Undergraduate students line up to take a turn looking at specimens under a microscope.

Biomedical education students line up to take a turn looking at specimens under a microscope during Undergraduate Academic Spotlight Day.

Undergrads Get Acquainted With Life at Jacobs School

Published September 12, 2022

By Dirk Hoffman

Freshmen and transfer students in the undergraduate biomedical education program completed a series of “Amazing Race” style tasks in order to familiarize themselves with information and resources available to them on UB’s South Campus.


About 250 students participated in the second annual Undergraduate Academic Spotlight Day Aug. 26 that allows them to meet one another and get a sense of what it feels like to be a Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences student.

Getting Lay of the Land on South Campus Resources

“We were thrilled at the turnout for the event. We love having the opportunity to bring students down to our area to show them where they will be taking major courses,” says Kelli C. Hickey, director of enrollment management and biomedical undergraduate education.

“We were also very lucky to get 11 upper-class students come and help us all day,” she adds. “They ran sessions for us and were able to share personal experiences with the incoming first-year class.”

The students were divided up into 10 different groups in each of the event’s two afternoon sessions and made their way across campus to 10 different locations and activities.

Daniel La Rosa talks to students about study habits.

Daniel LaRosa, undergraduate academic adviser and student success specialist, talks to students about how to manage their class schedules.

Time Management, Study Techniques Stressed

Among the day’s tasks :

  • An icebreaker event where students tossed a ball around to one another and whoever was holding the ball had to say their name, their major, where they were from and either an interesting fact about themselves of something fun they did over the summer
  • A contest where students were further divided into two groups and worked together to categorize different courses listed on Popsicle sticks and place them in the appropriate cups labeled “major requirement,” UB curriculum requirement” and “free elective”
  • Students also had to go to three different areas of Abbott Library to answer questions and download a print app. Among the library locations they visited was the Robert L. Brown History of Medicine Collection, which associate librarian Amy Gische Lyons explained was an open collection of historical materials in all areas of the health sciences
  • Students also took time to think about their fall goals and use the SMART method to create them with a provided goal sheet. They also worked together to create an appropriate time management plan based on the sample schedule and prompts provided by undergraduate academic adviser and student success specialist Daniel LaRosa

Proper Communication Skills Emphasized

Shannon M. Brown, neuroscience coordinator/Jacobs School curriculum and assessment coordinator, gave a presentation on the Academic Success Center, which provides tutoring services to students in the undergraduate programs offered through the Jacobs School.

She also gave a presentation on communication, which asked students to determine whether sample voicemails/emails were appropriate, or if they were not, how they could be improved.

“We talked about communication skills and how to communicate appropriately with faculty and staff members,” Brown says.

Students also got the opportunity to observe a lab demonstration by David E. Shubert, PhD, assistant dean of biomedical undergraduate education.

“We showed them some different lab activities,” he says. “Hopefully, the students got a deeper appreciation of all the advantages and opportunities they will have on campus — from being in a research class, to conducting research with a mentor, and just being exposed to cutting-edge research.”