Enhance Your Education
Distinctive Programs in Biology
Whether you want to conduct independent research on campus, at Green Oaks Field Station a few miles down the road, or at a research facility halfway around the world, there are ample opportunities to enhance your studies in biology through internships, independent research, and off-campus study. These programs are integral to a Knox education, teaching you how to apply your skills in real world situations.
Student Research Opportunities
In biology, your professors' programs are expressly designed to offer you the chance to learn by working as a research assistant, both during the academic year and the summer. Students have input on the projects and help shape the research -- it's a collaboration between student and professor. Biology faculty members encourage student-initiated and student-driven research.
Examples of some recent student research projects include:
- "An Experimental Investigation of the Search Image Phenomenon in Foraging Starlings," Sara Fink, independent study/senior research funded by Richter program.
- "Interactions Between Host and Commensal Bacteria," Jason Casicio, McNair research.
- "Development of biotinylated rubisco activase probe," Kelly Van Winkle, independent study/senior research funded by Richter program.
- "Isolation of antibodies that bind to the protein moesin," Erin Jesuit, Ford Fellowship independent/senior research.
- "Minimizing undesired traits in dogs (canis familiarus) at shelters via training," Roberto Castillo, McNair research.
- "The effects of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide and ozone on soybeans," Kelly Ramig, Rockefeller Brothers Foundation Fellowship.
- "Moesin and intersectin in connection to Downs Syndrome," Jacqueline Corry, independent study/senior research funded by Richter program.
Funding for Research
Knox is a leader in promoting top-notch undergraduate research. In fact, last year Knox students were awarded well over $200,000 in grants for undergraduate research and creative projects.
As you study biology at Knox, one of the best preparations for graduate school and a career in science will be the act of writing grant proposals or budget proposals to request research funding -- something "real" scientists and scholars must be prepared to do.
Knox has a number of its own institutional funding sources supporting undergraduate research:
- Ford Foundation Research Fellowships are awarded to Knox College juniors from all academic disciplines interested in pursuing careers in teaching and research.
- Ronald E. McNair Fellowships encourage students from under-represented groups to prepare for academic careers. McNair Fellows receive funding for substantive summer research projects.
- The Richter Memorial Scholarship Program offers support to students conducting independent studies or Honors research in any discipline. More than 10% of Knox's students receive support for independent research from this fund.
Other programs that provide support for independent study in biology include the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, Hughes Research Fellowships, and Pew Research Fellowships for research in the natural sciences.
Outstanding students may elect to undertake College Honors in their senior year, carrying out an advanced research project presented and defended to a faculty committee that includes a distinguished outside examiner. Examples of recent Honors projects include:
- "Ecology and Morphology of the Subterranean Flowers of Amphicarpaea bracteata (Fabaceae: Phaseoleae)," Dana Olivia Robinson '13.
- "Understanding the Stable Expression of Intersectin1 Isoforms During the Embryonic Development of Xenopus laevis," Oscar Antonio Jimenez '13.
- "The Importance of Intersectin1 (itsn1) in Xenopus laevis Early Development," Cheng Cheng '13.
- "Techniques for Studying Introvert Regeneragion in Themiste lageniformis (phylum Sipuncula): a Fluorescent and Scanning Electron Microscopy Study," Hatim Mustaly '13.
- "Global Meta-Analysis of Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis Rates and Related Country Variables," Stephanie Grace Lashway '12.
- "Identification and Characterization of Small Non-Coding RNAs in Dictyostelium discoideum," Ya-Lin Lu '12.
- "Transcriptome Analysis of UV-Irradiated Dictyostelium discoideum through RNA Sequencing," Shaunak Ramesh Mulani '12.
Studying off-campus gives you the opportunity to experience different ecosystems, be part of a large research community, and expand your horizons. Knox offers several off-campus programs of particular interest to biology students:
- The Argonne Science Semester and the Oak Ridge Science Semester both give students the opportunity to work in a distinguished national research laboratory as junior members of a major research team.
- The Tropical Field Research Program in Costa Rica, available through the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, provides highly distinct and valuable settings for intensive biological study.
- Knox's interdisciplinary Green Oaks Term brings students and faculty from a variety of disciplines together for a 10-week interdisciplinary residential experience.
Biology students have also recently embarked on off-campus study programs in Tanzania, Denmark, Australia, Scotland, and New Zealand.
Few experiences can prepare you better for life after Knox than conducting an internship. As a Knox biology student, you can conduct an internship for course credit either during the academic year or the summer, working closely with a faculty supervisor while engaging in fieldwork, and completing an academic paper.
Knox has placed student interns at numerous research facilities and other agencies, including The Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum in Chicago, The Galesburg Clinic Association, Denver Botanical Gardens, United States Department of Agriculture's Northern Regional Research Laboratory, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Knox County Humane Society, Illinois Department of Agriculture's Animal Disease Laboratory, and Knox Veterinary Clinic. Recent internships by biology students include:
- Shadowing Dr. Kishor Patel, M.D., Galesburg Clinic, Galesburg, Illinois. Hatim Mustaly '13, neuroscience major.
- Intern, Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Illinois. Rachel Zak '13, biology major.
- Environmental Quality Internship, Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, Illinois. Dan Pers '11, biology major.
- Physical Therapy Intern, Azer Clinic, Galesburg, Illinois. Antonina Pondo '11, biology and modern languages-Spanish major.
- Pharmacy Intern, Turner Prescription Center, Galesburg, Illinois. Karen Tsoka '11, biochemistry major/neuroscience minor.
- Intern, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare. Shirley Dehn '11, biology and environmental studies major.
- Dental Intern, Dr. Joseph Nichols, D.D.S., Knoxville, Illinois. Jun Liu '11, chemistry and biology major.
- Pharmacy Tech Intern, ShopKo Pharmacy, Monmouth, Illinois. Christina Belcher '10, Spanish major/chemistry minor.
- Pharmacy Tech Intern, Burgland Drugs, Galesburg, Illinois. Kyle Gordon '10, chemistry major/biology minor.
- Health Intern, Prompt Care, Galesburg, Illinois. Robert Cashen '10, biology major/history minor.
- Summer Intern, Marin Pediatrics Group. Krystle Susmani '10, Spanish major/chemistry minor.
- Dental Intern, Dr. Kandy Sayrs, D.D.S., Galesburg, Illinois. Eunice Kim '10, biochemistry major/chemistry minor.
- Shadowing Dr. Lynn Greeley, Galesburg Clinic, Galesburg, Illinois. Katie Nellett '10, neuroscience major/dance minor.
- Pharmacy Tech Intern, OSF St. Mary's Medical Center Pharmacy, Galesburg, Illinois. Jacqueline Lee '09, chemistry major/Gender & Women's Studies minor.
- Summer Scholar, Hughes Medical. Vatsala Jayasinghe Arachchilage '09, biology major/neuroscience minor.
- Neurologist Shadowing, Dr. Borislaw Nikolov. Sallenha Chaudhry '09, self-designed major/neuroscience minor.
- Technician Intern, Clarke Mosquito Control, Roselle, Illinois. Katherine Chi '07, biology and English major.
- Summer Medical Mission trip, Cameroon, Africa. Jennifer Presley'07, biology major.
- OB/GYN Intern, Dr. Kathleen Shaw, M.D., Galesburg, Illinois. Sarah Johnson '07, biochemistry major/independent minor.
- Employee, Salmon Boat, Bristol Bay, Alaska. Wes Roodhouse '07, biology major.
Pre-Med students shadow local and doctors and health practitioners in Galesburg or in their home towns. Examples of recent pre-med internships include:
- Hospital Administration Intern, OSF St. Mary's Hospital, Galesburg. Abby Owens '12.
- Summer Intern, Medcore Home Health, Inc. Sara Ahmed '12.
- ER Intern, Galesburg Cottage Hospital. Jennifer Shanley '11.
- Intern, University of Iowa Interdisciplinary Summer Undergrad Research Program. Anita Ahuja '11.
- Occupational Therapy Intern, Cottage Rehab & Sports Medicine, Galesburg. Jackie Stillmaker '11.
- Dr. Kandy Sayrs-Dentistry, Galesburg. Eunice Kim '10.
- Intern, Howard University Medical & Dental Education Program. Clarissa Collier '10.
- Developmental Neuroscience Researcher, University of Rochester Medical Center. Kristin Mussar '09.
- Intern, National Research for Environmental Health. Nevena Kirova '08.
Every year, a significant number of Knox biology students present their research at conferences or meetings of professional societies such as Illinois State Academy of Science, Consortium for Math and Science, Midstates Consortium, American Association for Advancement of Science, Animal Behavior Society, and Society for Developmental Biology. Examples of recent presentations include:
- "Gd-DTPA enhanced in vivo imaging of Xenopus laevis development using an Ultra-compact MRI," Illinois State Academy of Science Annual Meeting. Kelli Huebner '13.
- "Early Introvert regeneration in Themiste lageniformis: A light and transmission electron microscopy study," Illinois State Academy of Science Annual Meeting. Joshua Brownell '13.
- "Tree and Shrub species composition and physiognomics of Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) and Kentucky Warbler (Geothlypis formosa) territories," Illinois State Academy of Science Annual Meeting. James Lichtenstein '13.
- "The Importance of Intersectin 1 in Xenopus laevis Early Development," Illinois State Academy of Science Annual Meeting. Cheng Cheng '13.
- "An in vitro assessment of the Antibacterial Effects of Various Plant Essential Oils," Illinois State Academy of Science Annual Meeting. Amanda Lee '13.
- "Lateralization of visual mate choice in male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata)," Animal Behavior Society and Human Evolution and Behavior Society. Brianna McCracken '12 with J. Mountjoy and J. Templeton.
- "Factors related to the ability of Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) to interpret human-given social cues," Animal Behavior Society, Williamsburg, Virginia. Corinne Butzen '10.
- "Using loss of function analysis to investigate the function of intersectin in Xenopus laevis development," Society for Developmental Biology National Meeting, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Caroline Coatney '10.
- "Examining the relationship between domestic dog behavior and human attachment -- differences between pure and mixed breed dogs." Illinois State Academy of Science, ILLOWA Undergraduate psychology, Macomb, Illinois, and the Association for Pet Dog Trainers, Atlanta, Georgia. Jordan Stoune '10.
Additional Student Opportunities
Each year in the spring, the department recognizes students with departmental awards for outstanding work including the Alvah Peterson Award: awarded to junior or senior Biology majors for outstanding performance in Biology courses or research; the David "Burney" Dunn Award for Students' Field Research: provides resources needed by students who are conducting field work in biology, ecology, and environmental science; Inn-Siang Ooi Prize: given to a Knox student who has demonstrated skill in field biology, a commitment to conservation, and a concern about human coexistence with other species; and the P.J. Deoras Student Research Fund: provides annual research awards to support outstanding junior or senior students interested in environmental studies.