Newman University held its first-ever Lab Coat Ceremony on Jan. 18 with help from a grant provided by Volunteer Kansas.
The $5,000 grant not only allowed the university to celebrate with its students during this special ceremony but also paves the way for a brand new mentoring program.
The mentorship program, which will be initiated during the spring 2018 semester, will consist of current junior and senior students mentoring younger or newer students in science and math courses outside of class. The mentors will be driven by three main goals: reviewing material already covered in class, previewing material in upcoming lectures and labs and quizzing students on material they should already know.
During the ceremony, Associate Professor of Biology Michael Bradley, Ph.D., said, “We are very excited about this event. A few members of the faculty and staff had an idea about how we might be able to help out new and younger students as they embark upon a career as a Newman college student embroiled in science courses.
“The idea came to us that we might be able to take advantage of the fact that the real expertise in getting through those courses resides in the students who are here and who have already gotten it done.”
Bradley, along with other faculty and staff, saw the evening as an opportunity to recognize and celebrate those students being honored for their achievements thus far in the program.
“This is not an easy undertaking. It’s a pretty major thing to do and to succeed at doing,” Bradley proclaimed to the students in the room. “You students, in this room tonight, have accomplished more than I think you realize at this moment. And the reason that we say this is that I don’t think you understand that there are lots of folks who have not accomplished what you have.”
The reactions from the students shared a theme of humbleness and thankfulness.
Sophomore Micah VanderGriend said, “It’s really nice to be honored by the faculty here. It means a lot to be recognized for the things we’ve done and for our hard work in class. I had no idea they noticed someone like me.”
Jonathan Serrano-Ramsey, a junior biology major, had similar thoughts.
“I think its great to be recognized, knowing that the faculty recognizes all the little things we do. I know that some students will have their advisers put their coat on them, and that is a big honor.”
Serrano-Ramsey is also looking forward to becoming a mentor to students working their way through the program.
“I think it’ll be really fun to encourage those people that haven’t had any exposure to these classes or are teetering on the edge of what they want their major to be. Being a mentor will allow us to help those students through their decision-making process and we can help guide them along the way.”