Student Departmental Advisors (SDAs) are majors who are dedicated to nurturing interest in the subject of Biology. Their primary function is to provide fellow students with accurate information about courses, pre-requisites, college requirements, registration procedures and other basic academic information, especially in their own departments. In addition, they provide information from their own experience which, presented as objectively as possible, can help students make appropriate choices for themselves.

These student advisers receive training to familiarize them with the academic information they need and ways of presenting this information. In some departments, SDAs also organize social events, host visitors, produce a department newsletter, design a department t-shirt, or do other tasks to strengthen the relationships among majors and/or between majors and departmental faculty. They hold advising hours prior to course registration, represent the department at the annual Academic and Majors fairs, meet with outside guests, and maintain a list of students interested in Biology.

This year’s SDAs are Paloma Bravo and Sophie Draper.

Paloma Bravo ’24

Hi Everyone, my name is Paloma (she/her) and I am a senior Biology major! I am originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina but grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. I am really interested in molecular biology and hope to go to graduate school in the future. In my free time, I like hiking with my dog Ima and watching soccer. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about the biology major, research opportunities, or anything in general — I look forward to connecting!

Sophie Draper ’24

Hi! I’m Sophie (she/her) from Mankato, MN. My biology interests are ecology and evolution, especially of snails and East African mammals. In my free time I love painting, hiking, and camping. I’m so excited to get to know you all, and please don’t hesitate to reach out for questions or just to chat! 

SDAs are not assigned to specific students as advisers, but rather are available as a resource to all students, especially new students, who want to talk to a knowledgeable and experienced upperclass student about courses and registration. They supplement those formal advising systems already in effect. Faculty advisers, RAs, and OPLs have a list of the SDAs and may call upon them as needed.

Each Spring the department selects two students to serve as Student Departmental Advisors. Students who have expressed an interest and whose major GPAs are above 3.00 (a college requirement) are considered. The department attempts to select students from different “areas” within the Biology major. If you are interested in becoming an SDA, speak with your advisor and/or the department chair.