Hands-on learning and research — in the classroom, through field opportunities and via one-on-one mentorships — is how Central College's biology department will help you stand out. You'll gain significant experience using state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment in Vermeer Science Center and at our 79-acre Carlson-Kuyper Field Station, strengthening your resume for future employers and graduate or professional programs.
As a biology major at Central, you'll benefit from many sought-after internship and research opportunities alongside expert faculty — some as early as your sophomore year. Or take advantage of in-depth, hands-on experiences within a range of healthcare fields. Central students find this type of early participation contributes greatly to making them top candidates for prospective employers and graduate programs.
of biology majors are admitted into their first- or second-choice grad school
43% of biology majors enter graduate or professional school after graduation
The Arthur J. Bosch Endowment for Student Research supports research between students, faculty and alumni
The Real World
Rachel Spooner ‘15, neuroscience graduate research assistant, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Annette Dean ‘15, NSF Graduate research fellowship and Ph.D. candidate, University of Wisconsin
Shannon Coulson ’15, research associate in tumor immunology, NewLink Genetics, Ames
Hannah Davy ’14, clinical review technician, Prime Therapeutics, Eagan, Minn.
Brandon Clough ’13, environmental analyst, state hygienic lab, University of Iowa
Rhiley Huntington Binns ’13, programs presenter, Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines
Athena Bowen Puski ‘12, genetic counselor, University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Clinic
Andrew Roberts ’12, production scientist, Integrated DNA Technologies
Brianne Nederhoff ’11, physician assistant, Cedar Valley Otolaryngology and Facial Reconstructive Surgery
E. Keith Bowers ‘08, assistant professor of biology, University of Memphis
Pam Sagraves Soltis '80, researcher, professor and curator, University of Florida, Florida Museum of Natural History, National Academy of Sciences
Medical imaging physicist and faculty member, Duke University Health System
Land stewardship assistant, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Iowa
Biology professor, Austin College, Texas
Nephrology fellow, Duke University, North Carolina
Dentist, U.S. Navy
Senior environmental engineer, General Motors of Canada, Ontario
Scientist, Genentech, San Francisco
Sr. research associate, DuPont Pioneer, Des Moines
Orthopedic surgeon, California Orthopedic Institute, San Diego, Calif.
University of Iowa, dentistry, medical school, physical therapy
University of Kansas, pharmaceutical chemistry
University of Nebraska, Omaha, biology
University of Newfoundland, microbiology
University of Northern Iowa, biology
University of Michigan, public health
University of Wisconsin-Madison, genetics
Virginia Commonwealth University, forensic science
Central's biology department equips students for future research with hundreds of internship opportunities, which prepare students for graduate school and post-graduate experiences.
Baylor School of Medicine
Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Neil Smith National Wildlife Refuge
Nature Conservancy of Iowa
Ohio State University Cytogenics Lab
Northwestern University, Chicago
National University of Mexico, Yucatan
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul
Pella Regional Hospital
Teach for America
World Food Prize Foundation, Des Moines
Courses & Faculty
Introductory courses such as Introduction to Cells and Diversity of Life lay the foundation for the biology major. In the second year, students begin to explore biology more deeply in ecology and genetics. Both the junior and senior years include research opportunities, seminars and electives in a student’s specific area of interest.
Electives include botany, human anatomy, animal biology, microbiology, tropical ecology, evolutionary medicine, conservation biology, aquatic toxicology and many others.
Glenn Barnett, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biochemistry, interest areas include biochemistry and molecular genetics
Russ Benedict, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Professor of Biology, interest areas include prairie ecology and restoration, conservation biology and natural history, mammalogy
Anya Butt, B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Professor of Biology, interest areas include geospatial technologies and applications, water resources, geosciences, natural disaster resilience and global health
Ellie Du Pre, B.S., Ph.D., Professor of Biology, interest areas include histology, human anatomy and physiology, epidemiology and environmental endocrine disruptors
Lee Macomber, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology, interest areas include transition metal uptake, utilization and toxicity using bacteria as model organisms.
Paulina Mena, B.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology, interest areas include understanding how organisms adapt to their environment and what role their chromosomal architecture plays in that process
Nicole Palenske, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology, interest areas include human anatomy and physiology, environmental physiology and aquatic toxicology
Kristin Siewert, B.S., M.S., Lecturer of Biology, interest areas include Wetland ecology, restoration ecology, monarch biology and ornithology
Paul Weihe, B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology, interest areas include wetland ecosystems, ethnobotany, ecology and environmental science
Introduction to Cells
Organic Chemistry I
Diversity of Life
Organic Chemistry II
Principles of Ecology
Math and computer science requirement
Math and computer science requirement
The Central Difference
Play a Role in Changing the World
We face enormous global problems — and expanding opportunities — especially in the areas of social, medical and environmental issues. Biologists have an important role to play, individually and as team members. Discover the many ways you, as a Central biology major, can make a positive impact on the future of humankind and our planet. At Central, we'll help prepare you for an extraordinary life of professional achievement and personal satisfaction.
Make Valuable Professional Connections
You’ll have countless opportunities to learn and meet leaders in the health field through the Heartland Global Health Consortium. Central is a founding member of the consortium, which consists of 10 Iowa-based institutions, collaborating on educational and research opportunities in global health.
Other recent conferences include:
Council on Undergraduate Research
Heartland Global Health Consortium Conference
Iowa Academy of Science
Iowa Prairie Conference
North American Congress on Conservation Biology
Society of Ecological Restoration
Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability
Take Advantage of Rare Research Opportunities
You’ll conduct hands-on research with Central faculty members and others to gain early and significant experience in all levels of research, from hypothesis building to data analysis and communicating results at scientific meetings.
During summer breaks, the Arthur J. Bosch Endowment for Student Research supports collaborative research projects with faculty and alumni, including topics like the impact of drought on prairie plants and the distribution of the endangered Indiana bat.
Biology students are also encouraged to study abroad on one of Central’s international programs, such as the Yucatan peninsula where students can observe varied habitats such as salt marshes, mangrove swamps, rocky and sandy beaches and rainforests. In Merida, students can also intern at a local hospital or veterinary clinic.
It’s experiences like these that take your college career to the next level — and get the attention of employers and graduate schools.
Learn in Nationally Recognized Facilities
Feel confident you are immersed in a progressive community. Central’s Vermeer Science Center was awarded the silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating from the United States Green Building Council, the first LEED-rated building in the state. Students have direct access to classrooms and laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation and presentation technology. Additionally, several parks and wildlife areas are within 10 minutes of campus, including Lake Red Rock, Iowa’s largest lake.
Want to find out more about biology at Central? Contact us to learn more about this major and our other strong academic programs. Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.