Marcus Villena knows first-hand the difference getting involved in a supportive community can make.
The fourth-year Brock Biomedical Sciences student and President of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science (FMS) Student Council said his time at the University has had a big impact on his life, and he wants to help fellow FMS students have a similar experience.
Villena is looking forward to showcasing the wide range of supports and events available to FMS students this year in hopes of encouraging their involvement on campus.
He is working closely with council executives to kick off the group’s membership and mentorship programs now that Fall Term is underway.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19 restrictions, the council continues to actively engage and build connections with students through virtual events such as meet and greets, while also working with faculty and staff. Although those efforts remain primarily online at this time, live events will resume when it is deemed safe to do so.
The council will host its first open meeting of the term Friday, Sept. 17 at 5 p.m. on Microsoft Teams. More information, including a link to RSVP for the event, is available here.
“All FMS students are free to attend and learn about the council’s events and activities throughout the year, including the mentorship program,” Villena said.
A collaboration between the student council, Lab Links, Brock Biological Society and Brock Computer Science Club, the program pairs new and upper-year math and science students in related programs.
In addition to building a connection with their mentor, mentees meet other students in their Faculty, connect with clubs on campus and get insight on related courses through the mentorship program.
Mentors help welcome math and science students to Brock and connect with other mentors for support. They provide information on first-year math and science courses and guide new students along their academic path.
“We started this program because we know the value of students helping students,” Villena said. “A lot of my best tips and tricks on how to advance my studies came from senior students.”
Students interested in participating in the mentorship program, whether as a mentor or a mentee, can sign up at the upcoming meeting or online here in advance.
Villena said his involvement on campus stems from the desire to give back to the Brock community that has given him so much.
“I felt like getting accepted to Brock was kind of a blessing to me, as at the time I was struggling with my academics and had minimal involvement with the community,” he said. “My time in the Faculty and on council allowed me to focus and strengthen both my academics and leadership skills and get to a place where I can contribute more to others.”
In addition to his role on the student council, Villena also runs the Brock Learners Association. The two groups will jointly offer an evidenced-based learning workshop in late September to educate students on healthy learning habits such as active recall and spaced repetition.
“We want students to understand a plethora of learning techniques and prove they are effective through evidence from academic papers,” said Villena. “The workshop is valuable across many departments and disciplines.”
Faculty of Math and Science Dean Ejaz Ahmed is proud of the council’s work and the opportunities the Faculty and University offers students.
“It’s a pleasure to aid the council in their initiatives,” he said. “Supporting the council directly correlates to improving student life and success. I would recommend reaching out their team for more info or signing up to become a member.”