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About the Program and Our Staff

The Biology Scholars Program (BSP) was founded in 2006.  Our mission is to support academic excellence and provide career preparation for students majoring in Biological Sciences who come from economic, gender, geographic, ethnic, or cultural groups historically underrepresented in the field of biology. Biology Scholars are interested in pursuing advanced degrees in science and medicine.

Student Commitment

Students accepted as Biology Scholars sign a contract pledging their commitment to the program and its philosophy. Students are expected to attend four Community Meetings during the fall of freshman year and one, two-hour study group per week through sophomore year. Students also commit to being prepared for and actively participating in meetings and events. Teamwork is a key component to BSP—members should be willing to work cooperatively toward the goal of advancing learning for all group members. Also, as this is a scholars program, students must stay focused on their coursework and strive for academic excellence.

Benefits of Becoming a Biology Scholar

  • Weekly study groups in chemistry, biology, and physics courses led by trained Study Group Leaders, who are often Bio Scholars themselves.
  • Teambuilding and leadership development.
  • 1-credit seminar courses taken during second semester freshman year and first semester sophomore year.  Seminars provide exposure to career options in research, medicine, and other areas in biology; networking with Cornell faculty; tours of research laboratories; personal and professional development; and workshops on how to read and present scientific literature.
  • Site visits to medical and graduate schools.
  • International study experiences.  Watch a video of Biology Scholars in the Galapagos Islands.
  • Financial support to attend off-campus, science-related conferences.
  • A supportive, inclusive, and cooperative learning environment; and a quiet, comfortable study space designated for BSP members.
  • A strong support network of students and staff.
  • Social events to help you get to know your fellow scholars.

BSP Staff and Contact Information


Jeff McCaffreyJeff McCaffrey

Jeff McCaffrey is Associate Director in the Office of Undergraduate Biology and Coordinator of the Biology Scholars Program.  His commitment to serving underserved populations began with volunteer work and later employment with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County.  Jeff is honored to continue supporting students from underrepresented backgrounds through BSP.  He has a bachelor’s in nutritional sciences and a master’s in biology education, both from Cornell University. 

Contact Us

For more information regarding BSP, contact Jeff at:

Office of Undergraduate Biology
216 Stimson Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

Phone: 607-255-5233