Pharmaceuticals Lab

During this unit three of our chemistry class, we focus on molecule and bonding types. Within this time span, we did a lab that is not really related to our focus but was a lot of fun. The lab we did was on pharmaceutical drugs, where we test for different properties that they possess such solubility, pH, and their reaction with “stomach acid” in which we used vinegar as a replacement.

After our many tests and data collection, we write an analysis of why we think the drug was made to have the specific properties they have, and why the solubility of the drug is important.

Through this lab, we were able to practice our lab-conducting skills and critical thinking skills. I really like a random lab in a unit like this, because it opens a span of view of how fun chemistry can be.


East Asian Seas Congress in Iliolilo, Philinines, 27-30 November, 2018

To represent our team—The Liger Marine Research Team—at the East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress, Lux and I were selected to go to the Congress. It held in a city of the Philipines that I can’t even pronounce at first: Iloilo city. The East Asian Seas Congress is held every three years and is open to participants with various backgrounds including stakeholders, students, NGOs, conservationist, researchers within the ASEAN countries and non-country partnership. This year Congress carry the theme of “25 Years of Partnerships for Healthy Oceans, People and Economies: Moving as One with the Global Ocean Agenda.”

Lux and I attended the youth congress which wasn’t open because it was for youth ages 18-35. With the work that we have done and the accomplishment we made, we were allowed to attend the Congress even though we’re 16.

Our adventure started on the 25 of November, where we board our flight to Manila and finally Iloilo. We got to our destination the next morning and were able to meet other youths at the hotel organized for us by the congress. Later, in the afternoon, we registered ourselves for the congress and attended the events held there. Our focus was the work the youth declaration which holds the voice of youths’ commitment who attended the Congress in a form similar to the UN resolution declaration. In addition, we also prepared for the official launch of the Congress the next day; Lux was selected as the flag bearer for Cambodia. At night, we went out for dinner with other youths near a supermarket which is a five minutes walk from where we stay.

Then, on the 27, our day started with two hours of open speeches from people who work for the government and especially in conservation. Then, before lunch, we visited the exhibition hall to see different projects that were on display in booths. We also got to meet governor from Sihanoukville, Kampot, Kep, and Koh Kong who were there to be the voice of Cambodia. Later, we were engaged in a presentation about Climate Change; we role play as countries representative and discussed on topics that frequently discussed among countries regarding climate change.  

On the 28, there were even more exciting event happening. We got into one of the six groups: mangrove conservation, plastic waste, coral reef degradation, illegal fishing, water pollution, and overfishing and work to brainstorm solutions regarding our topics and the actions youths can take to be part of the solution. Kieran, the facilitator who was at the got conference with us got mangrove conservation, Lux got coral reef degradation, while I got plastic waste. Moreover, Lux and I got an opportunity to talk about LMRT and Marine Conservation Cambodia (MCC) as part of the knowledge sharing of good practice agenda. This went really great well. The other delegates were impressed by how we have represented our academy, team, and youths of Cambodia. Many of them approached us during and after the lunch break to tell us about how great and inspiring our presentation was.

Approaching the end of the conference, we are already on the 29 of November! We attended the closing ceremony and learned something really shocking to us. Cambodia has the honor to host the next EAS Congress in 2021! I am looking forward to joining this next conference, even if I may be a university by then because unlike other conferences, it doesn’t end when the conference ends. We have a Facebook working group, where all the youths will discuss what each of us can do to help heal the harmed ocean in our countries and the ocean of the Eastern Pacific region. Anyways, in the afternoon we went to an elementary school and did something called dalaw turo which translates to visit to teach. We were there to participate in ocean conservation awareness campaign with the students there. It was a lot of fun to be there and especially to see how the kids are eager and keen to learn.

After the Congress has ended, all youths delegates went on a field trip to Guimaras island—the island of mangoes— as organized. There, they have so many different types of mangoes that are popular not only throughout the Philippines but also the world. They export their mangoes to the US, UK, Australia and other countries like Japan.

Besides the mango, we also learned about the Igang Bay Marine Sanctuary there which covers an MPA with integrated zoning that is 43 hectares large. They do seagrass monitoring, coral farming, deploying artificial reefs and monitoring, and patrolling the area 24/7. Their work since 2006 has done a lot especially in helping the ocean restore itself from the mass oil spill in that same year. Today the area is very minimally affected by the oil which is really great news.

The trip visit to the many organizations at Guimaras ended in the evening where we have time to get ready for the farewell dinner. It was a lot of fun but also sad to say goodbye to our new friends. But the good news is that we now make so many new friends from ASEAN countries. I made some really close connection with Taeyoung and Yuri who are from South Korea. I still keep in touch with them today.

In a nutshell,  the Congress was a really great opportunity to learn about ourselves and others and what we want to do for our ocean. It is a way to get more inspired while also meeting other inspired youths. 

  • November 26. Getting to know other delegates.

AP Biology-Unit Two | “Cell” Yourself

In the second unit of AP biology, the subject content focuses on the cell. So far, we learned about the different types of cell and the basics of the evolution of eukaryotic cell. Because we will mainly learn, about eukaryotic cells, we did a fun project called “cell yourself” to help us understand cell in an amusing way. In this project, each student in the class was assigned an organelle or part of a cell that they would have to do research on. After the research, we would have to be creative and pretend to be our assigned organelle going for a job interview. This means that we dressed in a costume that represents our assigned item and act like our organelle for the day of our “job interview”.

I was assigned the plasma membrane which act as the bound between the cell and its environment. In addition, it also act as a gate that let material in and out of the cell, a structure for the cytoskeleton to attach to which gives the cell its shape, and communicator for the cell (when they bond with adjacent cell to form tissues).

To represent my part of the cell, I wore camo clothing to depict myself as a protector of the cell  since soldiers (a protector of a country) wear camo clothes. I wear my hand -made earing composed of a bead and two pieces of trailing yarn to represent the phospholipid bilayer that make up the plasma membrane. I wore a cork necklace to represent the carbohydrate present on the plasma and lets bodily cell recognize each other. Lastly, I name myself  Plasmano Elsie Membriano.

During my “job interview” I talked about how vital I am to the “company” (the plant and animal cell), and was at last employed after persuasive speech of “celling” myself.

English Literacy-Round One | American History Focused

During this first round of literacy unit, our class focus mainly on reading passages that are about the American history to help us better prepare for the upcoming SAT test. So far, we’ve read about the liberty of America, slavery and their civil war, the meat packing industry, their shifting views on immigration, the great depression, and their involvement in World War II. We learned how the result of these past events still influence America today through our students-facilitated discussion and our independent response to the article we’ve read. Doing this has really helped me; it gives me more context of understanding when I have to read the history passages of  the SAT where the narrator allude to historical events. On the other hand, it also help me build up my vocabulary. After reading every passage, we would have to identify, the words we don’t already know or words we don’t feel comfortable using then find its definition and write some sentences for them in a document which we call it the Vocabulary exploration.

An Example of my vocabulary Exploration.



Math Round One | SAT Pratice

Just like English literacy class this round, our math class is also dedicated to preparing for the SAT. In class, we spend our time independently practicing math through Khanacademy or questions from past SAT tests posted on College Board website. However, when any of us (students) encounter a challenging question, we would discuss it with our facilitator, Jeff, or with the whole class if we feel like everyone will benefit from it. Up until now, we had been sharing short-cuts around questions to help us save time in solving the problems, and reviewing concepts that we vividly remember. Those concept review includes: unit circle, circle theorems,  circle equation, special triangles, functions, quadratic equation, and polynomials.

An example of what an exercise on khan Academy look like.

Khmer Literacy | Round One

In this class, we focused on grammar. For the first few weeks, we worked binding our research and poems (that we wrote last year) into a Khmer poetry book. Because Khmer poems follow a specific structure (we call it the poem foundation), we had to do research on their origin, purpose of use, their rhymes, and ways they can be sang or read out. One of of the poem foundations that I researched is  called “chan-der meas” or simply translate to “golden stairs”. This poem, I believe got its name from its structure because each line in each a stanza increases by one syllable, but due to the limited information on this poem foundation, I was not able to confirm this. Despites the lack of information, I was glad to find just the right amount of information to write about this poem foundation. Below is an diagram I made showing the rhyme pattern in this poem. Note that the lines indicate that the syllables rhyme.  

Now, the tedious work pays off, we finally finish this book and have some copies printed; some were used to present at the Khmer Literature Festival held in Battambag province. As of  now, we are planning to apply for a grant or raise money in some way and use it to publish more copies of our book—Garden of Poems—and distribute them to publics schools in Cambodia to provide students a source of information about Khmer poems that is now losing its popularity.

Beside this poem book project, we learned about Khmer grammar, specifically diacritical marks which are used to indicate the way a word should be read. It was really interesting to learn that some diacritical marks used on Khmer words reveal their origin. For an example words that are adapted from Bali or Sanskrit have special marks) on them to indicate that the sound of an alphabet should not be taken account into pronouncing the word. This is because, when words are adapted from a foreign language to Khmer, we spelled the Khmer version of the borrowed word in a way that alphabets and vowels used represent the all the alphabet and vowels used in the borrowed word. For an example, in spelling the word “post” in Khmer, we have alphabets and vowels that make the “P, O, S and T” sound, but because we do not have ending sound, we use a special diacritical mark to indicate that “T” should not have a sound in the word.

Cabbage Ph Indicator Lab

Because my class is ahead of schedule, we were given a choice to design and run our lab. After some discuss, the class came to a consensus agreement to perform the cabbage PH indicator lab with a question: does the amount of solution added to the indicator solution affect the result? To learn more about the lab, click on the link below. Please keep in mind that the result from this lab should not be taken seriously.  

Cabbage Ph Indicator – Lab report_ Sythong

Healthcare in Cambodia

In this first exploration of the year, the Healthcare in Cambodia exploration focus on learning different perspective of the healthcare system in Cambodia. So fa researches about the history of healthcare has been done to understand how healthcare has changed overtime throughout Cambodia. It has been a pleasure to learn that the healthcare system of Cambodia have developed to more equitable and accessible as Cambodia commit itself to more ambitious goal. Another major activity we do in this exploration is visiting people and organization whom’s work relate to healthcare, and learn about how they view healthcare. With the knowledge, observation made so far, I plan to make a program to teach the locals a guide to first-aid because I observe that many Cambodians are not educated about this topic. Even this project, I hope to encourage people to keep a simple first aid supplies that they make by themselves for a fair cost which is not a common practice in Cambodia.  

Healthcare Exploration – University of Health Sciences Open House Event

On the 28th of September, the Healthcare Exploration went to an open-house at the University of Health Sciences (UHS). We registered in three different departments: Public Health, Dentistry, and Pharmacy. Specifically, in dentistry, we’d been toured to different labs, and meet their 7th-year students who were practicing dental care.

In the Public Health department, we were given an overview of what is public health, since it is a new major offered in 2013. Then, we heard the story of success from their first graduate and a student who is reaching the end of her bachelor study and were led into the information room. There, booths were set for participants to interact, ask questions to the students who study there, and read the research paper done by the professor and founder of the degree. Then, lastly, open house ended with them giving a tour of their library and study spaces.

University of Pharmacy is part of the UHS, and the pharmaceutical course has the most hand-on learning experience than any other medical department. There are three different types of classes, theoretical, laboratorical learning that practices theories learned, and researching. There are labs such as: DNA extraction from pathogens, plants identification, substance extraction, household-use products production such as hand soaps and soap bars. Some places require us to wear lab coats due to the risk of biohazard and contracting diseases. However, the most interesting part of this opening event is, learning that the university values the Khmer traditional medicine; instead of brushing it off due to its lack of scientific proof, one of the main lessons is focusing on understanding the science behind the traditional treatment, and uses the discovery to improve the modern medicines.  

The most interesting information we learned there was that, unlike the other universities in Cambodia, this university administer their tests digitally; where each student would have to answer a set 60 randomized questions within an hour.

Healthcare Exploration – MoPoTyso visit on August 31st, 2018

Starting from this academic year, the academic schedule is much different than those of the past. Approaching our graduation, students have more control over their schedule which means we have more exploration hour. One of the explorations that I signed myself up for is the Healthcare exploration. In this exploration we are exploring the healthcare system of Cambodia and see how we can get involve. To better understand some aspects of healthcare system in Cambodia, the exploration visited MoPopTsyo (Patient Information Centre)  and met with doctor Maurits. It was fascinating to learn how MoPoTsyo works and especially to be taken through the mini biology lessons about diabetes and chronic disease. I was drawn into the stories he told. It was so  mesmerizing that I don’t even know if I have all the information noted down. I really like the way MopoTyso work. I like how they teach a person who has a condition that is essentially called diabetes so they can share the knowledge they learn to their neighbours and people who are interested. I think this is a really good way to approach people to raise their awareness. Anecdote plays a really big role. When a trainee got certified and look physically much better, people are curious to learn about what they did to be that healthy so the knowledge pass on. At the same it’s sad to learn that while two third of the patient are women, the proportion of women trainee is only one third. This is because they have to play a mother role in  their family as a mother and a wife. On the other hand, it is the exact opposite for men, because they are the breadwinner of the traditional Khmer family structure. They could choose to do almost anything they want without having to ask for permission or discuss with it their spouse. I hope gene role will be seen as less important, because it seems to women back in almost every aspect of their lives. It is sad to know that they have to go through and I’m glad I don’t have to go through it like they do. Besides the work of MoPoTys, it has also interesting to learn about how healthcare system is going in other countries, for an example, in the UK, the government is considering on banning people under 18 from attaining sugary drink like coke. In China, there was a melamine incident, where baby milk powder was mixed with melamine (a compound used to make specific type of plastic) to show more protein content in the milk when measured. In another (Thailand) the government implemented sugar tax since last year. Sugar tax is a policy where companies have to pay tax of a proportional level to the amount of sugar they use in producing their beverages and food. Back to Cambodia, Dr. Maurits pointed out something that is obvious that I never realize; the healthcare system in Cambodia had never focused on chronic disease which leads to the reason MoPoTsyo was created in the first place. I am grateful to have an NGO like MoPoTyso serving the people in need of my country. Not only do they provide knowledge but also blood test service for those who wants to follow up with their health. Talking about the blood test, it was my favorite part; to visit their lab. The lap was cozy and equipped with machines that were used for blood testing.