Spotlight: Baptist College of Health Sciences

Members of the ACS Student Chapter at Baptist College of Health Sciences.
Members of the ACS Student Chapter at Baptist College of Health Sciences.

Location: Memphis, TN
Faculty advisor: Charity Brannen
President: Sidney Long
Chapter Members: 10

How do you ensure a smooth officer transition from year to year?

As a newer organization, our chapter has only gone through one officer transition. The new officers were elected to fill positions left by students who graduated. Our officers are responsible for understanding the roles performed by each office and will collaborate on their duties. This ensures that the officers who did not graduate can teach new officers their duties and assist during the beginning of their term.

In what ways does your chapter contribute to the community?

Our chapter was given the opportunity to judge science fair projects for middle and high school students. Members judged in a variety of categories, including chemistry, biology, physics, and biochemistry, and were accompanied by professors from Baptist College and professionals in the community. In the future, we look forward to participating in similar events with local schools. We’re planning to expand these activities to include chemistry demonstrations for elementary or middle school students.

What’s your most unique activity?

Stress-Free Chemistry is the most unique event that our chapter has planned. The purpose of the event is to provide a fun and relaxing study break for chemistry students during the week leading up to final exams. This year breakfast was provided for the students, and they were able to take a study break while making “stress relief putty”, playing with slime, and hanging out with friends. This event also provided an opportunity for members of the chapter to get to know the newer students and promote the organization.

How involved is your chapter on campus?

During the past year, our chapter has focused on contributing to our campus community by participating in educational events such as the annual heart fair, where we discussed electrolytes and the heart. Our chapter also hosted events for the student body to attend with the goal of showing students that chemistry can be fun.

Chapter members host a table at Baptist College's annual heart fair.
Chapter members host a table at Baptist College's annual heart fair. From left to right: Sarah Johnson, Katelyn Hazelgrove, William Curry, Sydney Russell, Savannah Frizzell, Sidney Long, Edgar Cruz

What fun social events does your chapter participate in?

Members of our chapter attended a local event called Taste of Science. The purpose of the event is to bring scientists out of the lab and into casual settings to talk about their work with members of the community over food and drink. This was an educational event, but our members had the opportunity to talk with professionals in fields that were of interest to our student: a physician and researcher from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Do you collaborate with other clubs on campus?

We are planning to collaborate with our Colleges Against Cancer organization for an event called Relay for Life. Relay is one of the biggest fundraising events of the year for the American Cancer Society, and our chapter is planning to participate in on-campus fundraising. We’ll be helping to set up and run the Baptist College tent on the day of the event.

What’s the most challenging thing your chapter has faced?

We faced our biggest challenge last year when five out of our seven members were graduating. We recognized the need to recruit more members before the end of the year. Because of this, we worked hard to target new students on campus during our events.

What career-related events does your chapter hold?

Last summer, our chapter organized a tour at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We were given the opportunity to tour the research labs and other areas of the institution. Baptist College is a medically focused college, and many of the students in our chapter are interested in careers that involve patient care and research. The event was very beneficial for the students who attended.

Faculty Advisor: Charity Brannen

Why did you become a faculty advisor?

I facilitated the start of this chapter because it was important for the Biomedical Sciences students to have this resource.

What challenges have you faced in your position?

Being recognized as a new student organization by the College has been a long process.  However, it has been worth it to be an official part of student life on campus.

What has been the most rewarding?

The most rewarding part of being the ACS faculty advisor is hearing and seeing the students’ excitement as they plan events and activities.  They are so enthusiastic and creative.

What advice can you offer those new to the advisor position?

As a new advisor, I would tell anyone in the process of getting approved by their institution to be patient and that it will be worth it once you are active on campus.