Biology Career Exploration Academic Communities (BioCEAC; “BioSeek”)
Many biology students come to the University of Pittsburgh with a fixed career plan, and don’t explore other careers due to pre-med over-persistence and “career blindedness”. In addition, countless undergraduates progress through their college careers in isolation. The Department of Biological Sciences is the largest in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and some of our required class sizes reflect this: our students are taking large enrollment Biology, Chemistry, and Physics courses through the end of their junior year. We suspect that large class sizes and a flexible curriculum within the biology major are impeding cohort building: students taking the exact same classes in the same semester don’t know each other and think their struggles within the major and their struggles finding a career path are unique. We hypothesize that these struggles may be even more exaggerated for students from underrepresented groups.
To address both career exploration and isolationism, we will create upperclassmen academic communities for cohorts of sophomores and juniors to take biology, chemistry, and other career broadening courses together with a career exploration seminar course. The Biology Career Exploration Academic Communities (BioCEAC; “BioSeek”) will kick off in Spring Term 2019.