Dr. Trimby developed and led a study abroad program in Paris during Winter Session 2020. This was the first time Dr. Trimby has led a program abroad and the first time that the Department of Biological Sciences has offered a program like this. The program includes a History course and a Biology course and focuses on the societal impacts on scientific progress while engaging the students in the locations from the historical events.
"When we learn science, it is often presented as if the scientist never leaves the lab and is unaffected by and unaware of the world around. In reality, science and scientists are part of a living, breathing world and the straightforward discoveries that are presented in textbooks often have convoluted backstories. The relationship between science and society (both directions) has never been more apparent than it is currently, seeing how scientific progression is advanced and impeded by societal and political forces.
In the current version of the course, we utilize the book Blood Work by Dr. Holly Tucker which explores the story of Jean-Baptiste Denis and the first blood transfusions in humans. Blood Work examines the science of the cardiovascular system and blood and the historical, political, religious and downright petty ego-based events of the 17th century that shaped Denis's work.
I have always been fortunate enough to be able to travel, both domestically and internationally, and I remember that as an undergraduate Biology major I wanted to study abroad but (at the time) was not interested in taking a field course. At my undergraduate institution, there were no other options, so I did not end up participating in a program. When I came to UD in 2017, I became aware of the strong and long-standing commitment to study abroad at this university and I wanted to leverage that to help provide life science students with a study abroad opportunity in their discipline.
Our first trip was a success, with 22 students from 6 different majors traveling to Paris for the month of January. Students were able to really experience Paris (including a transit strike!), and many students used this as an opportunity to also travel elsewhere in Western Europe. As I reflect on the program and plan for next year, one of the things that especially struck me was how profound of a personal growth experience this was for many of the students. Many of them feel more confident and independent now, and that they can conquer the challenges that come up, in and out of school.
We will be going back to Paris in Winter 2021, and the program deadline has been extended to April 20th. Keep an eye on the IGS website for the date of the final information session, as well as information on where we will be goining in 2022 (either Paris or somewhere else in Western Europe)."