Although the Science Center is a huge part of campus life, for new science majors or non-science majors it can also be a confusing, labyrinth-like place.
A few weeks ago, a new program was implemented called the Just Ask Me (JAM) program, which aims to help familiarize students with both the building and various science department offerings. This program operates Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and is located in front of Leaky Beaker and beside the spiral stairs. Every day, one first year and one upperclass student is available at the table, ready to assist anyone that comes by.
Gaby Varela ’20, who is involved in the program, explained that the “program is like the FAQ pages on websites,” where students can ask “questions about where a classroom is, advice about a particular class, resources available to students and research opportunities.”
It is a paid, student-run program through which students, professors and everyone else can benefit from the information offered there. Anyone with questions or concerns about being a STEM major and even non-STEM majors who want to be more comfortable in the Science Center can use this program.
Kalau Tanaka-Pesamino ’20 said that professors also benefit from this program because when JAMs help students find the professors’ offices, they are more likely to attend office hours.
Even if a student is not a STEM major, all Wellesley students are required to take at least three courses in science and math. They can utilize this program to inquire more about the variety of courses offered, which ones satisfy various requirements, and which ones interest them.
“We want to help STEM and non-STEM majors feel more comfortable in the science center, so all students will benefit from this program by getting to know a great resource,” Tanaka-Pesamino said.
Varela also stated the program will be leading several destressing activities for students, including wellness trails in the Science Center and blackout poetry. Not only does this initiative aim to create more awareness of the resources that are open to students, but it also allows students to mingle with their peers and students concentrating in other science disciplines.
As a result of the work of two Wellesley alumnae, Emily Mason ’92 and Emily Marciniak ’95, and their faculty advisor Glenn Stark, the program offers limited free admission to the Boston Museum of Science. Students can get free admission to the exhibit halls, Omni Theater and Planetarium on a first come, first serve basis. These tickets can be obtained from JoNan Bilodeau, the Science Center Office Manager and advisor for the Just Ask Me program.
Bilodeau started the program to make the Science Center less confusing. “We hope to help demystify the space. There are so many opportunities available here that many students may not know about,” she stated.
In addition to the work in the Science Center, the program has a mentorship program for the student workers. The first year JAMs work closely with and are mentored by JAM seniors.
While getting paid and helping other students find their way in the Science Center, the first years are also able to benefit themselves by learning more about the school and about prospective majors from seniors they work with.
Tanaka-Pesamino hopes that this program will lead the Science Center to be a more friendly and welcoming place where students can enjoy study breaks, snacks and team building activities. Varela agreed and aspires for the program to support students and set them up for success.