Quotes from Bioc 115 alumni

General comments about Bioc 115

"Great class! I got into a lab partly because of this class. I looked forward to this class every week!"


"...this course was a great introduction to biological research. We were able to receive both a general overview of what goes on in laboratories as well as a specified perspective from the laboratories we visited and the papers that we read. I learned a lot about scientific communication in discussions pertaining to the scientific publications, the process of writing and submitting an article, and the overall process of research and its impact on the scientific community."

"This was an amazing course, and very unique. Many of the upperclassmen I have spoken to about it have told me that they would have liked to take such a class as just an introduction to research here at Rice."

"It was helpful that in class, we tackled some of the more complicated research articles from what we are used to reading into a textbook. This allows us to challenge ourselves in terms of expanding our understanding of biology and appreciating other people’s research and how they applied their knowledge of biology."

Changed view of scientific research


"I saw the lab as more personable. I usually picture a lab as a place where random, generic people work. Seeing all these people - some of them hilarious, and interesting, some Rice grads - with real lives and yet spending time in a lab helped dispel this notion I have of socially inept people with microscopes."

"If you don’t go looking for it, you do not hear a whole lot about specific research at Rice or even biological research in the medical center. Seeing work from actual Rice researchers and then putting that work into perspective via an article from an outside lab was very helpful. "

"I assumed labs were much more uptight and that everyone who worked in them knew exactly what they were doing all the time. It was nice to know that I could successfully work in a lab, even with the little experience I currently have."


"Previous to this class, I had thought of research as something very boring. . . . getting to tour various labs helped me see that research is a very dynamic process that must be collaborated since by sharing information, people can build on what others have discovered. From this class, I can now see myself possibly pursuing research in the future—perhaps over the summer or even applying to work in a lab during the school year."

"Now I feel highly motivated and excited about laboratory work, and if I were to enlist in any type of research, it would be thanks to what this course has shown me. My idea of scientific research has been enlivened, and adjusted to fit the accuracy of reality."

Work and workload


"Throughout, the homework assignments really got me to peruse the scientific paper and find a lot of interesting things that I would have glossed over had it been easier to finish. Although it was a significant time commitment for a 1 credit hour course, I enjoyed this exposure."

"The written homework helped me look at the papers methodically and make sense of all the jargon."

"The written homework forced me to come to terms with my own understanding of an article instead of allowing me to have a vague understanding."

"The courseload and schedule for the class were wonderful; it kept our interest and was manageable at the same time."

Class size and setting

"The environment was friendly, and we were in small enough groups that I didn’t feel intimidated about speaking up."


"I like the size of the class because everybody can participate in the discussions. This is in fact the smallest class I’ve attended at Rice. I like the closeness and easy accessibility to the instructor."

"I liked meeting in the college classrooms, just because it contributed to a relaxed atmosphere. It also helped to separate this class from my other classes, whether they are classes in a lecture hall setting or in a classroom setting. Overall, it felt less like a class, and more like a casual meeting for scientific discussion."

"We had a really fun class- talkative, supportive, interested. It was cool because there were different degrees of understanding too- some people had taken a bunch of bio classes, others hadn’t at all. In general it was a really positive easy going atmosphere where we simply just talked biology for an hour an a half!"

"Great class size. Impressively small and intimate class setting."

"The seminar format of the class, especially its small size, made it much easier to ask questions without having to be self conscious about asking “dumb” questions."



"It was SO cool to tour a lab whose paper we had just analyzed, and be able to ask the PI questions. The discussion there was great- I am so happy that we did that. It was like being on the set of a movie you had just watched. Seriously. It was awesome."

"I loved these lab tours. The lab tours were the purpose that I took this course. As a non-science major I wanted a peek into what science research was all about, given that there is so much of it at Rice and in the med center. The lab tours gave me this “peek” that I was looking for."



"I would especially recommend it to other freshman who aren’t quite sure if they want to be involved in biological research, since it provides a very good introduction into this field."

"I would definitely recommend this class to freshman because it is a class they could handle easily if they put in the effort. Plus they could meet other freshman with similar interests. I really enjoyed this class. It definitely sparked my interested in biology."

"It’s not everyday that you get to hear an inside point of view about research from so many different people—primary investigators, graduate students, post-docs, and undergraduates. Even if research may not be a primary interest, it’s a great opportunity to visit various labs without being in the position of applying to work/volunteer there."


"The course is a great introduction into the research at Rice and in the med center, and small classes are fun!"

"It was an eye-opening experience on the vast amounts of possibilities Rice offers in research and laboratory experiences."

"I would recommend this class to incoming freshmen because the work load for this class is not too tedious and that it was a great experience in getting exposed to the research at Rice. "

"[I would recommend this class to other freshmen because] it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot from it, plus it would give them good networking and a headstart on finding a lab to work in."

"It is a good eye-opener for those who are considering research but do not know anything about it."


"I would recommend this course to any freshmen with the slightest interest in biology or research in general because it gives you a great look into what research entails, so you can personally decide whether or not its for you and you should look into that option more."

"I would definitely recommend this course to a freshman who is still thinking about his future career and who wants to get an idea of bio research."

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Bioc 115 is cross-listed as FSEM 115 and eligible for Natural Sciences D3 distribution credit.

Bioc 115 is a part of Reading to Research, a project designed to lead students from the scientific literature to participation in laboratory research. It was developed with support from an HHMI Professor grant awarded to Bonnie Bartel.