An incoming student in the undergraduate biomedical education program looks over a mock schedule during Undergraduate Academic Spotlight Day.

Incoming Undergraduate Biomedical Students Embraced

Published September 29, 2021

story by dirk hoffman

More than 200 freshman and transfer students in the undergraduate biomedical education program were welcomed to campus as part of the first-ever Undergraduate Academic Spotlight Day Aug. 27 on UB’s South Campus.


The event was intended to provide incoming students with important information and resources needed in order to be successful and to allow them to meet one another and get a sense of what it is like being a Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences student, according to David E. Shubert, PhD, assistant dean of biomedical undergraduate education.

“We specifically held the event on South Campus to introduce it to the students since that is where our advising offices are located,” he says.

New Students Tasked With Learning About UB and City

The event was structured in an “Amazing Race” style that prompted students to complete eight main tasks geared toward learning more about UB, its campus resources and the surrounding community.

The new students worked together in teams to complete as many of the tasks as possible in a 90-minute time frame, Shubert says.

In the tasks, the students:

  • visited Abbot Library where they had to answer questions based on the area they were in and had to download a printing app
  • took part in an ice breaker setting to give them the opportunity to meet one another
  • performed a time-management task where they had to create a sample weekly schedule
  • looked at the curriculum and had to categorize different courses into the type of requirement they fell under
  • had the opportunity to watch a lab demonstration
  • answered trivia questions about UB and the city of Buffalo
  • took time to reflect on their academic and personal goals for the semester
  • learned about and demonstrated the proper way to communicate with UB faculty and staff

Shubert says many of the day’s events required the new students to think ahead to what their first semester in college will be like.

“For incoming students, it is very important to set realistic goals for themselves, not only academically, but personally as well, and to hold themselves accountable for meeting those goals,” Shubert says.

“We hoped that students would spend some time reflecting on what they hoped to get out of their first semester, and to start thinking about the different things they can do to achieve those goals,” he adds.

Freshman and transfer students were asked to write down their academic and personal goals for the fall semester.

Student Volunteer Grateful to ‘Give Back’

Student volunteer Reid Minier, a senior majoring in biomedical sciences, says he offered to help out at the event because it provided him an opportunity to give advice to new Jacobs School students.

“The Jacobs School has provided me with countless opportunities to develop as a student, and participating in this event allowed me to give something back to the program,” he says. 

Among his duties was overseeing the station that focused on time management.

“Time management is a very important skill to develop during college,” Minier says. “I talked to students about ways I have found to better my own time management skills, what they should generally expect going into their first semester, and how to identify common time-wasters.”

The new students were also tasked with developing a mock schedule that included scheduling free time, study periods, eating times, and a possible sleep schedule around all of their classes.

“After they completed the board, I offered my advice on how I would approach the day with a similar schedule, explaining how to be flexible and make the most of their time,” Minier says.

Minier says the event helped new students in a number of ways by allowing them to learn about goal setting, the UB curriculum and class requirements, proper communication with faculty, and some services offered exclusively to Jacobs School undergraduate students, such as the Academic Success Center.

Turnout Exceeded Organizers’ Expectations

Academic adviser Ashley Fries was the primary organizer of the event and was assisted by Kelli Hickey, director of enrollment management; Shannon Brown, assistant director of biomedical undergraduate education; and Leah Doherty, undergraduate academic adviser.

Shubert says the organizers were thrilled with the turnout, which “very much exceeded our expectations.”

“We hope to make this an annual event to welcome new Jacobs School freshman and transfer students to UB.”

Fries says the student volunteers “did a fantastic job at running the different tasks, engaging with new students, and overall being great representatives of the Jacobs School.”

Other student volunteers participating in the event were: Malisah N. Amoako, Krishnan Anantan Babu, Abhilaksh Bhardwaj, Anikia Dixon, Khadija Hamed and Lindsey L. Walsh.