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Academics


What students think about the Biology Department

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    Kira McEntire
    © 2012 Lance Holt
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    Noah Bierwith working with Dr. Sheller during SCOPE
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    Dr. Cuevas with Honors Biology Graduate Jenna Gaska
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    Dr. Cuevas out with research students
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    Patrick Hooper
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    Biologist Debbie Saddington

We asked some of our research students and recent graduates in the Biology Department to comment on their experience.  Click through the gallery for pictures of the students featured below

Noah Bierwith, ‘14, Medical school intended

While pursuing a degree in Biology at Southwestern I received an experience that would be extremely difficult to find at a different institution. What makes this department stand out is that the passion held by our professors for their subjects is matched only by their passion for teaching.  If you enter their courses with the right attitude and a desire to learn, there is a great deal to gain from the Biology professors.  Additionally, the academic relationships that you form with your professors here extend beyond the classroom in the form of opportunities to pursue independent research and gain valuable experience in the lab.  The quality of scientific education one receives in the Biology department at Southwestern is difficult to replicate. When coupled with the liberal arts education you will also receive at SU and the tight knit community found at this small school, the overall experience adds up to an opportunity that you don’t want to miss out on.

 

Kira McEntire ‘13, pursuing Ph.D. in Wildlife Biology

I had a great experience with the biology department at Southwestern University. The faculty were very open and approachable. They really want to help you be successful. The classes taught me how to read and write scientific literature which will be especially valuable in graduate school.  The biology department provided invaluable opportunities to conduct collaborative research. This is something not all undergraduates get to experience. I feel incredibly well prepared for graduate study. I am starting a Wildlife Biology PhD program at the University of Georgia in the fall.

 

Debbie Saddington ‘13, starting medical school at UT Southwestern in Dallas

One of the strongest departments on Southwestern’s campus is the Biology Department.  Students quickly learn that the professors are thoroughly prepared, and I found that they consistently look out for the best interests of the students.  The faculty’s open-door policy is wonderfully supportive, and they all make themselves easily available for questions, advising, and concerns.  Additionally, the Biology Department offers many courses that prepare premed students for future studies.  Microbiology, Fundamentals of Immunology, Endocrinology, Cancer Biology, and Biochemistry I and II are just a few of the well-challenging courses that prepared me with a widespread foundation of information that I will build upon in medical school.  A year ago I obtained an internship in infectious disease research, and I felt well equipped to excel.  From my studies at Southwestern I’d had lots of practice reading scientific articles, using aseptic technique, and applying critical thinking.  This fall I will be an “MS1” (1st year medical student) at UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.  I am very excited to continue on my path towards practicing geriatric medicine, and the professors at Southwestern helped me make it happen.  

 

Patrick Hooper ‘13, starting dental school

When I arrived Southwestern, I was undecided on a major to pursue. After a semester of taking the first-year biology mini courses, there was no longer any doubt that biology was the path for me. The amazing faculty made the rigorous, and often difficult, journey as a biology major extremely rewarding and worthwhile.  The vast range of knowledge and approachable nature of the faculty really set the Southwestern University Biology Department apart. As a student wanting to go to dental school, I felt the biology department has more than prepared me for my future education. It provided me not only with a strong background in various areas of biology such as genetics, ecology, micro and molecular biology but also taught me to think critically and to always ask questions. I could not have asked for a better experience studying biology at Southwestern. 

 

Jenna Gaska ‘13 Honors, starting PhD in cell and molecular biology at Princeton

I immensely enjoyed my time in the biology department at Southwestern.  The university’s small size allowed for one-on-one interactions with professors and created a classroom environment that encouraged discussion.  The biology faculty truly care for the students here and offer a level of support which promotes both academic and personal growth.  Additionally, my time in Dr. Maria Cuevas‘ research lab for two and a half years allowed me to explore my interest in scientific research.  In addition to the coursework I completed at Southwestern, working in a research lab allowed me to learn a variety of techniques, to become comfortable critically reading scientific literature, and to prepare scientific papers and presentations.  The biology faculty and curriculum at Southwestern have had an integral role in my decision to pursue scientific research as a career.