STEM college students getting a head start over the weekend

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The anatomy of a freshman year starts for sunbirds in the sciences if you can stomach it.

The skeletal scavenger hunt keeps siblings busy while incoming students get their first taste of a college lecture.

The syllabus for Dr. Edmiston's class Saturday includes lessons in scheduling, note taking, and exam preparation.

Eighty-three freshmen are getting a jump start on their first-year biology, chemistry, and calculus classes -- which may be the difference between getting into medical school or failing out of school.

Administrators say college is such a big change, more than half of all stem students give up before they finish their freshman years.

"We want to up that successful, especially among first-generation Hispanic, Hmong and other groups that have been historically not coming through the pipeline," said FPU Dean of Natural Science Dr. Karen Cianci.

The mentors know what it is like.

Kalea Flemming went through this same pre-school regimen last year and says it was huge for her.

"I really enjoyed it because we were able to get ahead of the game, kinda see how Fresno Pacific works and just get a feel for college before it actually started," said Flemming.

Alexis Mejia did it four years ago.

She is a Fresno Pacific graduate headed to pharmacy school, and she has some words of wisdom for the students following in her footsteps.

"Take advantage of the professors and the teachers and the people here at FPU. There are so many people who go out of their way to specifically reach and to try and help you," said Mejia.

The first helping hand is this one, more than a month before school even starts.
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