Assistant Professor Biology
- Biology and Environmental Science
I joined the Department of Biology and Environmental Science in the fall of 2011. I chose to join the Westminster community because the school reminded me of my own undergraduate experience at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse (SUNY ESF). I graduated from SUNY ESF with a B.S. in Environmental Forest Biology and a love of herpetology. This love of reptiles and amphibians brought me to the Midwest to study and earn a master's degree at (Southwest) Missouri State University in Springfield, MO under Dr. Don Moll. After two and a half years catching stinkpots (less dramatically known as common musk turtles), I went on to pursue a Ph.D. at Ohio University with Dr. Willem Roosenburg. During the first year of my Ph.D. a large oil spill impacted the diamondback terrapins at Dr. Roosenburg's study site in Maryland and my research began to evolve into what it is today. I am deeply interested in how human activities, specifically environmental contaminants and climate change, can alter the ecology and physiology of animals and especially turtles. These interests have led to collaborations with researchers at the University of Missouri (where I hold an adjunct position in Pathology and Anatomical Sciences) and the USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center (where I was previously employed and currently volunteer).
In the fall semester, I have the opportunity to teach both Human Anatomy (Bio 203) and Gross Anatomy (Bio 415). Students enrolled in these courses learn anatomy through radiographic images, models, clinical case studies, and cadaveric dissection. I am very fortunate to be able to teach undergraduate courses which enable students to dissect and learn from human cadavers. In the spring semester, I teach Physiology (Bio 370) a writing intensive course where students conduct independent research projects and present their results annually at the Undergraduate Scholar's Forum. In the spring, I also teach Human Biology for non-majors (Bio 107). This course is a lot of fun and gives me the ability to meet lots of students from other departments. Since joining the faculty, I have also taught a Westminster Seminar, co-taught the Dr. Volz MCAT Preparatory Course with Dr. Kenney-Hunt, and developed an upper-level integrative Ecotoxicology course. I put a lot of work into my courses and I expect the same commitment from my students. Although the bar is high, I have seen many students live up to and even exceed my expectations.
In my 'free' time, I can be found answering student emails at 1:00 am, helping wayward box turtles cross busy roads, and hanging out with my family. My husband, Casey Holliday, and I collaborate on research, teaching anatomy and raising two wonderful children.