As you can see, winter offers lots of fun opportunities to get out and explore the city of Boston. Enjoy the remainder of the season and I hope to see you on campus soon!


January 14

Daring Yourself to Think BU

By kede

Boston University Viewbook cover

My role in admissions isn’t a traditional one. I don’t travel to meet with prospective students. It’s not part of my job to welcome students who visit our beautiful campus. But I still communicate with them every day.

I develop the publications you receive throughout your journey as a prospective student or applicant, including our keystone piece, the Viewbook. You may have already received a “We Dare You” Viewbook in the mail, or maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about (if not, you can request to have one mailed to you).

As my colleagues read tens of thousands of applications, they have heard from many of you how the “daring” theme has made you realize why BU is so different from other universities, and so worth applying to.

In many essays, applicants have shared how their search for a university comes down to more than just a name or reputation; they’re interested in finding a place where they can thrive. It may sound silly to pick a university based on an oversized pamphlet, but many of you felt that our Viewbook stood out and showed how BU will allow you to stretch your mind in ways you never imagined before. You felt you belonged at BU just from the stories it told and the campus personality it conveyed. I’m thrilled we were able to convey the essence of this university through these pages.

My job here is, in some ways, made simple because what speaks to you on the pages of the Viewbook are simply facts about BU. These facts—the incredible research, courses, global experiences, and perspectives of our students—vividly show how BU is a perfect fit for the students who ultimately come here.

Take the students who provided local media coverage remotely from the London Olympics. Or BU’s only deaf freshman who is learning Arabic through American Sign Language to further her archaeology studies. The young woman who is educating students in Belize on the affects of diabetes. And the young man who founded a charitable “mailbox” campaign on campus.

Then there’s the undergrad students working with faculty on graduate-level research projects that would blow your mind. I could list them, but it’s really worth checking them out yourself.

The truth is, there aren’t enough pages in the Viewbook for us to share even a small percentage of what’s happening at BU. But I’m so happy that the things we are able to share are inspiring you to apply here.

As you anxiously await your decisions, we will continue doing our jobs to keep you filled in on BU happenings and interesting bits of information. And regardless of whether you are accepted and decide to attend BU or not, I hope you always find ways to dare yourself to keep growing.

– Kristin Ede
Sr. Assistant Director of Admissions Marketing and Communications

October 7

Meet Julia!

By jckeller

JuliaI’m approaching my four year anniversary as a BU employee, and I like to say that I am finishing my senior year! As the Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications, I’m one of the few who stays in Boston throughout the fall. While my coworkers are headed to Chicago, Anchorage, San Antonio, Istanbul, Beijing, and beyond, I get to enjoy one of the best things about living in Boston—a New England fall. Even though I’m a Boston-area native, I can tell you that the crisp air and fall foliage never get old.

But you aren’t here to learn about me; you want to know more about BU! Here are a few of my current favorites:

  • The Farmer’s Market. On Thursdays, you’ll find local farmers and other food producers set up outside of the George Sherman Union. My personal favorites are Ward’s Berry Farm, where last week I got some local apples and the best corn I’ve had all year, and the Danish Pastry House.
  • Dean Elmore. I’m a part-time graduate student at BU, working towards an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration, and I’m lucky enough to be taking a class with Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore this semester. His enthusiasm for BU and the students here is remarkable—he is part of what makes BU such an amazing place.
  • Boston! I’ve lived in the area my whole life, and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon. I could write a book about all the great things about this wonderful city–but I won’t, at least not in this blog post. BU has the enviable location of being alongside the Charles River, and one of my favorite things to do is go for an early morning run on the Esplanade. Watching the sun rise above the Boston skyline is simply beautiful.

I’m looking forward to sharing more about BU with you in the coming months. And please feel free to let me know what you want to know about BU!

September 26

Meet Jonathan

By Jonathan

Welcome to the new Boston University Admissions blog!  I am Jonathan Aleshire, one of several staff members who will be contributing to the blog.  I hope that this will be a place where you can discover new things about the university and where I can share insight about the admissions process. 

 One of the first questions I often ask a prospective student is “What initially got you interested in BU?” Surprisingly, my story is similar to one many students tell me.  I learned about BU from an admissions counselor at a college fair! Let me go back a few years…

 I attended Elon University for my bachelor’s degree and graduated in 2006.  After working in New York City for a year, I returned to my alma mater to work in the admissions office.  During the next four years, I earned my master’s degree and spent a lot of time visiting high schools and college fairs on behalf of Elon.  In addition to the prospective students I met while traveling, I also met many people from all over the world who had found their way into the admissions profession.   This past spring I was attending a college fair in Connecticut and met an admissions counselor from BU.  We spent some time with the usual introduction conversation topics, during which I mentioned how much I loved Boston.  This led to a conversation about BU and then about a job opening within the admissions office.  As soon as I made it back to my hotel room that night, I pulled up the BU webpage and began to explore. 

 I read about the amazing academic programs, study abroad, research and the myriad of opportunities at BU; it immediately drew me in!  That same week I submitted my application for the admissions position.  Fast forward a few months and here I am working at BU!  I am very excited to be a part of the BU admissions team!

September 21

Meet Phebe!

By Stacey Milton

Phebe Robinson, Senior Assistant Director for Boston, MA and Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn, NY

Phebe Robinson, Senior Assistant Director for Boston, MA and Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn, NY

Hello! My name is Phebe and I’m a Senior Assistant Director in the admissions office at Boston University.

Originally from Atlanta, GA, disguised as a New Englander, and posing as a New Yorker, allow me to formally welcome you to the admissions blog! To say I love my job is an understatement; I have the unique pleasure of meeting hundreds of students each year and guiding them through the application process. I recruit in two of my favorite cities: Boston & New York (Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island). In college I majored in vocal performance, piano, and psychology, and I love having a background in performance and the liberal arts – I wouldn’t change it for the world!

I always knew that  I wanted to be a vocal performance major and vividly remember the day my parents discovered this: I was 8 years old, screaming “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the top of my lungs — at midnight! Fast forward 10 years, and after many solos, tutors, auditions and stage performances, I was without a doubt ready for college and the vocal performance track.

You’ll learn a lot more about me on this blog, but for now I’d like to leave you with a few fun facts about yours truly:

  • I can recite the circle of fifths and transpose music faster than most of my friends.
  • In my family I’m considered the queen of southern cooking and make the best peach pie ever!
  • In my free time you’ll find me in the park with my dog, Oliver, or writing music.
  • I’m obsessed with NY street food.

Thanks for reading!

September 17

Allow me to introduce myself…

By Stacey Milton

Stacey Milton, regional representative for PA & DE

Stacey Milton, regional representative for PA & DE

My relationship with BU started over 10 years ago, when I was a high school sophomore living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I fell in love with journalism, spurred on by a minor obsession with the film Almost Famous (I wanted desperately to become a writer for Rolling Stone magazine). It was around this time that I set my sights on BU’s College of Communication. I submitted my Early Decision application by snail mail after completing several drafts of the paper (yes, paper) application. When I received my decision letter in December congratulating me on my admission, I was over the moon with excitement.

Now, six years and two degrees later (I earned my B.S. in Journalism and M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration) I am still here on BU’s campus, working in admissions as a Senior Assistant Director. I may not be traveling with my favorite bands on a tour bus, but I do get to spend a few months a year traveling to my region of PA & DE visiting prospective and admitted students. I think that’s pretty awesome (and I make some sweet playlists for the each trip). In my free time, I enjoy traveling and camping – I hope to visit all of our national parks. I love to cook, I’m learning to knit, and right now I’m obsessed with The Hunger Games.

I love that I now play a role in the selection of future BU students. What first drew me to BU’s campus many years ago is also what has kept me here – the incredibly bright and diverse student body, the vibrant city of Boston and the endless opportunities that this institution offers all who are up to the challenge. I’m still proud to be a BU Terrier, and I look forward to sharing my stories, insight and tips with the Class of 2016, and beyond.