Plant Facilities of UC Davis

I am an Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity major and a huge biology nerd with a special passion for herpetology, but before going through the BIS 2C labs – tracing plant evolution from bryophytes through monocots, and studying the adaptations of the miraculous plant world – I had never bothered giving plants much thought. My eyes were opened as a 2nd year when I took BIS 2C. I am now a plant enthusiast almost as much as I am a snake enthusiast, and I credit UC Davis and our incredible plant facilities and collections on campus to sparking my interest. Here are a few of the many plant facilities that UC Davis has to offer.

The Arboretum

Probably the most popular plant exhibit on campus – the Arboretum is a long stretch of gardens, plant collections, and paved walkways along the pond where the North fork of Putah Creek historically flowed. Among their plant collections include the Shields Oak Grove on the West side of the Arboretum, with an astounding diversity of large oak species, and the T. Elliot Weier Redwood Grove, a perfect spot for a nicely shaded picnic near the Southeast side of campus. The Arboretum is lined with plant collections from around the world, including South American, Mediterranean, South West U.S.A./Mexican, East Asian, and California foothill collections. The Arboretum is open to the public all day, all week, and all year and seasonally holds plant sales. Last year I bought my first carnivorous plant at the Arboretum plant sales!

Plant Conservatory

Most of us are probably aware of the greenhouse on top of the Science Laboratory Building, but have you been inside? Did you know that the Science Lab greenhouse is just the start of what the UC Davis Plant Conservatory has to offer? The Plant Conservatory runs a lot of the campus’s plant propagation needs, including preparing divisions for the Arboretum plant sales. In addition to the Science Lab Building greenhouse, the Conservatory operates several greenhouses with an astounding collection of tropical and arid plants located behind Storer Hall. The greenhouses operated by the Plant Conservatory are open to the public for drop in hours during the day as well as guided tours – check the Center for Plant Diversity website for more information.

Center for Plant Diversity Herbarium

In addition to the Plant Conservatory greenhouses, the Center for Plant Diversity provides a great resource for researchers, amateur plant biologists, or anyone with a curiosity for plant identification. The Herbarium is a repository of over 300,000 preserved plant samples and lengthy species keys managed by UC Davis resident plant identification experts. You can take samples to the Herbarium for accurate identification, free of charge for the first 5 times each year. The Herbarium is now located in the Science Laboratory Building on the first floor, right next to the Biology Academic Success Center!

Other plant resources

The CAES greenhouses, west of campus by the stadium, are available to rent space through a simple google form.

The Plant Conservatory’s controlled environment facilities serve as an incredibly helpful research tool to plant, agriculture, and environmental sciences among others. These state-of-the-art climate controlled chambers are available to rent monthly.

Hopefully attending a school with such a strong reputation in agriculture and plant biology will instill in you an interest for plants like it did me. It’s a great time to start learn how to garden or pick up some interesting house plants. Here are my indoor plants I’ve collected since taking BIS 2C:

Justin Waskowiak
BASC Peer Advisor
Third Year: Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity

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Pumpkin Spice Is Not All That’s Nice in Davis

Fall is hands down the best time of the year. Mostly because my birthday is in the fall, but also because it means we have all finally escaped the infamous “Davis summer.” BeforeImage result for pumpkin patch davis long, it’ll be winter and we all know that once the California snow comes in, we’d rather just stay huddled up in bed. So take advantage of your newfound freedom to actually go outside without melting or freezing. Fortunately, the Davis area is full of classic fall activities to help you distress after midterms and keep a healthy mind throughout the stressful quarter. After all, the great outdoors is the perfect place to relax and be around friends.

 

UC Davis Arboretum

The UC Davis Arboretum is one of the most beautiful spots on campus and a great place to unwind all year. During the fall, you can see the leaves change colors, making it the perfect place for a stroll or picnic.  The Arboretum is right on campus and is the most convenient way to get into the fall Image result for uc davis arboretum photosspirit. Besides the scenery, there are also Fall Plant Sales going on in the Arboretum (Saturday, October 22 and November 5) where you can find seasonal and local plants to brighten up your home. Be sure to stop by between classes, or make a day out of it! It might even be your lucky day and you’ll see that elusive river otter.

Corn Maze

Challenge yourself and your friends to a Guinness World Record corn maze. Cool Patch Pumpkins is located in Dixon, less than 6 miles away from campus. If you have gone before, no worries! The maze design is changed every year. If you haven’t, get ready for 43 acres of corn. Before you panic, there is an intermediate path and an advanced path to choose from. Although Cool Patch Pumpkins is open throughout the day, the most popular time to go is at night to up the thrill level, but be forewarned: the maze gets very crowded at night and it is recommended to bring a flashlight. (I went a little earlier in the afternoon and preferred it more, though, since my group essentially had the entire maze to ourselves. Tradeoffs, you know?)

Pumpkin Patch

Of course, it’s not fall without Halloween, and it’s not Halloween without pumpkins. Don’t settle for Safeway pumpkins! Treat yo’ self to fresh pumpkins at the many pumpkin patches around Davis. These include Impossible Acres Farm in Davis, Bobby Dazzler’s Pumpkin Patch in between Davis and Woodland, Cool Patch Pumpkins in Dixon, and Uncle Ray’s Pumpkin Patch in Sacramento. For anyone without a car, Impossible Acres Farm is not an impossible patch to get to and is a bike-able 3 miles away from campus, and Bobby Dazzler’s is just a little farther than that. Cool Patch Pumpkins is a good two-birds-one-stone patch to also experience the world record corn maze. Uncle Ray’s may be worth the drive to Sacramento for its free admission, hay rides, and corn maze (sadly, the pumpkins aren’t also free). There is a pumpkin patch for every need so don’t miss out!

Apple Hill

Spend a day with the pumpkin’s biggest fall-time rival: the apple. Apple Hill is filled with orchards, farms, and all sorts of activities. Whether it is eating fresh apple cider donuts at Rainbow Orchards or eating every other apple variety you can think of and more (apple tasting, wine tasting, juice, cider, pies, jams, syrups, etc.) at Boa Vista, you will have all your college student food cravings satisfied. And yes, you can pick and eat your own apples! For a more active day, Sly Park and Jenkinson Lake offers a picnic area, hiking/bike trails, kayak rentals, and camp grounds. Although Apple Hill is an hour away, there is more than enough to do to occupy you for an entire day or weekend.

Image result for apple hill placerville ca apple orchards

 

A big part of making yourself feel at home in Davis is exploring its surroundings. Before long, you’ll basically be a local. I finally felt like a real UC Davis student when I began to experience things outside of school and was able to recommend activities and places to visiting friends and family. Being happy and comfortable in Davis is important to your mental health and success at UC Davis. Start the school year off strong and make the most of everything our community has to offer. Good luck, and have fun!

Amanda Dao
BASC Peer Adviser
Third Year, Neurobiology, Physiology, & Behavior Major

 

Making a Four-Year Plan

Pass 1 for Winter 2016 is coming up. Some of you may already have a beautiful schedule lined up and some of you may still be frantically searching for classes to take, feeling lost and anxious. Whichever individual you are at the moment, you should seriously consider making a rough four-year plan or revising one you already have. Creating a four-year plan can seem daunting, time consuming, and unnecessary; however, in the long run your academic life will be much easier with a pre-planned schedule. Think about all those pass times that you won’t have to stress over! For many of you, creating a four-year plan may mean making life defining decisions such as: Should I go to Medical School? Will I be taking a gap year before work? Do I want to change my major? Am I finally going to minor in Spanish like I said I would?  Our recommendation is: make a plan now and don’t be afraid to change it along the way! Here are some simple steps to get started.

 

  • FRUSTRATEDKIDTalk to An Adviser (Or Multiple) 

Not sure where to begin when planning your future? When in doubt, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your major adviser or come by during drop-in hours  to see a peer adviser. Trained professionals are available to give you the know how’s and the what’s ups to making an academic plan.

What about Double Majoring?

Finishing a double major at UC Davis requires tactful and strategic arranging of classes and definitely, lots of planning. When making a plan be sure to visit the advisers of both majors you intend to finish.

Thinking About Minoring?

Finishing one minor or even multiple minors is a great way to broaden your academic experience. Most minors require roughly 20 units; it’s also important to check for prerequisites and other minute details. For more information, talk to an adviser for the college or department you plan on minoring in.

Planning on Going to Professional School?NorthHall-Large

For many of you, applying to college won’t be the last time you needed to write a personal statement; find teachers for letters of recommendations; take a standardized exam; and ensure you fulfill all the prerequisites for your future dream school. This is where a four-year plan can really help you reach your professional dreams and make sure you fulfill all prerequisites, GE’s, and university/major requirements before you graduate. Applying to professional school is indeed difficult, but thankfully there are trained advisers available to guide you through the application process. Visit UC Davis’ Pre-Graduate/Professional Advising in 111 South Hall or go to 1011 SLB to talk to a Pre-Health Professions Adviser \

  • Make a List of Prospective Classes  

So, you’ve already seen your major adviser and you’re on track to graduate–Great! The next thing to do is incorporate interesting and/or relevant classes into your four-year plan. Exploring the General Catalog is a great place to begin, as it contains all the major/minor requirements, a list of all the GE’s offered on campus. Tip: The letters and numerals you see here:  QL, SE, SL, VL.—I, II, III. (I, II, III.) These tell you what GE’s the class fulfills and also the quarter that class is offered. (I. means fall, II. means winter, and III. means spring)                                                               You can also narrow down your search using Schedule Builder’s Advanced Options. Extra Tip: Jot these classes down into a planner or into your computer so you can access them later.

 

  • Sit Down and Actually Make a Plan planning baby

So, you’ve more or less decided on a career and have compiled a list of interesting classes–you’re ready to start planning! Be sure to allocate a time block of a few hours to sit down infront of a computer and churn out a four-year plan. Many students like to use Excel but we also recommend using Oasis‘s Academic Plan form.    Such a form can be found under the Forms and Petitions Tab on Oasis. When plugging and chugging the classes you want to take, be sure to consider a few things…

Fulfill Prerequisites:

Most upper-division major requirements have prerequisite classes, and it is important to make sure you’ve filled in all your prerequisite courses before putting in your major classes. Not having the right prerequisites could result in being dropped from the class or being unprepared for the course, so be sure to take a look in the General Catalog or on Schedule Builder for specific details.

Consider SS1 or SS2: 

UC Davis offers a large majority of major classes during the summer, and students tend to perform better in classes taken during the summer time. Instead of spreading yourself thin with multiple classes, you can focus all your efforts on one class! If you want to get ahead of your schedule or take a load off of your normal academic quarter, definitely plan on taking a class or two in the summer. It’s important to plan ahead so that you can talk to the Financial Aid Office regarding your financial needs or make vacation plans with friends and family.

Make Time for Studying Abroad: abroad

Did you know students can take BIS 101 in Europe every summer? This is just one example of the many classes and places students can explore with the Study Abroad Program. Studying abroad is usually the experience of a lifetime, but there may be a lot of hoops to jump through before actually going abroad. That is why it is important to have a plan, so you have time to prepare documents and figure out living expenses.

Whether or not you’ve decided on a future career, it never hurts to make a four-year plan and then change it as life goes forward. Life happens and your plans may be uncertain; however, a four-year plan may elucidate certain fuzzy details about the future, and set you on the right track to success!

Happy Planning!

Melissa Li                                                                                                                         Class of 2016  Biological Sciences, Emphasis in Neurology, Physiology, and Behavior                                                Biology Academic Success–Peer Adviser

The Many Advantages of Summer Sessions

Spring quarter is off in full swing and it is time to start looking ahead and thinking about summer plans. Many of you may be excited to get some rest and relaxation, or to just get out of Davis for an adventure. Although these all sound very enticing, remember that Summer Sessions is a great option. Whether you are looking to get ahead, catch up on units, or take a challenging major course, the advantages of enrolling in Summer Sessions are plentiful. To peak your interest in staying in Davis to take classes this summer, I will share my experience with Summer Sessions in the following paragraphs.

It was Spring quarter during my second year at Davis, and I had just taken Physics 7B. Physics proved to be challenging to me compared to other courses, so I began thinking about taking it as soon after Physics 7B as I could. After sitting down and mapping out my third and fourth year classes, I realized taking Physics would not only clear up my schedule but help me concentrate on other challenging courses that I was planning to take during fall quarter of my third year, like NPB 101 and BIS 101. My next decision was whether or not to take Session 1 or Session 2. I wanted to take Session 1 because I felt it would be good to take Physics 7C right after having taken 7B, with only a couple of weeks separating the two rather than a couple months. However I felt pretty drained from Spring quarter and I ultimately decided that Session 2 would be best because it would give my mind a break and I could come back ready to learn in the beginning of August.  I also realized that many of my friends from home that were going to semester schools would be going back to school around August too, so I would not feel like I was ending my summer early.

Summer session 2 was fast-paced to say the least. Although I was only taking Physics 7C and a GE course,  I had to constantly study in order to keep up with the work. However, I found it much easier to do so when I only had two classes to concentrate on because the material was constantly being reinforced. This, along with the fact that I was able to go to my professor’s office hours because I had a more open schedule, is why I was able to have a remarkably better learning outcome in Physics 7C than I had with Physics 7B when I took it during the regular quarter. I was also really happy to finish classes in 6 weeks rather than 10 weeks!


Although Summer Session at UC Davis may not be your first idea when it comes to making summer plans here is a short list of the advantages of taking Summer Sessions:

  • Improve your UC cumulative GPA
  • Work towards reaching minimum progress
  • Take prerequisite courses for graduate school
  • Clear up a packed schedule by taking some classes in the summer
  • Benefit from concentrating on less classes
  • Summer session is only six weeks
  • Have more time to explore the city of Davis!

When registering for Summer Session classes, be sure to keep a balanced schedule during each session. This means you should avoid taking two science classes together during one session due to the time constraints and rigor of of science courses.

There has been an important update to financial aid for Summer Session. It will now be awarded based on the earliest date that you are registered or wait-listed in at least 6 units total over the whole summer. For example, if you only wanted to enroll in one session, you would need a minimum of 6 units. But, if you wanted to take both sessions, you would need a minimum of 6 units total for both summer sessions. Also, be on the look out for Summer Sessions pass times coming out April 27th!

 

Have a great Summer Session and good luck!

Zoe Lim

Biological Sciences

BASC Peer Adviser

 

Decision time!

Congratulations on making it this far! This is such an exciting time- you are getting to choose where you will spend the next four years of your life!

For me, the decision was actually very clear and deep down I knew I would end up choosing UC Davis, but I am such an indecisive person that it took a lot of going back and forth for me to actually commit to going to UC Davis, (I think I signed my Intent to Register on the very last day). I initially thought of UC Davis as “the school off I-80 that is on the way to Tahoe” but after my first visit I began to associate it as an exciting school with a gorgeous campus, big egg heads, and cute and fun downtown. I began to form this opinion of UC Davis during a school field trip in 7th grade on my first college tour. I have a clear picture of walking along the arboretum, sitting on the quad, and walking through the very exciting and busy Memorial Union on that sunny Spring day. I remember having a great time on the trip and really liking that atmosphere. I knew there were many wonderful things about UC Davis, mainly that it was a great science school, and so I began to start picturing myself as a UC Davis student.

When I found out I was accepted, I was very excited because I knew a few people who had gone to school at UC Davis and I always heard positive things from them. My parents had also told me great things about UC Davis, saying that it was one of the last “true college towns.” When they told me this I had no idea what that meant, but after spending four years living in Davis and getting to compare it to other schools, I now know that this is true. Taking a stroll in downtown Davis will allow you to experience the sense of community centered around the school and the excitement about events happening in both the school and the town. Most people that live in Davis seem to be affiliated with the University in some way and are always happy to speak to students and offer advice, which for me was a very positive factor because I really wanted to go to a school with a welcoming and hospitable environment.

I can empathize with many of you who are weighing different factors and trying to decide between your options. An important factor for deciding is thinking about yourself and the type of person you are, and trying to match which school will offer you the most opportunities to succeed both academically and socially. With this in mind, remember that UC Davis has SO MANY different resources and opportunities for a wide variety of students to get involved and feel included in academics and the campus community. Here is a brief list of these resources and opportunities:

Good luck and I hope you are all future Aggies!

Zoe Lim
Peer Adviser
Biology Academic Success Center
Biological Sciences, Class of 2015

 

Why You Should Join The Aggie Family

You have been accepted to multiple universities but how do you know which one is right for you? Make this part fun and explore as many universities as you can. The most important part is being able to visualize yourself in that community for the next two to four years.

The decision to join the Aggie family started my sophomore year of high school whenUC Davis Arboretum DSC_0019 - 1e I began volunteering in the Trauma Nursing Unit at UC Davis Medical Center. I loved how the medical center was a teaching hospital and the staff was always willing to help. This really sparked my interest in UC Davis and I started to research more about the university. Through my research, I learned that UC Davis has a medical school and infinite opportunities to get involved in research and internships. I really appreciated these aspects because I was considering the pre-med route.

My first time actually visiting the campus was when I attended the Annual Pre-Health and Pre-Medical Professions National Conference my senior year of high school. This gave me an opportunity to not only enjoy the conference but also explore the campus. The campus is beautiful and has exquisite scenery. It is filled with trees and the arboretum has many different trails and gardens. If you love nature, UC Davis provides a great outdoor study environment, who does not love to study by a lake?

Another main reason why I chose UC Davis was because I wanted to stay close to home. The commute from Sacramento to Davis is about thirty minutes, which is perfect to stay in touch with old friends while makIMG_0624siging new ones.

From all of these experiences, I could not help but fall in love with UC Davis. It was everything I ever wanted in a university and I could not wait to apply. To this day, I have no regrets and everyday I am reminded that I made the right choice. I hope you have a similar experience and whatever school you chose, make sure it makes you happy!

Rufa Pazyuk
BASC Peer Adviser
Second Year, Biological Sciences

Career Spotlight: Lawyer

Do you enjoy negotiating with others, defending your opinions, and rationalizing through difficult situations? Are you quick on your feet and able to analyze situations with a critical eye? If so, a career in law may be a good fit for you. As a science major, pursuing a law degree may be off the beaten path, but it is a great opportunity to enter into a career where your degree in science is viewed as a unique asset.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, lawyers “advise and represent individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes.”  Job opportunities for lawyers is expected to grow 10% from 2012 to 2020, which is about average for most occupations. A lawyer offers advice and counsels clients on legal rights and obligations, as well as aids in interpreting the law. Researching precedents (earlier interpretations of the law and the history of previous judicial decisions) makes up much of a lawyer’s work, because doing so is necessary in order to offer sound advice and make informed decisions. There are many types of law that one can specialize in. As written by the State Bar of California, these include:

  • Criminal Law
  • Family Law
  • Taxation Law
  • Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law
  • Environmental Law *
  • Patent Law *

 


 

Preparing for Law School

Most law schools require a Bachelor’s degree. As with medical schools, law schools accept students with a wide range of majors. Despite this fact, most pre-law students generally major in economics, political science, or history. A major in science can therefore be uniquely beneficial. Having a science background gives students an upper edge in that they have working knowledge of scientific processes and have been taught to think critically, which is a very important aspect of practicing law. Unlike other professional schools, most law schools do not have pre requisite requirements, but be sure to research specific law schools you are interested in to check on this.  You can read more about how to prepare for law school, as well as find help attaining internships to get experience, by visiting the Internship and Career Center (ICC).

Aside from a Bachelor’s degree, law schools require taking the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). The LSAT consists of five 35 multiple choice questions and measures reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning. Preparing for the LSAT is an essential part of preparing for law school, as law school admissions look at applicant’s GPA and LSAT scores as primary factors when admitting students.

After law school, students must pass a licensing exam, commonly known as “the bar,” in order to practice law.

Common Specializations in Law for Science Majors

There are a variety of common specialties of law that are applicable to students with a Bachelor’s degree in science. An example of one of these specialties is Patent Law.  Patent law involves working in areas of medical malpractice, medical or pharmaceutical patents, and intellectual property of medical or biological products. All of these specialties require a working knowledge of science and technology. According to educationportal.com, patent law is the most common specialty that students with a science background choose to pursue.  Patent lawyers specialize in an area of law protecting the rights of new inventions. Applying for a patent is a lengthy process that requires the expertise of a patent lawyer who is well equipped and trained to interpret the law, provide legal documentation, and critically analyze new biological products.

Another common specialization for students with a science background is Environmental Law. Environmental lawyers specialize in regulations, laws, and disputes relating to the environment. Environmental lawyers help increase awareness on climate change, alternative energy sources, and other sustainability issues. According to the Environmental Law Institute, the need for environmental legal expertise is expected to grow in the coming years due to an increase in legal legislation involving protecting the environment from greenhouse gases and global warming.

Both patent lawyers and environmental lawyers typically have a Bachelor’s degree in one of the following: chemistry, biology, physics, or electrical, civil, or biomechanical engineering.


Lawyers are some of the most educated and highly compensated professionals in the United States. The median annual pay rate for lawyers in 2014 was $130, 530. Considering a career in law may be a great option if you are passionate about the sciences and interested in legal rights and how they affect society.

Summary of Resources

U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics: A governmental agency that collects, processes and analyzes labor statistical data for the American public.

State Bar of California: This website offers information for both current and future lawyers on how to best practice law as well as advance their careers.

Law School Admissions Test: Here you will find all information on how to register and prepare for the LSAT. This website also  breaks down how to understand your LSAT score, and details the steps of applying to Law School.

Environmental Law Institute: The mission of this institute is to offer innovative law and policy solutions regarding how best to improve the environment.

 

Sincerely,

Zoe Lim
BASC Peer Adviser