Research Independent Study on Developing a Compact Arsenic Water Filter
I started this independent study around February of second semester. The project is still a work in progress - I over the semester, I was involved in project design and then bringing in the relevant materials that were necessary to build the filters. At the end of this semester, I've managed to build 6 filter shells of different sizes. The filter bodies are made of a translucent PVC so as to be able to see the contents inside the filter. Next semester, I intend on adding various types of filter media into the filter bodies in varying amounts to determine the effectiveness of various medias, such as sand, sand with iron, sand with sari cloth, sand with sari cloth coated with antibacterial ionic silver , and sand with modified calcium carbonate. These are the plans I have in place to move forward with next semester. Hopefully all goes well! I am definitely looking forward to it.
Alspaugh Dorm House Council Officer
what house council has done is to initiate the building of the Alspaugh Dorm Bench. Our dorm was the first dorm to build a bench by a a few months - and none of the benches that were built afterwards matched the unique character of our bench. The bright purple color was a daring one to use, but one that ultimately stood out pretty nicely.
I wanted to spend even more time in house council next year, after seeing the impact it made on my dorm freshman year. As a result, I am now Vice President of the House Council for the dorm I will be living in next year as the sophomore (the dorm's name is called Few-Pride Rock). I am looking forward to it!
Paid Writer for the Duke Undergraduate Research Blog
Being a writer for the Duke Undergraduate Research Blog was the first job I've had since coming on campus. I actually applied for the job during the summer before freshman year. It seemed like an interesting job - basically blogging about science events around campus. It was somewhat of time commitment, as it required one to attend the science events (which, being a freshman on East Campus, often required you to go to West Campus), and then come back to write the article. As a result, I wasn't quite an engaged in writing articles during my second semester. I plan on recommitting to this job as a sophomore. For those interested, here is the link you can access to see my writings: http://sites.duke.edu/dukeresearch?s=thabit+pulak
Campaign for Class President
Back in senior year of high school, I ran for Senior Class President , and I was surprised to find out that I won. This was after 3 years of running for class president, and losing every time. Below, you can see the video I used as my main campaign:
As a freshman in college just beginning to know people, I knew my chances at winning class president were pretty slim, just as it was in high school when I was a freshman. The chances were even more slim especially since I hadn't picked a running mate for vice president. Infact, out of the total of 8 presidential candidates, I was the only one without a vice presidential running mate - in retrospect, it was something I should have considered doing. I ultimately ended up losing the election. My campaigning didn't contain much "substance" or a so-called campaign "platform" - mostly everyone knows that the class president is in charge of a very small array of duties, and not in any position of "real" power. I wanted to run for class president mainly because if I were to help bring change on campus, I can use my position as a way of representing my class when talking to figures of power. Thus, the campaigning was done in a fairly humored approach - but the underlying message was serious nonetheless. As I've always loved the Terminator from a young age, and looked up to it as a role model in many things, I centered my campaign around that. Here's my main campaign video for Duke Class President:
Although I've lost this year, rest assured, that I'll be back again for next year ;)
Hult Prize Competition at Boston, Massachussetts
Upon coming to Duke, I was exposed to the entrepreneurship scene by taking a class called "Social Innovations". Every wee
k, various entrepreuneurs would come to our class to talk about their experiences in how they started up their own businesses and social enterprises. Later, I found out about the Hult Prize, which was a competition in which college and graduate students every year come up with innovative business ideas to combat some type of a world problem. This year's problem to solve was Early Childhood Education. A few friends and I made a team and attempted to compete within Duke for a bid to the national competition - but we ended up losing to a graduate student team. We thought all was lost, but we ended up applying directly to the national competition, bypassing the university. Over 30,000 teams applied though this method, and surprisingly , we got through, and were amongst the 100 teams picked to compete in the United States national fair!
The Duke institute for social entrepreneurship paid for our travel expenses to Boston, Massachussets to where the competition was being held. I opted to visit MIT and stay with a friend there. The next day was the competition - it was quite an experience! Most of the competitors were far older than we were - ranging from MBA to PhD students, whereas we were an all freshman team. When we presented our project in front of the judges. We got surprisingly great feedback. We thought we had a good chance - but alas, it became fairly apparent that other teams came extremely well prepared - we ended up losing to a graduate student team consisting of MBA candidates. They rightfully deserved the win. Even though we lost, I was so glad to have had the opportunity to come to compete in this prestigious competition. Meeting the motivated people and learning of the innovative ideas that such people had to change the world were really inspirational to me. I hope to return to the competition next year, having learned from our experiences this year!
The Conclusion of Freshman Year
different thoughts. I missed my family and friends back at Texas, whom I grew up with and developed as a person, so I was happy to be able to finally see them again after so long- but at the same time, it was
difficult to leave my wonderful friends I've made at Duke.
As I was leaving, a group of my closest friends helped me with my bags, and walked me to the waiting Uber van - and before I parted , we took a group selfie. That final picture was a great way to symbolize the end of my freshman year journey, and the transistory period to even more wonderful things to come in future years.