Get more information about the Biology program at Siena Heights University.
Are you considering a career in biology, medicine, veterinary science, dentistry, teaching, chemistry, forensics, or any other area of science? If the answer is yes, then the Biology department at Siena Heights University can support you on your learning journey!
In the Biology department, we embrace the spirit of study and community — two of the Dominican pillars of life. Our majors are supported by a vibrant learning community that combines the wholeness of a liberal arts education with a strong scientific foundation.
At Siena, you are part of an extended family that meets regularly inside and outside of the classroom. In addition to hands-on collaborative learning in our $1.9 million renovated Science Building, students also gather regularly for field trips, special lectures, community projects, or simply to study together.
In the Science department, you will be supported not only by your fellow classmates, but also by your professors, who will be your mentors, colleagues, advisors and caring guides on your journey to academic fulfillment.
Where your educational journey leads you depends in part on where you start. In the Biology department, our approach to education, which combines a supportive community learning environment with a broad spectrum of challenging courses, in-depth lab and field experiences, and intensive research projects, has successfully prepared our graduates for their future careers.
In fact, Siena biology graduates have a 95 percent acceptance rate into medical and veterinary schools and graduate schools! Our graduates are successful teachers, physicians, chemists, nurses, veterinarians, forensic scientists, and researchers. They are employed in all areas of the workforce from the corporate sector (Johnson and Johnson, Wacker Silicones) to the non-profit sector (University of Michigan, Illinois College of Optometry) to the government (USDA, Michigan DNR).
Whether you are interested in our traditional four-year path or are transferring from another school, you are invited to visit the Science department at Siena Heights University and to experience how our learning community can assist you on your educational journey.
Meet the faculty members of the Biology program.
Division Chair: Computing, Mathematics & the Sciences; Professor of Biologychkaster@sienaheights.edu517-264-7643 Professor of Biologyjtsuji@sienaheights.edu517-264-7649 Assistant Professor of Biologytwassmer@sienaheights.edu517-264-7637 Associate Professor of Biologymluce@sienaheights.edu517-264-7636
Learn about the career opportunities you can have with a degree in Biology.
Careers related to biology include:
- Animal behaviorist
- Cell biologist
- College professor
- Editor of scientific publications
- Environmental biologist
- Evolutionary biologist
- High school teacher
- Marine biologist
- Molecular biologist
- Physical therapist
- Plant biologist
- Science writer
- Wildlife biologist
Learn about internship opportunities available to those majoring in Biology.
Siena Heights University biology students are eligible for hundreds of paid research internships supported by the National Science Foundation. These summer research opportunities allow small groups of students to work in research programs at various host institutions.
Siena Heights University biology majors have interned at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Colorado State University, and Indiana University, for instance. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. Local internships and co-ops are also possible.
Here are a couple of recent internship experiences:
SHU Biology students Maria Butler and Joseph Lemanski were awarded research internships in the summer of 2011. Butler conducted her research in Turkey studying the responses of the European honeybees to different odors, including alcohol. Lemanski spent his summer in Texas examining the effects of the 2010 British Petroleum oil spill on the deep-water organisms in the Gulf of Mexico.
"I had the opportunity to spend the summer in Turkey and participate in a summer research program for undergraduates. We were able to travel and at the same time learn and practice research in the lab and in the field. The group that I worked with used classical conditioning methods on European honeybees to test for a response to different odors."
"I spent 10 weeks in Galveston, Texas, participating in a National Science Foundation Research Experience for undergraduates program studying the effects of the 2010 British Petroleum oil spill on deep-Gulf of Mexico benthic communities.
I found that several classes of animals showed significant changes in abundance and percent composition. In particular, crustaceans decreased, while aplacophorans increased. These results indicate that the equilibrium of the deep-sea community has been disrupted. This internship was an experience I will never forget and has provided many more opportunities for the continuation of my educational career."
Learn more about the Xi Omega chapter of the Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) National Biological Society.
The Xi Omega chapter of Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) National Biological Society is a campus club dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study through the stimulation of scholarships, the dissemination of scientific knowledge, and the promotion of biological research.
Members of the Xi Omega chapter of TriBeta attend professional conferences, host speakers, and participate in community projects.
SHU biology students Stephen Porter (at right) and Kelci Schock (left) were awarded first and third place, respectively, after presenting the results of their research projects at the 2013 regional Beta Beta Beta conference at the University of Dayton. For their research projects, Stephen examined the effects of a mutation on the growth and seed germination of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, while Kelci studied the diversity of dragonflies and damselflies in Adrian. Porter and Schock were joined by fellow students Michael Balinski, Phil DeVries, Becky Elliot, Ryan Gumbleton, and Maggie Morrison who also presented along with more than 100 students from 10 universities representing three states.
Coe Wins National Biology Research Award
Siena Heights University graduate Lauren Coe '12 won a national biology award for her presentation at the national Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society research conference in May 2012 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Coe, a native of Perrysburg, Ohio, earned the Frank Brooks Award in ecology for her presentation on the effects of leaf color on the landing choice, egg-laying preference and larval growth of the cabbage white butterfly.
“Why female butterflies prefer to lay their eggs on certain plants, but not others, has puzzled biologists for over a century,” said SHU Professor of Biology Dr. Jun Tsuji, who guided and supervised Coe’s research. “The prevailing thought is that the females choose to lay eggs on plants that are the most suitable for the growth of their offspring. Lauren’s research results, however, suggest that female butterfly behavior may not always be for the benefit of her offspring.”
Coe is only the second Siena Heights student to earn a first place at the national biology conference. Billy Houghteling also received the honor in 1996.
Coe was one of more than 300 students from 52 colleges and universities who presented at the conference. An 11-member delegation from SHU’s Xi Omega chapter of Beta Beta Beta attended the national conference. She also received a first place for her presentation at the regional Beta Beta Beta conference in March.
In addition, Jared Pirkle '12 earned a third place for his presentation at the same conference in May 2012.
Pirkle, a native of Deerfield, Mich., earned the John Johnson Award in organismal biology for his poster presentation on the circadian activity of the house mouse.
According to SHU Professor of Biology Dr. Carl Kaster, who guided and supervised Pirkle’s research, Pirkle used the house mouse during his research project to study circadian activity.
Meet Lacey Wilmot Rao, Class of 2002
Lacey Wilmot Rao
What Lacey is Doing: Orthopedic surgeon, Tucson, Ariz.
An orthopedic surgeon and active community volunteer in Tucson, Ariz., Lacey Wilmot Rao credited Siena Heights with some important lessons.
“You don’t go to college to learn ‘things,’ you go to learn how to learn,” she said, noting how quickly things change in medicine. “The faculty at Siena do a tremendous job of teaching more than facts; they teach you how to seek knowledge. I encourage today’s students to remember that much of what we know now will change. Try to focus on refining how to think and learn, as opposed to only memorizing facts.”
Her experiences as a student and athlete at SHU taught her that “working hard, knowing how to think, and working well with others will make you successful in life. But what will make you happy? The simple answer is, doing what you love and sharing your talents with the world. Choose to do the thing that excites you, that makes you feel proud of your work, and that makes you smile.”