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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."

Cody Hansen '15: influence

Cody Hansen originally came to college wanting to be a microbiologist until he learned that his true passion was in mathematics. "My biggest influence in college was Dr. Clauss. After high school, I was burned out on math, but decided to give it another chance. I took Calculus 2 with him and never stopped taking math classes since."

Ben Hodges '15: preparation

Ben Hodges plans to work for a year as an emergency medical technician in preparation for physician assisstant school in 2016. "I have known I wanted to have a career in medicine since high school. While four years ago I may not have been as set on being a PA (physician assistant) as I am now, taking the steps to attend PA school has always been something I have considered."

Mary Brugge '15: challenges

Mary Brugge is an Augustana legacy, with both her parents being Augustana alumni. She is a major in biology for pre-physical therapy. She states "fortunately, my time at Augustana has allowed me to gain valuable experiences and has challenged me academically, making me a competitive applicant for physical therapy schools."

Stephanie Burbidge '15: the right path

Stephanie Burbidge is an intelligent biology major who has been accepted into the Washington University School of Medicine for the Doctorate of Physical Therapy program this fall. She says "Although I have stayed on the same path these past four years, I have learned and experienced A LOT more than I ever imagined throughout my career here at Augustana."

Courtney Camlin '15: change in direction

Courtney Camlin is a neuroscience major who is attributes her inspiration to her grandfather. She states "During my spring term as a freshman, my grandpa was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I went straight to the neuroscience department and changed my major from social welfare to neuroscience. I was determined to find the cure for Alzheimer's."

Massive bee die-offs hitting the QCA

Tierney Brosius, assistant professor of biology, explains why the loss of bees means declining food security. “I would say about 50% if not three-quarters of the products on the shelves in the grocery store would be negatively impacted by a drop in pollinators overall,” she told KWQC News. “Unfortunately, it is a lot to do with us. It’s a combination of habitat loss, nutritional issues.”

Banwell '73 honored for public health work

Timothy Banwell '73 has been named Wisconsin Environmental Health Professional of the Year. He is director of the the Rock County Health Department. “I happened to see a job offer in local public health department in Illinois.," he said. "I fell in love with preventing people from getting sick and injured." After graduating from Augustana with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in chemistry, he earned a master’s degree in public health at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

20,000 bees (with two queens) moving into Augie Acres

Earlier this spring, the Augustana Local Agriculture Society met at Augie Acres to decide on a fun, challenging project for the student-run garden. Looking at an abandoned hive at the edge of the property, sophomore Jamie Fee repeated an idea she'd had last year: "Bees!" And so Augie Acres will welcome six pounds of Carniolan bees from California.

Emily Pavlik '15: pieces fell into place

"Coming into Augustana four years ago, I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I liked biology and considered pre-med or pre-PA, but wasn't very passionate about either of them. I took my first geography class early in my junior year and all the pieces came together."
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