Spotlight on Majors: Biology

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Spotlight on Majors: Biology

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    As we get a little more snow this March, many of us on campus are hoping for a quick return to Spring. No, it’s not the snow that’s making us wish this, but the thought of all the wonderful Spring activities like outdoor sports practice, Springfest, and long walks in the prairie behind campus. Speaking of the prairie, I can tell you there is one group on campus that definitely can’t wait to get back in the field, the Biology department.

      Professor Skip Wittler said it best, “There’s a spiritual aspect to the prairie. It’s more than just plants and animals – it’s humans, too.” Just say Professor Wittler said, understanding the world around us isn’t just about what’s out there, but what’s in us. The Biology department makes sure that no matter the student’s future aspirations whether they be veterinary, medical, or laboratory science, they get out of the classroom and into the field for practical experiences through nature or the lab.  Our programs in botany, ecology and animal biology use our 130 acres of prairie to do research but also to teach conversation. Ripon College has a partnership with the DNR’s Glacial Habitat Restoration Program. Students also have access to our greenhouse built into Farr Hall. This greenhouse houses plants for three different climates: temperate, tropical, and desert. In Farr Hall, there are also labs dedicated to cell cultures, molecular and cell biology, microbiology, physiology, histology, aquatic research, the study of animal specimens and two labs for electron microscopy. Within their First year, students will be conducting research projects and assisting Professors with their research. By Senior year students are investing critical academic research to a topic of their choosing. These projects allow our students to grasp the importance of what goes into proper research, how to manage and maintain large scale projects, and how to correctly write in the scholarly and scientific environment. Because of all these factors, Ripon College has an 80% acceptance rate into medical school which is twice the national average.

    As for getting out of the classroom, we offer many scientific off campus programs. One of our most popular programs is our Maymester to the Boundary Waters on the Minnesotan and Canadian border. Students go on a canoe trip where they study the wildlife in the north woods of North America. Other full semester programs include Marine Biology Laboratory research in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, a study of human origins and African wildlife in Tanzania, and a semester at sea where students get on a research cruise and study marine and environmental studies on the ocean’s waves.

     Ultimately our programs help our students get real experiences in the fields they’re interested in. We focus on an engaging and active atmosphere that gets students excited about the sciences.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact any of the Biology Professors:

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