Return to Biology
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:
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, insect and diatom community ecology in local abandoned mine drainage sites, zinc deficiency effects on mouse reproduction, mutational analyses in yeast, molecular stress responses in plants, and communication among Anolis lizards. Biology students present their research scientific conferences, and are included as authors on publications of their research that are submitted to peer-reviewed, scientific journals.
We are committed to helping you explore internship opportunities to give you that extra edge when you are searching for a job after graduation. Biology faculty serve as academic advisers for all biology majors, and work closely with students to find relevant internships, employment, and graduate school opportunities. We maintain a database of past internship opportunities by our students, and we maintain relationships with our alumni. These resources are available to all our present students to help them find productive opportunities.
Student presentations at meetings are among the best networking opportunities available. Our students regularly present at Tri-Beta regional meetings, and our students also travel to national and international scientific conferences to present their research.
"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.
Learn More about Raystown Field Station
Located on the edge of campus, 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.
Take a Virtual Walk on the Watershed Trail with Dr. Meadows!
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. Activities are sponsored by the Scuba Club throughout the year to keep divers actively involved in the sport.
Courses in SCUBA are offered fall and spring semesters. Students taking SCUBA courses can earn a Biological Diving Minor.
Learn More About the Biological Diving Minor
The Saint Francis Environmental Action Society is a student club focused on environmental awareness and preservation. Recently, they have participated in projects such as SFU Earth Day Carnival Organizers, 350.org 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.
Saint Francis is home to the Upsilon Beta Chapter of Beta Beta Beta, the National Biological Honor Society. Our chapter was established in 1980 with twenty active student members and five faculty. Since that time, the Upsilon Beta chapter has inducted 199 regular, 33 associate, and 5 faculty members. Numerous student members have have received research scholarship grants from the TriBeta national office, and presented their research at the District Convention. Students who place in the poster or oral presentations receive a scholarship to attend the national meeting. Saint Francis University hosted the NE3 district convention for the first time in 2007.
Read More About National TriBeta
The BIOL 322 Field Biology course has allowed students to study biological systems around the world, including Australia, the Galapagos, and Belize. Students prepare for these trips with readings and assignments throughout the semester, and then travel to destinations either during spring break or immediately following spring semester.
In Spring 2016, the course traveled to Crystal River, Florida, to study manatee ecology. One student, Kaitlin Meck, produced this video about her experience:
Saint Francis University students can take SCUBA courses while visiting St. Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean. There, they can gain SCUBA certifications, or take advanced research courses such as Coral Reef Ecology of Research Diver Methods. SCUBA courses are open to all majors, not just those in biology or aquarium programs.
Learn More About Study Abroad Opportunities in St. Lucia
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