Associate Professor of Biology
At Knox Since: 2001
Jennifer Templeton joined the Knox faculty in 2000, sharing an appointment
with James Mountjoy, with whom she co-directed the Associated Colleges
of the Midwest's study abroad program in Tanzania in 2003. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees at Queens University and her Ph.D. at Concordia University in Montreal. Templeton researches behavior ecology and social learning in non-human animals.
After being a visiting professor at Bowdoin College in Maine and Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, I knew I wanted to work at a small, private college that had bright students, as well as the opportunity to carry out research and to involve students in that research. I also wanted to work at a college that was supportive of academic couples. I found all this, plus a great community of friends, at Knox.
What is your most memorable moment at Knox?
Not really a moment, and not really at Knox . . . traveling to Tanzania with other Knox professors as part of a global studies program in 2003. We got to know each other really well while on safari, camping amongst the lions and elephants. A hyena even stole Laura Lane's leather sandals from outside her tent!
Please describe your current research? What is most interesting about this research?
One area of my research is the study of lateralization in avian brains. Lateralization is the specialization of each hemisphere for particular skills, such as visual discrimination abilities and spatial memory. Birds are excellent animals for the study of lateralization because information entering each eye goes to the opposite brain hemisphere. This means that you can study lateralization simply by covering one of the bird's eyes. What is most interesting about this is that if a bird learns something using one eye (say, where it just hid a piece of food), it is completely unable to find the food if it uses the other eye!
If you weren't a professor, you would be a . . . ?
Scientific illustrator, perhaps.
What is your favorite thing about Galesburg?
Seminary Street/Landmark Café
What were the last three books you read?
Bob Hellenga's The Sixteen Pleasures and Philosophy Made Simple and The History of Love by Nicole Kraus