Last month, a kickoff open house was held at the new BioCommons space in Steenbock Library. The event was a great success, bringing in a full room of undergraduate and graduate students eager to hear about the resources and opportunities the new space has to offer.
Completed this past spring, BioCommons is a renovated space in the basement of Steenbock reserved for students in the biosciences. But it’s much more than just a set of study rooms. The idea behind BioCommons is to get undergraduates, graduate students, and post-docs in the biosciences networking and communicating with each other. It’s a place where students can seek advising, attend workshops for career and academic development, and more.
“We want students from all different disciplines to be able to get together,” said CALS assistant dean Tom Browne at the kickoff event. Browne was among a group of departmental and organizational representatives who spoke at the event, discussing the benefits of the new space, including its role in bringing together peers to work together and facilitating the establishment of mentor-mentee relationships.
Representatives from student organizations SciMedGRS, SACNAS, MANRRS, STEM Buds, and AHANA were at the event promoting their programs. Members of these organizations will participate in various workshops held at BioCommons, including career-building and academic support workshops.
Several of these organizations dedicate time and effort to helping students find mentors and laboratory research experiences. With so many students in the biosciences looking to get into a lab, the later service is in particular need. Other areas where these organizations provide guidance and support include obtaining leadership positions, building relationships with faculty members and participating in community development.
BioCommons will be reserved from 6-8pm Monday nights for study groups, where tables will be separated by subject or by specific classes. In addition to this, students can reserve space in BioCommons on their own. A schedule of additional events can be found at: http://biology.wisc.edu/biocommons.htm.