One of the University of Maine at Presque Isle's newest student clubs has taken community service to heart, working to help several local groups as it increases members' awareness for careers in the biomedical and health sciences fields. The University's BioMedical Club has had a busy year so far, participating in everything from volunteer activities to fundraisers for the community to educational activities with local school children.
The club was established at the beginning of the Fall 2011 semester – UMPI Biology professors Dr. Bonnie Wood and Dr. Rachael Hannah serve as club advisers – with the goals of hosting guest speakers from the biomedical field and organizing service activities. Both are meant to help club members interact with the community and gather information that will help them to choose and successfully pursue a biomedical career.
Though the club has only been around for four months, it has been able to complete quite a few service-focused projects. Members of the BioMedical Club volunteered for the Crow's Nest Octoberfest 10K running event held in October to support the American Red Cross Disaster Fund in Aroostook County.
In early November, the club helped to host a group of fourth-graders from Van Buren Elementary School taking part in an "Academic Day." Dr. Hannah led a workshop on the human brain, and was assisted by club members Bryan Jennings, Carly Langley, Robyn Oster, Dylan Plissey and Stephanie Corriveau. The session began with a YouTube "brain rap" that got the class laughing. Students were then able to participate in a hands-on activity – making "shower cap" brains. Club members supervised as the students colored in frontal lobes and cerebellums. At the end of the presentation, students were given brain activity sheets, pencils and brain erasers. BioMedical clubbers agreed it was great to see young kids so excited about science education.
During the holiday season, the BioMedical Club raffled off maple syrup, a holiday-themed gift basket and a homemade quilt in order to purchase and donate items to three Presque Isle charities – the Central Aroostook Humane Society, the Presque Isle Rehab Center, and the children's unit at The Aroostook Medical Center. With the more than $300 they raised, they were able to purchase three shopping carts full of pet food, puzzles and word finds, and children's books and toys.
Students also worked during the Fall semester to coordinate potential volunteering opportunities at the Presque Isle Rehab Center and at campus blood drives.
"The volunteer activities have really helped members get active within the community and meet new people," Club President Stephanie Corriveau said. "For someone interested in the biomedical field or a career in the health sciences, it's important to become involved in community service."
The BioMedical Club expects to be just as busy for the second half of its inaugural year and already has plans underway for the Spring 2012 semester.