In Fall 2018, I took LIFE STEM Seminar II, a required course for the sophomore LIFE STEM experience.

LIFE STEM Seminar II is a continuation of professional development for LIFE STEM scholars exclusively in order to prepare us for research and academic success. We held informal discussions on literature to enhance our practice of comprehending peer reviewed literature. Also, we had to formally present literature with synthesis presentations, where we had to create a new scientific concept with the support of multiple papers. In addition, three professionals from a variety of STEM fields came to talk to the class during the semester to talk about their experiences in their fields and advice for us young and aspiring scientists.

This class made me become a stronger presenter. The largest assignments of the class were two synthesis presentations. Public speaking was intensive in this course, so it forced me to learn how to prepare not only longer presentations, but quality and detailed presentations. With these presentations, I also learned what a synthesis was and I learned how to craft them. I made a decent presentation for the first one, but I had a hard time understanding what was required to make a true synthesis. With the constructive feedback from the class and Dr. Fortino, I was able to make a stronger second presentation and end up learning a lot along the way. Although the class was once a week, it was intense and impactful for me. Most students who are not in the program don’t know what a synthesis is, so having that exposure has lead me to being a stronger student. I was also exposed to multitudes of primary literature, so my reading and analysis skills increased with this class as well.

With that, I chose my artifact to be one of my synthesis presentations. I chose my second presentation because it showed a lot of improvement from my first presentation, and it is a personal benchmark of my professional and academic growth in the Fall 2018 semester.