Biology at F&M

Department of Biology Statement of Solidarity

In the past few weeks, we have witnessed the horrendous racist, violent attacks targeting Black bodies across the country. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery stand as the latest victims in a long record of violent, racist acts against Black individuals. We denounce and reject these recent racist actions of violence and harassment against Black people, as well as the record of racist policies that have historically enabled such acts. As a department, we stand in solidarity and support with those committed to dismantling all forms of racial violence, anti-blackness discrimination, and the associated racist policies that maintain and even normalize those actions against fellow human beings. 

As members of an academic department in the STEM field, we acknowledge and recognize that, historically, ideas associated with the biological sciences have been used to promote and justify multiple manifestations of oppression, exploitation, and vulnerability experienced on a daily basis by people of color. From scientific racism to forced sterilizations of Black bodies, from unethical studies of untreated syphilis in Tuskegee men to the isolation and commercial development of HeLa cells for cancer research, we as a discipline cannot turn a blind eye to this historical record. We can do better, both as individuals in a free society and as an academic collective, to advance social justice by calling out injustices done in the name of science.

In addition, as a science department in a primarily white institution, we are aware that invisible, institutionalized barriers can create and reinforce feelings of isolation and reduce a sense of belonging. As a result, Black members of our community feel excluded, frustrated, and angry.  Too often is their presence tokenized, questioned, or overlooked; too frequently are these experiences leaving them traumatized, enraged, and fearful. Scientific endeavors only succeed when the multiple perspectives of all people are brought together and allowed to challenge one another; this can only happen when all members of a community are empowered to contribute and question historically dominant voices. We therefore commit to actively work to create an atmosphere in which our Black students and colleagues across campus feel a genuine sense of belonging and can safely continue to live their academic and individual lives. In such a space where Black students are welcomed, valued, supported, and celebrated, they can engage in learning and research while also being free to live their lives without having to justify their presence. Similarly, we will strive to continue modifying our curriculum to highlight, examine, and discuss the ways in which we think, talk, and do science, both now and in a historical context. Our commitment towards the development of a truly inclusive learning community is anchored and guided by anti-racist policies and informed by global social justice, including but not limited to teaching about the historical misuse of science, identifying and removing barriers that exclude entry and success, and evaluating the student experience. This gives us a roadmap to meaningful, achievable change and also helps us be accountable to ourselves and our students.

In solidarity,

The members of the Department of Biology at F&M,

 Dan Ardia, Jaime Blair, Beckley Davis, Jim Engleman, Peter Fields, Janet Fischer, Lisa Garrett, Sybil Gotsch, Aaron Howard, Pablo Jenik, Rob Jinks, Jorge Mena-Ali, Andy Miller, Kirk Miller, Clara Moore, Mark Olson, Ellie Rice, David Roberts, Karen Russo, Roxanne Sanders, Timothy Sipe, Stephanie Stoehr, Joe Thompson

 

 

Biology is an exciting, expanding discipline offering a broad and advancing frontier between the known and the undiscovered. 

Through the links on this page, you will be able to explore the majors available to students at F&M who are interested in the biological sciences, as well as learn more about the department’s faculty and our research interests.  We are excited to have students work with us in the lab or the field, and we welcome your questions about the department, our curricula, our resources, and our research.

Our Majors

Biology

The BIO major provides students the opportunity to develop a holistic understanding of the structures and processes of living organisms, through access to introductory and advanced courses covering a wide range of topics.  

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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

The BMB major is directed towards students who have a strong interest in biological processes at the molecular and sub-cellular levels.  The BMB major combines core and elective courses from both the Biology and Chemistry departments.

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Biological Foundations of Behavior

Students pursuing the Neuroscience and the Animal Behavior majors through the BFB program make significant contributions to our collective understanding of the nervous system and behavior through biomedical and non-invasive behavioral research and course work. 

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Public Health

Public Health is an interdisciplinary major offered by the Biology and Government departments. Public health is linked to the formulation and implementation of public policy, thus connecting science and government at its core. 

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Environmental Science/Environmental Studies

The Environmental Science and Environmental Studies majors are based in the Department of Earth and Environment; as interdisciplinary programs, they include a number of core and advanced courses from the Biology Department.  

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Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics is a new and rapidly-expanding field at the intersection of biology, chemistry, computer science, and applied mathematics.  The Bioinformatics program at F&M represents a collaboration between the Biology and Computer Science departments, and students interested in bioinformatics can follow a joint major to attain a degree in the...

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Special Majors

There are a number of additional possibilities for a student interested in biological sciences and wishing to tailor a major focusing on a particular subject or connections between two or more disciplines. 

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Information for Students

Resources for Current Students

Find guidance about career paths, off-campus study opportunities, departmental policies, and other information for students interested in the biological sciences...

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Research Opportunities

There are a wide variety of research opportunities for students majoring in, or interested in majoring in Biology and our associated programs.  Learn about both summer  and academic-year research opportunities with F&M faculty, as well as off-campus research programs.

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News and Events

Seminars and Newsletters

Visit this page for a list of upcoming departmental seminars. Past issues of the departmental newsletter are also available on this page.

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