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I will be posting my blog to this thread throughout the WYSE experiance  16x16_smiley-happy
The first full day of the WYSE Summit was not a slow one! On June 26th, I woke up at the early hour of 6:30 and quickly ate breakfast in order to hop on a bus to the Smithsonian National Zoo. When we arrived, we were plesantly greeted by Elise Bernardoni (senior manager of the education program at the zoo) who was ecstatic to have WYSE members. After lunch and walking around the zoo with a small group of friends, I went to my small group session. I got session #10: Animal Welfare in Modern Zoo Animal Management with Dr. Elizabeth Herrelko. I had a really interesting conversation about how the idea of anthropomorphism has skewed the perspective of a guest visiting animals in the zoo. Afterwards, our whole WYSE group sat for a panel discussion with Lauren Augustine, Dr. Meredith Bastian, and Craig Saffoe. Each were involved in very different portions of the zoo, so we were able to ask questions with varying answers and examples (which I really enjoyed). Exhusted, we finally leave the zoo around 6 PM to go onto the next activity: a Twilight Monument! I got to see the White House, WWII memorial, and the Lincoln memorial all behind a beautiful sunset. It was a day jam-packed with events, but I had a really fun time!
Pictures from Monday:
Toucan from the National Zoo and Washington Monument
On Tuesday June 27th, I went with my small group to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland. I had never been exposed to such a large amount of diverse species in an aquarium before, and as someone who wants to study marine biology, it was a dream come true! After getting free time to explore the aqaurium on our own, we were given a behind-the-scenes tour of the building. It was incredible to be able to stand above the shark exhibit, see how food is prepared for the animals in their kitchen, and learn about how the millions of gallons of water throughtout the building are being filtered every second! After lunch, we had an insightful panel discussion with National Aquarium workers Shawn Cook, Lindsay Jacks, Christine Behringer, and Charmaine Dalenburg in which they discussed each role they play in the aquarium. After we left 16x16_smiley-sad , we traveled back to George Mason to have dinner and conduct a mock UN meeting on climate change. My partner and I were assigned South Korea, a country that plays a rather small role in climate change, which was frustrating considering the fact that we wanted to be the leaders of the meeting. Although at times the meeting was annoying (considering the fact that it bascially just revolved around how terrible Trump is), it opened our eyes to how similar a real UN meeting might seem. I did not think about how hard it is for some places, such as South Korea, to get their opinion in while having to deal with the dramas of big countries such as the United States or China. Overall, it was a pretty amazing day! 16x16_smiley-very-happy
On June 28th, we started out the day getting on the bus to go see Aurora Elmore (Program Officer of the National Geographic), who spoke to us about her experiance studying climate change through studying the temperature of fossils in the deep ocean. Her explanation of this was that under the deep water currents, there was nothing in modern day that could have corrupted the temperature of the fossils, thereby making them perfect specimens to study the natural increase/decrease of tempertaure in the world, which we can now compare to modern day rapid temperature increase. I found this discussion very fascinating! Afterwards, I heard from Amy Takayama-Perez (Executive director of WYSE & Dean of Admissions at George Mason) who talked to us about college admissions. While some of my friends were totally freaking out, I acutually felt a little better after the talk. My biggest takeaway was that grades are not everything. While they are important, you also have to be social and participate in club activities! After that, we traveled to the National Geographic building to a shark exhbit. It was filled with beautiful photographs of sharks ? from all around th world! Afterwards, we went back to George Mason and listened to speaker Mustafa Ali. Mustafa, who is the Vice President of the Hip Hop Caucus, was by far my favorite speaker of the whole summit. Directly after him, I went to another speaker named Gretchen Goldman who spoke to us about preserving scientific integrity in Federal Policymaking. By the end of this day, I had taken lots and lots of notes ?, which made me super tired, but it was very fun. 16x16_smiley-happy