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Ben Neal

Ben Neal

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  • Sometimes when it gets really sunny I think about how happy plants are.

    Posted by Jason Moy on 4/23/2012 02:39:43 PM

    [For full blog reading experience, please put on a pair of sunglasses and smell the flowers blooming all around because it’s SPRING Y’ALL]


    Helloooooo.  The high today is supposed to be 72 degrees.  My family in Beaverton says it is supposed to be even warmer there!  I’m lovin’ it.  My apartment is on the third/ top floor of our building and when it is warm outside, our apartment heats up like an oven.  So even in the high sixties after I walk up the hills to get home and enter the room, its super warm.  That also means I get to open all the windows and get a nice breeze.  I sat on our deck and played guitar for a while yesterday which was super nice.  When it gets nice here in the PNW, it is BEAUTIFUL.  

    Here is a picture from my window of the sun shining and if you look between the buildings, you can see the space needle (which was recently painted “Galaxy Gold” for its 50th anniversary but it really just looks orange).  

    Window Sun  

    I also went to Seward Park last week which is a beautiful park with Old Growth Forest.  This is Signe being weird in the forest. 


    Even though rain is supposed to return soon (SURPRISING), this glimpse of what is to come is so encouraging.  Things coming up: Senior Toast, Senior Soiree, QUADSTOCK and more.  So excited. 


    Yours truly,

    Ben Neal            


    Peace, Love & Understanding

    Posted by Benjamin Neal on 4/16/2012 01:40:38 PM

    [For full blog reading experience, please play this song]

    Hello!  This past week has been a great one.  It started to get sunny and I was able to do many different activities.  One such activity was going to Alki Beach which is in West Seattle and is an awesome area.  I went as part of our Ecology lab and here is a view from when we were collecting samples:


    Another fun event that happened was our second Accepted Student Open House!  We had so many accepted students and their families here and I was busy answering questions and leading campus tours!  I met some awesome possible future Redhawks and I hope they choose to come to school here.  Here is a picture of Mandi  (another representative in our office) and I from the open house:

      Ben and Mandi

    Then one of the main highlights of the week was attending the Elvis Costello concert at the Paramount Theatre!  My dad and my sister drove up from Portland and we had so much fun.  He sounded awesome live and here is a video of him singing at the Portland show.  On this tour he had a giant wheel on stage that members of the audience would come up and spin to choose hit set list which was really cool.  He has so many songs!  The song at the beginning of this post is my favorite song by him and I just love the line “what’s so funny ‘bout peace, love and understanding?”  Here is a picture of us at the concert:

      Elvis Costello

    Yours truly,

    Ben Neal


    Science is everywhere

    Posted by Benjamin Neal on 4/9/2012 03:39:04 PM

    [For full blog reading experience, explore a river, park, forest, desert, etc.]     

    This quarter has a lot going on but in the best way.   I looked at my planner for the rest of the quarter and each week I have a midterm, big presentation or project due (and sometimes a combination of all three).  I already feel like this is all going to fly by if I don’t take the time to enjoy everything around me.

    I thought I would take this post (even though I already kind of showed you last week) to show you what has been happening in my science life and labs.  The two classes with labs that I am taking this quarter are Cell Biology and Ecology.  So far I really enjoy the classes and it makes me sad that I will be done with classes once I graduate.  I have loved all my biology classes and they have been so much fun.  This week in Cell Bio, we became accustomed to the lab and various instruments we will be working with.  The picture below is of my friend and lab partner, Justin, as he is looking at our cheek cells under a microscope.  Justin is a General Science major and just took his MCAT last week so let’s all wish him the best of luck! 

      Justin Willis

    The other lab class I am taking is Ecology and these labs are awesome because we spend the whole time outside.  This week we went to the Duwamish River which is in Seattle and in 2001, the lower part of the river was declared a Federal Superfund site by the EPA.  My professor, Dr. Whitlow, and the students that work with him do research on the Duwamish.  He also works with some faculty in the Chemistry department to look at various pollutant levels in the river.  In this lab we went to different sites along the Duwamish and collected samples and data such as turbidity, salinity, dissolved oxygen, etc.  We also took sediment samples to be analyzed by the Instrumental Analysis class.  One of the highlights of the lab was seeing a river otter at one of the sites!  I actually didn’t see it because I slipped in the water and was busy dealing with the water filling up my boots.  Here are some pictures of our lab!    

    Here is Dr. Whitlow talking to the class!


    Here is some of the group taking samples from one of the sites.


    This is the lab TA/ my friend Carolyn.


    Being a science major here really allows students to have a hands-on learning experience and being able to participate and really do science has been really rewarding and enjoyable.  It is experiences like these that help me feel supported to move on and continue my education in Graduate school or wherever I end up!  And even if you’re not interested in the sciences, know that this hands-on approach and being able to live out your education can be found in all majors. 


    In other news, it is a BEAUTIFUL day today.  Spring quarter is the best.   


    Yours truly,

    Ben Neal



    If there is one thing I know, it is that centipedes are scary.

    Posted by Benjamin Neal on 4/2/2012 03:01:12 PM

    [For full blog reading experience, dig around in some dirt and look for bugs (it is more fun than it sounds)]

    Each week that goes by is another week closer to graduation!  Week one: complete. 

    I am really excited for this quarter.  My classes are really interesting and all of the work will be totally worth it!  For our first lab in Ecology, we studied terrestrial ecology on campus.  The SU campus is all organically managed and so no pesticides are used.  Plus there are many edible plants on campus so feel free to try some herbs at the Shakespeare Garden by the Fine Arts building.  Our lab surrounded leaf litter and the number of invertebrates that live there.  We collected data for the Grounds staff of Facilities Services and their pest management program.  Each group took samples from on and off campus locations to compare distributions and abundances of invertebrates.  My least favorite invertebrate was the centipede.  It is a predator and is super creepy.  The largest centipedes in the world can eat bats. BATS.  IT CAN CATCH FLYING BATS AS IT HANGS OFF OF THE CAVE WALL.  I don’t like that one bit.    Here are some pictures of my group (Justin and Marissa) taking samples and then the samples back in lab:

     Justin is a scientist

    (Justin taking some samples and making some measurements)

     Eco Group

     Leaf Litter  


     (Various invertebrates that I found in the samples.  There are some nematodes, millipedes, slugs and more!)

    Some other highlights of the week include meeting the actor Jason Momoa when we went out for my friend Andre’s birthday this weekend.  Jason Momoa has been in Stargate Atlantis, Game of Thrones and Conan the Barbarian.  He was in town for the Emerald City Comicon.  He was super nice and even took a picture with us!

       Jason Momoa

     Also we had an Accepted Student Open House on Sunday which was a lot of fun!  We had many prospective students and their families on campus and I led tours, answered questions and got to talk to lots of excited future Redhawks!  We have another Accepted Student Open House coming up on April 14th! Hope all you accepted students can make it! 

    One of the greatest highlights of the weekend was seeing The Hunger Games for the second time with my friend Abbey.  It was the best. 

    Yours truly,

    Ben Neal