Biology Saves the World (BSW) is a semester-long project completed by all first-year students in the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) as an integral part of BIOL 1806 Nature of Life - Year One. By connecting new students with experienced scientists in the life sciences at the University of Minnesota, the BSW project challenges CBS’s newest undergraduates to learn about the research happening on campus, its significance and potential impacts, and the people who are creating new scientific knowledge every day.
In the project, groups of 10 first-year students are matched with a BSW Focus Scientist (PI, Post-Doc, or Graduate Student) to learn about their research and their professional path. Each group reads a paper relevant to their Focus Scientist’s lab, meets with the Focus Scientist in person twice during spring semester, and develops a presentation showcasing the Focus Scientist’s work, which they deliver to their fellow first-year students.
Simply put, Biology Saves the World brings the life sciences to life!
How can I sign up to be a Focus Scientist in the BSW project?
Focus Scientists are PIs, Post-Doctoral Fellows, or Graduate Students in the life sciences at the U who volunteer to share their work and professional path with CBS first-year students. Since the first offering of the BSW project in 2015, 99 scientists from 72 unique labs have participated. You can sign up to join them by completing this brief form with information about your research area, lab, and meeting time availability.
What do participants have to say about the BSW project?
2017 Focus Scientist Feedback:
- “It was a pleasure interacting with the students. I enjoyed explaining my research to the group. It is always great to have an opportunity to explain advanced concepts to an audience that is not well versed in the specific field.”
- “It made for a nice opportunity to reflect on my research & career”
- “I really like talking to students early in their college education, who are excited to learn something new and are energized by science and by understanding more about the world around them. It is neat to hear their stories, and what they'd like to accomplish.”
- “By participating in this project, we were able to find an enthusiastic and passionate undergrad volunteer in the lab.”
- “It was really great talking about science and getting the students excited about it!”
2017 Student Feedback:
- “This project opened my eyes to the possibilities of research positions on campus that can save lives through their impacts on health, environment, and ecosystems. I want to continue to learn biology so I may one day have a similar impact.”
- “I am glad I was able to participate in the BSW project because it made me interested in research, something I never thought I would be interested in.”
- “It was really interesting to hear about my Focus Scientist’s work, and he did a fantastic job of relating it back to the big picture. I was able to draw connections between his research and really big questions people ask, like “What’s the cure for cancer?”
- “I had a really good time working on this project. Our Focus Scientist offered a lot of great advice, and it was interesting to hear her talk about grad school.”
- “I think the biology saves the world process was helpful in introducing us to realistic careers in science. Meeting with our focus scientist and learning about his route to the job he has now helped me realize that I don't necessarily need to know where I want to be in 10 years. Many of his most impactful experiences were because of loose connections he had. Through hard work and dedication, and networking, he was able to grasp key research opportunities that introduced him to subjects that interested him, like bacteria and nitrogen fixation.”