Kambray Townsend: Summer 2015 Experience

My decision to join Sundial was a decision that introduced me to a lot of resources I now
know I have on campus. Being a first generation college student and being an incoming science
major, I was nervous about coming to ASU. I had no idea what to expect or how I was going to
handle adjusting to my new life. Being in Sundial with a small group of others in the program, I
was able to become very familiar with the campus, resources available to me, as well as make
friends that share common interests.
The first day of Sundial honestly I was very upset. I was unaware that I would not be able
to have a proper goodbye with my parents, but instead I only got about five minutes to say
goodbye to them in a room full of people. It was pretty sad and embarrassing, but I pretty much
just had to deal with it, act positive, and deal with this new situation. Also, on the first day, we
spent time getting to know each other in the program. I enjoyed getting to know everyone in the
program and making friends. Knowing people before classes start had made me feel more
confident about social interactions in college. Everyone in the Sundial Program is very positive
and encouraging. The second day of Sundial we began Science. We we began some introductory
experiments and started pondering the question “How does light work?” Throughout the week
we continued to have discussions and do experiments that allowed us think more about how light
does work. During discussions we had to use a card system of red, yellow, or green cards where
red signified that someone was off topic, yellow showed that someone had something to say, and
green signified that one agrees with something someone said. The system made discussions run
smoothly and allowed everyone to speak and share their ideas. Aside from doing experiments
and having discussions about light, we also went on tours of various labs around the campus.
This was probably my favorite part about the program because we were able to meet people that
do things related to what some of our majors are and listen to how and why they research what
they research. Also, every other day we would have lunch with a special guest and we were able
to listen to them talk about what they do, how they do it, as well as ask them questions.
Speaking to these guests was awesome because it made me feel a little more confident about
talking to professors and people cool like that. Occasionally we would do things outside of the
classroom. For example we visited the Challenger, where we had to work together to safely land
on the moon while maintaining good oxygen levels and communicating well with mission
control on Earth. Everyone was assigned a specific job and had to be able to effectively work and
communicate as a team to make sure everything went smoothly and everyone survived. Other
activity we did outside of the classroom was go hiking up A Mountain. I really enjoyed this
activity because we were accompanied by some geologist working at ASU. At the end of the
uphill hike they talked to us about tectonic plates in the Arizona and volcanoes. They also told us
that they are not just studying rocks, but they are looking at the story the rocks tells us about the
land. We also went to one of the SESE buildings on campus and watched a 3D showing about
the Hubble Space telescope, as well as others, and how far into space the telescopes have
allowed us to see. This event was very enjoyable because everyone else wanted to be there was
very interested in the show. While in the classroom we continued doing tests to expand our
knowledge on how light works and as group started coming up with ideas and conclusions as
how light works. We did several experiments involving lasers, lenses, and mirrors to observe
light paths and how light reflected and refracted. We all seemed to enjoy discussing what we
discovered after the tests and collectively reaching a conclusion. One of the tests we spent the
most time on was the light bulb test, we were trying to determine how there appeared to be two
layers of the light bulb when looking at it through water and oil. Some said the lightbulb did
have two layers while others felt that the light was just manipulating how we are viewing it. On a
later day we came back to the light bulb test and concluded that we were seeing to bulbs because
there was two layer that was separated by air. Not only was light traveling through the container
the oil or water and the glass bulb, it was also traveling through the air inside of the bulb,
allowing us to see both layers. Everyone was pretty excited when we reached this conclusion.
We also did a lab that allowed us to observe how light travels through different media. We used
lasers to observe the index of refraction of the light through either water or oil. As a group we
were able to reach an equation used to find the index of refraction and used it to a real life
situation of how deep a sink of water really was. The sink of water appeared deeper to some
people and not so deep to others. We were able to conclude, using the law we obtained that the
various perceived depth of the water was a result of the height of the person. The Sundial
Program was very beneficial, aside from doing tests in a classroom during the day, I was able to
become familiar with campus without the crowds and i was able to become more comfortable
with the campus. I had the opportunity to meet people from other places and make friends before
classes started. I really enjoyed meeting people that shared similar interests as I did. The program
made me feel more confident about starting college and adjusting socially. My decision to join
Sundial was a great decision because i know it would have been very hard for me to adjust on
my own moving in the same day as everyone else and not knowing where anything is located. I
really enjoyed the encouraging and positive environment and really excited to proceed with
meeting with a mentor throughout the fall semester. The Sundial Program was an awesome
opportunity for me as well as the other in the program.