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.
UE Professor Awarded $300,000 NSF Grant for Genetics Research
Joyce Stamm, PhD, professor of biology at the University of Evansville (UE), was recently awarded a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The grant, in which Stamm is a co-principal investigator, will be applied over three years to an ongoing genetics-focused research initiative.
The collaborative project, titled “A Multi-Institutional Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience in Genetics,” is led by Jacob Kagey, PhD, at the University of Detroit Mercy and has co-principal investigators from a total of four institutions, including UE. The grant funds plan to expand the research project to a total of 20 institutions. The overall goal is to make research experiences more accessible for students historically underrepresented in biomedical research. This includes programs at community colleges and universities with large minority populations.
The grant is part of NSF’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education program, which seeks to enhance STEM education for undergraduate students by utilizing alternative methods to teaching and learning. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in jobs related to STEM – or science, technology, engineering, and math – continues to be a rapidly growing, in-demand field.
Stamm, who has worked with Kagey on the project since 2016, incorporates a semester-long research project into her genetics course. Participating students map genetic mutations that cause tumor formation in fruit flies. These mutations can offer clues as to what goes wrong in similar diseases among humans. To date, two papers have been published describing the results of this work.
Over the last five years, nearly 100 students have benefitted from the research experience in genetics courses taught by Stamm and Julie Merkle, PhD, assistant professor of biology. Stamm said she is excited to continue this initiative and provide impactful opportunities for future biology students.
“I have a passion for developing college courses with opportunities for conducting original research because it increases student interest and retention in STEM majors and careers,” said Stamm. “Collaborative projects like this grant project are highly beneficial in higher education because they provide important infrastructure and support for professors. We can then turn around and pass on these opportunities to our students.”
In the past, Stamm has taken advantage of large national projects in genomics and microbiology to incorporate research projects into introductory and advanced courses. Now, she is excited to “pay it forward” through her direct involvement in this project, which will expand research opportunities for future students.
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.