Thursday, September 25, 2014

Exceeding Expectations - Marcela Fitzpatrick

Marcela is one of four students from Augustana/Rock Island participating in the Wartburg West program this fall. 

It’s been four weeks, and Denver has already exceeded all of my expectations. During my short time here I’ve gotten to explore downtown, shop to my heart’s content, and eat just about anything you could imagine. It’s great that Colorado is so diverse; I really enjoy the fact that I can enjoy a night on the town, and go hiking in the mountains all in the same day. Being in Denver has influenced me to try things I don’t think I would’ve otherwise had the opportunity to do if  I’d stayed on campus. I went white water rafting on the Arkansas River in Leadville (just 2 hours outside of Denver), through some pretty intense rapids with 3 of my friends for the first time. It was definitely one for the books and I would strongly encourage anyone to try it if they have the opportunity. I also went tubing down Clear Creek in Golden, just thirty minutes outside of Denver. Like I said, there are an infinite number of things to do in Denver, and if you find yourself bored, you’re doing something wrong.

Besides all of the extraordinary experiences I’ve had, most of my greatest memories happen at work. My placement is at the UC-Denver Anschutz Medical Campus. I’m a Neuroscience/Biology major interested in pursuing clinical research. I was placed in the Pharmacology/Toxicology Department, in the Freed laboratory. This lab’s research is focused on Parkinson’s Disease (PD), the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease in the world, next to Alzheimer’s. I love coming in everyday to learn new techniques and procedures in the lab, not only because I’m gaining valuable experience for my future but also because I get to aide Dr. Freed and his extraordinary staff in helping find a cause for PD. I can’t wait to see what the next 7 weeks have in store for me, I can’t imagine things getting much better than they are now, but I’m up for the challenge. And like many of the previous bloggers have mentioned I wouldn’t for a second regret my decision to apply to the Wartburg West program. It’s truly a once in a lifetime experience that I feel will positively impact my future. I advise any student that is wondering what its like to live in a big city while also gaining valuable internship experience for yourself to consider applying for Wartburg West.

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