Upperclassmen in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry will continue Polymer Pals as an outlet to mentor underclassman majors.
Polymer Pals is a subset of the Chemistry Club and meets once or twice a month. The Chemistry Club meets for Chapels and allows students and professors to speak, while Polymer Pals is a smaller gathering of four or five students who help integrate young students into the major. Its mission statement is “Uniting people through chemistry and Christ-centered fellowship.”
Claire Shudde, a Polymer Pals co-director, said her classmates found students who get connected are much more likely to stay in the major.
“It’s really encouraging to see people say, ‘Hey, so-and-so made it through the class before me; I can do it, too,’” said Shudde, junior biochemistry major from Abilene.
Shudde switched into the major and said Polymer Pals helped her meet people in her new major who cared about her and wanted her to succeed. She now wants to do the same thing for freshman, which is what drove her and Brenna Alonzo, junior biochemistry major from San Antonio, to become the directors.
They organize the groups and activities alongside their faculty advisor, Dr. Brad Rix, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry.
“When I was a freshman, I definitely had a lot of trouble adjusting to the college life,” Alonzo said. “But I was really glad that I got involved with Polymer Pals, because the seniors and juniors of my group really went out of their way to make sure that we felt at home within the chemistry department. We would actually meet off-campus sometimes and go get yogurt and just talk about our classes and maybe some struggles we’re having, and they would have a lot of good advice for us.”