BioPride Bootcamp: Empowering Freshmen



Spencer Nelson, Staff Reporter

Incoming freshman have a chance to see if biology is what they want to pursue in their college career.

The Biology department of Texas A&M University-Commerce has the summer program, BioPride Bootcamp, offered to incoming freshmen. This program is a four day orientation for biology and environmental science majors.

This program shows students what college lectures are like, test taking skills, study skills, team building exercises, presentations from UPD, the library and other student service organizations. It was based off of the program from Louisiana State University called BiosLSU and has had great success in their past.

“This program is to educate and empower students rather than weed them out,” Dr. Venugopalan (Venu) Cheriyath, Assistant Professor of Biological and Environmental Science said. “The whole idea about having this program is to empower students with what they should be doing and the skills they need to have so they can really succeed.”

Dr.Cheriyath has been an assistant professor for the Biological and environmental science department since 2011. He said that with this bootcamp raises retention rates for the biology students from a range of 63 to 75 percent to a range of 85 to 95 percent and that every department should have a similar program to this since many high school students do not now what their passion is when they come to college.

The Honors College encourages this program to see if their students are really going down the path that they are really passionate about. Otherwise this could result in students wasting a semester in a major that they wind up not being passionate about.

In BioPride Bootcamp, the students who attend go through lectures and courses to prepare them for the classes they will be taking in the near future. Along with learning from college courses, the students practice test-taking skills by taking exams from the biology department. Lab experience will also be involved in bootcamp to get hands on learning over what the labs present.

Cheriyath said that this program is beneficial to student’s social skills. The ones who attend are usually seen in the classroom with each other after they attend.

Registration for BioPride Bootcamp is through the university website on the biological and environmental science page. The cost of it is $325 with housing and $293 without housing.

“My main passion is to educate and empower students,” Dr.Cheriyath said. “Especially for the first generation college students when most of their family members or the community from where they are coming, most of them are not aware what it takes to succeed in a university.”