Chancellor Mnookin attends classes with Badger Precollege students

chancellor mnookin standing behind a lab table, talking with students in a classroom

As part of her tour of campus units, schools and colleges, Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin spent a morning in July with students in two Badger Precollege classes. In a Human Body and Disease course, Mnookin shared her personal story about donating a kidney to her father during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin standing and talking with Chris Pevey Harry
Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin talking with Christopher Pevey Harry, assistant dean of Badger Precollege

“The story resonated with the students in the human body course as they learned about the function of kidneys and were doing a urine analysis lab exercise during her visit,” said Christopher Pevey Harry, assistant dean of Badger Precollege. “The students were curious about how she matched with her father, how COVID impacted the procedures and how she feels now after the donation.”

Mnookin also visited a Forensic Science precollege class. She walked around both classes and asked students about what they were learning and where they were from. 

“It brought a smile to all of [the students’] faces getting to interact with such an influential figure at the university, and I think it really showed how UW–Madison is committed to its students and growing education in precollege programs,” said Caleb Schulz, an instructor of the Human Body and Disease course. 

Chancellor engages with students in her area of expertise 

The courses are part of Badger Precollege’s Accelerated Learning Program (ALP), a three-week residential summer camp for high schoolers. Students in ALP enroll in a single course that focuses on a specific area of study such as engineering, neuroscience or computer science. While living on the UW–Madison campus, students take small college-level classes taught by content experts and experienced teachers. 

The first course Chancellor Mnookin took part in, the laboratory-based Forensic Science course, expands students’ logical thinking and scientific inquiry skills through collecting, analyzing and tracing biological evidence. Students learn how to analyze and examine both psychological and legal aspects of crimes. 

“[Chancellor Mnookin] had a strong interest in the type of evidence the students were learning about and offered her professional opinion about different types of evidence in legal proceedings,” said Annette Van Veghel, forensic science instructor. 

High school students experience UW–Madison’s research prowess

The Human Body and Disease course, the second course the chancellor attended, is also laboratory-based. Throughout the course, students explore the nature of diseases by learning about human anatomy and physiology, genetics, pathology and epidemiology. Students also attend case studies and presentations of UW–Madison’s current research in stem cell therapy and pharmacological studies.

Chancellor Mnookin with her back to the camera, talking with students
Chancellor Mnookin talking with precollege students in a forensic science course

“During her visit we were working on a urine identification lab (using fake urine) in order to match the samples with a renal disease that the students had learned about,” Schulz said. “It was great that Chancellor Mnookin was so willing to engage with the students during this learning experience.”  

Mnookin’s visit was the first stop of her tour of all schools, colleges and divisions at UW–Madison.

A program of the university’s Division of Continuing Studies, Badger Precollege offers a wide range of academic and recreational programs for students ages 6-18, from college preparation courses to music clinics. The programs are for students not only in Wisconsin and the U.S. but also from around the world. 

Badger Precollege is also committed to providing educational opportunities for students from underrepresented groups and economically disadvantaged backgrounds, offering scholarships and financial assistanceFor more information, visit precollege.wisc.edu or email info@precollege.wisc.edu