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March 10, 2011

"Developing a network is important to student success," says Kris Andrew of the Psychology Club.

Math Club student president Kayleigh ShermanMath Club student president Kayleigh Sherman

Camosun College's School of Arts and Science (A&S) courses attract many students, often en route to university. Known for providing a supportive environment including small class sizes, quality instruction and great individual attention from instructors, students are finding even more support through the growing number of Arts and Science clubs.

"Like-minded students make friends, learn, and share their passion for the subject," says Fred Hughes, Associate Dean of Science.

Clubs offer more than just a place to belong. Subject-based clubs connect students to resources such as faculty, guest presentations, or conferences. They help focus a student's passion for the subject and the ability to explore career directions.

Finding a path for passion

"The Psychology Club encourages students to take an active part in educating themselves," says Andrew. This club has a proven track record spanning almost a decade. Students organize relevant guest lectures, most recently, Dream Analysis and for the next meeting, Neuroplasticity. They are also creating a free peer mentor program to launch later in the year, as well as facilitating opportunities for community volunteering. Activities such as these provide excellent psychology-related content for the resumes and graduate school applications.

The enthusiasm for a Science Club has been simmering for a while. Last semester, Hughes seeded the club, working with faculty advisors Bob Sedlock, Larry Anthony, Daniel Donnecke and new club President Sarah Gurnham to organize a great lineup of inspired presentations, and pizza! The positive response was overwhelming. January's first meeting had over 100 students attend a lecture by geologist Dr. Garry Rodgers on "Earthquakes and earthquake research." The second meeting profiled the Kepler Space Telescope and the research of Camosun's own Dr. Jim Nemec.

"Originally we thought we'd have three separate clubs for chemistry, biology and physics, but this offers a broader base for students to 'hit' on an area of science they feel passionate about," says Hughes.

Fun and opportunity

The Math Club, now in its third season, grew more organically. Fuelled by the gap created by the cancellation of a theoretical math course, student Kayleigh Sherman knew she wanted to keep talking math. She contacted math instructor, Nick Marsden, to see if he would be interested in a casual and relaxed opportunity to teach and facilitate discussion for math topics of interest to participants. Organizing a room and two weekly meetings, the Math Club was born.

"I was flattered when first approached to take this on," says Marsden. "They were bright, intelligent and enthusiastic, but I thought after a couple of times, they'd run out of interest. I was wrong!"

"It's about both fun and opportunity," says Sherman. "Nick shows us elegant and interesting concepts in math. And sometimes we just talk – reviewing things in math class that feel wrong when you learn them, so we talk them out until it sinks in. Or how all the math hidden in nature is freaky - it is almost as if it is they're meant to be discovered."

"You don't get to appreciate math until you've done it for a while," says Eric Cormier, math instructor and Math Club guest presenter of 'What can you do with mathematics?' "But when the students find themselves hooked, they should know of the huge number of careers that rely heavily on math skills."

Sherman hopes to continue her connection to the Math Club as she moves to UVic, transferring her affinity for math to an engineering program.

Clubs for all interests

The Pre-Med Club is designed for those interested in the medical sciences, offering interesting guest lectures, the ability to shadow positions with doctors, and a really cool t-shirt! Students organize blood drives, attend medical conferences, and fundraise through activities such as charity runs.

The Camosun Students for Environmental Awareness Club (CSEA) supports and generates ideas for environmental initiatives at Camosun.

Further details on the above and any future Arts and Science clubs including contact details, meeting times, lists of special presentations and opportunities at Join a Club!

Last updated: March 15, 2011 1:28 pm

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