Special Opportunities


In addition to coursework, independent and collaborative research, the Biology department has a number of special opportunities to further our students’ intellectual development.  

Undergraduate Research and Creative Works Symposium 

An annual symposium modeled after a typical academic conference where Southwestern students present the results of their research and creative work.

Biological Honors Society

The Delta Alpha Chapter of Tri-Beta at Southwestern University provides resources and support to the work of student biologists at Southwestern.

Summer Research Opportunities

Check with individual professors about their summer research plans:

  • Dr. Stacie Brown, Molecular Microbiology
  • Dr. Romi Burks, Aquatic and Molecular Ecology
  • Dr. Maria Cuevas, Reproductive Endocrinology and Cancer Biology
  • Dr. Martín Gonzalez , Molecular Microbiology
  • Dr. Ben Pierce, Herpetology and Population Genetics
  • Dr. Max Taub, Human Genetics
  • Dr. Maria Todd, Cancer Biology
  • Dr. Kim McArthur, Developmental Neuroscience
Why Collaborative Research?

Although the work may take more time, the Biology Department remains dedicated to conducting research with students, both as a teaching demonstration of scientific skills but also as part of the process of scholarship.  The scientific process clearly includes presentation and peer review and we enjoy mentoring our students in these processes.  In terms of writing and critical thinking, collaborative research can result in some combination of the following outcomes:

  • Presentation of research (oral or poster presentations) at the SU Undergraduate Research and Creative Works Symposium;
  • Research done through the summer programs may form the basis for additional research credit in the Department of Biology
  • Presentation (oral or poster) at the Texas Academy of Sciences meeting or other regional and/or national scientific meetings; and
  • Possible submission of a scientific paper to a peer-reviewed journal and hopefully publication.
Off-campus Research

In addition to the Research Experiences for Undergraduates  program of the National Science Foundation, a number of medical schools, research institutes, and other universities offer independent research opportunities for students. 

Students can learn more about these opportunities through announcements sent to the Biology list-serve ( ). 

Study Abroad

The Biology Department encourages as many of its students as possible to study abroad and experience the global nature and reach of science.  The Office of Study Abroad and International Student Services can serve as your first point of contact or you can talk with your academic advisers.  We have also assembled lists of programs in Biology and Health Studies to help narrow the vast number of choices to programs that work well with the Southwestern curriculum and our students.

Check them out:

Biology Study Abroad Options

Health Studies Study Abroad Options

As one additional note, Dr. Burks will be one of the faculty leading the SU London semester in Fall of 2022!  She can’t wait to travel again.

Civic Engagement

As one option, consider SMArTeams - Science and Math Achiever Teams - which pairs college students one-on-one with local elementary students to conduct a project of inquiry during each semester.  The Team meets at Southwestern on Monday afternoons (5 - 6 pm) and opportunities exist for SU students to get involved.  For questions, contact Dr. Romi Burks  or Dr. Sarah Brackman  in the Office of Civic Engagement.