Introduction

The University of Evansville biology major gives students the tools needed to succeed in graduate school, professional school, and in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)-related jobs. We provide purposeful learning experiences through research conducted individually through UExplore, Evansville's undergraduate research program, or one-on-one with professors. Learning is done in a hands-on environment either in faculty research labs, large greenhouse and animal facilities, or through fieldwork in the U.S. or abroad.

The University of Evansville biology department delivers results:

  • Last year’s senior class of professional biology majors tested in the top one percent nationally based upon the ETS Major Field Test for Biology.
  • 80 percent of last year’s senior class received support to conduct undergraduate research, both at UE and at other universities.
  • 90 percent of UE biology graduates, across the past five years, are currently studying or working in a STEM-related field.
  • Of the 2015 class that applied to graduate school, 100 percent were accepted.
  • In addition to University-based scholarship support, biology majors can receive merit-based financial aid through endowed scholarships for biology students.
  • 60 percent of last year’s biology graduating class participated in study abroad programs.

Departmental News

  • University of Evansville Celebrates 161st Commencement Ceremony on May 11

    The University of Evansville bestowed 497 degrees upon 475 graduates during the 161st commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11. President Christopher Pietruszkiewicz presided. 

    Several awards were given at the ceremony including the Mabel Dillingham Nenneker and Guthrie May Outstanding Senior Award, the Alumni Association's Outstanding Teacher Award, and the Eykamp Prize. Additionally, three honorary degrees were given during the celebration. 

    Full information on the award recipients is as follows: 

    2019 Mabel Dillingham Nenneker and Guthrie May Outstanding Senior Award
    Each year, a committee of students and faculty selects an award recipient for the most outstanding senior. The selection is based on high academic performance, a commitment to service, outstanding leadership, and involvement in diverse campus activities. The award is named for two of the University’s most respected alumni, Mabel Dillingham Nenneker and Guthrie May. 

    This year’s recipient is Chace Avery. He truly embodies the spirit of philanthropy, innovation, and changemaking that are at the heart of the University of Evansville experience.

    As a biochemistry student, research led Avery to an internship with the National Institutes of Health where he performed data analysis on a clinical trial focused on patients with severe insulin resistance.

    While president of his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Avery created a new philanthropy event called the Patriot’s Run to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project where participants ran a 5k wearing backpacks, mirroring our US troops who wear heavy backpacks every day.

    Avery says the pride and joy of his UE experience has been his involvement in Habitat for Humanity. He served as the President for Habitat for Humanity for two years, during which time he planned and executed the nation’s first Habitat for Humanity Barn Blitz. This event brought 200 UE students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members together to build 30 yard barns to accompany Habitat for Humanity Homes in Evansville. He also worked on the 499th Habitat for Humanity House in Evansville and was part of the inaugural Evansville team to build a Habitat for Humanity House while abroad in Portugal. To bring his involvement full circle, he will be building another home with UE students in Chacala, Mexico after graduation.

    Avery also took a ChangeLab class focused on the development of Tiny Homes for the homeless in Evansville and was able to serve at a women’s shelter called Ruth’s House. He was a part of Student Christian Fellowship, an active Orientation Leader, and was a co-founder for the University’s Ballroom Dancing Club.

    Avery has done all of the above while still maintaining an outstanding academic record, appearing on the Dean’s list every single semester of his UE career.

    In August, Avery will attend Indiana University School of Medicine to pursue a medical specialty in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. He says he plans to continue making a difference in the world of medicine through innovative philanthropy, just as he has at UE.

    UE Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher Award
    Professor Atefeh Yazdanparast was awarded the 2019 UE Alumni Association's Outstanding Teacher Award. Yazdanparast is highly revered by students and colleagues alike. Many say she is the best professor they’ve ever had and others think the best instructor at UE!

    Dean Rawski says she is an exceptional teacher and scholar, and connects well with her students.

    Yazdanparast received her Ph.D. in Marketing with a minor in Business Anthropology from the University of North Texas in 2012. Since joining the UE faculty in 2012, she has been the recipient of the 2018 Dean’s Teaching Award, the 2018 National Society of Leadership and Success Excellence in Teaching Award, Class of 1961 Faculty Fellowship Award in 2017, Global Scholar Award in 2015, and the Dean’s Research Award in both 2014 and 2016. 

    Recently, Yazdanparast was named the 2019 Master Scholar award recipient by Marketing Management Association as part of an international competition to recognize marketing scholars who have engaged in innovative and impactful research. Following a multi-disciplinary and multi-method approach, Yazdanparast conducts qualitative and quantitative research and collaborates with researchers in other disciplines. Focusing on decision making, a majority of her intellectual contributions fall within the areas of social psychology of consumer behavior and the interplay of consumers and technology and her work has been published in many journals.

    Yazdanparast teaches several marketing courses including digital marketing, marketing research, principles of marketing, and consumer behavior. She is committed to providing experiential learning opportunities for her students, and they have incorporated more than 20 marketing projects for local and global businesses.

    Eykamp Prize
    The 2019 recipient of the Eykamp Prize is professor Kristy Miller.

    Since arriving at UE, she received the Sadelle and Sydney Berger Service Award for her involvement with student recruitment; and her efforts have been successful as her department has seen increased enrollments. She was also selected as one of the Evansville Business Journal’s 20 under 40, an honor that recognizes young leaders who make a difference in their community.

    Miller is chair of the Department of Chemistry and instrumental to recruiting and retaining the best and brightest students to her department. In addition to mentoring Chemistry majors, she maintains contact with alumni and supports them throughout their professional careers. To keep alumni engaged in the life of the University, Dr. Miller hosts engaging events on campus, giving them a reason to return to Evansville.

    Miller has also played a key role in fundraising to support her department. Most recently, she received funds to support undergraduate research and a distinguished lecture series from the Jean Dreyfus Lectureship.

  • Faculty Honored at Celebration of Teaching Excellence

    The First Annual Celebration of Teaching Excellence was held on Monday, May 6, and honored faculty teaching accomplishments and activities in pedagogical development during the academic year. This was the first year that the Eykamp Center for Teaching Excellence offered two certificates for faculty members who met requirements of engagement and participation in ECTE sponsored events.

    Faculty members earning the 2018-2019 New Faculty Engagement Certificate were:
    Alison Jones, Lecturer/Transition to Teaching Coordinator, School of Education
    Julie Merkle, Assistant Professor of Biology, Department of Biology
    Sara Petrosillo, Assistant Professor of English, Department of English

    Faculty members earning the 2018-2019 Teaching Development Certificate were:
    Heather Fenton, Assistant Professor of Management, Schroeder School of Business Administration
    Lisa Marie Hale, Assistant Professor of Education, School of Education
    Jessie Lofton, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering
    Mary Lombardo-Graves, Assistant Professor of Special Education, School of Education
    Diana Rodríguez Quevedo, Associate Professor of Spanish, Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures

    Finally, the inaugural Leadership in Teaching Excellence Award was presented to Diana Rodríguez Quevedo, Associate Professor of Spanish, for her commitment to her personal teaching development, supporting the growth of others, and strengthening teaching excellence across the campus community.

    Congratulations and thank you to all of our faculty colleagues for their commitment to teaching excellence at the University of Evansville!

    The Celebration of Teaching Excellence was hosted by the Eykamp Center for Teaching Excellence and made possible with the generous support of Rita and Richard Eykamp.

  • Monarch and Milkweed Changelab Shares Knowledge and Milkweed Plants

    The Monarchs and Milkweed Changelab team have finished their last event - a milkweed give-away at Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve.

    While at nature center of WWNP, the team gifted the attendees with native milkweed plants and played a monarch game with kids who attended. In addition, the team shared seeds of native plants that can be grown in people’s backyards. The seeds given away came from UE’s Native Plant Garden, which provides a venue where over 100 species of native flowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees.

    Native plant diversity has great value for several reasons, including beneficial ecosystem services through improved ecosystem function, support for native insects (including insect herbivores and pollinators), and the food resources to other animals (e.g., birds via seeds and/or prey items). Unfortunately, habitat destruction has led to the loss of wetlands, prairies, and forests, resulting in reduced numbers of native plant species. As one would expect, the loss of floral diversity has caused a reduction in the number of herbivores and pollinators, and a reduction in ecosystem services. Every action you take to grow your own native plants will help butterflies, bees, and birds.

    To see a video story on this subject, please go here.

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