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College of Arts and Sciences

Biology

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Dr. Erin Morris

Professor of Biology

Chair of the Department of Biology & Chemistry

Boyd Science Center 228

A World of Experience

About

Biology students at Baker are accepted into dental school at an 89 percent rate and accepted into medical school at a 70 percent rate (higher than the national rate). Why?

Between Baker’s excellent faculty members, personalized learning, and incredible resources, our students are limited only by the goals they set for themselves. Biology students have the opportunity to design and carry out independent research projects and take courses that will prepare them for careers that use their scientific knowledge.

Choose from four biology tracks:

  • General biology
  • Molecular biology
  • Ecology (also a minor)
  • Teaching biology at the secondary level

Human Biology | Health, Behavior, Communication

Students who want to study both biology and the social sciences in preparation for a career in health care can major in human biology, which allows them to take courses in multiple disciplines.

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A quick preview of our ecology track and ecology minor:

 

 

Student measuring butterfly

Ecology and Evolution

Students in Baker University’s Ecology and Evolution class tagged monarchs last fall and one of their tagged butterflies was recovered in March on its wintering grounds in El Rosario, Michoacan, Mexico.

“Each fall our introductory ecology students tag monarchs in one of our labs, where they investigate migratory behavior, navigation, and conservation of a globally vulnerable, but very charismatic, species. The monarchs we catch are all tagged, weighed, and measured by our students before being sent on their way. It is one of their favorite activities.”

—Dr. Scott Kimball, associate professor of biology

Student measuring circumference of a tree
Sunset image over baker wetlands
Skeletal structure of a bird in a glass case
Two female students working with stethoscopes

Exceptional Experience

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Original Research

All students have the opportunity to do original research with a faculty member and present their research at regional and national conferences. Some have even traveled internationally.

Natural Areas

Baker maintains the Baker Wetlands and the Ivan L. Boyd Arboretum for in-depth research and observation.

Summer Research

Students can gain experience during summer research programs at major research institutions such as the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, University of Kansas, University of Missouri, and Quintiles.

Health Care Observation

Students preparing for a career in health care participate in shadowing experiences with health-care professionals.

Careers

Our biology majors go on to land these jobs:

  • Science teachers
  • Junior scientists in research labs and for the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Wildlife biologists for Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks
  • Park rangers
  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • Physician, dentist, physician assistant
  • Veterinarian
Female student looking through microscope

Scholarships

The Department of Biology and Chemistry gives these awards with financial prizes to be applied to the following year’s tuition:

  • Mildred Hunt Riddle Departmental Recognition Scholarship for Biology
  • Mildred Hunt Riddle Departmental Recognition Scholarship for Chemistry
  • Howard T. Bonnett Scholarship and Mrs. Ivan L. Boyd Memorial Scholarship
  • Margaret E. Scanlon Endowed Memorial Scholarship
  • E.J. Cragoe Scholarship
  • Chemical Rubber Company Press Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award
  • Sonia Browning Endowed Scholarship
  • Doris Cink and Kathryn Zimney Endowed Scholarship
Student holding a small snake
         

Joanne M. Howard, PhD, Endowed Scholarship

The Joanne M. Howard, PhD, Endowed Scholarship is awarded to a woman pursuing a career in medicine or medical research. The award may be renewed until graduation as long as the recipient continues to meet the criteria:

  • Meets FASFA financial-need requirements

  • Has a 3.5 cumulative GPA at the time of application and maintains it until graduation
  • Is of good character
  • Is considering a career in medicine (MD, DO, PA), pharmacy, professor of sciences, medical research, or pharmaceutical research

This scholarship was established to honor Joanne Morrison Howard, PhD, by her husband, Cleve, and her son, Nathan. Dr. Howard graduated from Baker University in 1962. She earned a master’s degree in 1966 and a doctoral degree in 1970 from the University of Kansas Medical Center. She taught at the University of Louisville Hospital and from 1976 to 2006 at the University of Miami School of Medicine, where she was a member of the Department of Cell Biology.

 

“I am grateful to have received this endowed scholarship because it has shown me that I am capable of more than I ever thought I was. I am so thankful that I got to represent Joanne M. Howard and honor such an amazing woman. I am grateful to be able to represent women in science and humbled that I was chosen among a pool of my incredibly talented peers.”
—Skyler Bruck, 2021, human biology major

 

 

“Receiving the Joanne M. Howard Scholarship has created a positive impact on moving forward into the medical field. I feel very fortunate to have this solidify my passion for helping others as a physician assistant after completing my biochemistry degree here at Baker.”
—Abigail Richard, biochemistry major

Academic Recognition

  • Outstanding Senior in Biology
  • Outstanding Senior in Chemistry
  • Outstanding Junior in Biology
  • Outstanding Sophomore in BiologyOutstanding Freshman in Biology
Two male students in a field looking through lens for science field work
         

Do you want to teach biology?

Baker University’s undergraduate education programs license teachers in biology (6-12). Students pursuing a degree in education and teacher licensure work closely with faculty advisors from the School of Education to fulfill the requirements for a degree from Baker University and teacher licensure in Kansas. Candidates are required to complete education course work and the required course work in at least one content area.

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Noyce Scholarship & ASTRA Program

The Noyce Scholarship and ASTRA Program trains excellent STEM teachers. Through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Grant from the National Science Foundation, Noyce scholars will be awarded a scholarship of $11,000 during their junior and senior years as they tackle a demanding course load that culminates in a double major in education and either biology, chemistry, or mathematics.

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Biology Course Descriptions

Meet the Faculty

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Dr. Erin Morris

Professor of Biology, Chair of the Department of Biology & Chemistry

B.A. Drury University, Ph.D. University of Missouri-Columbia

Expertise: molecular plant genetics

Office: Boyd Science Center 228

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Dr. Scott Kimball

Associate Professor of Biology, Dr. Roger Boyd Professor of Biology

B.A. Baker University, M.S. Boise State University, Ph.D. The Ohio State University

Expertise: Expertise: avian ecology and animal behavior

Office: Office: Boyd Science Center 229

Dr. William Randy Miller

Research Assistant Professor

B.S., M.A. University of Montana; Ph.D. University of New England

Office: Office: Boyd Science Center 225

Dr. Darcy Russell

Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Professor of Biology

B.S. Baker University, Ph.D. Kansas State University

Expertise: microbiology

Office: Constant Hall, Academic Affairs Suite

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Dr. Irene Unger

Professor of Biology, Director of the Baker Wetlands

B.S. Truman State University, M.S. St. Louis University, Ph.D. University of Missouri at Columbia

Expertise: plant-soil-microbe interactions, terrestrial plant ecology

Office: Wetlands Discovery Center

Dr. Kyle York

Assistant Professor of Biology

Ph.D. Cleveland University

Expertise: Human Anatomy and Physiology

Office: Boyd Science Center 227

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Dr. Charmaine Henry

Associate Professor of Biology, Director of the Baker Wetlands

B.S. University of the Virgin Islands; Ph.D. University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey

Expertise: physiology, immunology, anatomy

Office: Boyd Science Center 225

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Dr. Calvin Cink

Emeritus Prof. of Biology

Office: Boyd Science Center 325

Two orange lawn chairs sitting on campus

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