an e-newsletter for students and alumni of saint michael's biology department

Chair's Message
Fall 2008





This fall semester finds us working with our largest Biology Senior class in more than a decade.

This class has achieved some noteworthy accomplishments beyond the Saint Michael's classroom: more than 30% have studied abroad and more than 20% conducted an independent research project with an Saint Michael's Biology faculty member.

Five more Biology seniors will travel to Costa Rica this winter break with Professors Peter Hope and Doug Green for our Tropical Ecology course. Many of our seniors are student-athletes in a variety of sports and participate in the Saint Michael's Wilderness program, the volunteer efforts of MOVE, and the Saint Michael's Fire and Rescue squad. For our seniors, this coming spring semester, the Biology faculty who are teaching Senior Seminar will add new project work to the course sections focused upon the application of biology to three separate areas:

  • Human health (Professor Doug Facey’s section)
  • The environment and entrepreneurship (my section)
  • Environmental education (Professor Declan McCabe’s section)

This seminar provides a liberal arts capstone experience with a main focus upon the history of science and its role in society. The addition to this course of project work should not only help fulfill student interests within the different tracks, but also engage our students in working with other students in their learning community and working with the local community. The interdisciplinary aspects of these ventures will provide valuable experience to our students as they transition from the academic world of distinct disciplines to the “real world” of work that crosses the boundaries of separate academic areas. We are looking forward to seeing what the Spring semester and the future will bring for these Seniors.

In this edition of our e- newsletter, we highlight the recent accomplishments of our faculty, students, and two of our alumni who have had great success in the areas of healthcare and environmental biology: Elena Wellens ’96 and Jim O’Brien '87. We will present more accounts of the successes of our graduates in future editions, so alumni please stay in touch with us.


Valerie S. Banschbach
Chair, Department of Biology


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