Collaborative Culture and Opportunities in the Science Department

One aspect of my academic journey here at Claremont that I really appreciate has been how easy it is to reach out to professors and find various opportunities at Keck, our science department. As a first year, I was extremely nervous about classes. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to succeed, but I found many resources that have helped me throughout the years. One resource has been utilizing professors’ office hours. This really helped me get to know my professors and for them to understand me better as a student. There are also Peer Education office hours, which were hosted by students who have already succeeded in the course. Being in these classes definitely taught me how to ask for help, and it really helped me succeed as a student. As a sophomore, I ended up being a Teaching Assistant for General Chemistry, and as a junior, I was able to start microbiology research with my professor whom I’d had as a first year.

These have both been amazing opportunities, and I’ve learned a lot from both. As a TA, I would grade lab reports and assist the professor in answering student questions. I also was a Peer Educator, where I hosted weekly office hours for students. Now, I’m performing experiments surrounding bacterial resistance with my research mentor.

Every semester, our Keck DEI Committee hosts a research open-house where students can meet professors, tour their labs, and get to know what type of research they are conducting. This is a great opportunity for students to get involved, whether it be an application or setting up meetings with a professor. A lot of students will also just cold email professors and ask them to meet. I ended up reaching out to my Introductory Biology professor and asked him about his research lab and was able to get involved that way!

Overall, I’ve had such a positive experience at Keck. I’ve always been able to reach out to my professors and get to know them, which is something I really appreciate. I’ve always felt supported with resources such as tutoring, office hours, and my peers. I haven’t felt like the environment is competitive, rather collaboration with peers and professors is encouraged. There are also many opportunities surrounding being a TA, pursuing research, and more! Please reach out with any questions!