Celebration of life sciences

by Amber B. Carter

In order to raise awareness on campus and in the Lawrenceville community of the importance of science, Rider celebrated the first Life Sciences Week beginning Nov. 17.

“Maybe there are some students out there that have an interest in science and haven’t really pursued it,” said Dr. Phillip Lowrey, a biology professor, said. “When they hear about bio science week, they come over here and they see some of the activities that have been going on and the lecture and they think, you know, I’m going to take a second look at maybe majoring or doing a
minor in biological science.”

Events of Life Sciences Week included a lecture by Professor Freeman Dyson from Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study on biotechnology. Jonathan Yavelow, assistant dean of Rider’s College of Liberal Arts, Education, and Sciences, opened up his classroom to speak about Genetics and Biotechnology and Lowrey opened his Principles of Biology: Evolution, Diversity, and Biology of Cells class for the general public to hear about the biochemistry of cellular metabolism.

Ann Marie Hill, executive director of the New Jersey State Commission for Cancer Research, gave a speech about cancer research and hope to a group of cancer survivors. An information session was also held for scientists who have switched to teaching using Rider’s graduate level Teacher Certification Program.

Students found the week’s events useful.

“I think Rider’s Science Department is preparing me to go for my degree by the time I get to med school,” said junior Victoria Jones, a behavioral neuroscience major.

Jones became interested in life sciences after taking a biopsychology class her freshman year. She added that Life Sciences Week will allow students to look at the life science courses and majors Rider offers. Senior Nneka Haynes, agreed.

“Rider needs to focus on inviting more people — regardless of their major — to the Science Department, and I believe that Life Sciences Week is a good way to do that,” said Haynes, an environmental science major.

Haynes wants to use her education at Rider to go to law school to be an environmental attorney.
Rider has recently added a Graduate Level Teacher Preparation Program to help Ph.D.-level scientists and mathematicians from industries such as financial service become teachers.

“They come here and become an A-Plus teacher,” Yavelow said.

He believes Life Sciences Week can benefit all students.

“I think life science awareness week will help Rider’s campus by improving the number of internship opportunities students, regardless of their majors, can have because I think as many as 20 or 25 percent of Rider’s graduates are employed by the biology, science or pharmaceutical industries,” Yavelow said. “So my hope is that we become better known as a place that has life science education because it’ll benefit our students in all of their job prospects.”

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