PUC’s department of biology is well known for a rigorous lineup of classes. While the majority of biology students continue on to medical, dental, and veterinary schools there are other focuses as well. The department often ventures out of the classrooms utilizing our great location giving students the opportunity to learn in a variety of ways, while also allowing the professors to get to know their students better.
To give you more insight into the great community within this department, Aimee Wyrick, Chair and Associate Professor of Biology, gladly answered some questions for us.
What is your favorite thing about teaching in your department?
My students and colleagues! I am blessed to work with a great team and I get to teach really interesting and fun classes.
What makes your department unique compared to other departments at PUC?
Biology is part of an amazing network on our campus and so, at our core, we are all #onePUC. However, our department is unique (beyond the obvious) in that the curriculum we teach has tangible real-world applications. We also have a lot of hands-on opportunities that range from activities in Clark Hall labs to local and distant field trips.
What makes your department at PUC unique compared to the same program at other colleges and universities?
As a small college, the professors have a genuine interest in student success. Biology classes aren’t easy but the faculty are here to provide support, guidance, and mentorship. Faculty support of our students builds their confidence and helps them to develop the ever-important “soft skills” alongside the critical knowledge for whatever career a student pursues. We also have a very successful peer mentorship program – the BIOneers – that partners new students with returning students.
What are some cool things your department is doing?
Of course, much of our “normal” operations are on hold right now but we look forward to having students back on campus soon and continuing with the following: Most Biology faculty have active research programs and provide opportunities for any student that is interested and eligible to participate in undergraduate research experiences. Our department sponsors frequent domestic and international field biology courses and research trips (Alaska, Brazilian Amazon, Honduras, Fiji, Micronesia, Mexico, and Kenya). Many of our classes utilize the PUC forest, Howell Mountain Farm, and Albion Field Station for field biology opportunities (and research)
Can you share a few examples of exciting things alumni from your department are doing?
Where do I start? Most recently we learned one of our graduates (class of 2009) was just named an Assistant Professor of Pathology at LLU School of Medicine. Another graduate (2012) is working on a Ph.D. at UCSB in the areas of Spatial Ecology, Remote Sensing, Land-use Change, and Deforestation. Yet another graduate (2015) is an entomologist earning a Ph.D. at Utah State University. And a recent graduate (2020) starts her first year at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. We have so many accomplished alumni and it’s too bad I can’t tell you what they’re all doing! They make us proud and we cherish the memories of their time in Clark Hall.
What’s something your department is well known for? Why do you think that is?
We are well known for our pre-professional program preparation. A majority of our majors continue to medical, dental, or veterinary school. Though our graduates are blessed to have a variety of excellent teachers across campus, the science faculty prepare students for the rigors of medical and dental school. We have a number of classes that are specifically tailored to the pre-professional student (e.g., histology and advanced human anatomy) that our graduate’s report is professional-school level.
What’s something a new student can look forward to about joining your department?
We have a focus on building community in the department of biology and being part of the BIOneer Mentorship Program is a must-do for new students. New students can look forward to meeting and getting to know a bunch of cool people (including the Bio professors) and getting to know the nooks and crannies of Clark Hall. A new student shouldn’t be surprised to meet (and learn) the names of our reptile menagerie, like Fred the Burmese python.
For more information about the department of biology or any of our other academic programs visit our website!