Spring 2019 CBS Circles

CBS Circles are small groups of juniors, seniors, and transfer students who meet regularly to learn, develop, and connect with one another. CBS Circles help you transcend the checklist mentality and make the most of your remaining time in CBS by doing something that matters to you.



Each Spring 2019 Circle listed below is focused around a specific topic or goal and will share the common thread of small group peer support. Each Circle is facilitated by a paid CBS Circle Guide who designed the topic or goal of that Circle. Because Circles are small peer accountability groups, each Circle will need to have a minimum of two student participants in Spring 2019. Any Circle with less than two participants will not be able to be offered. Meeting days/times of the Spring 2019 Circles will be scheduled in collaboration with the Circle Guide and the other participants in the Circle.

If you are a CBS junior, senior, or transfer student (by class year, not number of credits), complete the sign-up form to participate in any of the CBS Circles this spring.

  • Artistic Interpretation of the Biological Sciences

    Weekly meetings throughout Spring 2019; Facilitated by Emma Rochlin, a Neuroscience major. Emma is a junior and works in a research lab that uses non-human primates to study decision making. After graduation, Emma is planning on taking a gap year to continue her work in neuroscience research before going to medical school.

    In this Circle, we will be exploring the beauty of the biological sciences through art. Every week, we will pick a new journal article in the biological sciences. We will discuss the journal article and paint some aspect of the research (such as microbial slides, neuron imaging, etc.). The goal of this Circle is to explore new innovations in the biological sciences and use a new medium, painting, to explore the beauty of the biological world. Paint supplies will be provided to participants.

  • Brené Brown Book Club: Daring Greatly and the Power of Vulnerability

    Weekly meetings throughout Spring 2019; Facilitated by Allison Berry, a Biology major and Public Health minor. Allison is a junior, serves as a CBS Peer Advisor, and is passionate about public health, the right to health, science communication, and education. Allison hopes to go to graduate school for epidemiology and be a professor in the future.

    This Circle will be a book club and discussion on “Daring Greatly” by Dr. Brené Brown, which focuses on empathy, self-compassion, and whole-hearted living. “Daring Greatly” dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness and argues that it is our most accurate measure of courage. Activities in the Circle could include going through the reading guide and worksheets that allow for self-reflection and group discussions and watching videos. This Circle is for everyone, especially anyone who has felt that they were not enough, or has struggled with self-compassion and shame. The book will be provided to participants.

  • CBS Strong

    Weekly meetings throughout Spring 2019; Facilitated by Raelene Burke, a Biology major with a second degree in Psychology. Raelene is a third-year student from Dallas, Texas and has particular interests in limnology (the study of lake ecology) and vocational psychology (career counseling). Raelene eventually hopes to continue to grad school in pursuit of one of these fields, or in Environmental Psychology.

    In this Circle, CBS students will focus on building up both their physical health, including physical activity and nutritious eating habits, and their personal confidence. Participants will articulate their goals related to physical health for this semester and the Circle will help keep them accountable to these goals, including by going to the RecWell Center together when possible. By the end of the semester, participants will have increased their physical activity and replaced three of their current eating habits with healthier options.

  • CBS Students with Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions

    Weekly meetings throughout Spring 2019; Facilitated by Ellie Bohm, a Microbiology major with minors in Biochemistry and Public Health. Ellie is a senior and works in a biochemistry research lab. Because she loves the research environment, she plans on working in industry for 2-3 years after graduation before returning for a PhD program.

    This Circle will be focused on providing an opportunity for students in CBS who have disabilities or mental health conditions to discuss common challenges we are facing in completing an undergraduate degree in the sciences. This semester, we could discuss the resources available on campus, how to talk about our needs with faculty, staff, and other students, brainstorm ways to advocate for ourselves in our post-graduate education and career plans, and potentially have a guest speaker about the intersection of disabilities and careers in science. Due to the nature of this Circle, it is understandable if participants have barriers to attending every weekly meeting, so participants are welcome to attend as they are able.

  • Capitalizing on Your Strengths

    Weekly meetings throughout Spring 2019; Facilitated by Hanna Tillman, a Biology major and Pharmacology minor. Hanna has worked as a clinical research assistant for a Pediatric Endocrinologist studying diabetes complications, volunteered at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, and works as a phlebotomist in a hospital setting. Hanna is currently interviewing to go to pharmacy school starting next fall.

    In this Circle, participants would be encouraged to identify and capitalize on their strengths, particularly when thinking about post-graduate education and career plans. Activities in the Circle could include taking assessments to determine personal strengths when it comes to academics, work, leadership, and life and brainstorming ways in which participants can make the most out of their strengths. By the end of the semester, participants would have a clear understanding of their personal strengths and be able to list them, explain them, and provide examples that could be used in conversations with supervisors, professors, and interviewers.

  • Cycling

    Every other week meetings throughout Spring 2019; Facilitated by Matthew Holten, a Microbiology major and Economics minor. Matthew is currently involved in a directed research lab with Dr. Costa investigating specific archaean proteins that affect biofilm development and works as an emergency department medical scribe. He plans to apply for medical school this upcoming cycle.

    This Circle will be focused on cycling, which provides great cardiovascular exercise and social interaction while training. During the first few months of the spring semester, we would discuss training on stationary bikes, including going to the RecWell Center together when possible, cycling routes for beginners, intermediate, or advanced cyclers, and aspects of bike maintenance. When the weather starts to cooperate, we would transition to outdoor cycling to explore the region we live in. Participants in this Circle must have their own bike for the outdoor portion of the Circle or be willing to rent one from the RecWell Center .

  • De-Stress for Success

    Weekly meetings throughout Spring 2019; Facilitated by Hanna Tillman, a Biology major and Pharmacology minor. Hanna has worked as a clinical research assistant for a Pediatric Endocrinologist studying diabetes complications, volunteered at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, and works as a phlebotomist in a hospital setting. Hanna is currently interviewing to go to pharmacy school starting next fall.

    This Circle will focus on de-stressing for one hour each week, including learning about the positive and negative forms of stress and its effects on the body and mind, discussing the challenges and struggles that CBS students may have with stress management, and researching effective ways to manage stress. Participants will be able to take some time each week to focus on themselves and how to reduce their own stress, which will hopefully lead to feeling more able to tackle their challenges and less burned out.

  • Discovering Yourself and Your Future

    Weekly meetings throughout Spring 2019; Facilitated by Brian Shaw, a GCD major. Brian is a 24-year-old transfer student from Minnesota and is planning to graduate in December. His post-graduation plan is to become a high school teacher as well as start a non-profit aimed to teach at-risk populations self-defense.

    This Circle will give participants an opportunity to think about themselves and their future, including identifying the gap between who they are now and who they want to be. Activities this semester could include thinking about attributes of our ideal selves and actual selves, discussing motivation, sharing strategies to manage obstacles, writing a letter to our future selves, and creating goals for the spring semester. Participants in this Circle can function as accountability partners to each other in order to help everyone make progress on their goals.

  • Exploring and Preparing for Graduate/Professional School Applications

    Weekly meetings throughout Spring 2019; Facilitated by Sarah Durkot, a Biochemistry major. Sarah is a junior who transferred to the University of Minnesota this past fall. She is currently planning on pursuing a Master’s degree in Biostatistics and then a PhD in Epidemiology.

    This Circle will cover various topics related to preparing for graduate/professional school applications. Each week we will cover a different aspect of the application process, such as finding campus resources that can help with graduate or professional school applications, writing a CV, searching for schools, interview practice, and more. The goal of this Circle is to provide participants with increased confidence going forward with their applications.

  • Rural Healthcare and Discrepancies with Minority Healthcare

    Weekly meetings throughout Spring 2019; Facilitated by Radhika (Rads) Edpuganti, a Neuroscience major with a Spanish minor. Rads is a senior and hopes to become a rural pediatric neurologist. She was part of neurosurgery research but was promoted into neurology research at Hennepin Healthcare.

    The goal of this Circle is to increase awareness of the discrepancy of the quality of care in rural and minority medicine. In the meetings, we will discuss case studies about rural and minority healthcare, potentially have guest speakers share their perspectives, or possibly go on a field trip to a local organization focused on these issues. Participants will be able to gain a new perspective about medicine that they can later apply to their own future practice in healthcare.

  • Using Design Thinking as Healthcare Professionals

    Weekly meetings on Friday afternoons throughout Spring 2019; Co-facilitated by Chetana Guthikonda, a Neuroscience major with a Youth Studies minor and Samantha Hess, a Neuroscience major with a Psychology minor. Chetana currently does research in the Department of Psychiatry, is part of the Acara Student Leadership Team, and is a founding member of Case for a Cause, a group that hosts case competitions for middle school students in the Twin Cities. Samantha works as a Direct Care Professional for individuals with disabilities and is currently working towards her EMT Certification, volunteers in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinic at Hennepin County Medical Center, and is a founding member of Case for a Cause.

    The use of design thinking, a concept traditionally taught in entrepreneurship as a human-centered approach to create products and solve user issues, is a tool used to create sustainable social impact with a lot of research and inspiring examples in the real world. The three components of this Circle would be one, understanding what design thinking is; two, looking into current examples of how design thinking is being used by healthcare professionals; and three, reflecting on how one can incorporate design thinking principles into their daily lives as future healthcare professionals.