Kalamazoo College biology students

Why Study Biology at K?

As a biology major, you have the chance to observe, assess and analyze the marvels of existence and use that knowledge to improve the world around you. 

K offers a Major in Biology and a Concentration in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The department takes an empirical approach to biology so that you can develop a strong foundation in the field and the critical thinking required to answer probing questions, interpret scientific literature, conduct experiments and make original observations of biological phenomena. 

The lifelong learning our biology alumni developed during their time at K has enabled them to pursue meaningful careers in public health, conservation, academia and other sectors.

Through courses, research, personalized advising, and departmental experiences, you will gain a keen awareness of the natural world and the confidence and skills to further the field of biology. Specifically, by the time you graduate the department hopes that you will: 

  1. Feel curious about the natural world and empathetic toward our shared environment; 
  2. Know what has been discovered about the natural world, the process by which such knowledge is gained, and how to evaluate competing claims; 
  3. Identify as new members of an interdependent community whose goal is to address socially relevant problems and questions; and 
  4. Continually apply/practice newfound knowledge and skills via career exploration, problem-solving, research, communication, and teamwork. 

What can you do with a biology degree?

Below are some of the careers, employers, and graduate schools of our biology alumni.

Job Titles

  • Physician
  • Research Assistant
  • Sustainability Analyst
  • Geologist
  • Teacher


  • Bronson Hospital
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Pfizer
  • Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
  • Charles River Laboratories

Graduate Schools

  • University of Chicago
  • University of Michigan
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Rochester
  • Johns Hopkins University

Program Spotlights

Four Kalamazoo College biology students attending class in the Arboretum

Learn in the Great Outdoors 

As a Kalamazoo College biology student, you will be able to learn about ecology and environmental science on location at the College’s Lillian Anderson Arboretum, 140 acres of marsh, meadow, pine plantation and second-growth deciduous forest. The arboretum serves as an outdoor classroom where you will be able to collect samples for labs and learn about environmental stewardship first-hand. Many students have chosen to complete their Senior Integrated Project in the arboretum; past students have researched pollination patterns, invasive plant species, and bee populations.

Take your Studies Across the Globe 

At K, study abroad is central to your education and K-Plan, and biology students are heavily encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. While you can choose from any of the College’s 50+ study abroad programs and transfer any relevant biology classes, three programs offer unique experiences for biology students: learn about ecology and evolution exactly as Darwin did in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, apply your community and global health knowledge in San José, Costa Rica, or study and observe sustainable ecological development in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 

Student presenting her research to president Gonzalez

Showcase your knowledge with your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)

Whether you completed your Senior Integrated Project (SIP) within the Biology Department or not, we are proud of our seniors and want to showcase all you have learned. In that spirit, the annual Diebold Symposium is a three-day event for seniors to present their SIPs in front of their classmates, professors and families and revel in all they have accomplished. The symposium is headlined by a prominent biologist who is invited to campus to present their most recent research in a keynote address.

Meet the Current Departmental Student Advisors

Ally Sokacz

Ally Sokacz (She/Her)

Major: Biology

Minor: Spanish

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

Establishing a close-knit community connected by a broader topic.

What has been your favorite class at K?

My favorite class was Neurobiology with Dr. Moore. I loved taking a class where at the beginning I knew nothing and then being able to explain complicated anatomy and neurological processes with ease by the end.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?

I have worked in Dr. Michael Wollenberg’s biology research lab for the last 2 years, studying the symbiotic relationship between nematodes and bacteria. I also was a scribe in the Bronson ER in downtown Kalamazoo for about a year and a half, and have been volunteering with hospice patients for a few months now.

What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?

Further characterizing the relationships between Heterorhabditis nematodes and Photorhabdus bacteria by trying to localize which form of bacteria (pathogenic or mutualistic) is present in the nematode.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

After graduating from K, I am planning on taking a year off before applying for medical school. My end goal is to become a pediatrician.

Quinn Collins

Quinn Collins (They/Them/Theirs)

Major: Biology

Minor: Computer Science

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

The friendships I’ve made.

What is your advice to first-years and sophomores about getting connected to this department?

Chat with your professors! Go to office hours, even if you don’t have questions. Ask them about their research and to create interpersonal relationships! Don’t be scared of them and reach out to them.

What has been your favorite class at K? Why?

Within the biology department, I’d say Population and Community Ecology because it’s a super fun class driven by an even share of both the students and Dr. Binney Girdler. Outside of the department, I’d say Intro to Society and Culture with Dr. Baptiste since it really expands your worldview and she’s very knowledgeable.

What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?

My SIP takes a survey of the plants and animals in the Grove! I will be conducting observational research and documenting the species existent.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

I plan on going into ecological field research. I plan on specializing in forestry research/land conservation.

Biology Department News