On December 1, 2018, the UMass iCons program hosted an orientation welcoming their “9th Bit” cohort. The mission was clear: determine what exactly constitutes a “global problem” and teach these new students how to think in terms of these issues.
Many of the topics presented by students focused on social justice and societal issues and the application scientific solutions. These ranged from disease transmission linked to the opioid epidemic to women’s reproductive rights and contraception accessibility. Additionally, students discussed the wildfire crisis in California due to climate change, antibiotic resistance, and global rates of preventable cancer.
The students also discussed the shared values they intended to bring to the classroom in Spring 2019. Their values as scientists included having integrity and being mission driven, while also being skeptical and curious. As for shared values, these included the importance of acceptance of failure and new ideas, team work, and self-reflection.
After establishing their personal and professional values, the 9th Bit took their iCons oath, vowing to uphold those values throughout their time in the program. And although the students have not chosen the subject of their case study, they are ready to tackle anything.