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Hey y’all!

Today I wanted to share a little bit about a very unique aspect of freshman academics at Hopkins: Freshman Seminars! Freshman Seminars are small classes (usually limited to about 10-15 freshmen) that specialize in a multitude of very interesting topics.

This semester, I am in a freshman seminar called “Tuberculosis”. I remember looking through course guides when I was trying to register over the summer, and I knew right away that this class would be something I’d be interested in. My class only has 9 people in it, and I find this to be extremely refreshing, especially considering that the majority of my classes this semester are large lecture classes. The class is taught by Dr. Bob Horner, who is a senior lecturer in the Biology department. Most seminar classes allow for in depth discussion with your peers and professor, which I find to be very intellectually stimulating. There are many large lecture courses at Hopkins, but many of these courses also incorporate smaller sections which are similar to many of the Freshman seminars, so that students can get both a large class and small class environment.

The class ties ideas and concepts from cell biology, immunology, and scientific research together. Each week, students are assigned a new scientific paper which discusses some aspect of Tuberculosis research. Then, two people each week give an interactive and in depth presentation about the research paper. In fact, just a couple weeks ago, my partner Livia and I completed our presentation, which focused on the mechanisms of tuberculosis bacteria, and more specifically, how mycobacterium tuberculosis stops phagolysosome fusion. It was great experience to be able to fully understand concepts and then share them with our peers.

I have always had a strong passion for biology, and certain aspects of immunology fascinate me. I think that this class has not only been really enjoyable, but also very valuable, especially considering the prominence of Tuberculosis around the world. I also think that the class is unique in the sense that it exposes students to numerous published research studies, which is a great learning experience that may not happen in other classes.

I currently have many friends who are taking freshman seminars in various interesting topics! For example, my roommate is currently in a freshman seminar that specializes in film and movies, and she loves it! I was so fascinated by my Tuberculosis class, that I decided to take another freshman seminar in the spring called “Environmental Poisons”, which looks at the existence and consequences of poisons in the environment, and I am so excited for what is to come!!!

Two students working on a laptop

My partner Livia and I having fun while prepping our presentation!

Students gathered around a table in a classroomA full class picture!

Until Next Time,

Neha