This past Sunday, October 22, 2023, prospective first-year and transfer students had the opportunity to attend SEBS’ Fall Open House on Cook Campus. The event was held at the Cook Student Center and the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health. A total of 280 guests, including high school students, college transfers and their families, attended the event and learned about the unique academic programs SEBS has to offer from the dedicated faculty and alums.
The day began at 9:30 a.m. in the Cook Student Center’s Multipurpose Room with the buzz of excited students and parents. Julie Traxler, Ed.D, Associate Dean for Academic Programs at SEBS, kicked off the event with welcome remarks, encouraging students to be open-minded when choosing the school that’s right for them and reassuring them that SEBS advisors will be there on every step of their Rutgers journey. Traxler also mentioned the hardworking, talented faculty and how attending SEBS allows students to work with world-class researchers in the classroom from the beginning of their college career. SEBS students have the unique opportunity to connect with brilliant researchers and even become the ones conducting the research once they establish those connections.
After Julie Traxler’s excellent welcome remarks, prospective students and their families had the opportunity to attend Academic Major Sessions led by SEBS advisors and the Deans of Academic Programs. Every session was held by a different advisor, who provided information regarding the academic requirements of the major, research opportunities within the program, and how the majors set students up for success. Daria Gonzalez, Assistant Dean of Academic Programs, led the academic session on the Biological Sciences major, telling prospective students that SEBS fosters “experiential learning” within all departments, especially biological sciences. Through required shadowing and lab experience, SEBS students will be able to get hands-on experience, helping them figure out if their original path is the right one and giving them room to explore. The session about pre-med and pre-health paths further emphasized the importance of experiential learning and research at SEBS; the opportunity for hands-on research as an undergraduate will give students a chance to speak on this unique experience during interviews for medical school.
Dr. Kimberly Russell, an associate professor and undergraduate program director in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources (EENR), discussed how pursuing an EENR degree provides students with a foundation for careers in environmental conservation and the management of biotic natural resources.
Prospective students also had the privilege of speaking to SEBS alumni. Lily Black, who graduated from SEBS in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and in 2022 with a master’s degree in public health, urged incoming students to pick a path that excites them as well as to take advantage of all the resources that SEBS has to offer.
“SEBS allows students to find a small and supportive family within a massive school, which is something really special and unique,” Black added.
Mark Youssef, who graduated in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in biology, commented on how Rutgers’ status as a Research 1 University opens many doors for research and personal growth as an individual in the sciences. “Rutgers is a world-class institution with top researchers, and incoming students should take advantage of those connections. You never know who can help you advance and who you can learn from.”
With about 3,200 undergraduates, SEBS gives students the opportunity to create a close-knit family within the massive university while setting them on the path to academic success. The Open House event gave the class of 2028 and college transfer students a complete sense of what it is like to study at Rutgers, the unmatched connections they can make in the STEM and research fields, and how to foster an academically and socially fulfilling college experience.
This article was written by OPOC intern Emily Ranieri.