Civic engagement is a key mission of Rutgers-Camden.  The Office of Civic Engagement and the Civic Scholars are two groups that lead the campus’ civic engagement efforts, and their enthusiasm is matched by Rutgers-Camden’s students, all of whom are passionate about service.  Learn more about Rutgers-Camden’s commitment to civic engagement by reading about three undergraduate biology majors’ experiences working with local organizations:

Stephanie Bolger: A sophomore biology major and a second-year Civic Scholar, Stephanie works with TeenSHARP, a non-profit organization that provides underrepresented middle and high school students with supplemental education, advising, and leadership skills so that they may be prepared to enter college.  Stephanie is the lead sixth grade math teacher for TeenSHARP, and creates lesson plans and teaches the Saturday morning class.

“The opportunity of being a Civic Scholar and finding a great service site has been really gratifying because I hear about students’ improvements in their math classes in school.  My overall experience has also been really fulfilling because of their personal and professional development I have seen in myself.  I’ve gained knowledge and experience in project and time management, leadership skills, and confidence.”

Melissa Kane: Through her participation with Biology Club, Melissa has been working with a local Camden organization called LUCY (Lifting Up Camden’s Youth).  This group works with students aged 12 – 19 and encourages them to make smart decisions regarding school and social responsibilities.  Melissa and other Biology Club members have been working with LUCY students two times a week for the past few months, conducting science experiments like “Coconut Volcanoes” and “How to Make Gak.”  The goal is to excite students about science so that they may decide to pursue a degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) field.  Future projects include sponsoring informational panel discussions on topics such as “Careers in Biology.”

“We aspire to strengthen the relationship between LUCY and the Biology Club and make science a bigger part of the lives of the youth.”

Shaili Patel: A third-year Civic Scholar with a biology major and a childhood studies minor, Shaili is on track to become a pediatrician.  Based on her career goal, Shaili knew she wanted to serve her community in the healthcare field and by working with children.  Shaili has worked with Project HOPE, a Camden-based healthcare outreach clinic for the homeless and uninsured and with the “Ignite” after-school program at R.C. Molina Elementary School in Camden. Conducive to her science interests, Shaili conducted science experiments with the students.  This activity culminated in a showcase here on campus, where the students at Molina Elementary School presented their experiments to their parents and peers.

“As an ambassador [with the “Ignite” after-school program] I performed small science experiments with the students, empowering them to explore scientific activity.”

Students interested in learning how a major in biology can prepare them for a multitude of career options, including civic engagement-oriented careers, should register for 50:120:199 Exploring Careers in Biology.  This new course, which starts in Fall 2014, allows students “to identify or confirm their career goals in biological sciences through service learning at diverse work places.”  To learn more about this class, contact Dr. Kwangwon Lee