Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Undergraduate education

Here is a summary of our educational accomplishments and pictures of our diplomas. I have both a VT transcript here and overall course transcripts here. What follows is a more detailed outline.

rev. 1/18/12

I am a spring 2004 graduate of Virginia Tech. My majors at VT were biochem / chem (BS/BA, respectively) and I then moved to Gainesville to attend the University of Florida to complete the chemistry program beginning fall 2004. My first higher education experience was at a local community college, SVCC, where I received my A.A.S. (Science) after 3 semesters. I then decided to transfer in to Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, VA, in August of 2002 to pursue a B.S. in Chemistry. After a few semesters in the B.S. program in Chemistry, I decided to double major with a B.S. in Biochemistry.

Since remaining in the B.S. Chem would require an additional year at VT just to take 9 credits of courses [CHEM 4114: Instrumental Analysis; CHEM 4414: Inorganic Lab; CHEM 3625: Physical Chemistry Lab II; CHEM 4404: Physical Inorganic] I decided to just finish the B.S.-track physics, maths [Calc 1,2,3 + Diff Eq], physical chemistry courses, and drop to the B.A. Chemistry, which would allow me to graduate after four semesters at VT with both majors. I’m glad I stuck with the more rigorous calculus sequences (four semesters) and calculus-based physics and physical chemistry: if you’re going to graduate school, it is imperative that you do so.

My advice from experience is to not try to be a hero with respect to course load -- I was taking 17 credits of hard-core stuff in the spring of 2003, when I was getting married on 5/31/03, doing undergraduate research that resulted in two presentations that spring and also working 20 hours a week at Luna Innovations. At the end of the semester, I had little time for studying, so I decided to cut out studying math, since I figured I could go to the multivariable calculus final without preparation better than organic chem II or organic biochemistry or physics II. Virginia Tech's math department used (at that time, I'm not sure about now) standardized, multiple-choice tests for all sections of each calculus class. That really hurt me, since there is no partial credit. As a result of bombing that final, I lost the cum laude distinction, dropping to a 3.3 GPA. Long story short...don't kill yourself trying to finish early.

Amber’s degree is a B.S. from ODU in "Interdisciplinary Studies" with an emphasis in Education--i.e., she took all the education classes and basically this way she can teach anything in the preK-6 arena rather than specializing in Language Arts or Math or whatever. She utilized the "distance learning" program at our local community college (SVCC, above). Here is a link outlining the requirements of her degree from ODU.

For more, return to the about me main page.