Camp xSEL (Excellence in Science for Liberia), a USAID funded science program, has equipped about 100 secondary students chosen from various secondary schools across the country who are desirous of venturing into pre-medical and pre-clinical studies.
Camp xSEL, as an extension of the University of Liberia College of Health Sciences (ULCHS) that develops secondary students in Liberia interested in pursuing a career in the medical and health fields. The program provides incoming students with the tools to approach science learning in the 21st century and equips them with the skills and attributes to help them excel in medical school.
It further gives a learning environment that empowers the students to feel more confident in their learning, while inspiring and preparing them to pursue careers in the health sector.
The program is being implemented by the ULCHS in partnership with the United States-based partner universities Yale and Vanderbilt with support from Bridge: U-Liberia through USAID.
During the four-week exercise, which was held at the Baptist Theological Seminary, Paynesville, students participated in daily lectures in math, chemistry, biology, physics, anatomy, physiology, and various sections of English (reading comprehension and oral English).
The program had three lab sessions a week, and discussion sections were meant to review scientific journals and drawing connections. Throughout the week the students learned to work together, simulating the real world outside of the classroom.
The camp experience is centered around four pillars: inquiry-based learning, data-driven critical thinking, relational and holistic concept understanding, and soft-skill building. However, by creating an immersive learning experience founded on these four pillars, Camp xSEL provides a learning experience emphasizing the intersectionality of health sciences in a way that is fun, engaging, and intriguing for the campers.
Speaking at the closing exercise, the President of the UL, Prof. Dr. Julius J. Sarwolo Nelson, Jr. said that the Camp xSEL 2022 program is intended to groom and transition young and promising students in preparation for their sojourn into the medical field.
“As you graduate today and transition from this phase and endeavor to embark upon a journey that many fear to tread, I want to encourage you to be steadfast, vigilant, determined, and focused,” Dr. Nelson urged the students.
He thanked Bridge: U-Liberia for collaborating with the Ministry of Education in recruiting students from various secondary schools across the country to participate in the program.
USAID Program Analyst, Bridge: U Management Team Representative, Mr. Aaron Burr, thanked the Bridge: U Team, the Government of Liberia, the University of Liberia, and all of the partners for the collaboration.
Burr said it is a privilege to work with the Bridge: U Team, and he felt more honored to be at the event to see the work in action.
Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Liberia and Co-Principal Investigator on the Bridge: U-Liberia project, Dr. Bernice Dahn, thanked the Ministry of Education, and the County and District Education Officers for supporting Camp xSEL teams in the various counties for the selection of the young students.
Dr. Dahn said based on the performance of students in the second cohort, suggests that the Camp brought together the best students across the country.