Justin Ngo: First Blog

About the Author:

As the younger brother, Justin Ngo has always had big footsteps to follow. He was born and raised in Fairfax, Virginia and attends McLean High School. He runs cross country and track year round. He has also played the piano for 11 years and loves listening to music. He enjoys watching movies, often attending the movies at least once a week in order to partake in the cinematic experience.

Nice to meet you, where you been?
It is often challenging to meet new people, especially at Governor’s School. Our journey
began as we walked beneath the entrance of Litton-Reaves to sign in and obtain our key cards. Little did we know that we would soon all be sitting and listening to lectures together for hours upon hours a day. As individuals from all across Virginia, many of us had never previously met before. If we were to truly enjoy our four weeks together we would need to engage and interact with one another on a more personal level. But where do we start and how do we begin? Especially with our collective differences in culture.
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Beneath the surface, we all certainly share something in common. The interest and desire to challenge ourselves, pursuing a higher education and greater experience in agriculture. Upon walking into our dorms, many individuals knew and contacted their roomates beforehand, however many others did not. I was one of the individuals who was surprised by who my roommate would be on the first day. After moving in and unpacking I personally decided to make an effort to meet all of my suitemates individually and introduce myself. I began with my own roommate, and made my way around to each dorm to shake hands and meet the guys I would be staying with for the next few weeks. This was already an awakening for me as I am typically an introvert. It was more than just coming out of my shell, it was a subtle promise to myself to start something new, a spark which would soon ignite the friendships I know I will never forget.
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Introducing myself to all of the people in the same major helped to heighten my interactions with others. There were and still are a plethora of questions for me to ask all of the individuals who were initially unknown to me: “Where are you from? And what high school do you attend?”. It also helps immensely that on the inside we are all striving to challenge ourselves and seek excellence by attending the program. Coming from my bubble in Northern Virginia, it was an eye-opening experience for me to learn about places in Virginia I had never previously known; meeting individuals from these regions who seemed so different, but are actually so similar to me.
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Meeting new people is a great experience, but it’s more than just making friends and
having fun. Governor’s School has instilled communication skills into every one of us as young adults, a priceless yet lifelong skill. This skill can be carried out into the workforce, as well as college. Whether or not we become researchers sharing work at symposiums, or are simply expressing our ideas and interests to one another, the networking we practiced is vital to our future lives and success. Communication is essential, no matter what passion we decide to pursue.
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The communication skills we have developed are not the end, they are just the beginning. As young adults, we have our entire future ahead of us to pursue whatever we want; with passion. Dr. Mike Ellerbrock taught us on our third day about opportunity cost, which is what you give up for your next best choice to do something one more time. He expressed that “opportunity costs are invisible but real,” and I only now realize this as I reflect on my first week so far. Although we are dedicating a large portion of our summer to the Governor’s School for Agriculture, we are gaining vital experience which we would have otherwise have missed out on. “We are agriculture”, and we are able to tackle the world ahead of us.

Madison McReynolds: First Blog

About the Author:

Madison McReynolds is from Fauquier County and is a rising senior at Highland School. She enjoys science and soccer, but not the two combined. Within science, she wants to know more about biology and medicine, which makes becoming a CNA very interesting and fun.

It’s hard to leave the comfort of your home and parents. That is a fact, even if it is for only four weeks, and you have to make your living space, well, livable. In my case, I had to make my dorm room at Virginia Tech home for the next four weeks. When I got on campus five days ago, I was not home and unprepared to face the reality that the suite I was placed in had to be my home, no matter what. I am a quiet person when it comes to new people, so I was afraid that people wouldn’t talk to me, and I wouldn’t have any friends. I also feared that roommate and I wouldn’t get along or that we wouldn’t say a word to each other (which has happened to me in the past). These fears, however, soon went away when I got to know my roommate and suitemates through the nightly news talks.
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This is my first tip on how to make a home away from home: get to know the people around you, and while you may not know them like your family, it will make you feel a little more comfortable sharing the space with them.
My second tip is more physical and it is this: you should incorporate things and routines from your home into your new one. I did this with almost everything. I made sure to bring my essentials (like clothes, toiletries, etc.) from my house and not store bought. This helps because I can wear and use what I do at home. These essentials are organized
and put away, for example, I put all of my clothes into the provided dresser and organized my desk the way I do at home. I also made my bed with my sheets and brought my own pillow. My roommate also brought a rug, a picture, and some plants to make the dorm room feel less empty. This can help you feel comfortable with living in the dorm room.
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Tip number three is the most important tip and it is to be yourself, which sounds cliché, but I promise that you won’t make a new home, “home” unless you bring yourself to it. It sounds simple, but in reality, there are many factors that can make us not want to be ourselves, such as worrying about what other people think of us or how we will be perceived by the staff. However, until you open yourself up, the others around you may not be able to open up themselves as well. I can tell you first hand that the best way to feel comfortable is to surround yourself with people who accept that, even if it means those people aren’t your suitemates. I was lucky in that department because now that I know my suitemates and feel comfortable with the people around me, I am myself. And I am home. This is because I am myself here.
The tips above helped me to be myself, making this Virginia Tech dorm home away from home, at least for now.

Minjung Kwon: First Blog

About the Author:

Minjung Kwon is a high school student from McLean. She moved from Korea three years ago. She attends the Governor’s School for Agriculture in Virginia Tech and takes Food Science as a major. Minjung is interested in chemistry and foods. She likes to find good restaurants and share with other people. She wants to learn about foods and meet many people in Governor’s School.
Top 5 menus you need to try in Virginia Tech
 
Most of the students in Virginia know that Virginia Tech is popular for their food. According to the Niche 2018 Best College Food ranking, Virginia Tech got second rank in the nation by the student reviews. The dining services are known as cost-effective and good quality. When students first come to Virginia Tech cafeteria, they are confused about what to choose for the meal. Today, I will recommend the best 5 menus you need to try in D2 at Dietrick Hall. I hope the new students of the Governor’s School of Agriculture or Virginia Tech and people who are interested in Virginia Tech can experience the dining services in VT and get information.
1. Chicken Katsu with Khai Jiao Omelet
About: Steamed rice topped with fried chicken pieces, tonkatsu gravy, a Thai egg omelet and finished with sliced green & red onions.
Review: The steamed rice is sauced with tomato and served with chicken pieces, grilled tomatoes, and lemon. The chicken is tender and nice.
Place: Gaucho section
Nutrition Facts: Calories of each serving is 724. It has a total fat of 52%, saturated fat of 30%, and 0% of trans fat in percent daily values(DV). The cholesterol is a little high at 88%, and sodium is 99%.
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2. Beef Szechuan, Sweet & Sour Chicken.
About: Freshly wok-cooked beef mixed with vegetables in a soy and Szechuan sauce.
Chicken: Deep-fried chicken mixed with tender vegetables in a traditional Chinese sweet and sour sauce.
Review: The beef is tender and served with soy sauce and vegetables like celery. I also recommend mixing the sauce with fried rice.
The chicken is very popular with the students. It’s sweet and similar to orange chicken in Panda Express. It is served with vegetables and pineapples.
You can choose either one or both with fried rice or egg rolls.
Place: Pan Asia
Nutrition facts: Each serving of beef is 138 calories. It has a total fat of 15%, saturated fat of 10%, and 0% of trans fat in percent daily values (DV). The cholesterol is low at 5%, and sodium is 17%.
Chicken: Calories of each serving is 194. It has a total fat of 16%, saturated fat of 8%, and 0% of trans fat in percent daily values(DV). The cholesterol is low at 7%, and sodium is 17%.
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3. Penne Primavera
About: Penne noodles in a light wine and garlic sauce tossed with fresh mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, and squash all topped with fresh, shredded parmesan cheese.
Review: In my experience, it is the best pasta in the menus but a little bland. I recommend eating with a little bit of salt or other dishes. The flavor of the mushroom
and garlic tastes really good.
Place: Mangia
Nutrition Facts: Calories of each serving is 136. It has a total fat of 11%, saturated fat of 11% and 0% of trans fat in percent daily value (DV). The cholesterol is low at 6%, and sodium is 13%.
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4. Brownies with nuts and icing
About: A fudgy chocolate brownie with chopped walnuts and iced in a nice chocolate frosting
Review: Many brownies are usually sweet and have a lot of icing. However, this brownie is dark but not too sweet. The combination with nuts is really good.
Place: La Patisserie
Nutrition Facts: Calories of each serving is 223. It has a total fat of 15%, saturated fat of 14% and 0% of trans fat in percent daily value (DV). The cholesterol is low at 4%, and sodium is 4%.
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5. Creme brulee
About: Rich custard base topped with a contrasting layer of caramelized sugar.
Review: This is the one that every one of my friends loves. The combination of sweet
caramelized sugar and soft custard base is amazing. I really recommend this
menu as your dessert.
Place: La Patisserie
Nutrition Facts: Calories of each serving is 223. It has a total fat of 15%, saturated fat of 14% and 0% of trans fat in percent daily value (DV). The cholesterol is low at 4%, and sodium is 4%.
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I recommend trying all of these as you can. There are more good foods at Virginia Tech. You can also learn where are these foods come from in the Governor’s School of Agriculture. Join and check this information in https://www.alce.vt.edu/signature-programs/governors-ag-school.html. Also, if you want to get more information about dining service in Virginia Tech, go to this link below and check it out!

Prachi Joshi: First Blog

About the Author:

Prachi Joshi is a rising senior at Fairfax High School located in Fairfax, VA. Among her interests in tennis, dance, and writing, Prachi also loves to keep up with the latest new technologies via blogs. Her love for all things biology helps her stay driven to update herself on the newest achievements and helps her to understand certain topics too technical for the general public. Being part of both a scientific community and general public, she is able to explain to others advanced ideas that are often considered too complex.

7 Things you Wish you Would’ve Brought to Governor’s School
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It’s June 23, the night before you leave for Governor’s School, and, of course, your suitcase is empty. In fact, it’s not even open. While the checklist in the handbook lists items such as clothes, shoes, and toiletries, it omits many small, yet important items that can either make or break your month-long stay at Virginia Tech. It’s the small things, the forgotten bobby pins, the overlooked pens, the unremembered, essential pack of gum. It’s the small things that make us agonize over our predicted absent-mindedness and forgetful nature.
That being said, there are many resources that can help a future Governor’s School-goer remember to pack all the small items that go unnoticed. But instead of roaming aimlessly around the internet for hours, looking for a comprehensive list that will fulfill your every need, just read this one. It’s short, it’s simple, and best of all, it’s written by a person who is currently at Governor’s School and who has most definitely lived through the agony of forgotten items.
Remember to bring:
1. More Hangers
Unlike ordinary, mundane college campuses, Virginia Tech does not house multiple drawers for students to place their neatly folded outfits. Instead, a daunting 3-foot rod made for hangers is located in the closet, accompanied by a set of three drawers that hold daily essentials. To avoid the catastrophe that I experienced when I realized that my clothes would not fit in said drawers, bring plenty of hangers, probably around 10-15.
2. Extension Cord
Most dorms have a layout for furniture that is well-thought out, with a consideration of where the outlets are placed. However, if you end up with a room like mine, that has an outlet squished in the 3-inch area in between the wall and my bed, an extension cord might come in handy. One that has 3-4 outlets will be enough to plug in phone chargers, laptop chargers, fairy lights, and whatever else your heart may desire.
3. Closed Toe Shoes
One forgotten, but crucial rule at Governor’s School is the one that requires all students to be wearing closed-toed shoes at all times. Being a flip-flop lover myself, I found this rule to be disheartening, but I eventually found my way around it by donning flats, sneakers, and sandals that have good soles.
4. Multiple Pairs of Business Casual/Professional Clothes
The chart in the handbook lists the different occasions that you will need to be dressed
professionally or in business casual. In total, 5 outfits need to be professional, and 1 outfit must be business casual. To make sure that you are not dress coded, make sure to strictly follow the guidelines the handbook suggests for these categories.
5. Anything that Helps your Hair not get Frizzy
Having long, curly hair is usually okay, but not in the summer, and definitely not in Virginia’s summer. I speak from experience when I say, if you have hair that has any sort of volume, it will become frizzy. Simple solutions to this problem include anti-frizz serum, oils, or any other elaborate hair care routine that works for you.
6. Board Games & Cards
Although us Governor’s school students are subjected to an exhausting 8 hours of eating and learning, the extra 16 hours are left for free time. In that time, many students partake in outside activities like bowling, volleyball, badminton, walking, and more. But if you enjoy AC more than bugs, make sure to bring in a sufficient amount of board games to play with your suitemates.
7. Speaker
In the slight chance that you did not follow my advice and bring a sufficient amount of board games, or just that you would rather have a party, make sure to bring quality speakers that can resonate throughout a room. With it, be ready to feel at the beach when you’re playing volleyball, and get ready to have a ridiculously fun dance party with your friends.
This list provides the seven most important items that you will need during your stay at Virginia Tech. Many will argue that the weekly trips to Walmart should be sufficient in obtaining all of these items, but I encourage you to remember, that you are not yet an independent individual who has their own banking account. Remembering to bring these items will help avoid that long lecture awaiting you back at home, concerning the $100 bill you racked up from Walmart. This list, of course, does not include all items that
are essential yet forgotten, but instead serves as an account of what a Governor’s School-goer misses from her home.

Nathan Hakimpour: First Blog

About the Author

From an early age, Nathan was always obsessed with the inner-workings of justice and held others to an extremely strict moral code, many times neglecting the essence of childhood. As the years passed, his parents pointed him in the direction of law, intertwining it with philosophy, and inspired, Nathan sought political experience. He currently holds an internship for Delegate Nick Freitas and is an active Dostoevsky enthusiast.

Hemp, the Heavy-Lifter of the Future

Following a decades-long absence, hemp, a cousin to marijuana, has been recently legalized to grow on an industrial scale. For over 40 years, the plant had been banned for being a part of the cannabis genus; along with other plants that contain THC: the psychoactive drug that causes hallucinations. Although these concerns are well-warranted, hemp contains very small, very negligible traces of THC, and at Virginia Tech, its uses and capabilities have been studied extensively during its industrial ban. The results have proved remarkable: hemp has the heavy-lifting ability and potential to change the production landscape as we know it today.

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According to Jabari Byrd, a Masters student at Virginia Tech, hemp is commonly known as the plant of 50,000 uses. The post-production of hemp products range from lip balm, concrete, and even to apparel such as shirts, backpacks, and sacks commonly containing cotton. This greater scope of future implication could not be without the technology of today, however, and as Byrd compounded, cross-breeding and genetically modifying hemp to maximize fiber count and durability have proved monumental in broadening the horizon. For example, hemp will eventually be able to compete with or even replace cotton farms as hemp is more convenient to harvest and has a better moisture-wicking ability. This appeals to both producers and consumers: producers are spending less on irrigation techniques and herbicides, and consumers are benefiting from the cooling capabilities of hemp clothing.

Additionally, even though hemp has just been legalized a few months prior, the plant has already made a stamp on the protein market. Hemp seed, when grounded, has an exceptional protein and fiber count. These attributions make for a great supplement to vegan or vegetarian diets and also in protein powders and as an everyday cooking additive.

The medical field, too, can benefit from the use of hemp. As recounted by Byrd, there was a miracle story in which a young girl suffered from epilepsy and witnessed abnormally frequent seizures. The doctors prescribed hemp, and the seizures tempered drastically, soon numbering 1 or 2 each year. For the average consumer, hemp has a vast array of everyday benefits. As mentioned earlier: in contrast to marijuana, hemp has a much lower concentration of the psychoactive drug THC and can, therefore, be consumed with little caution. According to healthline.com, some major benefits of hemp include: lowering the risk of heart disease, improving skin disorders (such as itchiness), and aiding in digestion.

As hemp continues to broaden its horizons, scientists, such as Jabari Byrd at Virginia Tech, will continue to research and ensure the full health implication of hemp. However, as of now, hemp appears to be a heavy-lifter for future product landscapes.

To learn more about hemp’s health benefits visit: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-health-benefits-of-hemp-seeds

To learn more about what Virginia Tech’s involvement visit: https://www.wsls.com/news/virginia/new-river-valley/virginia-tech-researchers-hoping-to-expand-hemp-industry

Lindsey Brantley: First Blog

About the Author:
Lindsey Brantley is from Virginia Beach. She grew up around cows and horses. She has a passion for animals and writing. She rides horses, shows cattle, and writes whenever she has the time. She spends her time at her grandparents’ lake house with four dogs and enjoys swimming in the water and tubing. If she’s not at the lake, you can find her volunteering with the Virginia Beach Public Library, or going to the beach with her mom and family.
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Making My Way
Governor’s School for Agriculture has been a great experience, even just being here for only a week. While the food has had its ups and downs, the people, classes, and activities have been a lot of fun. I started out at Governor’s School a little bit scared because I had never left home for four weeks before. After the first day, it was very clear I was going to be okay. There was a welcoming atmosphere from the beginning, and I think that’s what made me feel even more at home.
Let’s Go Hokies!
The people at Governor’s School for Agriculture are some of the most interesting people I’ve met. Since I’m from Virginia Beach, there are not a lot of people with the same interests that I have. However, as soon as I came here I met a least three people who are as obsessed with cows, horses, and animals as I am. They also have a lot more life experience around them and that made me able to find out more about my interests and bond with the students here at the school. The GSLs are also a good source of information to find out about the subjects that I am interested in, but they are there for anything I may need. They are easy to talk to and get along with. While there are interesting people here, there are many amazing classes that I have had the privilege to sit through this week.
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These Classes are B-A-N-A-N-A-S!
The first class I had was Plant Science. Going into it, I didn’t really think it would be that interesting, but soon it proved me wrong. I learned about how soils are more than just dirt, about how genetically modifying plants is key to our future, and much more. The next class I had was in Economics. Economics was another class I thought wasn’t going to be that good, but, again, I was proved wrong. Dr. Mike Ellerbrock brought the class alive. He made something that we all took as boring and dull and applied it to things around us that made our interest in economics grow. The final class I had was Biological Systems Engineering. This class was something I thought was going to go right over my head because I’m not that good with technology. But I soon found out it was more than just technology. It was about improving the world around you, whether it was a neighborhood in the United States or a village somewhere else in the world.
Old McDonald Had Some Fun
The activities here at Governor’s School allow me to interact with some of the other students that I didn’t get a chance to meet with and relax after a long day in class. Volleyball is a time when almost everyone in the school comes to the court to either play or watch an intense match. However, you can also play kickball on the Drillfield, or go on a run with friends, or anything you want to do (as long as it’s within bounds). My time at Governor’s School has been great, and I look forward to doing further updates as my journey here continues!
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A Final Thank You for 2017!

Special thanks to Daniel Steger, Dayo Omosa, Grace Grossen, Jacob Jewis, Meagan Satira, and Katlyn Clary for their assistance with this post. Rock star GSLs!

These last four weeks came and went very quickly here at the Governor’s School for Agriculture. The students have now left and gone back home, hopefully with good friends and a greater knowledge of agriculture. In conclusion of the Governor’s School for Agriculture the students were honored to hear the First Lady of Virginia speak and then get recognized for their hard work and accomplishments throughout the month.

The GSLs posing with First Lady of Virginia, Dorothy McAuliffe (center white dress), at the Governor’s School for Agriculture final banquet.

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Virginia Governor’s School for Agriculture was very exciting. For the Governor’s School Leaders (GSLs), the month long residential program, first, presented the platform to mentor and positively influence gifted and talented high school students especially, igniting and stimulating their passions for agriculture and related fields. Gov.4Next, it provided us the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends (friendships) both among the GSLs and also among the students. Further, it was great to see the students learn from experienced professors and graduate students from different backgrounds and fields in Agriculture while they interact with each other and also make new friendships in the Governor’s School. It was rewarding to finish the month with the symposium, where the students were able to show the knowledge that they had gained through their experience.

To cap it all off was the presence of the First lady of Virginia, Dorothy McAuliffe at the banquet. Gov.1Her attendance at our event signaled to everyone the commitment of the Virginia state government to positive youth and agricultural development. To motivate the students, the first lady shared with them her experience with agriculture while growing up in the State of Florida. She also shared on the importance of positive youth development and why she is passionate about it. Finally, she encouraged the students to pursue careers in agriculture in order to tackle the economic, political, and scientific challenges confronting our society today. This opportunity was truly once in a lifetime and a perfect final note for this year’s students, families, and invited guests.

2017 would not have been as outstanding without each any every student, leader, presenter and staff member! Lots was learned and much was shared. We look forward to having some of you return as GSLs for future years, and hope you all can find a way to better your agricultural community today, tomorrow, and forever. Continue to grow!

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Until next time…

The Governor’s School for Agriculture Team