There is a good three months or so of vacation between the final exams and the start of the new academic year here in NUS.
Besides taking a well deserved break and pursuing shelved-for-the-holidays-projects, this is also a good time to start preparing for the Festival of Biodiversity! Last year, we participated in two NUS events to warm up before FoB, the Faculty of Science Open House on 18 May and the Faculty of Science Alumni day, dubbed Science on Saturday on 8 June.
For this year’s Open House, the Toddycats were very quick to register our interest with Ann Nee at the Department of Biological Sciences Office – even before details were officially released! As our usual stomping ground, Life Science Lab 7 was not available, we had to look for other venues. Fortunately, Mrs Ang from LS Lab 2 kindly allowed us use of the lab and it proved to be a great alternative.
A call for help saw 25 Toddycats sign up to help out and we spent the previous Monday evening at LS Lab 2 at a training workshop for the event. There were six stations in all, with each station helmed by an experienced guide, ready to share stories and guiding tips with some of the new Toddycats. Each person had to be familiar with two stations by the end of the training session. This will be a useful start and a base to move on to other stations over time.
On Open House Day, we met earlier to organise ourselves and set up the various stations. Tze Kwan and Weiting worked out who was going to demo at which station based on their training from Monday. A short lunch break, some last minute revisions and we were good to receive the first of two groups who had signed up for the Life Science tour!
In total, we spoke to 140 prospective students and parents over two sessions. In addition to speaking about the specimens on hand, the undergrad experiences of the Toddycats came in pretty handy too! We shared with our guests (especially the more inquisitive parents) the various options leading to a Life Science major, as well as personal undergraduate stories in general. I hope we gave our visitors a good perspective and overarching understanding of a degree in Life Science in the hour they were in the lab!
Many thanks to Oi Yee, Ivan, Marcus, Weiting, David, Amanda, Tze Kwan, Yi Yong, Joleen, Wei Han, Ambert, Kwi Shan Claudia, Mioa Shan, Kar Mun, Letchumi, Bokai, Joanna, Erin, Prab, Joys, Lesley, Hazel and Navneeth for signing up to help, and Ann Nee, Mrs Ang for your support!
For more pictures, see our flickr set here.