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September 3, 2019

St. Francis College Stem Students Complete Summer Bootcamp

Burdowski teaching bootcamp

Dozens of incoming St. Francis College science students got a jump start on some of the College's toughest STEM classes, at a multi-day bootcamp designed to prepare them for Biology, Organic Chemistry, and Anatomy and Physiology courses they will take this fall.

The STEM summer bootcamp program began in 2017, to transition incoming first-year SFC Biology students to the rigors of collegiate-level coursework. Under the leadership of Dr. Allen Burdowski, SFC Dean of Sciences and Director of Pre-Health Professions Program, the bootcamp aimed to ensure more intended freshman Biology majors passed their first-semester course and could go on to earn degrees in the field.

"Biology and Chemistry see some of the highest failure rates among college students across the country, and we want to tackle that problem head-on at St. Francis," said Dr. Burdowski. "We developed our bootcamp to help plug the 'leaky pipeline' in STEM when students struggle and abandon studies early. Bootcamp involves not only lectures and labs covering material from the upcoming course, but trains students on study skills and note-taking habits necessary to succeed."

With growing enrollment in each of its first two years, the summer bootcamp expanded this year to include tracks in Organic Chemistry and in Anatomy and Physiology.

The Organic Chem bootcamp enrolled incoming second-year students who already passed the prerequisite first-year Chemistry course. The Anatomy and Physiology track invited incoming first-year pre-nursing students and those intending to major in other health professions.

"I think this [bootcamp] is really useful and helpful for us and it shows that they really care," said Pearl Estrelle, who was one of the more than 50 students who participated in the Anatomy and Physiology bootcamp.

"I feel like it's important to get additional information before you start a course that's as intense as Biology," said Anthony Zacatenco, who was among the 20 students in Bio bootcamp. Fifteen students enrolled in Organic Chemistry.

Dr. Burdowski, Dr. Victoria Ruiz, SFC Assistant Biology Professor and Dr. Marlon Joseph, Biology Lab Instructor, taught the Anatomy and Physiology.

Dr. Alison Dell, SFC Assistant Biology Professor, instructed Biology.

Dr. Evelyn Wolfe, SFC Chemistry Professor and Department Chair, and Dr. Gerard Davidson, SFC Assistant Chemistry Professor, taught Organic Chemistry.

Current SFC science students provided additional support and mentoring to bootcamp participants.

The Organic Chem and Anatomy and Physiology bootcamps ran from August 26th to 28th. Biology ran for four days, ending on the 29th. All included morning and afternoon sessions with a break for lunch. Bootcamps are voluntary, non-credit-granting and open at no cost to all eligible students.

For more information about 2020 science prep bootcamp, contact Dr. Burdowski, [email protected]

Picture above: Dr. Burdowski instructing Anatomy and Physiology Bootcamp