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News: Health Sciences ‘Boot Camp’ helped Roane State students prepare for challenging courses

News: Health Sciences ‘Boot Camp’ helped Roane State students prepare for challenging courses

Professor Saeed Rahmanian leads a session during the Health Sciences Boot Camp.

Oct. 3, 2018

By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer

It was dubbed a “Health Sciences Boot Camp,” and for 24 incoming freshmen at Roane State Community College’s Oak Ridge and Roane County campuses, it was a way to “dust off their brains” and get ready for the fall semester at Roane State.

“This has been two years in the making,” Roane State biology professor Saeed Rahmanian said of the first-ever program, which he initiated. It was funded by a Tennessee Board of Regents’ Revitalization Grant.

The students – most of them planning to become nurses, physical therapist assistants or radiologic technicians – learned of the free program through Roane State success coaches or the college’s website

For three weeks, three hours every morning, they received tips on studying as well as refresher courses in math and science, said Rahmanian. He called the boot camp, officially titled the Health Sciences Preparatory Course, “a little help to get them (students) back on track and dust off their brains” after a summer away from studies.

Rahmanian was joined by Roane State assistant math professor Ryan Campbell and Nancy Hamilton, who teaches a mandatory course for freshmen in college learning strategies (COLS), in giving students a head start on fall semester.

“I commend you for donating your time,” Dr. Diane Ward, Roane State’s vice president for student learning, told the students during a brief ceremony at the end of the session. “It sets you on a good path to succeed, and Roane State has every intention of helping you succeed.”

For students planning to major in health sciences, one of the biggest hurdles is completing the anatomy and physiology class. Rahmanian said that class is regarded as one of the college’s most challenging courses.

Courtney Stephens displays the model of a cell with mitochondrial disease that she created during the three-week Health Sciences Boot Camp.

The boot camp was geared “to ease students’ transition from high school to this very difficult, sophomore-level college course,” Rahmanian wrote in his grant proposal.

“This has made me less anxious about the fall semester and gets me in the learning mindset,” said Vonore resident Ashley Williams, who plans to study to become either a nurse or a radiology technician.

When it came to the Campbell’s refresher course in math, Maryville resident Courtney Stephens, planning a career in radiology, had this to say: “Wow. I can’t believe how much I’d forgotten.”

Knoxville resident Bethany Gallaher said she’s planning on taking the college’s health sciences curriculum to become a physical therapist assistant, which she said is a “pretty competitive program.” The boot camp “covered the courses you’ll need,” she said.

Dr. Diane Ward, Roane State’s vice president of student learning, serves a celebratory cookie slice to Carrie Thompson, one of the college’s incoming freshmen who participated in the three-week Health Sciences Boot Camp.

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