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Biology Student Opportunities

  • Explore the Possibilities

    In our biology program, you will have plenty of opportunities in the classroom and beyond. Below are just a few of the opportunities waiting for you as a future biology student: 

  • Beyond the Classroom

    Raystown Immersion Experience


    "Live by the lake" at the beautiful Raystown Field Station, which is nestled at the edge of Raystown Lake near Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. In a cooperative agreement with Juniata College, SFU students and Juniata students engage in hands-on science courses and related activities, all while living at the field station for the entire semester.

    Diving with Technology


    Students have a variety of opportunities thanks to our 1,500-gallon marine aquarium. This aquarium is located on the entry floor of the Science Center, and offers students interested in careers in aquaria the opportunity to learn about maintaining a large-scale tank.
    Saint Francis University has recently employed the use of submersible video cameras in its aquariums because of the many educational benefits video could provide for the university and its visitors. The first of these benefits is an underwater view of the 1,500-gallon salt water aquarium containing several marine vertebrates. We chose to use security cameras that are specialized for underwater use and provide the opportunity to monitor fish behavior, feeding habits, and health. We can check on animal behavior at any point in the day or night, aiding massively in the training of Marine Biology and Aquarium and Zoo Science students. The ability to take note of slight behavioral changes is very important to marine biologists and aquarists, as they indicate changes in health or dismay.
    SCUBA certified students go inside of our tank to clean it and also to give presentations using a full-face mask equipped with a microphone routed outside the tank; using cameras to allow students to get a closer look at the fish is a great way to teach younger students visiting Saint Francis. 
    Another use for underwater security cameras would be to put a live feed on a screen displaying information about the different tank fish and the world’s oceans. This would be a way for Saint Francis students and faculty to show short videos of each fish swimming and possibly eating on the screen when that fish’s information is displayed.
    Yet another use for underwater, submersible cameras is to use them in conjunction with our SCUBA gear. Our cameras can be used at up to 100 feet of depth which allow us to monitor some shallow dives. More specifically, some shallow water research has been done on blue gill behavior at Saint Francis University which would be helped tremendously through the use of an underwater camera - providing longer videos rather than just photos. To learn more about underwater photography, give Underwater Photography - a resource guide a read.
    Overall, the video cameras are a great addition to our program equipment and enrich the learning of our Marine and Aquarium students here at Saint Francis University.

    Lake Saint Francis Water Shed Trail


     The trail was designed to provide access to the University's quieter, more natural areas and to increase knowledge of our local ecology. In addition to its recreational use, the trail and surrounding ecosystem are used by the Biology Department and other members of the campus and local community as a site to conduct scientific research and to promote environmental education.

    Undergraduate Research

    Undergraduate Research in the Lab and Field


    In the biology department, students are encouraged to explore a significant research question in their area of interest. The expertise of our faculty spans the full range of disciplines within biology, including molecular biology, genetics, physiology, ecology, and evolutionary biology. They maintain active research programs that are explicitly designed to incorporate undergraduates in the planning, execution, data analysis, and publication. After consultation with a faculty mentor, students will conduct a literature review of the subject and develop a proposal. Students then work closely with their faculty mentor to complete the project. Examples of recent student projects include studies of bacterial diversity in caves, dragonfly and damselfly ecology, zinc deficiency effects on mouse reproduction, mutational analyses in yeast, molecular stress responses in plants, and communication among Anolis lizards. SFU students present their research at local, regional, national, and international scientific conferences, and are included as authors on publications of their research that are submitted to peer-reviewed, scientific journals.

    Internships & Networking

    We are committed to helping you explore internship opportunities to give you that extra edge when you are searching for a job after graduation. We work with several organizations that offer research programs or other opportunities for undergraduates. Biology faculty serve as academic advisers for all biology majors, and work closely with students to find relevant internships, employment, and graduate school opportunities.

    Clubs & Societies

    SCUBA Club


    The Saint Francis University Scuba Club offers students the opportunity to learn to scuba dive, continue to build their diving skills, travel to various diving locations, and have fun with others while exploring the fascinating underwater world. Various activities are sponsored by the Scuba Club throughout the year to keep divers actively involved in the sport.

    Environmental Action Society


    Recently we have participated in projects such as SFU Earth Day (carnival organizers), International Day of Climate Action, Adopt-a-Highway litter cleanup at Prince Gallitzin State Park, Yale Environmental Leadership Conference, Math and Science Saturday presentation at Foot-of-Ten elementary school in Hollidaysburg, Backpacking and hiking trips, SFU Day of Reflection Watershed Trail Clean-up, and the Recycled Gift Christmas Party.
    Our organization promotes environmental education to the students, faculty, and staff of Saint Francis University. Our goal also includes promoting environmental awareness in the community at large.

    TriBeta Biological Honorary Society


    Saint Francis is home to the Upsilon Beta Chapter of Beta Beta Beta Biological Honorary Society.

    Study Abroad

    Field Biology Course


    Our Field Biology course has allowed students to study biological systems around the world, including Australia, the Galapagos, and Belize.

    SCUBA Diving in St. Lucia


    Saint Francis students can take SCUBA courses while visiting St. Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean.

    Science Center


    Our dream for a new sciences facility became a reality when the doors opened in Fall 2013. This 70,000 square-foot facility houses state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories and research facilities (including an aquatic research facility), advanced chemical instrumentation and youth outreach areas, in addition to places for students and faculty to gather, study, and learn.
    Take a look inside the Science Center.