Laney – STEM (Part 2)

If you’ve already my first post, then you know that I have nothing but good things to say about the Residential Colleges at UCA, especially STEM. But if I’m the only one that thinks that, then they definitely wouldn’t be worth looking into. Fortunately, this is not the case. Residential Colleges have a good reputation around UCA. If you take the time to fill out the application and write the essay to get in, then you obviously care or are at least interested in the program, and people know that. So, as soon as you step foot in the building, you are immediately set apart from the people on campus who simply choose to stay in a traditional dorm.

Laney3Every year STEM sells a new t-shirt to incoming freshmen and current UCA faculty. Generally there is some sort of quirky design on the back, so plenty of students buy it and then they’re good for wearing to STEM sponsored outreach activities or just for fun. However, you wouldn’t imagine how many faculty members buy these shirts. I was filling t-shirt orders last fall and there are faculty members that buy t-shirts for their whole family. I mean, there was a toddler sized STEM t-shirt. Toddler. Sized. If that doesn’t say something about what the faculty here thinks about STEM, then I don’t know what does.

But in case that doesn’t convince you, I can go on. There are plenty of examples of how Residential Colleges have a positive reputation. And this only leads to more and more benefits that are only associated with living in a Residential College.

It is not uncommon to walk into class and see that your professor is wearing the very STEM t-shirt that you saw in your closet this morning. And then, if you decide to wear your STEM t-shirt to one of these science or math classes, your professors notice. You’ll be sitting there before class starts or during a lab and they’ll ask you about the program and maybe talk to you about the class or about cool opportunities that are coming up in the department. It’s surprising at first, but then it keeps happening and you start to get used to it.

Getting to know your professors and feeling more comfortable around them has plenty of perks. They know about pretty much everything that goes on in their department. So, you can learn about clubs that you might be interested in and the cool projects and field trips that they are doing. You can talk to your professors about their educational background and get their advice because they’ve been in the same place that you are now. And one of the more important perks, at least as a pure science or math major, is that you can learn about the research going on in your department and if you’re lucky (like me), then your professor might outright ask you to join their research team.

If you’re a high school student reading this, then I’m sure this whole research bit isn’t what’s on your mind at all. But UCA puts a pretty big focus on research, and a lot of the degrees in the science and math fields require you to have done research while here. So, if you’re going to have to do it anyway, being in STEM and getting to know your professors gives you opportunities for learning about research and makes starting research much easier. And you’ll be extremely grateful for that opportunity later. Trust me.

So, living in a Residential College and then purchasing the program’s t-shirt automatically makes it easier for you to get to know your professors. Then, you feel less intimidated and you’re more likely to ask for help and that in turn makes you more likely to succeed in your classes. And again, Residential Colleges successfully set you up to succeed in your academic endeavors.

But why is this possible? Because Residential Colleges have a pretty good reputation around this campus. And if all of your future professors believe in it, then why shouldn’t you too?


  1. Alvin Mason says

    Another nice post. I am beginning to think that you like STEM or something. 🙂

Leave a Reply to Alvin Mason Cancel reply