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From the College of Natural Sciences
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Apply to get paid to help you peers

Dear Students,

When I was in college I applied for a job serving as an undergraduate TA for a remedial math course. At first, I hoped I could share any experience in math with my peers enrolled in the course. To my surprise, the students in my class didn't really connect with me. I initially took this personally, and just tried harder to make math seem interesting. But soon it became clear that everyone had things going on around them, things that made it difficult to focus on math. One was worried about financial aid, another was reconsidering his major in econ, a third was missing home, and so on. Shifting focus, and getting to know where each was coming from, we could build enough confidence to talk a little about math and a little about where they were heading.

It took me years longer to realize mentors can't solve every problem and instead one must focus on being a sounding board, an advocate, and a sympathetic listener. Dr. Abraham Verghese echoed this sentiment in his lecture this week, when he noted that physicians cannot heal every ill, but can be impactful by simply by being present and providing comfort. We all need mentors at every stage, whether in college when trying to figure out our future options, or in our first jobs when we learn to be successful in professional life, or even later in our careers as we navigate unfamiliar responsibilities. Our lives are fuller not only when we have mentors but when we have the opportunity to mentor others.

Mentorship is one of the topics we'll discuss tomorrow when we have our next

CNS Town Hall

(see the event on facebook here)

April 7 at 5 p.m., WEL 3.502

We will be discussing CNS101, an exciting new initiative in the College of Natural Sciences and a new opportunity for you to work in a paid leadership/mentorship position to help all new students successfully transition into the college starting with the next freshman class (and soon transfers as well). CNS101 will group the entering class in to cohorts of 20 students, a small learning community to support every single freshman. Every 20 student cohort will be students with similar academic or professional interests. It will be led by a faculty or staff advisor and one paid peer mentor (upperclassman) with the same major. Each section runs the entire year, and each section will do group advising over the whole year. We will have individual advising for freshmen that want more detailed conversation, but we envision longer, extended group conversations with an advisor will establish long-term relationships and trust with an adult leader in the college. If you would like to be a mentor,

you can apply to be a CNS101 mentor at this web link.

At the town hall, we will also be discussing the results of this year's student-led College Tuition and Budget Advisory Committee, which has been reviewing the college's programs and gathering student feedback. They've submitted a most informative report which will be a guide for how the college can better serve students in the years ahead. I will be there, as will Dean Linda Hicke, Assistant Dean Mike Raney who oversees advising, Sarah Simmons, Assistant Dean for Research and International Study, Lesley Riley, Director of the Health Professions Office, and Assistant Dean Susan Harkins who oversees the TIP program. My thanks to the members of CTBAC, Juan Herrejon (Chair. Human Biology), Junho Ahn (SG Representative, Public Health), Hayden Andrews (Biochemistry), Alice Chen (Public Health and Sociology), Mira Gandhi (Chemistry & Biology), Ellis Michael (Computer Science), Maggie Miller (Math), Pooja Prabhakar (Economics and Biology), and Amanda Turbyfill (Astronomy/Physics).

I hope to see you at the Town Hall. Your voice and your participation contribute to making the college better and toward the improvement of ideas like CNS101.

-- Dr. Kopp

PS: Each week I try to let you know about events, scholarship opportunities, and important deadlines. A complete listing of this week's important deadlines is here at this link

PPS: In addition, the Natural Sciences Council has its new April issue of The Catalyst. Check it out here: utcatalyst.blogspot.com

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Monday, 17 January 2022

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