Accelerating Biology Education at Bama
Designed for incoming freshman, Bama Biology Bootcamp is a week-long, intensive program that serves as an introduction to college and the biological sciences and shares a plethora of information on preparing for and succeeding in those. In its third year, this UA program has everything from lectures by instructors of first-year biology courses to information on opportunities in undergraduate research. Empowering all students, Biology Bootcamp strives to attract a diverse population. Over the last three years, 175 attendees have participated, which speaks to the success of this program.
Biology Bootcamp also prepares students for college life in general, with sessions on study skills and university involvement, as well as information about student services such as the writing, counseling and career centers. Mentorship is another vital component of Bama Biology Bootcamp, with attendees being put into small groups and paired with graduate and undergraduate mentors who lead various sessions and study groups, giving incoming freshmen a chance to interact with successful students and their professors. However, it’s not all work and no play–these incoming freshmen also have a chance to attend various gatherings for meals and a mid-week pool party!
Abbie Ray, a sophomore majoring in biology, was both a past attendee and a 2019 mentor. She had this to say about the experience: “As a sophomore I got the opportunity to be a mentor, which allowed me to create relationships with incoming freshmen whose shoes I was in just a year prior. I learned just how much the Biology Bootcamp set me up for success. I not only created friendships with people I met through Biology Bootcamp, but also became better prepared for the upcoming year.”
Setting our biology students up for success begins with the opportunity to attend Biology Bootcamp and continues with events like BioFest. An annual welcome to new students in the Department of Biological Sciences, this event includes a biology career fair and an undergraduate and graduate student research poster colloquium. We’re proud to say the 2019 BioFest saw double the number of posters, with 59 total, and nearly 880 attendees! The career fair and poster colloquium give students the chance to see what experiences are available here at UA in terms of clubs and research activities. Opportunities such as these are key to a successful college experience with regard to involvement and experiential learning opportunities, in addition to allowing students to see the success and achievements of our upperclassmen. Supporting initiatives such as these contribute to the success of students aspiring to be productive in various fields of biological science. Check out event photos and our 2019 poster winners.