Biology

Explore the Science of Life with a Biology Degree

What is life? Biology is a lot more than dissecting frogs or looking at slides under a microscope. As a biology student, you’ll gain a practical knowledge of how living things work, from molecules to populations; the know-how to operate scientific equipment; and analytical and problem-solving skills that will stay with you for a lifetime.

A biology degree prepares you for the study of living organisms and offers a wide variety of options for graduates. You can focus your studies, research, and Field Period® experiences on medicine, genetics, live cells, agriculture, ornithology, ecology, diseases, or microbiology.

Felicia Lenzo, a biology degree graduate, looks through a microscope

Get Real Biology Experience

Real-world, hands-on experience is an important part of your Biology degree. 

The Keuka College Field Period® gives you the chance to have four separate Biology internships, starting your freshman year.

Learn More

Program Overview

Biology Major

If you choose to major in biology, you’ll also earn a concentration in biomedical studies.

Your biology degree will prepare you, through study and hands-on research, for careers or graduate study in biology, biochemistry, ecology, education, medical technology, medicine, microbiology, pharmacology, physical therapy, physiology, plant sciences, public health, veterinary medicine, or scientific research. 

An impressive number of our biology graduates have gone on to to get advanced degrees from veterinary schools, pre-health programs, and research-related graduate programs. 

Biology Minor

No matter which major you choose, a minor in biology will provide you with the ability to analyze the surrounding world by generating and testing hypotheses, analyzing data, and drawing conclusions.

The biology minor also provides a useful background in the sciences if you’re interested in pursuing a career in law, health care management, criminal justice, social work, or psychology. 

Learn More About the Biology Program

Undergraduate research opportunities, both on-campus and off, have included development of surfboard polymers, the ecology of birds, studies within a cancer lab, and more.

For example, students and faculty can use PCR (the polymerase chain reaction) to make copies of DNA from a variety of plant, animal, and bacterial sources, then sequence the DNA isolated in the laboratory. This technique can help us understand plant pathogens, figure out what we are really eating, and more.

Our students have presented their work at regional and national scientific meetings and have even traveled to Australia to help in one of the world’s leading schizophrenia research laboratories (which happens to be run by a Keuka College alumna... watch her TED talk below!).

Keuka College is on the shore of Keuka Lake—arguably the prettiest of the Finger Lakes. The College’s Sunset Woods and the nearby Penn Yan Outlet Trail are home to thousands of species of plants and animals, providing an ideal environment for biology students. Ornithology students are able to work in the field, identifying birds native to the area.

You’ll get to study in the Jephson Science Center, where students hang out in the Chiral Center or at the Math Table in between classes and labs. A highlight of the building is that the laboratories weren’t simply designed in collaboration with architects, but by the professors who use and teach in them.

Our students have access to a wide range of instruments, including:

  • Ultraviolet-visible Spectrophotometers
  • Sorvall High Capacity Centrifuge
  • Opti-sciences Chlorophyll Fluorometer
  • Kodak Gel Imaging and Documentation Systems
  • Bio-rad Gel Electrophoresis and Western-blotting Apparatus  
  • High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph
  • Gas Chromatograph - Mass Spectrometer
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer
  • Environmental Chamber and incubators
  • Biosafety Cabinet
  • Nikon Compound and Stereo Microscopes with Digital Camera
  • Nikon Inverted Microscope
  • End-point Thermal Cycler
  • Real-time Thermal Cycler

Chi Beta Phi, the natural science, math, and psychology honor society, offers students the opportunity to network with like-minded peers and have their scholarly accomplishments recognized.

Biology students have also enhanced their education by participating in a number of projects throughout the campus and the community, including:

  • Kelsey Morgan '15 co-wrote a research study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.
     
  • Indigo De Jong '15 was the primary author of a study regarding the effects of DDT on eggshell thickness in Red-shouldered Hawks, published in the Kingbird.
     
  • Nikki Wilkins '15 was the primary author of a study assessing the accuracy of Eastern Bluebird nestling age estimates, published in the North American Bird Bander.
     
  • Janelle Davidson '12 was the co-author of a study that examined factors related to the length of stay of dogs in animal shelters, published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.

In the division’s work-study program, students learn the “behind the scenes” for preparing a course lab activity and are given a chance to apply what they learn in the classroom. This can include learning microbiological media preparation and sterile techniques, preparing solutions, maintaining live organisms, learning the operation and maintenance of lab equipment, safe chemical handling, ordering supplies, and providing general assistance in the daily operations of a functioning science division.

You’ll also find plenty of opportunities to experiment and discover as a member of clubs and organizations, including Chemistry Club.

Dr. Catherine Abbott

Professor of Mathematics

Academic Credentials

University of North Texas
Ph.D.
University of North Texas
M.A.
University of Texas at Tyler
B.S.

Dr. Todd Anderson

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science

Academic Credentials

Cornell University
Ph.D.
University of Idaho
M.S. in Environmental Science
University of Alaska Southeast
B.S. in Environmental Science

Dr. Laurel Hester

Assistant Provost
Associate Professor of Biology

Academic Credentials

University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Ph.D. in Biology
University of Michigan Ann Arbor
M.S. in Biology
Swarthmore College
B.A. in Biology and History

Biography

Dr. Laurel Hester is the Assistant Provost and an Associate Professor of Biology at Keuka College. She has a B.A. in Biology and History from Swarthmore College where she fell in love with the small college learning environment with its supportive atmosphere and close student-faculty interactions. Dr. Hester has an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. She is a co-author for a Biological Science Study Guide and has other publications related to teaching biology. She enjoys travel and studied rodents in agricultural areas as a Fulbright Scholar in Senegal. She has also lived abroad in France and South Africa.

Professional Interests

Biology, scholarship of teaching and learning, and vertebrate physiological ecology.

Jessica Katolik

Instructor of Natural Sciences

Academic Credentials

University of Rochester
M.S. in Pharmacology and Physiology
Rochester Institute of Technology
B.S. in Biotechnology

Dr. Michael Keck

Interim Chair of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Professor of Chemistry

Academic Credentials

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ph.D.
University of California at Berkeley
B.S.

Biography

Dr. Keck joined the faculty at Keuka College in 2008 after 13 years teaching at Emporia State University (Kansas). He teaches chemistry and biochemistry, and has also taught analytical chemistry and inorganic chemistry. His primary area of expertise is nucleic acids biochemistry. He loves teaching, and he is also eager to work with students on research projects. He and his students are presently collaborating with colleagues at RIT to design and evaluate compounds that have potential as photodynamic therapy agents.

Dr. Luciana Parent

Assistant Professor of Biology

Academic Credentials

University of Sao Paulo/Cornell University (Sandwich Program)
Ph.D.
Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG)
M.S.
Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG)
B.S.

Dr. Andrew Robak

Professor of Chemistry

Academic Credentials

University of Oregon
Ph.D.
University of Oregon
M.S. in Chemistry
Rochester Institute of Technology
B.S. in Environmental Chemistry

Biography

Dr. Robak started teaching at Keuka College in the Fall of 2007 and is the primary instructor for organic chemistry at Keuka.

He is the adviser for Keuka's chemistry club and also directs a number of undergraduate research projects. Active research projects include: Exploring click chemistry for organic synthesis, developing new surfboard coatings from polyurethanes, designing chemistry experiments for home-schooled children at the high school level and a project using chemistry and photography to promote both art and science.

Other research interests are: designing more environmentally friendly lab experiments

Professional Interests

chemistry, organic chemistry, science based medicine, green chemistry, science in popular culture, science as art, polymers/plastics, science education, explosive chemistry demonstrations, inorganic chemistry

Dr. Tim Sellers

Associate Provost
Professor of Biology and Environmental Science
Director of the Center for Aquatic Research

Academic Credentials

University of Louisville
Ph.D. in Environmental Biology
University of Louisville
M.S. in Biology
University of Colorado Boulder
B.A. in Environmental Science

Biography

Dr. Tim Sellers is the Associate Provost and Professor of Biology and Environmental Science at Keuka College. He is the founder and director of the Center for Aquatic Research at Keuka College and the head science advisor for the Keuka Lake Association. Dr. Sellers has a B.A. in Environmental Science from the University of Colorado, an M.S. in Biology and a Ph.D. in Environmental Biology from the University of Louisville, and was a post-doctoral fellow in Oceanography at Texas A&M University. He has conducted aquatic and water quality research on Keuka Lake and the other Finger Lakes for 15 years.

Professional Interests

Limnology, oceanography, ecology

Dr. Mark Sugalski

Division Chair of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Professor of Biology

Academic Credentials

Miami University
Ph.D. in Zoology
Miami University
M.S. in Zoology
Roger Williams University
B.S. in Biology/Environmental Chemistry

Contact Information

Dr. Michael Keck

Interim Chair of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Professor of Chemistry

(315) 279-5267
mkeck@keuka.edu

What Biology Graduates Say