If you absolutely love biology, I would recommend majoring in biology at the University just so you could take Bio1081 and Bio1082 with Professor Kinkle. Learning is more than getting good grades, it is about understanding and explaining concepts to others. As a student in Dr. Kinkle’s class for 20 weeks, I am already realizing the importance of these techniques. We started the semester off as soon as we entered the lecture hall; a tip is to always come to his class or office hours prepared, already by registering our clickers (little devices to submit our answers to questions posted up in front) and taking our first ‘quiz.’
More advice to feel prepared: always have some idea of what is to be asked of you when coming to class. It is always better to understand something and build off of the foundation rather than know nothing and have trouble absorbing the explanation. One way that we are able to stay on task throughout the year is by doing the learning outcomes (LO) before coming to class, and not just copying answers from the internet to say that ‘we did them’, I mean really reading and gathering knowledge so that you can carry a conversation with someone about the material. I have previously talked about my LC and similarly, biology class is what you make of it and if you put the time and effort into coming to class and doing well on the clicker quizzes, you are going to learn so much more than just biology by the end of your first year.
Another thing I mentioned earlier was office hours. I was confused when I heard the phrase being used in many conversations before university started. Don’t worry. It is equivalent to high school teachers saying ‘I will be in my room during your lunch break and after school.’ They are a time for you to talk to your professor about social or academic matters. UC has this smart website to book a time slot with the professor (you can go to any professor, not only the one that teaches you) you would like to see; it is called Starfish. In Starfish, you select the professor of choice, view their schedule, comment on what you would like to discuss, and then click book and a few seconds later you will get an email confirmation.
I have been to Dr.Kinkle’s office hours many times since the semester started and I have always left feeling better than I went in. I hope this is not misleading though; if you come into his office for content review, he is going to put you on the spot and grill you. You will end up understanding it but as he says, “if something is too easy, how much are you getting out of it?” Your first year as a freshman majoring in biology is going to be tough but if you stay dedicated, you will end with an A.
Other than having my thoughts on the class and Dr.Kinkle expressed, I chose to interview him and have him share a little bit about himself.
So where did you grow up?
Dr.Kinkle: A couple of places actually, my dad was in the military and so we moved around the world every 3 years. 3 years here, 3 years there. But I ended up in Maryland for high school. So most of my family ended up in the Maryland/ D.C area.
Where did you go to college?
Dr.Kinkle: Undergraduate at the University of Maryland and Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota.
Well which one did you like more?
Dr.Kinkle: Like? Minnesota because I was more mature and serious as a student. Maryland, it was because of me not because of the college but I really was just not ready for college.
How would your wife describe you as a person?
Dr.Kinkle: Do you want negative or positive?
Dr.Kinkle: I think negative, a little controlling. Positive, I think I am very empathetic and sweet and take care of her a lot. For example, she likes when I cook for her.
Why do you think learning is so important?
Dr.Kinkle: I think it is a way for people to improve their minds and improve their lives. It is interesting that it improves the quality of life, especially life -long and not just in college. I think it is something that people should do their whole life if they are interested, if not, they just feel static and life is about progress, intellectual progress.
What was the biggest moment in your life?
Dr.Kinkle: I really couldn’t rank them, some of the ones that stand out are obviously getting married, having kids, adopting kids, things that have to do with family, mostly.
Why did you decide to adopt?
Dr.Kinkle: Because both my wife and I had been divorced before. I have 2 kids biologically, and I wanted to adopt on my own because I like kids a lot and there are plenty of kids that need parents and need help.
When did you realize learning is so important to you?
Dr.Kinkle: Probably not until I got into grad school.
Well, what sparked that?
Dr.Kinkle: I think just growing up, maturing, which did not happen until I was in my mid 20’s.
What is one piece of advice you would give a freshman majoring in biology?
Dr.Kinkle: Just pay attention to what’s going on and what you are doing. I think lots of people are not paying attention to where their time is going, what they are doing, what their values are, and how they are treating other people.
What is one place you would like to travel to when you have the chance?
Dr.Kinkle: Well there is more than one! My wife and I have never been to southeast Asia so I would like to go to Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia. I am very food driven so I would like to explore. Parts of Latin America I have not yet traveled to: Bolivia and Peru. I like places with very strong culture and food so I have done Guatemala, Chile, Spain, and Italy.
Thank you for your time, I know a lot of other students will benefit from your words too!