As a part of the HHMI-BRIDGES initiative, Furman has recently developed a new concentration for math/science students to assist them in their preparation for careers as scientists, health care providers and educators. The ability of scientists to communicate and respond to the general public is a vital skill for scientists in the 21st century. The Science Education Concentration (SEC) allows Furman students the opportunity to study how science and society intersect and develop skills needed to share science knowledge with the general public. For students who later become professional scientists and physicians, a curriculum that builds the skills necessary to communicate the nature of scientific inquiry is also advantageous as the graduates interact with their communities and serve as mentors in professional training.

The concentration is not intended as a program leading to teacher certification; rather, it provides students with an introduction to the field so they can make informed decisions when considering career options later in life. These decisions may well include graduate school, preparation for teaching in the public and private sector, and/or employment as resource consultants in museums, state parks, or businesses. For students who become professional scientists and physicians, the concentration provides background for communicating about science with the public.

The goal of the concentration is to explore the interactive link between the natural sciences and society and to prepare students to be able to help make science accessible to the general public. The SEC consists of at least 20 credits and is available to students majoring in computer science, biology, chemistry, earth and environmental science, neuroscience, and physics. The concentration also includes field experiences that can be completed in various local settings including undergraduate laboratories, state parks, schools, camps or science museums.

Interested students should look at the specific course requirements and talk with a faculty member on the Science Oversight Committee listed on the SEC website. Students wishing to declare a science education concentration should consult with the concentration chair, Dr. Michael Svec, in Hipp Hall 101R. Dr. Svec will serve as the concentration advisor during their course of study.

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