High Schooler’s Guide to a Science Major

From information from “What High Schools Don’t Tell You” by Elizabeth Wissner-Gross

Note: Since this article is from the notes taken while reading the book, feel free to ask questions in the comment box below for elaboration.)
1. Find activities that your targeted college values (ex. If the college has a good football team, that college probably value
football players)
2. Get a job related to your major
3. Do an internship that relates to your major and enter a science competition using the research from that internship (Internships: The Research Science Institute (MIT)(Free), The PreCollege Research Abroad Program(In Russia, Although Application is due March, Finish application before January), The Simons Program (free), The Garcia Program (has fee), Michigan Sate High school Honors Science-Math Engineering Program)(has fee)(Contests: Intel Science Talent Search (it is extremely important to do well on the application, deadline: Mid-November), Siemens (have to be a senior to submit a project Individually, judges solely on the project, and not really on the application, Research Paper due beginning of October), Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Less competitive than Intel Science Talent Search), Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (Science Oriented, not about philosophy), First Robotics Competition, National Gallery for America’s Young Inventors)
4. Do science Olympiads (ex. biology, chemistry, physics, computer)(*Important)
5. Participate in Talent Searches
       Include: John Hopkin’s Center for Talented Youth, Duke’s Talent Identification Program, Northwestern’s Center for Talented Development, University of Denver’s Rocky Mountain Talent Search, Stanford’s Education Program for Gifted Youth
6. Create a Blog about the major you are interested in, publish articles on Teen Ink and Harvard Book
7. Publish an Article into a Professional Journal (Hard, but possible)
8. Create a Patent (hard, but possible)
9. Many colleges believe in varying experiences at different campuses (ex. For this reason, your undergraduate school might not accept you into its medical school since it wants to vary your campuses)
10. Complete science scholarships.
11. Colleges now days prefer “lopsided” students over well-rounded ones
12. Look at John Hopkin’s magazine “Imagine”
13. Scholarships: Presidential Scholars (based on SAT and ACT scores), National Merit Scholar (based on PSAT scores), AP Scholars (based on AP tests), Toyota Community Scholars Program (based on community service)
14. U.S. Congressional Award Program (join whether or not your interested in politics, looks impressive to colleges)
15. Start your resume to keep track of accomplishments (create 2 resumes, a current one and a dream one)
16. Colleges expect you to take the most rigorous course offered by your high school (if your high school does not have as many APs as the other high schools in the district, take other APs at a local community college)
17. Summer’s are VERY important.  Be sure to fill them with activities that pertain to your major and that stand out.
18. Join a club pertaining to your major or start one if there is no such club at your school
19. Develop a four year plan
20. Use a calendar for activity and testing dates
21. Get nominated into the All-USA First Academic Team
Note: If you become strong in a science Olympiad or place in a high leveled science competition, you have very high chances of going to a prestigious college.
Note: Not all the activities above have to be completed.  It is advised to pick a few to become strong in.

How to Get Into Medical School

The MSAR is the “premed bible”, which contains important information on medical schools.

Use the “American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine” for important information on D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, different from M.D.) schools.

There are 2 course sequences you can take as a premed, one for majors and another the other is for non majors.  For example, when deciding to complete a year of physics to fill a premed requirement, you can choose the course sequence that physics majors usually take or the course sequence that is more oriented towards nonphysics majors.  Although it might be better to take the sequence for majors (medical schools prefer that you take a more rigorous course), make sure you can retain a high GPA while doing so.

Medical Schools look for

  1. Intelligence (GPA, MCAT, etc.)
  2. Maturity
  3. Integrity
  4. Service to society (community service, etc.)

*It is very important to have clinical experience.  A good choice for clinical experience is to volunteer at a hospital.  Avoid volunteering at an emergency room (the fast pace increases your chances of running menial errands).  Instead, a better choice would be to volunteer at a place which treats the chronically ill (you can have a long term relationship with your patient and their family and you are also more likely to work as a “team” with medical professionals).   Make sure to get a letter of recommendation from your clinical experience.*

On your medical school application, be sure to mention why you are applying to that particular medical school.  Mention any student organizations in that particular school that you are interested in.  Find the values of the college and mention that you are interested in them (ex. If you look onto a college’s website and they seem to emphasize primary care, be sure to mention that you are interested in becoming a primary care phycisian.).



Medical admission’s committees look for the applicant’s interest in the world around them.

Maggots in Your Compost (Vermicompost) Bin: How to Get Rid of Them

One day, I was checking my composition bin when I noticed that there was a large quantity of fruit flies and maggots in my composition bin.  That was when I started looking online at how to get rid of them.

A main reason that your composition bin might have an opening big enough for a fruit fly to enter.  If this is the case, patch the opening or switch to a new composition bin.  Since maggots need a dry place to form into flies, enclosing your composition bin will kill the maggots and the worms would decompose them.

However, if you do not want an enclosed worm bin, you can try putting less compost into your composition bin, enough that the worms will be able to compost them quickly so that they will not sit out long enough to share with the maggots.  You can also try burring the food deeper (I’m not sure if this is true but the majority maggots seem to be found on the surface of compost).   Many herbs like lavender, basil, and rosemary repel insects, so adding herbs into your compost may be another solution (12 plants that repel unwanted insects:

It is advisable to get rid of the maggots (and flies) as soon as possible, since they have potentials for caring viruses and diseases.

Below is another helpful website that you can use.

If you have any questions, be sure to ask them in the comment section below.


The Most Efficient Way for Worm Compostion

My Failures

My hobby for composting started this summer when I tried to build a big wooden crate for composting.  The reason I did not decide to buy a commercial composition bin was because one, they’re made out of plastic, which makes it harder for the worms to breath and two, they’re very expensive, averaging to around $80.  The wooden crate ended up failing miserably (it kept on falling apart).  However, seeking a new composition bin, I found this method online.

Image result for bamboo steamer

Bamboo Steamer

Bamboo steamer, are mimic the traits of commercial composition bins except they most likely have better ventilation (they are wooden v.s. plastic) and contain several trays.

How to Use

Put a plate underneath the bamboo steamer to catch liquids.

You would use a bamboo steamer as a compost bin like you would with a regular trayed compost bin.

  1. Add food scraps to the top tray(s) and leave the bottom tray(s) empty.
  2. When the top tray(s) are full with worm compost, put food scrap(s) in the bottom trays.
  3. Wait until you think all the worms have moved from the top tray(s) to the bottom tray(s) and empty the top tray(s) and stack the bottom tray(s) on top of the top tray(s).

You might also want to line the bottom of certain trays with netting to prevent worms from falling onto the plate and drowning.

Where to Buy

Bamboo steamers can be found in Asian grocery stores, department stores, or online.  They cost around $5.

Good luck!

Images From…–37356/bamboo-steamer.asp

Top 10 Best Bamboo Steamers In 2015 Reviews

Asian Bamboo Steamer 10″

Simple but Delicious Chocolate Recipie

Making chocolate is actually much easier than it looks.  It’s similar to making soup and can be a beginner’s recipe.  Don’t forget that you can always customize your chocolate by adding ingredients such as almonds, nuts, marshmallows, raisins, cranberries, wafers, and caramel.  For gourmet chocolate recipes, I recommend looking up
 “Gourmet Chocolate Recipes from Hank Friedman” on the internet for a delicious recipe.

Cocoa Powder Method (Beginner)


  • 2 cups (220g) cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup (170g) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 2/3 cup (150ml) milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (30g) powdered sugar (sugar will work top)
  • 1 cup (235ml) water
  • saucepan


  1. Boil the water in a saucepan.
  2. Combine the cocoa powder and butter in a bowl  and mix until smooth (eliminate lumps)
  3. Add the mixture above into the saucepan of boiling water and stir.
  4. Lower the heat of the boiling water so that the mixture is hot but not boiling
  5. Add the powdered sugar and sugar into the saucepan and stir. (*Sift the sugar if it has clumps in it.)
  6. Turn off the heat of the saucepan
  7. Add the milk into the saucepan and stir until smooth.
  8. Let the chocolate mixture cool for thirty minutes, and then pour the mixture into a plastic or other type of bendable mold. (*Almost any plastic container can work as a plastic mold)

This recipie is a modification of the chocolate recipe of the article “How to Make Chocolate” on Wikipedia with added improvements.

What Chocolate Companies Are Try to Hide: The Horrific Process of Chocolate Revealed

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

 “[When Aly Diabata, a former slave of a cocoa plantation, was] Asked what he’d say to the billions who eat chocolate worldwide (most of the boys have never tried it), one boy replies: ‘They enjoy something I suffered to make; I worked hard for them but saw no benefit. They are eating my flesh.’”- from a description by Abby Haglage’s in the documentary “Slavery: A Global Investigation”


The Secret to Chocolate

Chocolate is popular in America, as proven in a study which shows that each American eats ten to twelve pounds of chocolate (around the weight of a bowling ball, vacuum cleaner, or watermelon) a year on average.  To most of us, this is  understandable. However, many chocolate companies are unsuccessfully hiding their extensive use of child slaves.


On April 16, 2004, freelance journalist Guy-André Kieffer was abducted in a parking lot of the Ivory Coast while writing about several corrupt practices of the area, including its cocoa Image result for guy andre keifferindustry.  The corruption includes the fact that the cocoa plantations of the Ivory Coast, Ghana, and several other West African countries have been enslaving over seven hundred thousand people to work on cocoa plantations.  Much of this slavery is caused by the fact that cocoa farmers are paid with an average of $1.25 a day forcing them to use enslavement out of devastation.  Many famous international chocolate companies, such as Hershey’s, Mars, and Nestlé have been buying cocoa from those areas where many plantations endorse in this slavery.  Because of this, consumers have been aroused with complaints for over a decade.  However, most major chocolate companies have promised to stop buying cocoa from farmers that use child slaves while unsuccessfully doing so.

Pathway of a Typical Child Slave

Children from countries such as Mali are usually taken by traffickers in several ways. Some children are tricked into thinking that they would receive a well paying job at a cocoa plantation. Others are sold by their guardians or relatives to traffickers for money, usually due to their extreme poverty. Many others are kidnapped. These childrenSlave Children can range from five to sixteen years old, and are usually sold to farmers for about $230 each.

The bus is one of the major means of transportation used by traffickers.  In the documentary “The Dark Side of Chocolate”, Idrissa Kante, the General Secretary of the Driver’s Union in Sikasso, Mali, is a man who kept statistics of the children he rescued from smugglers at bus stops. Of these children, the boys were aged around twelve to fourteen years old. The girls, were around eleven to twelve years old.

Typical Day of a Child Slave

The daily life of a child slave, some which are as young as five, would typically start at around six in the morning, the time they wake up.  Work includes clearing forests with chain saws, climbing trees to harvest cocoa pods, opening cocoa pods with machetes, Image result for child slavery in cocoa industrypacking pods into sacks that are usually over 100 pounds (100 pounds is about the weight of an average toilet or dresser), and carrying those 100 pound sacks for long distances. The machetes commonly cause injuries to laborers who accidentally miss the object they hit the machete with.

The children usually eat scraps of cheap food, including corn paste and bananas.  In late evening, they are usually locked up in small rooms (so that they cannot escape) where they sleep on hard surfaces.

A Case of Child Slavery

In the documentary “Slavery: A Global Investigation” made by the British organization Image result for Slavery: A Global InvestigationTrue Vision Entertainment, a man of a particular cocoa plantation admits beating his
child laborers and locking them at night with a tin cup for urination. The Daily Beast describes the part of the film when the children (teenage boys) talked about their beatings as:

Before beatings, the boys say they were stripped naked and tied up. They were then pummeled with a variety of weapons, from fists and feet to belts and whips. In the film, some of the boys get up and imitate the beatings. Others stand to reveal hundreds of scars lining their backs and torsos—some still bloody and scabbed. They get quiet when the filmmakers ask whether any are beaten today and say some are simply ‘taken away.’

Harmful Effects
Children are often beat and abused as slaves in cocoa plantations. They are commonly beat
for working too slowly, refusing orders, or trying to escape. These beating are often brutal and often lead to bloodshed, leaving children with deep scars and wounds. Carrying the
heavy hundred pound loads also puts physical damage to the child’s,  body. The children are also exposed to harmful pesticides which are used in large amounts to ward off or kill the many insects that reside in the area.  These pesticides have been shown to affect the child for up to around thirty years.

The Cause for this Slavery

According to the Prime Minister of Ivory Coast, chocolate companies (not necessarily the
just the ones that have been mentioned) around the world have been encouraging third world countries to produce cocoa for them. This way, the cocoa that those companies buy will be cheaper.

Image result for hershey'sAccording to Make Chocolate Fair, cocoa farmers earn less than $1.25 a day.  This leaves cocoa farmers in poverty and forces them to traffic slaves, many who are children, for means of survival.

The condition of cocoa farms has stayed horribly low because of the lack of action taken to set a minimum wage in many West African countries.  In 1955, the government of Ivory Coast had set up minimal price on goods, but it stopped by 1999, increasing poverty and weakening the country’s economy.

U.S. Governmental “Action”

2001 was probably the year when child slavery in the cocoa industry was exposed after the release of the documentary, “Slavery: A Global Investigation”, by True Vision Entertainment. It startled many people and demanded action to be taken against “faulty” chocolate companies.

As a result, U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel requested the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to label chocolates which do not use cocoa involving slavery to make sure that consumers would be

Signatures of the 8 Participating Chocolate Companies

aware.  Before that bill could be passed in Congress, the chocolate industry intervened creating the Engel-Harkin Protocol (also known as the Cocoa Protocol) that required the participating chocolate companies to stop using child labor cocoa by 2005.  On September of 2001, the protocol was signed by political representatives of the eight chocolate companies, Hershey’s, Nestlé, Mars (the owner of M&Ms, Snickers, and etcetera), World’s Finest Chocolate, Archer Daniel Midlands,  Barry Callebaut, Blommer Chocolate Company, and Guittard Chocolate.  When they failed to meet the deadlines, the chocolate companies extended the Protocol in 2010 when they made the The Declaration of Joint Action to Support Implementation of the Harkin-Engel Protocol, in which the companies agreed to decrease child labor in Ivory Coast and Ghana by 2020.

Essentially, chocolate companies have been delaying these contracts deadline after deadline until they have finally “promised” a deadline of decreasing child labor by 2020.

The Protocols do not seem to be working.  In fact, there has been a 10% increase use of child slave labor in the cocoa industry in the years 2013-2014  since the years 2008-2009.  This forces us to be the ones to take action.


The best way to stop child labor in the cocoa industry is to stop buying and consuming chocolate made by companies using child labor as a source of revenue. Again, the three major companies that are guilty for this include Hershey’s, Nestle, and Mars, although many other companies are also involved.  The boycotting of chocolate will put pressure on these companies to get rid of their use of child slaves.

It is also important to watch for certifications such as Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance on chocolate wrappers.  Fair Trade and Rainforest alliance are organizations which certify products that meet high ethical and environmental  standards, including good working conditions for laborers.  Fair For Life and UTZ Certified are also some other certifications you can look for.

Image result for fair trade logo    Image result for utz certified Image result for utz certified

There are also many phone apps that can tell you whether or not a product was ethically made by scanning its bar code.

Buying chocolate from Latin American countries (Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, etc.) is another solution.  Cases of child slavery have never been recorded to exist on Latin American plantations.

A fun solution is to make your own chocolate using certified cocoa.  Although making chocolate may seem hard, its very fun and easy.

Donating to C.R.E.E.R-Africa, Slave Free Chocolate, and other anti-child slavery organizations, is another way to help.

Going beyond boycotting and spreading awareness is also another solution.  Ask your local grocers, convenience stores, or any store that sells non certified chocolates if they sell Fair Trade chocolate.  This may really benefit the crisis, since most places selling non certified chocolates are unaware of their situation.  Another way of raising awareness is to send letters or emails to companies who buy cocoa from unethical plantations.  Below is a sample letter from Slave Free Chocolate, the addresses and links to these chocolate companies, and a list of ethical suppliers, which you can also mail or email to the chocolate companies, whose contacts may be found online.

Dear Hershey’s,

I am _______ and I recently learned that cocoa production tied to the Worst Forms of Child Labor and Forced Child Labor in the cocoa farms of Ghana and The Ivory Coast.

Being one of the companies that signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol in 2001, I know that you are not only aware of the problem but promised to remedy the situation to avoid legislation. According to the 4th and Final Tulane Report you have vastly missed the original goals that our Congress worked so hard at negotiating with you.

As a consumer we can vote without dollar, vote with our voice and vote with advocacy and that is exactly what I am doing.  I am spreading the world and only buying ethically sourced chocolate.


____ (Name)




World’s Finest Chocolate:

Archer Daniel Midland’s:


Barry Callebaut:

Bloomer Chocolate Company

Guittard Chocolate



Websites Used (list of chocolate users)×405/local/-/media/2016/01/05/LAGroup/Shreveport/635876139297664243-boy-with-machete.jpg