Friday, July 30, 2010

Blog 7: Editorial- HIV/ AIDS epedemic- Get involved!

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has been responsible for increasing the death rate of humans for decades. It is the cause of major epidemic in small world countries. HIV is a non discriminating disease, effecting men, women, and children. It does not discriminate on racial ethnicity.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus attacks the immune system causing its victim’s immune system to begin to lose the ability to fight infection. HIV is spread by sexual contact with someone with HIV, sharing needles with someone who has HIV, breast feeding from a mother infected with HIV, or through blood transfusions. The death toll of HIV infected individuals in third world or underdeveloped countries is alarmingly high. A person infected with HIV, with and especially without medical treatment, cannot risk the chance of infection of a typical cold because their immune system cannot react and mend the body as in a non infected individual.
Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes Aids. HIV attacks the immune system rendering it defenseless against opportunistic diseases. In 2006, 4.5 million people were newly infected with HIV. Also in 2006, 2.9 million people infected with AIDS died. The majority of the death toll comes from Africa, with a staggering 2.1 million deaths.
In 1985 the FDA also approved a drug for the treatment of HIV- AZT. The drug did not cure HIV but helped with maintaining the health of patients infected with HIV. (There is no cure for HIV/ AIDS!) It was effective because it helped to keep the number of T-cells (white blood cells) high- a major issue with HIV infected people.
I am a peer specialist in the HOPE project at Pine Belt Mental Health Facility in Hattiesburg. The goal of the project is to inform the local youth of preventive measures against the spread of HIV/ AIDS, how easily it is contracted, and the facts of HIV/ AIDS. Before getting involved with HOPE, I did not realize how misinformed my local peers are on HIV! Some did not know that if you thought you could be infected with the virus that there is a window of time that you must wait to get tested. Getting tested right away, as some do, can return false- negative results. The proper time-line is to get tested three to four months after supposed infection.
The HOPE project is aimed at informing the public pressure free- we even call the meetings a HOPE party- we even play high speed trivia games with bells to buzz in! It is a stress free party because we want the tone of the party to be light but informative. This allows us to break barriers and make people feel more comfortable asking questions they would normally be too uncomfortable to ask.
Being involved in the HOPE project allows me to have some part in the HIV/ AIDS awareness movement. I think it is very beneficial for the youth of today to get involved with this movement! It is our generation that is continually contracting a very preventable disease. Being involved in this movement could allow you to impact the life of someone who may not know just how prevalent HIV/ AIDS is in their own city. You could be the one to inform and prevent them from contracting this life-changing disease. Get informed, get involved- or it could be you!

Blog 6: Progress Report

Today i am writing to discuss a progress report for my group proposal project- Eaglepalooza. As with any project, each member is assinged a task which is appropriate to their specialty. I am in charge of oraganizing and contacting bands for our proposal.
Since i am submitting this posting late, i can actually discuss everything as of a finished project.
We created a battle of the band music event that would be hosted at the Southern Miss owned Lake Thoreau. This land is not being utilized to its potential, so we thought it would be a gret way for southern to profit off land that is not making any profit for the school right now.The proposal included details in the methods section as to how we would make the event a success, and the ends and outs in making the proposal functional and cost free to Southern.
We were able to demonstrate the ability to work together to acheive a common goal quite nicely. Everyone chipped in and did their part to ensure that we had a successful and persuasive propal. Matt desinged the webpage and put a lot of hard work and concentration into making it a very informed site, Jessica Dominquez and Shanise Posey and I worked on advertising costs, Timothy Seibel worked on the budget.
I think the final product of our proposal was a very succesful and creative one. I enjoyed brainstorming with my group and finding a common goal to raise money for Southern. We proved that our proposal is a feasible idea, and if properly orchestrated- could be a profitable one.
Cecily Hill made this course and the difficulty behind a typical internet class easily understable and functional. SHe responded to every email very promptly, and has an extraordinary amount of patience. The only complaint is that it is hard to get a group of five together at the same time- even on Skype.

Blog 5: Beginning the Job Search

As I have had a lot of interest in the pharmaceutical sales industry, I decided to check out a few jobs in this field. There were a good number of openings available, but I chose the ones I thought best suit me and what type of organization I want to work with.




Optech International- Airborne-Ground-based-Survey-Products-Job-Kiln-MS-US-85289371.aspx

All qualifications for pharmaceutical sales jobs I found require one main concept all together- top of the line customer service. This entails a lot of different qualities though. For instance, customer service in pharmaceutical sales means you have to be able to meet the needs of physicians and the pharmaceutical company at the same time. You have to make sure purchase orders/ inventories are kept in a very organized, compiled manner. You also have to make sure orders are made on time to ensure that your clients have all the supplies they need on-hand and do not have to wait for anything! They need to have everything they need at their fingertips. Communication skills are a must! You have to be able to be clear on the client’s needs, wants, and desires and meet all their wishes in a timely, accurate fashion. You have to be able to sell new merchandise to physicians and answer every question/ concern they have. Physicians will be putting their patients health in jeopardy by using the product you would be selling them so you have to be very patient, accommodating, and knowledgeable on your products.
Being a pharmaceutical representative requires you to have some idea of medical terminology. Doctors are very professional people and they speak professionally and have their own language, in a way. Being pre exposed to this environment would allow a sales representative to easily blend into the medical setting.
I have acquired a lot of the qualities necessary to be a successful pharmaceutical representative. I have had over 6 years of experience in customer service and most of that experience was in management positions. This shows that I have a well rounded idea of what efficient costumer service entails. I also currently am employed by Forest General Hospital and work in surgery. I am around physicians and nurses all day and have acquired a good concept of medical terminology.
I chose Quintiles because they have an impeccable background, and were offering an entry level position. Seeing as though I have never been a pharmaceutical sales representative this is a great position for me to apply for. This is a feasible position that I am not under qualified for. Experience is not required in this position as it was in the other job listings.
They are the largest pharmaceutical sales company in the WORLD!! They are based in over 60 countries. This tells me that there is room to grow within the company. I could even travel to other areas of the world if I chose to. Their goal is to improve healthcare world-wide, and I admire that success and drive to be based so many countries.They also have a great employee satisfaction rate, which is something you do not get the pleasure of experiencing with every company. They have prided themselves on the effort that goes into thorough research of every product they market.
In my application process I would need to stress my customer service experience and knowledge. I would need to try to be very convincing at making myself stand out over the other applicants. As this is an entry level position not requiring years of experience, there will be many applicants so I would need to make sure my introduction in my cover letter stands out and is successful at catching the attention of who ever may read it. I also need to do this in a timely manner to make sure the position is not filled before I have the opportunity to apply.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Blog 4: Website Evaluation

Dear Webmaster,
Upon visiting your website, AEGIS, I was very impressed with the amount of up to date information you provide on your website pertaining to HIV. As a peer specialist for the HOPE project at Pine Belt Mental Health in Hattiesburg, MS,(an outreach organization dedicated to counseling and informing local youth on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention) I found your website to be a very beneficial source of information for today’s breaking news on HIV/AIDS. You have provided many sources of information on the website covering many different aspects of HIV from ‘Ask the doc’ to ‘Law’. It is very obvious you have left no stone unturned in attempting to provide many different avenues of information and ways to obtain more information on HIV/AIDS.
I believe your website could be very successful if it were more user- friendly. If I may, please allow me to give a few possible pointers in making your website a bit more functional and successful in your passion to inform the world on HIV news/ topics.
The first thing that is observed on visiting a website is obviously the website itself. Upon visiting AEGIS, I noted a few things that could be adjusted to make the website more appealing. The font is somewhat difficult to read, blurry, and not very easy on the eyes when some links to other areas of the page are viewed. The text lines seem to be on top of each other. Another font choice would quickly eliminate this problem, and also making it a size larger increases its visual prominence. The background on the home page is white which is also a bit blinding in contrast with the bright blue- green color of the side tool bar.
Pertaining to the tool bar, might I suggest putting the toolbar/tabs at the top of the page? This will allow you to utilize the space of the page and eliminate the viewer from having to scroll down as much- as most people will not want to do. The information on your website is so vast that it may seem somewhat overwhelming. It would also be very beneficial to put some of the news updates in categories under the top toolbar under ‘News’ with subheadings such as ‘UNAIDS’, ‘Fundraising’, ‘Political News’ and maybe even a page with the heading ‘countries’, where you can have links for each country that you report on.
On the color choice of the left tool bar, may I suggest a more neutral color than the bright blue- green color. A webpage isn’t made eye catching by bright colors- it’s by good color choice and coordination of colors. If this green is the color of absolute choice, may I suggest not pairing it with such a contrasting white background. Another possible background color choice, could be dark blue and red- as in your logo colors.
It would also be beneficial to add an ‘about us’ page so that your viewers know exactly what your organization’s goals and views are directed towards. This also allows the viewers to know exactly who you are, where you are based, and other valuable information.
Arranging the information on your page into easy to access tabs, will allow your readers to easily get to the information they are looking for. Your website may have the most up to date, accurate information available on the web but when a page is too congested potential followers will turn away, and never be as informed and current as, I believe, your website could allow them to be about HIV/ AIDS.
You have provided so much documented and well researched information on your website that I would love to see it utilized and put to good use, and for you to see a drastic change in the numbers of people that see your hard, diligent work. I want to praise you for your passion on informing the world of the recent discoveries, political insight, and outreach information you provide on your website and hope you continue your work! I hope my advice has been useful and you see the benefits behind making your page a successful one. You undoubtedly have put a hard work and sweat behind this webpage and I want you to achieve the following you deserve!

Coretta Johnson
(The website evaluated was
more so on

Blog 3: Defining objectives- collge biology programs

After reviewing a few different universities’ websites, I decided to look up my old home state’s university- the University of Iowa. I have to admit—I was pretty impressed! Since the topic of this assignment was to answer questions incoming freshmen would have about attending a school, I focused on the welcoming, easy to follow aspect of the university’s web page. The University of Iowa has a very informative website. Although it is a bit plain, all my attention was directed toward the appropriate links because there were no distractions. The home page was not too overwhelming , as say, USM’s homepage. The links are very straight forward. The page is laid out into different categories with easy to follow links under these categories. For instance under admissions for applying students, they have links broken down to first year, transfer, graduates and professional, international, and distance.
First things first- I decided to look into the difficulty level of the university’s application process, after looking at their biology program, because I remember how difficult applying to college was for me. Under the applications page they break down the tedious process of applying to college in a very clear, step- wise manner. With links on the first year admissions page such as application, application check- list, possible errors are eliminated, and a list of dead line dates ensures that you turn everything needed for the application process in on time. They have managed to make such a hard task seem easy and eliminates that anxious feeling of ‘am I doing this right?’, ‘have I missed anything?’. One you apply THEY set up and send you a Hawk ID and password so you can easily check the status of your application online. There are also instructions on how to get credit for college credits that were taken in high school right on the admissions page.
One of the most impressive things about the website is the effort that was put into making you feel welcomed. Under the link ‘Why Iowa’, which is on every academic program’s page, there are links to allow you to meet your professors/ faculty. They have actual videos welcoming you from their very own faculty. Iowa’s website has put a lot of effort into making you feel like you belong there! It’s a great advertisement strategy. There are even videos of students with their professors. Since I am a biology major, I was especially interested in the video of a biology student in the lab with her professor, and if I were an incoming freshman I was definitely be interested in getting to see what lab was like in college vs high school. In that video it also displayed the level of involvement the university has in helping students successfully plan their future career, because the video followed that same student at the local hospital shadowing doctors- as was what she planned to do with her degree- become a doctor. The university set her up with her shadowing sessions and is a great tool for any student who is not 100% sure of what career they want. This allows students to actually experience what it’s like to be in the line of work they THINK they want to be in and see if it’s really what they want to do the rest of their life. This eliminates what happens to so many graduates- get a job they have invested years of study into and hate it once they get the job because they really never knew what that profession consisted of. If USM has this ability to set students up with ‘a day in the life’ of a certain profession they definitely do not advertise it very well or make it so easy to access as to put in on their home page- especially in a VIDEO demonstration!!
The biology web page at the University of Iowa has a guideline of how to line up your schedule every semester to ensure the most successful degree plan for you under ‘Undergraduate Personal Academic Scheduler’ link. Southern has application too, but it’s confusing and hard to follow. Also on the University of Iowa’s biology page, under the ‘Introduction and Program Information’ link, there is an introduction to biology, a discussion of the range of biological topics, and describes information on areas of research. There is a link for ‘undergraduate student resources’ where there are biology class notes and syllabi on the website for your convenience. Class notes- right there at your fingertips that are uploaded to the website for you! The biology classes I have had at Southern where the professor posted his/ her notes online, had to create their own webpage to be able to post their notes. The issue with this is if you are away from your syllabus then it may be hard to remember their web address, but with Iowa having most biology class notes in one place makes it easy to access them. Once again- Iowa has accomplished making something simpler for the student.
The one thing I hope to take from this website and hopefully apply it to my own website is to be straight forward- no distractions. Simplicity is very appreciated to people that just need answers. My degree will be in biology and when I first started out in this degree plan the only thing I knew that this degree would qualify me for was to get into some sort of graduate school- whether it be medical school or getting a graduate degree in biology. It wasn’t until later I discovered all the interesting lines of work that one can be qualified for with a biology degree. That’s what I plan to highlight on my website- and do it as simple as possible.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin was an English geologist and natural scientist whose research and theories are still used and mostly accepted world-wide. It is a certain fact that you cannot be a scientist and without knowing who Charles Darwin is. He developed some of the most fundamental terms of science. In Charles Darwin’s book,On the Origin of Species, Darwin set out to research and understand the diversity and adaptation of life due to his observance of various finches on Galapagos Island. Darwin concluded that evolution happened in steps, over time, and his idea of natural selection, although he could not fully understand it at the time, was based on the ‘survival of the fittest’. He developed a few points on how natural selection occurred. One point is: more offspring are produced than those that can actually survive.

Charles Darwin’s book was addressed to other scientists of his time. His purpose in writing was to inform and invoke others to question the unknown. It entails specific language and a certain degree of education to understand his research. This implies that he intended his audience to have some caliber of understanding of science.
His writing was of a very controversial nature. In publishing his work, Darwin stood to undergo a fair share of scrutiny. ‘Evolution’ was a term that represented something that threatened the core of the Church of England. Threatening the Church of England could lead to punishment by death or expulsion. Darwin also had to worry about what his peers would think of his book. Darwin basically says that all species derived from one or a group of common ancestors. In saying that one can understand why the church would frown on this type of declaration. The Bible says that God created all species individually. Not all evolving from one common animal. It implies that humans came from other animals, not from the creation of God. It was so controversial that he held on to it for twenty years before publishing it. Even though he grew up in the Church, people called him an atheist. He has been known to consider himself more of an agnostic- he stated that he did not deny the existence of God.

Darwin was trying to accomplish one thing- answers to a curious mind. He observed the world with questions that could not be answered easily, and wanted to share his findings with other scientist and people of his time. He wanted to know WHY the finches in some areas had one beak and the finches in another area had a different beak. Darwin allowed room for people to speculate theories of their own because he clearly stated that some things he couldn’t explain. This encouraged others to invoke ideas of their own and begin to question how this ‘natural selection’ phenomenon occurred. He opened the door to a lot of research in the science world. He stated things others may have thought but were too afraid to put in writing and publish. (There was one other scientist who was developing this same ideas at the time, a bit different, but very close in nature. They jointly presented their findings in separate books but at the same time. His name was Wallace.)

All in all, I think Darwin was very successful in the way in which he presented his material based on the simple fact that Darwin’s theories are taught in every evolution class, genetics class, and most basic science books. He provides his research findings in a detailed framework. His tone is informative and direct. His theories are the most accepted theory, in science, of how some species came to be, how some species adapted, why some died out or became extinct, etc.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Introduction to technical writing

Hello All!!My name is Coretta Johnson and i am a senior biology major at Southern. I currently work at Forrest General Hospital and bartend on weekends. Since my field of study revolves around research, most of my writings are of the 'lab report' type. I do enjoy writing lab reports. They are documentations in a chronological order of any procedures and results conducted in the laboratory setting. I also enjoy narrating. The type of writing that can get challenging,for me, is a research paper. I say this only because i always have to refresh myself on the proper way to site a research paper. I rarely write them so it is hard to remember the guidelines but once i find proper information on how to cite, i don't mind writing.
I think the biggest contributing factor in miscommunication in writing is not using proper grammar or attempting to read a paper that doesn't 'flow' right. By flow i mean, weird stops or mispunctuation, or using words that don't belong. Another factor in miscommunication, i think, occurs when attempting to read or understand something that is outside of your comfort zone. I am a biology major. I read a lot of scientific research, lab procedures, etc. I would have a hard time trying to read a electrical engineer's writings on how to wire a house. I wouldn't understand or know any terminology, and since i have never seen some of the tools that would be used, i couldn't even attempt to form a mental picture of the steps of wiring a house. It is hard to understand something you are not accustomed to.
I hope to obtain a better understanding of how to see and quickly find the overall message in a particular writing. Basically knowing the purpose of the writing puts you in a certain frame of mind to prepare you for what you are about to read- a business proposal, a scientific document, a comedy- knowing the purpose of a writing quickly helps you understand what your reading and better take in the information.