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My first impression going into this class was that it was very different from what I had expected. It was overwhelming the first couple of weeks because I knew a little about ecology and the world. My background knowledge on research was also very limited. I learned really quickly that there was going to be a lot of work I would have to put into this course in a very short time. However, Professor Randir helps us every week and the individual meetings with him was very reassuring. The mentors as extra help was also very great support. The guest speakers were informative and I liked the different ideas they shared with the class. Some of the research from the guest speakers were a little hard to follow, but otherwise I had a very good experience learning from what they had to say and especially sharing their journey into their research was very motivational and impactful.

As part of my project on plastic pollution, I learned that there are so many things that factor into it. It is actually very complicated and not simple as just living a sustainable living. Reducing plastic pollution similar to climate change, its impact is very global, being so, we need global change and a joint effort from all countries, government, and public to be more involved in addressing this issue. Also, towards the beginning of my project, I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough time to finish it. However, it was very guided and we had deadlines each week on what to do with the project. That made me more prepared and motivated to get things done each week, and not wait last minute which is what I usually tend to do.

Overall, I learned a lot from this STEM course and I would definitely do it again. In my BIO 117 class, everyone came from different backgrounds and had different career goals. To see everyone come together and work on their research shows that STEM tries to bring together everyone from different diversity and share their ideas together. It’s a really awesome educational platform and I’m glad to have this opportunity to be a part of it.

By Heather Nguyen
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