Students speaking in a group

Forge Your Own Path Student Grant Blog:
Building Intentional Opportunities for Student-Centered Communities
(BIOSC Communities)


At the beginning of the Spring 2020 semester, I could have never imagined the transition to online learning that was implemented for the remainder of the semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Before spring break, we were hitting our stride with the project. The faculty and students who attended our breakfasts all enjoyed them very much. Here is a snippet from an email of a student who attended one of the faculty breakfasts:

“I just wanted to reach out and let you know I very much enjoyed the Biology breakfast this morning, as it was an excellent way to sit down and talk with professors and other students in the same field. One of the professors stated that they wish there were more opportunities to sit and chat with students in groups and that we were the first group to do this sort of breakfast event. The event was definitely a success in my opinion, and I wanted to let you know I feel like the Biology department should continue to run activities like this in order for students to get to know their professors and fellow biology classmates better. Thank you for providing this opportunity and have a wonderful day.”

While we had to cancel the other events we had planned, we are utilizing Pitt Commons as an online tool to help establish the BIOSC Communities among students and mentors. We are also exploring the best way to hold events virtually going forward. We are confident that we can figure something out and are keeping our chins up!

About this project

Building Intentional Opportunities for Student-Centered Communities ​(BIOSC Communities)
The large size of the Biological Sciences department may prevent some students from forming peer and mentor networks. The Biology Peer Advisors formed as a group of junior and senior biology students who wanted to share experiences with other students to support them in their academic and professional goals. With this project, we will enhance our offerings to expand from solely office hours and advising events to create more community-building events. We will provide digital mentoring, events that connect students with faculty and we will share experiences on how we made connections and balanced our academic and outside responsibilities.

Project leader: Luke Scherz