BioWeek hosts panels and community building events
Undergraduate Education for Biology held its second-ever Bio Week from October 29 to November 3, which featured “helpful academic tips, fun programs and a look at what careers the future may hold” for students interested in biology, according to the UK University of England website. Nineteen events spread throughout the week focused on community building, career prospects, and other aspects of the field of biology.
One of the main goals of BioWeek was to build community within the university’s biology-related concentrations, according to Toni-Marie Akeley, senior lecturer in biology and associate dean at BUE. Akili said that the university has ten congregations through six different departments. She said BioWeek was intended to help biology majors consider what concentrations would be best for them, as well as different career options.
“I think the events are really impactful for the first- and second-year students who come here, as they’ll be able to engage a little more in the focus and see how they fit into this ecosystem,” Akili said. “They can grow into those leadership positions at some point and learn how to adapt to Brown.”
“I think another goal — in addition to building community — is to remove ambiguity and make sure all students have access to information and make informed decisions,” Akili added.
The BUE speed dating event had this goal. “The whole goal of this event was to enable underclassmen to move from advisor to advisor at a really fast pace so they can ask really specific questions based on advisors and specific interests and identities,” said Olina Muhammad, a 24-year-old BUI student. And experiences.” Student representative.
Mohamed helped plan the event with Jeremy Kwon ’24, another BU student ambassador. Participants were able to speak with BU Student Ambassadors and peer advisors for five-minute periods in a speed-dating fashion. The topics were not limited to academics, but participants were encouraged to talk about their non-academic interests and identities as well, according to Muhammad.
“The main goal was for people to be able to look at specific fields and humanize the experience of biology,” Muhammad said. “They can ask us questions about how we got to where we are, how they can do the things we need to do or even ask questions out of interest.”
Another event organized to assist international students in their journeys to concentrate in biology was the “Careers in Biology Panel: International Student Edition,” led by Lizzy Zhang ’24, an international student concentrating in biology.
“I noticed there was a lot of misinformation or lack of information about potential career paths for international students in the life sciences,” Zhang said. “I wanted to host this event to give international students the opportunity to connect with fellow international students who are currently pursuing different careers in the life sciences to fill this information gap.”
According to Chang, more than 30 students attended and many of them were able to reach out and schedule one-on-one meetings with committee members even after the event ended. Chang hopes that students will have the “opportunity to form mentoring connections” with other international students who may be pursuing career paths they hope to follow in the future.
More than 90 students attended more than eight events during BioWeek, which were tracked through student participation in a BioWeek punch card raffle. Students could keep track of the events they attended through a punch card, and after hitting eight or more events, they were entered into a drawing.
Arts and crafts events were among the non-academic offerings at BioWeek. “I really enjoyed the pot painting event,” said Michelle June, 27, who was looking to concentrate in applied mathematics. “There aren’t really the same opportunities in other departments.”
Accelli says the success of this year’s BioWeek can be attributed to increased promotion around the events, and a larger range of events compared to the previous year.
“I think it was encouraging to see all the students together and it makes me excited to be a part of this,” Akili said. “When we think about BioWeek, even though they are vital events, we welcome anyone to participate and really learn what biology has to offer.”
Moving forward, Achilli is excited to host future BioWeeks, with new events included in the program. She also cited the potential for a similar event as “fun and informative” in the spring.
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