The WWU Biology Department provides an outstanding and inclusive learning environment that integrates education, scholarship, and service, actively engages students in the biological sciences, and fosters their development as lifelong learners. Our curriculum spans subdisciplines from marine ecology to developmental genetics to bioinformatics and provides abundant opportunities for interactions with educators who are national leaders in biology education at the college level.
The Arellano Lab boarding the R/V Atlantis for a research cruise along the Gulf of Mexico.
General Biology Fund
A gift to the Biology Department will fund student research and travel to conferences, career networking opportunities, and a diversity of seminar speakers. We have several important scholarships that support first-generation and underrepresented students. We also have several student initiatives including the Biology Student Mentoring Program, which was initiated by our Student Ambassadors and is a diverse student-led network of Biology Department majors who will foster supportive and inclusive mentor/mentee relationships with the goal of increasing equitable access and retention in STEM.
Biology Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP)
Summer 2022 brought the launch of the new Biology Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP). This program is largely supported by generous donors who are interested in helping to offer full-time summer research opportunities for undergraduates in Biology labs here at Western. The program is led by a rotating group of several faculty across biological disciplines, who mentor students and give undergraduate participants the opportunity to build their scientific communication skills, find opportunities for career development and planning for next steps in their scientific journey. You can read a great article about the program here. One of the best aspects of the SURP program is that students engaged in a vast array of research within the participating labs, from molecular and cellular to ecological and organismal. We are excited to build upon this program for years to come and invest in our undergraduate's success!
Joann Otto Microscopy Fund
The Biology Department is dedicated to providing valuable research experiences to our students. These experiences are especially meaningful when paired with state-of-the-art scientific equipment. Through funding obtained from federal agencies and generous donors, Biology has been able to provide opportunities for students to learn cutting-edge fluorescent and confocal microscopy in research labs and the classroom. This technology is so vital to many disciplines and is used by students studying everything from zebrafish to molecular protein interactions. The Joann Otto Microscopy Fund is an endowment created to support efforts to always update and modernize our microscopes for the broadest use. This fund was established by Dr. Joann Otto, Emerita Faculty and long-time Department Chair of Biology, and has helped establish a microscopy center that has centralized resources associated with microscopy across campus.
Graduate Student Summer Research Support
Biology supports approximately 20 graduate student researchers. Our graduate students have teaching assistantships during the year to help offset the costs of graduate school. We have recently launched a campaign to help address the summer funding gap for our graduate students across all areas and support their critical research. This year, thanks to generous donations and gifts from Northwest Pathology and SeaGen, we have been able to support our summer funding needs for our graduate students. For this year, our goal is to continue fundraising so we can support all our graduate students. Gifts of every size make a difference, especially when we pool our resources!