Beyond the Classroom
At UE, the classroom is only the beginning. Through numerous research, field study, and study abroad opportunities, our students put their knowledge to work outside the classroom.
UE's Department of Biology offers multiple bachelors degree programs to prepare students for success in whatever they pursue after graduation.
Whether at the top of their med school classes or launching successful careers, UE Biology alumni are doing exceptional work around the world.
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.
- Among the 2013 graduating seniors, 20 percent are enrolled in medical school, 27 percent are enrolled in graduate programs in the life sciences, and 40 percent have begun careers in STEM-related areas.
- 94 percent of UE biology graduates, across the past five years, are currently studying or working in a STEM-related field.
- Of the 2013 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.
Cris Hochwender Helps Plant Educational Experience at Local School
Using a gift of diverse native plants from the Native Plant Garden in the Koch Center for Engineering and Science Courtyard, professor of biology Cris Hochwender has collaborated with Gena Garrett, education program coordinator for Wesselman Nature Society on her Serve Indiana grant.
Together with Harper Elementary School, Garrett is establishing several plots of native plants to help elementary students engage in outdoor ecological experiences. By establishing gardens in the school’s yard, children will be able to see the wildlife that utilizes a diverse array of native asters, mints, legumes, and milkweeds, thereby allowing students to experience nature and learn about native species in parallel with their established curriculum.
If you are interested in helping with this project or other educational opportunities associated with Wesselman Nature Society, please contact Garrett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in organizing an educational tour for a UE group, please contact Hochwender at email@example.com.
Plants donated from the UE native garden will help fulfill the required $500 local in-kind portion of the grant.
Biology Students Receive Awards
The Biology Awards Reception was held recently to honor the outstanding achievements of UE biology students during the 2015-16 academic year.
The James A. Brenneman Student Service Award in Biology was given to Andrew Nunn, and the Patricia L. Akrabawi Teaching Assistant Award in Biology was presented to Taylor Davidson. These awards are named in honor of Jim Brenneman and Pat Akrabawi, respectively, for their long and generous commitment to UE biology students.
The Jerry T. Seng Freshman Biology Award recognizes retired faculty member Jerry Seng for his years of tireless devotion to the success of students, especially freshmen. The recipient of the most outstanding freshman award was Kelly Nixon.
Elizabeth Daugherty received the David and Jennifer Pollock Sophomore Biology Award, named in honor of David and Jennifer Pollock, ’78 for their generous support and contributions to the biology department.
Kate Slater received the P. “Louie” Winternheimer Junior Biology Award, named in memory of Louie Winternheimer for his 39 years of distinguished teaching and service at UE.
The outstanding senior award is named in honor of UE benefactors Dr. and Mrs. Robertson. The Charles and Patricia Robertson Senior Biology Award was presented to Alexandra Arguello.
Biology Professors to Teach for Indiana Master Naturalists Program
Dale Edwards and Cris Hochwender, biology department faculty members, will be teaching courses for the Indiana Master Naturalist program. Their topics will include the ecological framework for the program, tree identification training, and the negative impacts of human activity on natural resources.
The Indiana Master Naturalist program brings together natural resource specialists with adult learners to foster an understanding of Indiana's plants, waters, soils and wildlife and to promote volunteer service in local communities. People with a passion for the natural world can take this opportunity to build their knowledge and skills. For more information contact Gena Garrett at
Gifts from Vectren and Alcoa for UE Greenhouse
The Office of Development is pleased to announce that the Alcoa Foundation and the Vectren Foundation will be providing funding to support the current greenhouse project. Vectren has committed to $50,000 while Alcoa has agreed to $40,000.
This is very exciting news in that these two gifts complete fundraising for the project with a total of $701,000 being raised from alumni, friends, and now local corporate foundations. The lead gift for the project was provided by Sharon and Burkley McCarthy. Sharon and Burke were inducted as honorary members of the UE Alumni Association in 2004. Sharon serves as a member of the UE Board of Trustees.
Biology Professor Publishes Article
Professor of Biology Dale Edwards, Brian Ernsting, and two biology research students, Taylor Timbrook and Margaret Frerichs, published an article "Preliminary evidence of cryptic species among host-associated populations of Unionicola hoesei (Acari: Unionicolidae)" in the International Journal of Acarology. The results of this study are part of a much larger research program characterizing cryptic biodiversity among unionicolid mussel-mites.
UE Graduate Scott Fites Publishes in the Journal "Nature"
University of Evansville biology alumnus Scott Fites coauthored a research article titled “Amphibians acquire resistance to live and dead fungus overcoming fungal immunosuppression” in a recent issue of the journal Nature. The research was featured on the cover of the journal.
In the article, Scott and his colleagues present experiments demonstrating that several species of frogs can overcome a fugal pathogen – one that has been implicated in the declines of many amphibian species worldwide – after repeated exposure and can even be immunized against it using dead pathogen.
Scott, who received his degree from UE in 2009, is currently a post-doctoral fellow at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
UE Professors Awarded Grant for Science, Math Scholarships
University of Evansville faculty members Joyce Stamm, associate professor of biology, and Adam Salminen, associate professor of mathematics, have secured a five-year, $610,600 grant through the National Science Foundation’s S-STEM (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program to assist students in science and mathematics. The grant is one of about 90 awarded from the 436 proposals submitted to the S-STEM program, and is the largest faculty grant in school history.
The award provides funds for financial, academic, and professional support for students majoring in the sciences and mathematics. The majority of the grant, around $528,000, will fund the new UE Science and Math Scholarship (SAMS), which will provide four-year scholarships to approximately 34 academically talented students with financial need who are majoring in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, environmental science, mathematics, or physics.
The grant also provides funds for new support services for science and mathematics majors at UE. These services include an introductory summer course for incoming students, a semester-long course on study skills and time management, monthly career colloquiums, and a science and math-themed living-learning community in a campus residence hall. These activities will be available to all math and science students at UE and will continue after the grant ends in 2018.
“This grant not only represents an incredible opportunity to transform the lives of future students at the University of Evansville, but the National Science Foundation’s decision to fund the proposal also demonstrates the University’s outstanding track record of preparing students to succeed in math and science careers and graduate programs,” said John Mosbo, UE senior vice president for academic affairs. “At UE, students receive a personalized education that equips them to make an impact on the national shortfall of qualified STEM professionals. Dr. Salminen and Dr. Stamm’s successful grant application affirms that commitment to teaching.”
“Thanks to this grant, we’ll be able to help an even greater number of high-achieving students pursue an education at the University of Evansville,” said Salminen. “We expect that the SAMS scholarship will increase enrollment of students majoring in math and the sciences.”
“The new student success initiatives will also help ease students’ transitions from high school to college, and from college to graduate school or the workforce,” Stamm added. “We believe this level of personal support will increase retention of students in math and science majors, and ultimately increase the number of qualified professionals in the STEM workforce.”
SAMS scholarships will be available starting with UE’s entering freshman class of 2014. For selection criteria and application details, interested students may visit the program website.
UE's Dale Edwards Publishes New Book
Dale Edwards, professor and chair of the Department of Biology at the University of Evansville, has published a new book, Mites of Freshwater Mollusks. Edwards co-authored the book with his colleague Malcolm Vidrine, a retired professor of biology at Louisiana State University-Eunice.
“Often the least among us most inform us, and these mites are living proof,” said Edwards. “These mites and their host mussels serve as an excellent example of the roles that little-known organisms play in the health and survival of natural areas. They also serve as indicator organisms that can be used to analyze the impact of various kinds of environmental changes.”
The book provides a summary of worldwide research on the mites parasitizing freshwater mollusks and integrates new data regarding the evolutionary relationships among these mites. The mollusks, mainly freshwater mussels, are also major topics of the book: These mussels are considered the most threatened freshwater organisms in the world, with many species either federally protected or extinct.
The book provides numerous ideas for future research for students and scientists, and it focuses on the theme of conserving, protecting, and preserving watersheds, which provide numerous services both for wildlife and for humans, including drinking water.
Mites of Freshwater Mollusks is available at Amazon.com.
Biology students sweep conference awards!
Congratulations to our Biology majors that swept the first place awards in both the oral presentation and poster presentation sections at MESCON - the undergraduate Math, Science and Engineering Conference 2013. Ashley Rich earned first place in the oral presentation category. Coauthors Taylor Schoenheit and Taylor Timbrook tied for first with Emmy Ogawa in the Biology poster category. Great job all!
Biology Seniors Score in 99th percentile:
Once again the seniors in Biology tested in the highest category on the nationally administered Major Field Test in Biology. The test assesses mastery of concepts, principles and knowledge of graduating Biology students from approximately 400 institutions nationwide. It is important to note that our students receive no coaching or exam preparation materials prior to the exam, so it is to their credit that they perform at such a high level. Congratulations seniors!
Bio major research abstract chosen as official template
Senior biology/pre-med and psychology student, Shemikah A. Colleton's abstract tilted "Development and optimization of quantitative image analysis for hepatocyte BrdU labeling indices using NIS-Elements software" has been chosen by the Society of Toxicological Pathologists as the official template for all abstract submissions for the 2013 annual convention in Portland, Oregon. Congratulations Shemikah!
Aces Baseball Player Discovers New Species
Junior Biology major and Aces Pitcher James Kohler's discovery of a new species of bacteria was featured on Inside Aces Athletics. To see more of how he integrates athletics and academics click on the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUt2s2wIRW0