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I am standing at a podium presenting the bioBUDS course to the Stanford Biology Department at Asilomar. There is a screen behind me highlighting features of the course.

Education is a fundamental duty of scientists.

Scientists must be able to share their knowledge with others. This can take many forms: teaching in the classroom, public outreach, science communication, social media campaigns, etc. Ultimately, these efforts will improve scientific literacy in society, a crucial task given the daily spread of viral misinformation. I am always looking for new ways to share the joy of science and scientific truth with new audiences who are eager to learn. To date, I have primarily sought to do this in the classroom. Traditional classrooms consider the instructor as a repository of knowledge for students to tap into and memorize. In my classrooms, I strive to provide spaces for students to bring their whole selves and grow their knowledge base together. Nothing exemplifies this approach better than a class that I co-created and co-lead: bioBUDS (Building Up Developing Scientists).


Since 2021, I have co-created and co-teach bioBUDS (Building Up Developing Scientists), an undergraduate course at Stanford University. At its core, bioBUDS aims to be a community space for developing scientists of all identities and backgrounds - but especially students with identities that have been historically excluded, marginalized, and/or underrepresented in science. bioBUDS is unique in that it is entirely graduate student run, is taught each quarter during the academic year, and has a flexible curriculum. We offer 3 distinct curricular programs:


1. In the fall quarter, we teach the "hidden curriculum" which are skills needed to navigate the academy and STEM. These include crafting CVs, cold emailing professors, finding research funding opportunities, how to read scientific literature, etc. Both of my parents have post-graduate degrees, and therefore I could draw upon their knowledge and success in the system during my undergraduate career. However, first generation college students, for example, lack this source of knowledge, resulting in these skills being "hidden." bioBUDS seeks to institutionalize this curriculum and increase the accessibility of STEM.


2. bioBUDS also offers a paid, academic year research program - the first such program in the history of the Stanford Biology Department. In selecting applicants, we prioritize students who have no previous research experience and hold identities that have been marginalized and excluded from science. Selected students are paired with research mentors and work for 10 weeks in the lab. We use class time to supplement this experience with panels on balancing undergraduate research, workshops on science communication, and guided mentor/mentee discussions. We celebrate the work of our students at the end of the quarter through a research symposium complete with oral presentations, poster presentations, and creative media projects - all generated by our amazing students.

3. We also seek to improve access to teaching opportunities among graduate students and postdocs. To do this, we train volunteers on the basics of backwards course design and student engagement and invite them into the bioBUDS classroom to put their skills into practice. Volunteer facilitators choose their topic and generate a lesson plan. They then give one-off teaching sessions to bioBUDS undergraduates who spend the quarter taking a survey of the wonderful world of biology. We have had so many amazing lessons ranging from hands-on herpetology and entomology, the ethics of AI, and the relationship between poetry and pathology.

You can learn more about bioBUDS from our website.

Teaching Materials

For bioBUDS, I have developed guided mentor/mentee discussions. The first focuses on having each party identify their assumptions about mentorship and set goals for their work together. The second allows each group to check-in on their goals and broaden discussions of mentorship and belonging. I am hosting these materials on Qubes for anyone to use or adapt to their needs. Click on the icons to view the resources!

Guided Goal Setting for Mentors and Mentees

Mentorship Check-In

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