Kyle and I are heading to Chicago-land this weekend for a mid-winter getaway, which will include: a Wheaton mini reunion (!!!!!!), staying with Mama Annette in my old digs, and meeting up with one of Kyle’s buddies who lives downtown. I am *SO* excited to have him meet a couple of the Wheaton girls I love so much.

I am also excited to eat some long overdue Chicago-style Giordano’s Pizza, and Egglectic Breakfast. Mmmm good.

I’ll introduce Kyle to the Burdens, who affected my life so much as a student and were very influential in my trip from undergrad, to industry, to Africa, to Columbia. When I told Dr Burden that I’d be in Wheaton this weekend, he asked “Would you give us a seminar on what you study?”

Part of me laughs at the irony… Ashley: the blonde scientist who only passed my Chemistry degree because of my astute ability to choose good study buddies, and 95% of the time feels like (a) I have no idea what I am doing in this lab and (b) I have no idea how I got here…. give a seminar? At Wheaton? Maybe the gist of the message should be “Don’t do quite what I did, because I just got lucky!”

I’ve spent a few hours so far this week putting together a Powerpoint to chronicle my experiences starting with researching at Wheaton, through my time at C.E.M, RVA, a couple rounds of grad school applications, and now being at Columbia, and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had putting a Powerpoint together. Usually it would entail lots of formatting, organizing and assembling data, and thinking about why my results matter… But this time I just get to put in lots of pictures, describe some types of experiments and try to inspire people to apply to grad school even if they think they aren’t smart enough. 🙂

(side note: as I write this, I am in lab screening crystals for a trip to the synchrotron on Friday, that I get to skip! And I just found a good crystal. Smile smile smile. I’ll be presenting at Wheaton while my lab mates are collecting data for me. Life is not fair. 🙂 )

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