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Students Helping Students Start Strong

A new student-run club is looking for faculty members and TAs to make guest appearances at workshops and events for first-year students in the Faculties of Science, Engineering and Health Sciences.

Angela SchmidtTransition State McMaster was founded by Angela Schmidt, a third-year Biochemistry student. “Growing up in a small town and coming from a high school that wasn’t STEM-focused, I found the transition to university especially difficult," says Angela.

"My personal experience, along with similar experiences for many friends, motivated me to start Transition State. I believe that every student from every background deserves an equal chance at achieving their academic goals."

The club's mandate is to take a proactive approach in helping first-year students prepare for university, both in and beyond the classroom. The club runs year-round programs and workshops, 

One of those programs - STEMRep - connects first-year students with more than 30 upper-year students from Mathematics & Statistics, Kinesiology and Integrated Science and other programs from across McMaster. Using a Discord server, the STEMReps answer student questions and host monthly themed Q&A sessions. STEMReps also volunteered as panelists during Transition State McMaster's Summer Pathway Program for Life Sciences students. The club is looking to expand this program for students in other first-year STEM entry programs.

The club has also opened study channels on Microsoft Teams for students in Biology 1A03 and 1M03, Chemistry 1A03, Math 1LS3, Physics 1A03 and Psych 1X03.

This month, the club is focused on helping students prepare for their BIO 1M03 PBL assignment and BIO 1A03 lab report. Transition State is also hosting a bonfire for first-year students at the Altitude Pit on campus Nov. 19 and working with Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences Associate Professor Michelle MacDonald to run their first scientific writing workshop on Nov. 24.

Next month, Transition State McMaster will host a one-on-one peer editing session for the BIO 1A03 lab report, a first-year exam prep event and their third Q&A session focused on second-year specialization.

"We hope to build a rapport with professors and TAs and have them join our events as guest speakers," says Angela. If you are interested in being a guest speaker and helping first-year students have a strong start in the Faculty of Science, please contact Transition State VP of Outreach Jonathan Monteiro at montej2@mcmaster.ca.
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McMaster University | Faculty of Science