Bio News Summary - 2007-2009

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Guatemala/Belize 2009


Although it is not a biology department offering, Drs. David Brown and Dave McShaffrey are leading (along with Dr. Rob McManus of the McDonough Leadership Program) a 3 week trip to Guatemala and Belize in July and August, 2009.  The focus of the trip was leadership in ecology and conservation in Central America.  

Guatemala/Belize Trip Pictures



Costa Rica 2009

8 students and 2 faculty members spent 3 weeks in Costa Rica studying tropical ecosystems and Costa Rican culture.  Students were able to walk on a live volcano, explore primary rainforest, swim in two oceans, snorkel on a coral reef, eat pineapples right in the field where they are grown, see 3 species of monkeys and tease bullet ants.  They even got to ride on a boat.


Left - most of the group at Volcan Arenal.  The group is standing on lava from an eruption in 1968; the volcano is actively erupting behind them.
Sunset at Arenal.
On the Continental Divide at Monteverde.  The Pacific Ocean is in the distance, the Caribbean behind the camera.


Left, early morning on the Caribbean at Tortuguero, right, sunset on the Pacific at Playa Raja.



Above, some work did get done:  Clockwise from upper left - Transect in secondary rainforest, hike through a logging operation removing plantation trees to regrow primary rainforest, big tree in primary rainforest, writing journals at a field station.


More 2009 Costa Rica Pictures Here



Graduation 2009

Congratulations to our Seniors!




Bonnie was also Phi Beta Kappa and won the Alpha Lambda Delta Award. Marietta College's Class of 2009 had TWO ValedictoriansBOTH BIOLOGY MAJORS! Both had perfect 4.0 grade averages (although it is well known that the biology department has faculty who give easy grades).  Special congratulations to Bonnie Smith (left) and Marcie Turner (right).  Note the gold stoles given to the Valedictorians, and enough cords to rappel from the Williamstown Bridge. Marcie also won the Eggleston-Ruby Prize for the most meritorious work in Biology.



But wait - there's more!  Environmental Science Major Diana Hackenburg (left) won the William Bay Irvine Medal, given to the outstanding woman or man of the senior class.  She also received the Asa Shin McCoy Award, thus making her the most meritorious senior in the eyes of both the student body and the faculty council.  Diana was also Phi Beta Kappa, a McDonough Leadership Scholar, summa cum laude and some other stuff.


From left: Dr. McShaffrey, Dr. Brown, Dr. Tschunko, Bonnie Smith, Dr. Spilatro, Diana Hackenburg.  Arrows indicate valedictorian stole, honors cords, and big honkin' William Bay Irvine Medal.


Tad (above left) is off to med school!



Of course, we're proud of all our graduates:

Environmental Studies

  • Matt Ginsky

  • Anna Ginsky

  • Erin Faulkner

  • Matt Kundmueller




  • Melissa Browne

  • Crystal Carpenter

  • Janey Collins

  • Deb Dreyer

  • Keira Hambrick

  • Travis Kraker

  • Bonnie Smith

  • Aleah Telek

  • Emily Tolley

  • Marcie Turner


Environmental Science

Diana Hackenburg

Health Science
  • Meghan Endsley
  • Daniel Holloway
  • Allison Koprowski
  • Courtney Kuharik
  • Aaron Munching
  • Christa Schott
  • Devan Ward
  • Rob Williamson


  • Robin Arnold

  • Thomas Carson

  • Tad Cochran

  • Ryan Collins

  • Brandon Crane

  • Brennan Cribbins

  • Thomas Daniel

  • Michelle Geissler

  • Christopher Hamlin

  • Lee Hartzler

  • Kelley Heskett

  • Jessica Martinez

  • Craig Ripski

  • AnaRosa Stender

Allied Health

  • Bradley Roberts
  • Chad Sponseller




New Microscopes:  The department welcomed a long-awaited batch of brand-new dissecting microscopes.
The new scopes have zoom magnification up to 50X as well as efficient and COOL LED lighting - no more burned fingers on hot light sources!


The 'scopes have already been used in Lower Plants (pictured here) as well as in intro biology.




The Department of Biology would like to congratulate Dr. Peter E. Hogan for over  more than 34 years of dedicated service to Marietta College.


Dr. Peter Hogan and his wife Jan at the retirement reception in the Rickey Science Center, Wednesday, April 22.  







Spring 2009:  Another year winds down with capstone presentations and other activities.

Spring Picnic:

Above:  Little did they know that catastrophe awaited.....  
Left: Senior Brandon Crane presents the results of his senior research capstone.  Brandon looked for (and found) antibiotic-producing bacteria in soil samples taken from Florida to Alaska.

Senior capstones ran for an entire week , with 4 or 5 presenters each evening/afternoon.



Monday: Bonnie Smith, Keira Hambrick, Aaron Munching and Courtney Kuharik.


Tuesday: Daniel Holloway, AnaRosa Stender, Travis Kraker and Aleah Telek.


Wednesday: Marcie Turner, Meghan Endsley, Christa Schott, Craig Ripski and Jordan Beadling.

Thursday: Emily Tolley, Jeremiah Rockhold, Deb Dreyer and Rob Williamson.


Friday: Melissa Browne, Tommy Daniel, Brandon Crane and Jesse Daubert.

Above:  Dr. Steve Spilatro, this year's capstone instructor, introduces the afternoon's speakers.  


Right:  The eager audience.

2008-2009 Award Winners:   

Megan Betteley - David Young Scholarship.  

Aleah Telek - Beta Beta Beta Prize for research. 

First Year Achievement in Biology - Derek Hennen

The Eggleston-Ruby Prize will be announced at commencement.

Congratulations to all our awardees!



On April 1, 2009, the Scientific Imaging Class planted chestnut trees at the Beiser Field Station (and photographed themselves doing it).  
Right:  Along the riverbank of the Little Muskingum River at the Beiser field station in early spring.

Intro Labs have been running all semester.  To the left, students measure walnuts as part of a lab on learning observational techniques.


Right - in the mouse behavior lab, students measure the preference of mice for edges or walls - this one seems to like the edge.


Above:  The fish schooling lab looks at the tendency of fish to school - what triggers it?


The yeast respiration lab seeks to optimize fermentation by experimenting with various sugars, sugar concentrations, temperatures, pH values, etc.  Optimal yeast fertilization could increase biofuel production efficiency. 




Winter 2008-2009:  Work continues at the Beiser Field Station.  Work crews were on site December 8th and January 25th to help map the boundaries and begin to cut additional trails.  Marking the boundary is much easier in the winter when the leaves are not out to obscure the pins marking the edge of the property.
Left:  December team at the parking lot.  Dr. Lustofin, Jesse Daubert, Travis Kraker, Whitney Swain, Megan Stuhlfauth, Dr. Brown.


 Right:  January team along the road.  Ron Liew, Megan Betteley, Megan Stuhlfauth, Bailey, Amanda Ellsworth, Monica Maryott, Liz Robbe, Dr. Brown.


 Left:  Ron and Megan putting up a boundary sign. Below: Bailey handles the steep slopes.


Fall, 2008:

Construction at the Beiser Field Station wrapped up on October 27th.



On October 4th, 2008, a group of 10 students went to Cleveland to see the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  


Left, the group hears about a mastodon skull from Brian Redmond, Curator of Archaeology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.  In addition to seeing the displays in the galleries, the group was able to see the wild animals in the Perkins Wildlife Center and tour some of the research spaces in the museum.


Right, the group at the rainforest exhibit of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  It was a beautiful fall day and we had almost 4 hours at the zoo - not enough time to see the whole zoo, but enough time to see quite a bit.  Most of the students were from Dr. McShaffrey's zoology class.
Keira Hambrick (below left) and Melissa Browne (below right) received Investigative Summer Grants to pursue research projects.  On September 25th they presented the results of their summer work at the Fall Investigative Studies Symposium.  Melissa's project was  "The Impact of a High Fat Diet on Ostearthritis in C57/BL6 Mice ",  with faculty mentor Dr. Steve Spilatro.  Keira's project was titled "The Effects of Manganese Concentrations on the Survival and Development of Larval Grass Shrimp (Palaemonetes kadiakensis) ", faculty mentor Dr. Dave McShaffrey.  Congratulations to both Melissa and Keira!



Photos by Grace Johnson





Fall, 2008

Fall classes are in full swing.  Below, students in Cell Biology look on as Dr. Spilatro explains a procedure; right the Zoology class spending an afternoon along (and in) the Little Muskingum River at the Barbara A. Beiser Field Station.




Fall, 2008: The Department of Biology and Environmental Science welcomes 2 new faculty members: 

Jennifer Hancock comes to us from Ohio University, where she conducted research on movement in birds and will be completing her PhD.  She will be teaching anatomy and physiology in both the Biology and Environmental Science Department and for the Physician's Assistant Program, as well as Human Anatomy for the Sports Medicine Department.

Dr. Katrina Lustofin comes to Marietta from Washington College in Maryland.  Her PhD is from the University of Illinois where she worked on toxicology of plant chemicals on various animal models.  She will be teaching general biology and advanced courses in developmental biology.


Road construction at the Barbara A. Beiser Field station is ahead of schedule and should be ready for students early in the fall semester.  

Fall 2007 marked the opening of the Barbara A. Beiser Field Station.  The first class was on site and conducting field work September 4th, 2007.  Dedication of the station, made possible by the generosity of Ralph Voorhees and dedicated to the memory of his wife, Barbara A. Beiser Voorhees, was held on September 15th, 2007.

Ralph Voorhees with his nephew Dave Sands, a Marietta College graduate,  at the dedication.


Above/below:  Pictures of the road construction.  Overall road length is almost 4/10ths of a mile.  When complete, the road will allow college vehicles to drive to the college property in the middle of the larger Barbara A. Beiser Nature Preserve.  Marietta College manages the nature preserve for the Friends of Lower Muskingum River, a land conservancy organization. The two properties together comprise the Barbara A. Beiser Field Station.




Fall Picnic 2007:

We had the annual fall welcome back picnic on Wednesday, September 3rd.  Because of the planetarium construction, we had to move the event to the north end of the building.  Even with the change in venue we had a record turnout for the picnic, with students in Biology, Environmental Science, Health Science and allied majors participating.  Once again, gourmet chef Dave Brown presided at the grill.


Above.  This photo was NOT staged!  These are actual students having a good time.1  Left - even at the picnic, some of our students end up doing a little field work.  The mantid was released unharmed.


Above:  Dr. Spilatro (center) and professor Hancock (left, with larval human) discuss new class offerings with several students.  Below:  Our other new faculty member, Dr. Katy Lustofin, talks with 2 students.





2008 Utah Field Trip

8 students and 3 professors joined with the annual Geology Department Dino Dig in Utah.  In addition to helping at the dinosaur quarry, biology students studied the desert ecosystem, and visited Bryce Canyon National Park.

A web site with pictures from  the 2006 trip  is  at:

2006 Utah Trip

Images from the 2008 Utah trip will be added in a set of PDF handbooks - keep an eye open on the site!



Congratulations to our 2008 Graduates: 2008 Capstones
BS Biology
  • Stacey Burgess
  • Ami Casis
  • Jessica Craig
  • Melissa Isennock
  • Brianne Kosar
  • Oliva Newsome
  • Valerie Niedermier
  • Justine Pagenhardt
  • Gabrielle Sanders
  • Toni Stephenson
  • Yong Yang Wang
BS Biochemistry
  • Patrick Burke
  • Michelle Geissler
  • Nicole Gwisdalla
  • Christopher Hamlin
  • Joseph McMahan
  • Tyler Okel
  • Kyle Ryder
  • Sarah Zumbro
  • Paige Williams


BA Environmental Studies

  • Sotiria Anagnoustou
  • Ryan Callihan
  • Matt Kundmueller

BS Environmental Science

  • Bill Barron
  • Sam Dahler
  • David Merckle
  • Pierce Morris
  • Sean Wainwright
  • Di Yang


BS Health Science

  • Megan Bartley
  • Nicole Budzinski
  • Jessica Moss
  • Kenzie Schafer
  • Joe Schanken
  • Alison Schindler
  • Jonathan Sidle
  • Devan Ward
  • Jennifer Wickerham
  • Jeffrey Wojton
  • Lindsay Zettle


BS Allied Health

  • Kimberley Becker
  • Nikki Crippen
  • Joel Nau
  • Bradley Roberts
  • Brian Venci




Spring 2008 Picnic


The Spring Picnic followed the senior capstone poster presentations on April 25th.  Above left, Biology and Environmental Science safety and lunch-sniffing dog Tasha inspects all consumables for freshness and quality.  Speaking of quality, top-notch food was prepared by gourmet chef (really) Dr. Dave Brown and natural foods consultant Dr. Steve Spilatro (left).  A good time was had by all, including departmental secretary Judy Dunn's grandson (Class of '27).







On October 6th 2007, 25 students and 3 faculty visited Bodies: The Exhibition in Columbus.  Students were able to tour this exhibit of elaborately preserved and presented human bodies, learning much about anatomy in the process.   Afterwards, the students had some time to do some shopping at the Easton Center where the exhibition was housed.

Fall 2007 - Field Station Dedication

Fall 2007 marked the opening of the Barbara A. Beiser Field Station.  The first class was on site and conducting field work September 4th, 2007.  Dedication of the station, made possible by the generosity of Ralph Voorhees and dedicated to the memory of his wife, Barbara A. Beiser Voorhees, was held on September 15th, 2007.

Dave Sands a Marietta College graduate, and his uncle, Ralph Voorhees, at the dedication.

Above:  Sampling in the Little Muskingum River at the Barbara A. Beiser Field Station.  On September 19th, 2007, such sampling revealed the furthest upstream presence of Palaemonetes kadiakensis the Mississippi Grass Shrimp, in the Ohio River drainage.


Zoology Class at the Barbara A. Beiser Field Station.




Fall, 2007 Picnic

A fall tradition, the welcome back picnic on September 5th, 2007  brought together our upperclass students and some of the more than 40 new students majoring in Biology, Health Science, and Biochemistry.  


2007 Costa Rica Field Trip

12 students and 2 professors spent 3 weeks in Costa Rica early this summer.  The group toured much of the country, including beaches on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, and saw habitats including coral reefs, two active volcanoes, several rainforests, a cloud forest and a tropical dry forest.  

A web site with pictures from both the 2007 trip and the previous, 2005 trip is under construction at:

Stop by regularly as the site is being updated as we work our way through about 15,000 pictures we took there.