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The biology program at Hiram College provides students with the knowledge and experience to become professional biologists.

With our emphasis on experiential learning and hands-on applications, coupled with close faculty mentoring relationships, Hiram's biology students develop the expertise to succeed in graduate programs and professional work environments in the modern life sciences.

To enable our students to explore virtually limitless research areas, Hiram's biology department sustains a faculty with a broad scope of expertise, ranging from paleontology to ecology, marine biology to genetics, animal behavior to plant systematics.


Hiram Students Present Research at Midwest Biology Conferences

Hiram College students Kailey Cooper, Zachary Nemec, Patricia Bohls, and LeAunna Martin presented their research this spring at the Ohio Natural History Conference (Columbus, OH) and the Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference (Indiana University, Indiana).

The following posters and talks were presented:

  • Competitive interactions between native benthic fish, native crayfish, and invasive rusty crayfish for shelter by Kailey Cooper (’15, biology major); co-authored by assistant professor Jennifer Clark.—oral presentation
  • Short-term effects of a prescribed burn on butterfly abundance and diversity in a restored northeastern Ohio prairie by Tricia Bohls (’15, neuroscience major, environmental studies and psychology minor); co-authored by assistant professor Jennifer Clark.—oral presentation
  • Evaluation the decomposition and invertebrate colonization of CPOM in a previously restored headwater stream over a two year period by Zach Nemec (’16, biology major); co-authored by assistant professor Jennifer Clark.—oral presentation
  • Effects of caffeine on earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris) survival and growth by LeAunna Martin (’15, biology major, communication minor); co-authored by assistant professor Jennifer Clark.—poster presentation

Travel to this conference was funded by the Paul and Maxine Frohring Foundation and the James H. Barrow Field Station.

    From left to right: LeAunna Martin, Kailey Cooper, Professor Jennifer Clark, Tricia Bohls, and Zach Nemec.


JJ Turner Society

Induction of New Members and 2015 Annual Meeting

Fifty-nine life science majors and minors were inducted into the J.J. Turner Society on March 24, 2015. More than 30 parents and family members were present to join in congratulating the new Turner Society members. The evening’s program began with talks by 3 seniors, Emily Anderson, Kailey Cooper, and Tiffany Marchewka, in which they described their APEX or senior capstone projects. Highlighting the program was a talk, ‘Flukes, flying zoological gardens, and time machine trees’, given by Mary Garvin, Hiram Class of 1986.

Each of the three student presenters had fulfilled their senior capstone or apprenticeship experience in a different way. Emily, who is a biology major, plans to teach science in high school or junior high school after graduation. Emily used her student teaching experience at LaBrae High School in Leavittsburg for her apprenticeship experience (APEX). In her talk she demonstrated how she had incorporated experiential learning techniques (Streams of Learning in Science) in her teaching and how these techniques enhanced learning in her students.

Kailey, who is also a biology major, has carried out behavioral studies in two species of crayfish, one native and one introduced, and a native benthic fish when they compete for shelter. Her results support the hypothesis that the introduced crayfish can outcompete both the native crayfish and benthic fish for shelter. The research was carried out at Hiram under the direction of Professor Jenn Clark. Kailey plans to attend graduate school in ecology.

Tiffany is a biochemistry major and a biomedical humanities minor. Her research, on repair of bone fractures, was conducted in the Center for Musculoskeletal Care at the New York University Langone Medical Center. Using cultured pre-osteoblastic cells, Tiffany investigated the role of modified phosphate compounds in inducing gene expression associated with bone fracture repair. After graduation Tiffany will begin her medical training at the Michigan State University School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Mary Garvin, who is a professor of biology and chair of Oberlin College’s Department of Biology, described her career path, starting with her study of blood parasites while an undergraduate. Her mentor, Dr. James Barrow urged her to go off to India to do this work under the direction of two Hiram alumni, Drs. David Elkins and Melissa Haswell-Elkins. Most of Dr. Garvin’s present work concerns avian parasites although recent studies in her lab have addressed using local trees to trace the timing of introduction of heavy metals into the water table. In her talk, however, she emphasized how taking chances, making mistakes and learning from mistakes had directed and enhanced her own career.

The program concluded with the presentation of certificates of membership to all the seniors in attendance and closing remarks by Dean Robert Haak.

The 2015 annual meeting of the Turner Society will take place on Saturday, June 20 as part of Alumni Weekend. This year’s ceremony will take place at the James H. Barrow Field Station. Two Turner Society awards will be made at this time. Professor Matt Hils will be recognized posthumously as a 2015 Turner Society awardee. Lauren Scott Lanphear (Hiram College, Class of 1979) will also receive the Turner award and will present a talk on his work as a nationally recognized arborist. Mr. Lanphear is president and owner of Forest City Tree Protection Company of South Euclid, Ohio. He is the Director of the International Society of Arboriculture and wa

s elected president of the group in 2005. He has been involved with planning of gardens on Martha’s Vinyard, Massachusetts as well.

 Learn more about the Turner Society, its origins and a list of recipients of the annual Turner Society Award.





 Row 1: Alex Fakhoury; Emily Anderson

 Row 2: Kailey Cooper; Bryan Goldstein

 Row 3: Tiffany Marchewka; Tricia Bohls

 Row 4: Mary Garvin

 Row 5: Inductees

 Row 6: Dean Haak's Closing Remarks


The Hiram College student chapter of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) announces its 2014-15 officers and fall events.  These events include:

  • October 2 - Fall Mixer: The Fall Mixer is a way to introduce lots of professors to the students on campus. Lots of professors are doing research in many different fields. You may find a professor whose research fits your interests. There will be food.
  • October 16 - Graduate school Luncheon: At this event biology professors will talk about there experiences in graduate school, offer advice, and answer questions.

This year's officers are: Ashley Curtis - President; Kayla Kennedy - Vice President; Sorina Fatu - Secretary; Ann Riddle - Treasurer.  The AIBS advisor is Willa Schrlau, Research Teaching Associate.


2014 Celebration of Research Symposium

Among the more than 50 Hiram College students and faculty presenting posters describing their studies at the September 25, 2014 Undergraduate Celebration of Research Symposium, were 21 biology majors and 4 professors. Two students completed their projects at off-campus locations (New York University and Rocky Mountain Research Station in Flagstaff, AZ) while the majority were involved in research at the James H Barrow Field Station or in labs in Colton.

Research projects spanned many fields of interest in biology: fish ecology, avian rehabilitation, microbiology, developmental biology and circadian rhythms, species diversity, forest ecology, animal behavior, nature education, and bone biochemistry. Most of the students participated in research programs during the 2014 summer at Hiram and were supported in their work by funds from such internal sources as the Paul and Maxine Frohring Foundation, the Louis DiSalvo fund, and the Center for Scientific Engagement. External funding sources included the National Science Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the U.S.G.S. Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center.

Some of the student research projects has been or will be presented at regional and national conferences.

Kailey Cooper and Professor Jenn Clark traveled to the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of American in Sacramento, CA in August where they presented their poster “Shelter competition between invasive crayfish (Orcononectes rusticus) and native crayfish (O obscurus) and a native benthic stream fish”.  Kailey was funded through the Center for Scientific Engagement, and won a travel award from the Ecological Society of America. Kailey reports “I was really grateful for the opportunity to attend a national meeting like ESA. It was an incredible opportunity to meet other students with similar research interests, and network with potential graduate advisors. After presenting my own research, I felt proud and even more excited about the work I was doing at Hiram.”  

Professor Jenn Clark and Kaily Cooper

Professor Clark and her students, Aaron Acus-Souders, Patricia Bohls, Lindsay Brewer, Zach Nemac, LeAunna Martin, and Kailey will attend and present their work at 3 other meetings – the Kent State University Water Symposium (October), the Ohio Natural History Conference (February), and the Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference (Indiana University, March).

Students Present Research at the Society for Neuroscience 2014 International Conference

Three students, Emily Mortimer, ’16 (Biology and Biomedical Humanities, Cristian Loyola, ’16 (Biochemistry), and Ashley Myer, ’15 (Biology and Biomedical Humanities) presented their summer internship with Cara Constance at the Society for Neuroscience 2014 international conference.  This conference took place from November 15-19 in Washington, DC and had more than 31.000 attendees.  Emily, Cristian, and Ashley presented at the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN) symposium on Nov. 17.  Their poster, entitle “Determining the developmental stage of onset of behavioral circadian rhythms in Hyla versicolor (Gray treefrog) and Xenopus laevis,” focused on their work at the James H. Barrow Field Station from May-August, 2014, monitoring the activity of Gray treefrog tadpoles.


White Pine Tree Planted in Memory of Professor Matt Hils

A shared love of plants in general, and of trees in particular, started a conversation between Professor Matt Hils and Nathan S. Clark of Greenville, PA during the 2013 annual meeting of the Turner Society at which Mr. Clark’s good friend, Joyce DeYoung, was the 2013 Turner Society awardee. Mr. Clark and his family had come to share the pleasures of the evening with Dr. DeYoung and her husband Larry.

For the next year Professor Hils and Mr. Clark exchanged information about trees. Upon learning of Matt Hils’s death in June 2014, Mr. Clark proposed planting a tree at the James H. Barrow Field Station in Matt’s honor. Mr. Clark offered a White Pine (Pinus strobus) he had collected from a road embankment near Winchester, VA in 2005. As Mr. Clark recounted, “Don't know why he called out to me over all of the other thousands I passed along that road, but he was in some soft soil in a rock outcropping, and into a plastic container in the back seat the roots went, and home he came, after I finished my trip.” The pine tree thrived in a plastic pot on Mr. Clark’s porch until Saturday, November 1, 2014, when Mr. Clark and his two children, Katherine and Preston, brought the tree to the Field Station to be transplanted to its new home in the grassy area east of the Observation Building.

The weather couldn’t have been better for transplanting the tree – it was quite cool, and the ground was freshly moist from recent rains. The Field Station director, Jim Metzinger, and his crew, Emliss Ricks, Jim Tolan, and Jane O’Brien had selected the site and dug a hole in preparation for the transfer. A ‘crew’ was present to take part in the planting Matt’s Memorial Tree. Mr. Clark retold the history of the tree, then the tree was removed from its plastic container and set into the ground with hopes and good wishes for its survival and long life in Matt Hils’s memory.

Sarah Mabey (Environmental Studies) coordinated the event. Assisting in the planting were Jim Tolan and Jane O’Brien of the Field Station staff, David (Hiram College Class of 1974) and Roseanne Factor (Hiram College Library), Chris Szell (Hiram College Class of 1992), Chris and Sarah’s daugher Adia, Prudy (Biology) and Rich Hall, and Christine Kohls-Hunder (Development Office)and her daughter Lauren. After the tree was firmly in place, all hands warmed themselves in the Field Station lab building with cider and chocolate chip cookies.

An official dedication of the Matt Hils Memorial Pine Tree will take place in the spring.







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For more information

If you have specific questions about the Biology Program at Hiram College or if you would like more information, please contact:

  • Vicki Kohn
  • 330-569-5264
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