Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

September 14, 2006 11:57 AM

Extracurricular Life

Although academics are the primary purpose of a college education, undergrad is much more than simply learning in the classroom. You can only study for so long, and pursuing activities outside of classes allows you to meet fellow students, build friendships, and network with individuals who can help advance your college/career goals. Of course, as Cal students, many of you have probably already become involved on campus, which is great! Here's a brief description of what I'm currently into here at Berkeley.

For me, research takes up most of my time. I have been working at Dr. Ellen Simms lab in the "subterrainian" level of VLSB, and initially landed my position there as a sophomore through the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP) run by the university. My work there focuses on the symbiotic relationships that occur in plants that are capable of nodulating nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Though some may find plants to be uninteresting, I find the research fascinating, as the way plants and bacteria benefit and cheat one another is as complex as a study of economics. Moreover, the research is directly applicable to agriculture, as farmers try to use such bacteria to improve the fitness of their crops.

In addition to lab work, I am involved in the Special Needs Aquatic Program (SNAP). It's actually not a student group, but a private non-profit organization that accepts volunteers to perform water exercises for kids with special needs. The program is extremely rewarding, and (shameless plug) if anyone's interested in it, please let me know! SNAP is always looking for new helpers. I am also the Corporate Relations Coordinator for the Regents' and Chancellors' Scholars Assoc. for Berkeley, and am a student advisor for the Medical Cluster pre-med student organization. For those interested in medical or graduate school, I can definitely provide some of my two sense. Last but certainly not least, I'm involved in PAL, and hope that this opportunity will allow me to give back to CNR and make the college's virtues known to the campus.

So if you're interested in any of the activities I've talked about above, feel free to contact me through I'd be happy to help.

Alex Lau | Permalink | Comment on this article | Comments (0)

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