Recorded: 29 Apr 2005
My advice to a student who is interested in science. Well, the first thing is to take all the really important chemistry and physics and math courses because those are really important for biology. The other thing is to get into a lab. One of the things that’s really great about a place like the University of Wisconsin is there’s great encouragement of undergraduates to hook up with faculty members. Typically, they’ll start maybe as a freshman or sophomore working in a lab just doing routine things, making solutions, and helping the graduate students. Then gradually by the time they’re a junior, they may be working on a research project or even their own project and when they’re a senior they may do a senior thesis. Just getting involved in a lab as soon as you can and learning about what is going on and what the process is—so that they see science in action.
In our program, Biology Core Curriculum, that I was telling you about before, we try very much in the laboratory part to have students post questions, design experiments, get results and make conclusions rather than in the olden days when you did some kind of cookbook thing where you knew the answer before you started.
Writing, I guess is one other thing.
Ann Burgess is the Director Emeritus of the Biology Core Curriculum. She earned her B.S. in chemistry from UW-Madison and her Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Harvard University. She was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1987 to 2002.
Biology Core Curriculum is four semester intercollege honors program that provides a broad and integrated background for students interested in any field of biological science. She is interested in undergraduate science education with a particular accent on laboratory and filed experiences that absorb students in process of science.
Ann Burgess is running in several UW-Madison and national efforts to advance science education, including the BioQUEST Consortium and the National Institute of Science Education's College Level One team.