ALPHARETTA, Ga.—Roya Nabavi enjoys everything about the new science labs on Georgia State University’s Alpharetta Campus.
“It’s nice to have the lab being hands-on, with all the things related to the lecture,” she said.
The 19-year-old biology student at Georgia State’s Perimeter College also is a fan of her new and shorter commute to class.
Prior to the Alpharetta science labs opening for use in spring semester 2018, Nabavi was a dual enrollment student from Milton High School who drove to Dunwoody to take her required chemistry and biology courses.
“On the days I had lab and lecture, I would spend most of the time in my car getting to class on the Dunwoody Campus,” she said. “Now (as a full-time student) I’m able to take both chemistry and biology labs (and lectures) on the Alpharetta Campus — and I only live about 10 minutes from the school.”
Ruslan Saidov came to the Alpharetta Campus to study biology and hopes one day to get his medical degree.
“I decided to go to Perimeter because it was really close and a good school for me to get my associate degree and transfer,” he said.
He describes the science labs as “top notch” — and much more convenient for Alpharetta students.
Nabavi and Saidov represent a wave of new science students from the north Fulton area. Since university and community leaders unveiled the new $6.3 million science labs a year ago, the number of students enrolled in the Alpharetta biology lecture and lab courses has climbed steadily, from 340 in spring 2018 to 579 students enrolled in spring 2019.
Other science courses also are enjoying a boost in enrollment.
“Enrollment in astronomy, biology, environmental studies and physics are solid, and the trend is promising,” said Dr. Solomon Fesseha, chair of the college’s Physical Sciences Department. Since 2018, enrollment in science courses on the Alpharetta campus has jumped more than 25 percent to 1,192 students.
The new labs also are helping meet industry needs, said Dr. Ahmed Baosman, who teaches chemistry on the Alpharetta Campus.
“Students are trained (in labs and lecture) with modern equipment to meet current industry standards to start their careers in health sectors and in chemical and process industries,” he said.
The labs are critical to help train students to support the area workforce, said Dr. Otto Burianek, associate dean of the Alpharetta Campus. The college also has been collaborating with the Talent Coalition Healthcare Work Group of the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce to address the education, training and employee needs of area health care companies.
Andrew McVay has been an organic chemistry tutor in the Alpharetta Learning and Tutoring Center for the past two and half years. He sees a direct correlation between the opening of the new labs and the number of students seeking help.
“We have more (science) classes now, and more students,” McVay said. He estimates that the number of students he sees during the two days each week when he is tutoring has about doubled to 30 students seeking assistance in organic chemistry and microbiology. Both courses are difficult and rigorous and are required for pre-nursing students who must maintain a high grade point average to get into Georgia State’s nursing program.
“It’s definitely brought in more students and allowed students who live in Alpharetta to attend this campus. [Before] they usually had to drive to Clarkston and Dunwoody to take some of the organic chemistry courses,” he said. “It’s a great thing for students to take all the classes in the same environment.”
For Nabavi, the convenience of the new labs also has meant she has more time to get involved on campus. She is an English tutor in the Alpharetta Learning and Tutoring Center and also is active in the campus STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Club.
She still has a full schedule and plans to take organic chemistry, physics and calculus this fall. Juggling multiple science labs and lectures isn’t easy, but it helps that they are all in the same place now, she said.
“It’s definitely a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it, and I enjoy it,” she said.
She plans to complete her degree by fall 2019 and transition to Georgia State’s Atlanta Campus or transfer to Mercer University.
Students who are already accepted by Perimeter College can register for summer classes beginning Monday, March 4. Astronomy, biology, microbiology, chemistry, environmental science, geology and physics lecture and labs will be offered during the summer on the Alpharetta Campus. Summer classes begin May 13. Learn more.