Thursday, September 30, 2010

Author, author......

At St. Mike's our faculty are teachers first and foremost. This is why we came here - to work closely with students, help them learn, and help guide them toward their futures. In addition to our teaching, however, we also contribute to our academic disciplines, largely through research and writing. This helps keep us connected to our peers and to progress in our disciplines.

For example, over the last several years Professor Donna Bozzone, who teaches courses in General Biology, Cell Biology, and Developmental Biology, has been active in writing and editing a series of books on the Biology of Cancer for Chelsea House Publishers. Donna has written three books herself (Cancer Genetics, Leukemia, and Causes of Cancer) and has served as editer for 6 other books. Donna is also now working on a General Biology textbook with departmental colleague Doug Green.

Other faculty have also contributed to books in their specific subdisciplines of Biology, as well as research journal publications, some of which include our students as coauthors. Our faculty and students are an active group - both in and out of the classroom

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Letters, letters......and more letters

This past week I wrote letters of recommendation for three different students – one for study abroad, two for post-graduate professional health-care programs. This is one of the important functions of college faculty. Sure, we teach our classes, grade papers, do research and write research publications (sometimes with student coauthors!),serve on some committees, advise students,..... AND we write lots of letters to help students get internships, jobs, and accepted to graduate programs.

What we say in those letters depends on what we observe about a student’s motivation, commitment, participation in classes, sense of responsibility, passion, drive, ability to lead, ability to work collaboratively, level of independent and creative thinking.... among other things. The transcript will show the grades – the letters tell the story of the person behind the grades, and this is what graduate admissions offices and potential employers really want to know.

What we can report in our letters about a student is completely based on what we observe, which is a function of what that student demonstrates to us. This is one reason that being a student at an institution with reasonably small classes can be a great advantage – but only if the student uses the opportunity wisely. Faculty have the opportunity to get to know students well enough to write letters that can be really helpful, if the students demonstrate traits that can be the basis of a good letter. And those letters can open the door to great opportunities after college.

See where those letters have helped send some of our alumni .....

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fall for St. Mike's

It is beginning to feel a bit more fall-ish these days - cool days and cooler nights. Beginning to look that way on campus also - a few leaves starting to turn colors, although most are still green. Another other sure sign of the season - visitors, and lots of them. High school students with their parents, and sometimes siblings, are touring the campus, stopping in to visit, talking and emailing us with questions about our programs. And we love it - students doing their homework and looking closely into potential colleges..... looking for the right match, the place that "feels right".

Listen to what recent students have to say about our program on a short YouTube video. Look at where some of our alumni are, and the careers that they've entered. Learn more about the many opportunities in our biology major through our web site. Try to picture yourself at our campus, just outside of Burlington.

We think we've got a great thing going here at St. Mike's - not just in the Biology program, but campus wide. You owe it to yourself to come and check us out....

Perhaps we'll see you at one of upcoming Academic Preview Days (October 16 and November 13)- contact our Admissions Office for more information.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Biology students and faculty enjoy fresh cider and donuts at a social on Friday afternoon hosted by the St. Mike's chapter of Beta Beta Beta (a national biology honor society). The St. Mike's chapter welcomed 46 members last at its inauguration last spring.

Beta Beta Beta (also known as Tri Beta) is one of several national honor societies recognizing academic excellence in various disciplines among St. Mike's students.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Into the woods....

Students in General Biology lab are getting their projects underway. We are in the fifth year of a restructured General Biology program in which students work on semester-long research projects throughout the fall semester. Projects focus on plant and invertebrate animal communities in the nearby sandplain forest, a fire-dependent ecosystem now rare in Vermont.

Learn more about our Biology curriculum

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Heat Wave.....

The third consecutive day of temperatures in the 90s - an official heat wave. Good day to go swimming.....

(I think fishes are the most fascinating animals, and love to discuss them in my Ichthyology course, or at any other opportunity....)

We're so popular!

The incoming class of 2014 was officially welcomed at St. Mike's opening convocation Thursday evening (August 26).

Included among these students are about 60 new Biology majors - bringing our total number of majors to up around 200. Our program is growing - I guess folks know a good thing when they see it.

Visit our new lab

It's been a busy summer up here on the third floor of the Cheray Science building. Part of that activity was due to the now complete renovation of one of our teaching labs. Thanks to a $134,000 grant to improve facilities in Cheray, Room 301 is freshly remodeled and outfitted with some terrific presentation technology features. Come check it out!

And here's the Top 10 Facts about studying Biology at St. Mike's.