Author Archives: Elondra Harr

About Elondra Harr

Graduating Senior studying African, African-American and Diaspora Studies and Anthropology.

Cover Letter- UNC REX Healthcare

March 1st, 2016


Selection Committee

UNC REX Healthcare

Raleigh, NC 27607



Dear Selection Committee,

In response to the volunteering position.


I have always been interested in volunteering and working in a health care facility so I was pleased to learn of your organization’s need for reliable and dedicated volunteers. I grew up watching my mother pursue a nursing degree and it inspired me to learn more about the medical field. Once she obtained her nursing degree, I shadowed her at her job and saw that working in a health care field was what I wanted to do. In high school, I was in HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) and we volunteered at all the school’s blood drives. I found that to be a very rewarding experience. As a student at UNC Chapel Hill on the pre-med track, I believe that volunteering for UNC REX Healthcare would be a great opportunity for me to learn more about the health care field. I would be a great fit for one of these spots because I love working with people, enjoy helping people, and I am a fast learner.

My background of the allied health sciences allows me to have the knowledge of how to deal with patients, the knowledge of basic medical terms, and how to work with others. I know how important it is to be reliable. As a cashier, I learned how to communicate effectively, work under pressure, deal with sometimes angry customers in a professional manner, and how important it is to follow directions. I realize that with this position, I would have to be able to come in to my shift on time and be there every day, and I am definitely able to adhere to that rule. In addition to working with others, I also am able to work very well independently once I know exactly what I am supposed to be doing. I know that following directions and protocol are a must when working in a health care facility. Volunteering at UNC REX Healthcare would be the best place to get hands on experience in a professional and educative environment and I would be very grateful if you were to offer me a volunteering position. Some other skills that I possess that would possibly be helpful for this position include:

  • Teamwork and Cooperation Skills
  • Organizational and Time Management Skills
  • Know how to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Certifications in Microsoft including Word, PowerPoint, and Excel and Access
  • Excellent Communication Skills

I find volunteering to be a very rewarding experience. It helps the community, the organization and the volunteer. It would be an excellent opportunity and life experience to be able to volunteer at UNC REX Healthcare. So with that being said, I really hope I am able to volunteer at one of your organizations.


Thank you very much for your consideration.



Elondra Harr

(919) 288-5629

411 Skipper Bowles Dr

Chapel Hill, NC 27514


Internship Profile for UNC REX Healthcare

I decided to apply to be a volunteer at UNC REX Healthcare. I plan to start in the fall of 2016 if I am accepted. At UNC REX Healthcare, their college volunteer program offers students hands-on experience while working in a professional health care environment. UNC Hospitals are some of the best hospitals in the nation and I would love to get the chance to volunteer there. This would be a great opportunity to actually learn more about the health care field. As a pre-med student at Chapel Hill, I plan to go medical school and work in the medical field. Volunteering at this hospital would allow me to see what it’s like to be a health care professional and the daily activities that they do. I like doing volunteer work and helping the community so this seems like the perfect fit for me.

At UNC Healthcare I could working in a variety of departments including working patient care floors, culinary and nutrition services, work in the pharmacy, physical therapy, or same-day surgery based on availability. With the fall and spring semester program, I must be willing to commit to volunteering two semesters, 12 week each semester. If I change my mind and decide to volunteer this summer, I must be willing to work 10 weeks. If I work in a clerical area I could potentially work from 5pm to 9pm. I would only have to work one four-hour shift once a week. The clinical volunteer opportunities are available Monday-Friday 8am to 12pm or 12pm to 4pm.

The requirements for this volunteering position are completely doable. The only thing I would have to do would be to complete orientation guidelines and be trained in my job-specific area in which they would assign me a job area based on availability first, then I’d get to choose which area if there were more than one open position. I would have to complete a drug screening, adhere to all UNC REX Healthcare policies and procedures, including dress code, be responsible for finding replacements when unavailable for my assigned shift, and complete a health assessment to screen for TB, Pertussis, Chicken Pox and Measles, Mumps and Rubella.

The application requirements only include answering the Application Questions, a submission of two references from adults who are familiar with my work ethic and character, and a resume. There won’t be any presentations due at the end of the volunteering period.

The volunteering position is of course unpaid. It counts toward community service hours and possibly getting an EE credit. The only costs I would have for this position would be the uniform fee which is $12 and transportation costs like gas or bus fees, Depending on which location I decide to work at. There is no room and board for the summer program, I would just have to commute from on campus housing or from my residence back home.

Overall, I would say that this a very good program. The strengths outweigh the weaknesses so this is definitely something that I would be interested in doing. I would be getting hands-on experience in an educative and professional environment. I actually enjoy working with people so getting to work with people is a plus for me. With either location I chose to work at it is close to home. The fee for the uniform is reasonable. The only weakness I found with this volunteering program is that it could potentially be somewhat time consuming depending on how I can formulate my schedule for next school year or this summer.

Women Stronger than Men? – Studies show Women may have better flu defenses than Men


Elondra Harr

Virtually everyone knows about the influenza (flu) virus. But not many people know, or even think about, which sex it seems to hit the hardest. For quite some time, many people have believed that men were actually “stronger” than women. But recently, studies have shown that women may actually be stronger than men in at least one category: Fighting the flu. International research teams have been studying what exactly might be helping women fight off this virus and what makes men more susceptible to getting the flu virus.

In the U.S, the flu season is usually at its worst during the months of January and February. But, it can actually start as early as October. After the flu virus has already infiltrated the body, the virus reacts the same way in both men and women.

During the first 24 to 48 hours, the flu virus gets into your system through the respiratory tract. That could be from breathing in someone’s cough or sneeze, or touching a surface contaminated with the flu virus and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. You typically don’t have any symptoms during this time. After the virus makes its way in, it begins to replicate.

The next five days, your body’s immune cells are sent to the places in your body where the virus is replicating. These cells send out signaling molecules to tell the body to turn on its immune response. This is where women and men’s bodies seem to differ. Your body then rounds up an immune system response to attack the virus so it can’t infect other cells.

Eventually, in the last few days the flu virus begins to leave your system. The inflammation finally decreases.

Estrogen’s Effect on the Flu Virus

Studies are now showing that the female sex hormone, Estrogen, seems to be the reason women are more likely to be able to fight off the flu virus than men. At first, recent studies showed the estrogen hampers the replication of viruses including HIV, Ebola, and hepatitis. The estrogen lessens the infection’s severity and makes the infection less likely to spread to other people. But then, Sabra L. Klein, an associate professor in the Departments of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, decided to investigate whether or not estrogen might have the same effect on the flu virus.

She and the rest of her research team decided to collect nasal cells. Why nasal cells? Because typically the first cells in the body to get infected with the flu virus are in your nose. She collected nasal cells from both men and women volunteers. The researchers exposed bunches of these nasal cells to different types of estrogens including normal levels of naturally occurring estrogen, different types of selective estrogen receptor parts called SERMs, which are synthetic estrogen-like chemicals used for hormone replacement therapy and infertility treatments, or bisphenol A, an estrogen-like chemical that is found in many plastics. Then, they exposed the nasal cells to the influenza A virus, which is a variant strain of the flu virus.

The tests showed that the female cells the received all three of different types of estrogen, showed sign of a significantly less amount of flu virus replication – Nearly 1,000 times less than other cells that hadn’t been exposed to the estrogens. More research showed that the hormones that caused this effect actually act on the estrogen receptor Beta. With the male nasal cells they tested, it seemed that the nasal cells didn’t have any receptors for the estrogen hormones therefore they didn’t have the same protective effects as the female nasal cells.

When Klein and her research team looked for the reasoning behind estrogen’s protective effect again this virus, they discovered that flu viruses binding to Beta decreases the activity of more than 30 genes used in cell metabolism, slowing the metabolic rate of these cells and preventing them from creating new viral particles.

Men and Testosterone Levels

Well now we talked about the female hormone involved in flu defenses but what about male hormones? Studies are now showing that high levels of the male sex hormone, testosterone, can actually weaken men’s immune systems.

For reasons that have not yet been found out, men are more susceptible to bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections than women are, and men’s immune systems don’t respond as strongly to vaccinations against the flu and many other diseases. A new study may explain why this seems to be the case.

A multinational team consisting of researchers from Stanford University, France, and the University of North Carolina conducted an experiment taking blood from 54 women and 37 men, all from different age groups and studied a variety of immune system proteins and cells to detect gene expression. They then gave flu vaccinations to all of these volunteers and then checked them for any signs of changes. Men, as a group, responded less to the vaccine.

Thirty-three women and 10 men actually responded to the vaccine out of the 54 women and 37 men. Most of the male non-responders had high levels of testosterone. Men with lower testosterone levels showed to have roughly an equal amount of response to the flu vaccine as the women.

When the team finished the analysis of the genes, they discovered that men with high levels of testosterone had high activation levels of a multi-gene cluster that is involved with immune system regulation called Module 52. This high activation level of Module 52 correlates with reduced antibody levels post-vaccination. But, this only has an effect on men with higher levels of testosterone. Module 52 has no effect on the amount of antibodies produced in men with lower levels and women post-vaccination.

Additional analysis showed that testosterone actually reduces level of certain regulatory proteins that usually prevent Module 52 genes from activating. In other words, higher testosterone levels result in more Module 52 gene expression. Module 52 prevents antibodies from forming in men with high testosterone levels, causing their immune systems to be weak and in turn makes them more susceptible to getting the flu even after they get vaccinated.

So scientifically speaking, women are actually stronger! Their immune systems are stronger due to estrogen and the lack of Module 52 gene expression. Men are more susceptible to getting the flu virus, but especially men with higher levels of testosterone. Even though the odds may be stacked against you, there are some things you can do to help prevent yourself from getting the flu.

Preventing The Flu

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has formulated three steps that they believe will be beneficial to the prevention of the flu.

Step 1: Get the Flu vaccination.

The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protection again the flu virus. Even for males, some protection is better than no protection!

Step 2: Take everyday preventative actions to stop the spread of germs.

This includes: washing your hands often with soap and water, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze, keeping your area clean, and while sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

Step 3: Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

Even if you believe they won’t work, it’s better to not risk getting worse and possibly spreading it to others by taking the medicine your doctor prescribes for the flu. The world will thank you!

Query Letter (Revised)

Elondra Harr

Submission Query

411 Skipper Bowles Dr.

Chapel Hill, NC 27514

January 30th, 2016


Dear Ms. Boyd,


According to your agency’s website, you are actively looking for a writer to publish a blog about a popular science topic affecting the world today. I’m pleased to introduce my blog post, “Women Stronger than Men? Studies show Women may have better defenses against flu virus than Men”. Well first, let me start off by giving you my definition of the flu. The Flu: a highly common, potentially deadly viral infection that has caused a tremendous amount of Hysteria throughout the world. I personally wanted to know more about this infamous disease so I decided to write this article from the angle of: Who’s more susceptible? Men or Women? I found this to be quite the fascinating topic and I would like to share this information I found with the readers of your journal. In this blog, I discuss several factors leading up to which sex is actually “stronger”.

Are males really the stronger sex? Or is a just an old belief that really has no credible scientific facts to back it up? Well, some researchers believe that women’s immune systems are actually stronger than men due to the female hormone estrogen. From News Medical, I found that Sabra L. Klein discusses how the female hormone Estrogen actually helps fight off the flu virus. Klein and her colleagues conducted research to see how infected cells from males and females respond to different types of estrogen. Using this research, I wrote about how Estrogen works to fight off the flu virus. My blog post also addresses the fact that certain genes between the sexes switch on and off at certain points, causing women to possibly have an advantage when dealing with autoimmune diseases. I give the readers a better understanding of the differences between women’s immune systems and men’s by providing a few research studies conducted by highly influential research labs at Standford University and John Hopkins School of Public Health. I also add the effects of the male sex hormone testosterone on the flu virus. Studies show that men with higher levels of testosterone may be more likely to get the flu than men with lower levels. I include a study where a multinational team from Stanford University, France, and the University of North Carolina conducted a study where they took blood from 54 women and 37 men of different ages and studied a variety of immune system proteins and cells using complex systems to detect gene expression. I think the readers will find this study very interesting and gives them more insight on how to flu virus works and how genetics really play a significant role.

In this article, I will be covering the scientific reasons as to why women have generally stronger immune systems than men. I display several research studies giving actual proof to the scientific conundrum. To make this article even more useful, I include preventative steps from the CDC for readers to follow to make sure they’re doing their best to keep themselves from getting the flu. I end my blog post by adding precautions that the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends you take to help you prevent the flu. I believe by adding preventative methods to the blog will give the readers a sense of hope that even though their immune systems might be genetically “weaker”, there are still some things they can do to help prevent them from getting sick. I also include the life cycle of a flu virus just so the readers can get a better understanding of what happens to your body when the flu virus actually invades. I think the readers will appreciate this. This interesting topic will surely be quite fascinating and informative to the readers.

Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.




Elondra Harr

Annotated Bibliography


Annotated Bibliography


Chan, L Amanda. “The Life Cycle of the Flu (INFOGRAPHIC)”. Huffpost Healthy Living. Web. 13 Nov. 2013.

Chan describes the life cycle of a flu virus that gets into your body. She starts with the first 24-48 hours. The flu virus gets inside the body through your respiratory tract. Then the virus starts to make its way into the cells lining the respiratory tract and begin to multiply. She also explains the symptoms that a typical person with the flu has. She makes her way through the life cycle ending with the last few days. She notes that if the flu virus is completely gone, the inflammation will decrease. Her explanation about the life cycle of the flu virus seems to very accurate and credible. Chan makes her point very clear and concise.


“CDC Says “Take 3” Actions to Fight the Flu”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web. 17 Aug. 2015.

The primary goal of this article was to talk about prevention. The people of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), compose three basic actions we should take to help prevent the flu. The three basic actions are: Take time to get a flu vaccine, Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spreading of germs, and Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them. They go into detail about how and what exactly you should do during these steps. The CDC has a very good reputation and has very credible sources. This article will be very important for the closing of my blog post.


Brian Alexander. NBC News. “Testosterone may make Men more likely to get the Flu”. Web. 23 Dec. 2013.

Alexander’s article discusses how men with higher levels of testosterone may be more likely to get the flu than men with lower levels and women. He discusses how the high testosterone levels cause the men to have weak, or even no response to the flu vaccine. He talks about a study that a multinational team from Stanford, France, and the University of North Carolina conducted where they took blood from 54 women and 37 men of different ages, then studied a variety of immune system proteins and cells using complex systems to detect gene expression. They then gave flu vaccines to these people and checked for any changes in these parameters. The study found that men as a group, had a more muted response to the vaccine. To sum it up, Alexander states that basically men have weaker immune systems due to genetics and gene expression.


Jennie Dusheck. Stanford Medicine. “Women’s Immune System genes operate differently from Men’s”. Web. 29 Jul. 2015.

In this article, Dusheck talks about how immune system genes switch on and off differently in women and men. She informs the readers on how there is a new technology that can reveal the immune system genes that switch on and off that vary between men and women. One discovery that she mentions is that the genes that switch on and off differently from person to person are more likely to be associated with autoimmune diseases. In the article, Dusheck includes a study where researchers took blood samples from 12 volunteers to measure how certain genes are turned on and off from person to person. In the study, they found that 20 out of the 30 genes showed significant differential activity between men and women. This article helps readers get a better understanding of why women’s immune systems are stronger than men’s and why it’s harder for men to fight off flu viruses than women.

News Medical Life Sciences of Medicine. “Estrogen Helps Women fight flu viruses better than Men”. John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Web. 20 Jan. 2016.

In this article, Sabra L Klein discusses how the female hormone Estrogen can help fight off flu viruses in women but not in men. It suggests an advantage to the female hormone that naturally is found in women’s bodies, as well as artificial forms given for hormone replacement therapy and estrogen-like chemicals found in the environment. Recent studies have proven that estrogen can decrease the replication of viruses including HIV, Ebola, and Hepatitis. This can lessen the infection’s severity and make it less likely to spread to other people. Klein and her colleagues conducted research to see how infected nasal cells from males and females respond to different types of estrogen. Klein’s research seems to have been very influential and has been reported in several articles. With this research she has shown another potential benefit from using the hormone estrogen.


The Early History of Autism

In one part of the article they talk about a 59 year old man named Billy who was showing signs of Autism. Most people called him an idiot, and even though he wasn’t completely normal, he still was really good in some ways with his cognitive skills. He also could remember 200 tunes perfectly. I just thought that it was really interesting that even though there were things he couldn’t do, he was still very good at certain things. It was just weird how he had certain abilities but not others.