August 23, 2019
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
As part of their orientation to the surrounding community, the scholars of the Science Bridge Program attended a Renegades baseball game after a day of studying.
Two weeks before their classmates began at Mount Saint Mary College, 15 first-year students majoring in Biology and Chemistry got a jumpstart on their college careers through the inaugural Science Bridge Program.
The participants, both residents and commuter students, lived on campus for the duration of the program in order to immerse them in the experience. After seven to eight hours of study in the mornings and afternoons, the scholars enjoyed games and activities prepared by their Resident Assistants – two upperclassmen who are majoring in the sciences.
The course was free and open to all Biology and Chemistry majors who wished to participate.
The experience was spearheaded by Janet Petroski, associate professor of Chemistry and chair of the Natural Sciences Division; and Suparna Bhalla, associate professor of Biology. According to the professors, the program helped students to acclimate themselves with the basics of their majors, such as how to apply the scientific method, how to create their own experiments, and how to prepare a lab report. They also reviewed important mathematic concepts.
“I wanted to get a head start on Bio because I knew it was going to be tough,” said Jordan Hickman of Maybrook, N.Y., an incoming Biology major who took AP science courses at Valley Central High School. “This program is helping – writing up lab reports and pacing ourselves, and giving us a feel of what it’s like to have work in several classes at once.”
But the program went beyond academics, noted Petroski and Bhalla: It also helped the students to form bonds with their roommates and make new friends, as well as introducing them to life in college.
“It’s been great to see how quickly they formed bonds with each other, to us, to their Resident Assistants, and to their tutors,” said Bhalla. “They’ve realized that they have a built-in support system and they’re comfortable in an academic setting.”
In addition, the group also attended a Renegades baseball game, went hiking together, and engaged in service to the local community. They also enjoyed the college’s Heritage Tour, as led by Sr. Margaret “Peggy” Murphy, OP, former professor of Religious Studies.