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.
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.
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.Read More
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...Read More
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Learning Outcomes in Biology
Senior Kelly Minard is helping Hawk Mountain Sanctuary bridge the gap between academic researchers and hikers that also frequent its trails.Read More
Students researched everything from bubonic plague to COVID-19 in this semester’s “Pandemics Past and Present” course, a first-of-its-kind interdisciplinary initiative organized and led by the...Read More