RAISING EXCITEMENT & RETENTION IN THE LIFE SCIENCES
According to the U.S. Department of Education, nearly one half of undergraduate students pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) fields will either change to non-STEM degrees or drop out from college all together. What’s more, under-represented minority students are 50% more likely than other student populations to leave STEM majors.
To promote increased retention of STEM majors in the Life Sciences at UCLA, we have developed a course called Communicating Science. In this course, incoming freshman science majors work with their peers, interview UCLA life scientists, learn how people get into a scientific career, and convey the science our faculty do to an audience of their peers. Through this process, students are learning skills essential to success as STEM majors, increasing their persistence in science majors.
Communicating Science is an unusual undergraduate course where biology majors work collaboratively to create short, science-themed videos for curious minds of all backgrounds. Not only does this course develop important, person-to-person and digital communication skills, it also fosters the development of valuable connections on campus, whether it’s with fellow science students, research faculty, or film students (MFA students from Department of Film, Theater, and Television.)
SPREADING COOL IDEAS OUTSIDE THE LECTURE HALL & LAB
The course provides an opportunity for students to pull back from their core science courses, find out about scientific research on campus, reflect on what they’ve learned; and create engaging videos that can be shared with friends and communities outside of UCLA.
BUILDING COMMUNITIES & CONNECTIONS WITHIN UCLA
Undergraduates in this course develop personal connections with fellow science students, with UCLA films student tutors (MFA students from the Department of Film, Theater, and Television), and UCLA research faculty who are experts and leaders in their fields.
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