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Biology

Pre-medicine and biochemistry major Christina Scribano is conducting a research project with Dr. Scott Gehler on the molecular mechanisms involved in breast cancer metastasis.

  • Careers/internships
  • About the program
  • What students say

About half of Augustana biology majors go to graduate school for basic biology, genetics and ecology, or medical, dental, nursing or veterinarian programs. Others go on for graduate studies in optometry, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy or physician assistant careers.

Graduates may be found at the universities and medical schools of Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California State, Southern Illinois, Western Illinois, Northwestern and many more.

Augustana graduates who go straight into their careers are employed at hospitals, industry and government. Among them are Eli Lilly, Abbott Laboratories, Amoco, the Shedd Aquarium, the FBI and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Many biology majors participate in Augustana's summer Texas Medical Center Internship Program in Houston. For example, 2013 grad Doug Peters worked in Dr. Mary K. Estes's molecular virology lab at Baylor College of Medicine. Peters is currently in the doctorate program in microbiology at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

This storytelling map shows where some biology graduates are and what they're doing.

More 2013 graduates:

Emma Baldwin was offered a job at the Living Desert Zoo in southern California after having an internship there.

Hannah Hart's Senior Inquiry project in prokaryotic genomics under Dr. Lori Scott was a peak experience. Now Hart is at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.

Kai Yin (Queenie) Ho is studying biological anthropology at St. John's College, University of Cambridge, through the Davies-Jackson Scholarship.

Augustana offers a biology major and minor, a biology teaching major and a major in pre-medicine, as well as coordinated degree programs and affiliation with graduate programs in the professional health sciences.

Biology is the primary major for students in the pre-professional health fields: medicine, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, optometry and dentistry. Students can begin the general biology major and choose a specific program later.

All biology majors are required to engage in the scientific process by conducting a research project before they graduate. Most complete research projects on campus, for example as part of the Senior Inquiry curriculum. Many others are accepted into off-campus research experiences, including internships, in a diversity of biology-related environments and locations, which can be viewed in this storytelling map of current students.

Facts and distinctions

The 13 department faculty all have a Ph.D. and specialize in different areas. All teach both lecture and lab portions of their classes.

Augustana's international study terms often include biology work, such as ethnozoology in Latin America and conservation in Ghana.

Augustana ranks among the top 60 U.S. small liberal arts colleges in the sciences, based on the number of graduates earning a Ph.D.

Augustana offers study in a human cadaver lab, one of very few undergraduate institutions to do so.

The college owns three environmental field stations totaling more than 600 acres. Courses at the stations include study of local flora, entomology, aquatic biology and environmental sampling for vertebrates. Research includes prairie restoration, animal ecology and conservation biology.

Emma Baldwin '13, biology and Spanish; working at The Living Desert Zoo in southern California after completing an internship there
"My peak experience was definitely my zookeeping internship at a zoo in California during winter term of my senior year. I got hands-on keeping experience with new species in a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. I even got hired as a temporary keeper during my internship! This experience helped me discover exactly where I want to be after graduation. As a freshman, I also didn’t realize the value of a liberal arts education — but now I know it is vital in becoming the well-rounded individual today’s employers are looking for."

Hannah Hart '13, biology and pre-veterinary medicine; attending the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine
"Attending vet school was always my goal, but I don’t think I realized how much I would grow personally and academically in my four years at Augustana. There are so many resources on campus to help students get where they want to go, and I found myself surrounded by the most amazing, driven, talented and passionate students, faculty and staff. I know that they played a big part in my development into a more confident individual and a more able scientist. I didn’t imagine that I would achieve such growth when I started my undergraduate career."

Kai Yin (Queenie) Ho '13, anthropology and biology; studying biological anthropology at St. John's College, University of Cambridge, after receiving the $50,000 Davies-Jackson Scholarship
"I chose Augustana College because of its emphasis on the liberal arts. I knew that at Augie I could pursue interests and studies in disciplines besides my major. Before moving to the United States, my family spent several years in Guam, where I became interested in cultural studies. During high school, I was introduced to the biological sciences, and I have been pursuing both interests ever since. Now I am pursuing a course of study in biological anthopology at my dream school. I couldn’t ask for more."

Hasselmo winner has heart and mind in the right place

Fueled by a heart defect and an interest in research, junior Brandon Wills earned the 2015 Hasselmo Prize for Academic Pursuit and its $5,000 award. The biology major will conduct genetics research at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Ill., this summer.

Adventurer of the Year to speak at Environmental Film Festival

Deia Schlosberg, environmental filmmaker and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, will be the featured speaker at the 10th annual Environmental Film Festival March 28. Films will run from 11 a.m.­- 4:15 p.m. in Olin Auditorium. Admission is free; doors open at 10:30 a.m.

Stephanie Burbidge '15: hard work pays off

"I always thought that becoming a physical therapist was what I wanted to do with my life, so it is such an amazing feeling getting into the PT school of my dreams and seeing all my hard work these past four years finally paying off."

Jacob Groselak '15: dental school plus

Jacob Groselak came to Augustana with plans to be come a dentist but feels that I’m more prepared for dental school than he expected. "The liberal arts education has helped me develop into a well-rounded individual. Because I've had to take classes in the arts and social sciences, for example, I will be able to more readily discuss a variety of topics with my patients and make informed decisions."

Ben Hodges '15: making the most of education

Ben Hodges '15, en route to becoming a physician assistant, says he was very surprised to learn just how enthusiastic he became about his education while at Augustana. "I grew tremendously in regards to taking my education into my own hands and making the most of it."

Rebecca Post '15: the path to biostats

Rebecca Post '15 is excited to head to grad school to study biostatistics, but four years ago she had never heard of the field. "Honestly I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I do not think I would have found this field without Augustana and being able to explore many different majors."

Students combine research and recreation in Denver

The Quad Cities is a rich location for internships and research. But some students want the added experience of practicing in their field while living in another part of the world. The Augustana in Denver internship program gives them that.The city is home to many alumni, providing students a strong career and internship network, and occasional invitations to dinner.

Stump '04 specializes in giraffes

Kristina Stump, an animal handler at Niabi Zoo, has a special relationship with the zoo’s three giraffes. A biology graduate from Augustana College, Stump has worked full-time at Niabi for nine years. Her job requires patience but offers plenty of variety. “There’s always something unexpected,” she said. “Also, I really enjoy the relationship you can have with the animals. Like with the bull giraffe; there’s a lot of trust there and it takes a long time to build that up.”

New public health major leads to wide-ranging careers

Augustana students looking to make their mark on the world have another entry in the health field, a new major in public health that opens an array of career fields, while drawing on the college's strong tradition in the liberal arts and health sciences.
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