Biology

Department Home | Biology Sciences ORC Entry, Biochemistry ORC Entry

Ahra Cho ‘11
F09-S10 D-plan: R-R-R
Biology, Economics double major
Pre-Med

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

My favorite part of the Biology department is that all faculty members genuinely want to see all the students succeed. They are very encouraging and are always available via blitz or office hours to meet with you and help you understand the material. I also like the fact that our Biology department works so closely with the Med school. The proximity to the medical school gives undergrads unique opportunities to use advanced technology and learn from medical school faculty. My least favorite part of the department is that the intro/intermediate biology courses are huge, making it sometimes daunting to approach professors after class.

Important info for potential majors:

The professors in the Biology department are always willing to help you learn the material. If you’re interested in a professor’s class or research, blitz them or stop by their office – they’ll almost always take time to explain to you what’s going on. Plus, go to office hours! The intro biology courses are large and a bit intimidating, but office hours gives you a chance to really learn the material and meet the professor.

Talk to me if:

Talk to me if have you have any general questions about the Biology department, if you’re interested in Human Biology, if you’re an international student thinking of pursuing a pre-med track, or if you’re thinking of double majoring with Bio and another subject. I might be able to help, and if not, I’ll definitely help you find someone else to help you answer your questions!

Most valuable academic info learned:

Don’t be scared of taking upper level courses and don’t be scared of taking large intro classes. I know that some biology courses can seem large and intimidating, but you might really enjoy the course if you give it a chance. Also, don’t be embarrassed to join a study group or get a tutor. The tutor/study group leader will oftentimes explain things differently from your professor, which might help you better understand the material.

Favorite class and professor:

My favorite class so far in the Biology department is Bio 12 (Cell Biology) with Professor Schaller. He does an excellent job explaining sometimes very-detailed processes in a fun way, making the class humorous when it could be terribly boring. My favorite class outside the Biology department is Philosophy 25, which is the Philosophy of Medicine, with Professor Gert.

Major classes taken:

Bio 11, 12; Chem 5, 6, 51, 52; Math 23, 24

Major journey:

I knew I loved Biology, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to major in it, especially after taking Bio 11 freshmen fall with 170 other students. I stopped taking Biology classes until this spring, but after taking Bio 12, I realized that I really enjoy studying for my courses in Biology and wanted to take more upper level courses. So I filed my major card in Biology and that’s where I am now.

Major-specific activities:

NSS, WISP Intern, HHMI Intern

Thesis status:

I’m still undecided. I want to write a thesis, but there are so many Biology courses I want to take…

Other activities:

AZD- Financial VP (X09); ASB New Orleans – co-trip leader; UGA; Students Fighting Hunger; Dartmouth EMS; DCF Student Caller; DAPA; MAV

Off-campus program:

Except for freshmen summer, I’ve been here since I’ve started….

Internship experience:

WISP Research Intern in the Engineering Department – 08W/08S
HHMI Research Intern in Immunology at DMS – 08F/09W
Dartmouth Partners in Community Service Intern at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Tx  – 08X

sliderAndrey Dolinko ‘11BIOL-AndreyDolinko
F09-S10 D-plan:  R-R-R
Biology Major. Psychology Minor
Pre-Med

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

My favorite thing about the department is the number of extremely interesting classes, especially the higher level ones. There are too many that interest me that I just can’t fit into my schedule. My other favorite thing about the department is that you can do research with professors in the medical school and do your thesis with them also, even though they are not part of the biology department. My least favorite thing about the department is that a lot of the high-level classes are offered every other year, which makes it literally impossible to take some of them because of scheduling conflicts.

Important info for potential majors:

It is important to get through the foundation courses (Bio 12-16) relatively early. All of the mid-level courses have 1 or 2 of these courses as pre-requisites. And the higher-level courses have some of the mid-level courses as pre-requisites. Thus, I would recommend getting through those courses. And don’t let them deter you from the bio major.

Talk to me if:

Talk to me if you’re interested in human biology, want to go into medicine, or want to learn more about doing research.

Most valuable academic info learned:

The best way to do well in biology is to engage all your senses in learning (visual, audible, and tactile). Writing out biological pathways helps your hand and brain memorize. Biology should become automatic. Also, always talk to the professors.

Favorite class and professor:

So far my favorite bio class has been Biol 42, Immunology. Taught by a series of medical school professors, it is amazing to learn from them how the body defends itself against infection. Although I am not interested in ecology, my favorite professor so far has been Prof. Peart. He was extremely open during office hours and just very cool to talk to.

Major classes taken:

BIOL 11, 12, 42 (13 and 14 coming summer); CHEM 5/6, 51/52

Major journey:

I have wanted to go into medicine for as long as I can remember, and m favorite subject through grade school was biology (I took two years in high school). I find it absolutely amazing to learn how my body works on the general and the specific level. And I personally believe that biology will give me the best preparation for my future education in medical school.

Major-specific activities:

Cancer Research; Study Group Leader; Tutor

Thesis status:

Planned – Dr. Ethan Dmitrovsky (DMS Pharmacology and Toxicology). I am currently involved in lung cancer research dealing with the cell cycle and a protein destruction pathway. The goal of the project is to develop a small molecule inhibitor as a form of cancer therapy and prevention.

Other activities:

Hillel – Treasurer, Cooking Coordinator; Dartmouth Chamber Orchestra – Concertmaster; Russian Club – VP; NSS Pre-Med Society – Member

sliderBIOL-ChrisMillhouseChris Millhouse ‘10
F09-S10 D-plan:  R-R-R
Biology (Area of Concentration: Biochemistry)
Pre-Med

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

Favorite are the classes where the learning goes way beyond the book and the professors are awesome characters (Endocrinology, Neurobiology, Biochemistry), least favorite are the essay-writing marathon tests on “hypothetical biology” from other classes.  Also, Biology 11 is the bane of my existence.

Important info for potential majors:

Yes, you’re going to have to suffer through Bio 11 but it only gets better from there:  the foundation classes (12-16) have their ups and downs and once you get to the specifics of the higher level (30+) you’ll be golden.

Talk to me if:

You just can’t crack those Velez multiple choice and matching sections.

Most valuable academic info learned:

The professor of a given class can optimize or ruin the subject matter of a course, regardless of how much you think you love/hate a given topic.  Do a lot of research into who are the main players in each area of concentration in the bio department and plan EARLY, especially if you are premed.

Favorite class and professor:

Bio 34- Neurobiology, Professor Velez.  Velez is so entertaining in his lectures that I can actually pay attention (and he talks fast, so you really need to) and succeed in learning all the details for his tests.

Major classes taken:

Bio 11, 12, 13, 14, 34, 35, 37, 40

Major journey:

I had a pretty good idea I wanted to major in bio coming out of high school but I chose the area of concentration based on the professors I wanted to have the most interactions with (which were conveniently the profs for the subject areas I found most interesting).

Major-specific activities:

Research job at the VA hospital, a neuroscience lab.

Other activities:

Sigma Nu- Recorder, Rush Chair, Philanthropy Chair; Early College Awareness, Work at DHMC (part of bio 8, take data for clinical research projects ongoing in the ER).

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Jester P. Galiza ‘11BIOL-JesterGaliza
F09-S10 D-plan:  R-R-LSA
Human Biology
Pre-Med

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

I love the fact that there are a wide variety of Biology courses, ranging from cancer to endocrinology, which makes the major quite flexible. I am able to take classes that I am truly interested in to fulfill my major concentration without being forced to take anything (with the exception of Biology 11, which everyone has to take in order to take upper-level courses). Unfortunately, a lot of the upper-level courses are not offered every year, which makes D-planning and filling out the major card rather frustrating. However, with careful planning and advising sessions with a Biology professor, the frustration can be alleviated.

Important info for potential majors:

Don’t major in Biology just because you are Pre-Med. Make sure that you truly have a passion for Biology and are prepared to work hard and spend a substantial amount of time with the material. Also, don’t let Biology 11 discourage you from majoring in Biology or taking more Biology courses. If you let that one class discourage you, you’ll be missing out on a plethora of other amazing Biology courses at Dartmouth.

Talk to me if:

Talk to me if you have questions about the Society of Biological Sciences, the Human Biology concentration, pre-med stuff, or anything about the Biology Department and major.

Most valuable academic info learned:

Going to office hours, taking diligent notes, and constantly reviewing the material are keys to being successful in any Biology class, namely Biology 11 and the foundation courses. Exams in the Biology department are not easy, and the only way to master the material and succeed in exams is to literally immerse yourself in the material.

Favorite class and professor:

I really enjoyed Biology 12 with Professor Gladfelter. Her passion and knowledge of the subject was really infectious, and I found myself eager to come to every class to expand my experimental toolbox and learn more about actin filaments and Cdk-cyclin complexes.

Major classes taken:

BIO 11, 12, 13, 14; CHEM 3, 6; MATH 4

Major journey:

I already knew I wanted to major in Biology because I loved the subject in high school, and to be honest, I felt that majoring in Biology would be highly advantageous as a pre-med student. However, after struggling with Biology 11 my freshman fall, I felt discouraged and reconsidered majoring in Biology. Then, after taking Biology 12, my passion for Biology was revitalized and I was inspired to continue with the major.

Major-specific activities:

CHEM 2 TA, Tutor, and Study Group Leader; Co-President for The Society of Biological Sciences (BioSoc); Research in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at Dartmouth Medical School

Thesis status:

I intend to do an honors thesis, possibly with Dr. Deborah Hogan in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology (Dartmouth Medical School).

Other activities:

Dartmouth EMS-Training Officer; Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS)-Vice-President; Big Brothers Big Sisters-Big Siblings Connections Program-Mentor; Students-To-students Linking Up Knowledge and Education (ST. LUKE)-Operations Officer

Off-campus program:

Tucker Fellowship (Health Clinic Volunteer) in Ollantaytambo, Peru, 09S; Spanish LSA in Barcelona, Spain, 10S

Internship experience:

No Biology-related internships, but I’ve done two clinical internships: 1) Student Intern in the Med/Surg Department at Straub Hospital, Honolulu, HI, 07X, and 2) Student Intern in the Emergency Department at Straub Hospital, Honolulu, HI, 08X.

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Kate Vonderhaar ‘10BIOL-KateVonderhaar
F09-S10 D-plan:  R-R-R
Biology major, human biology concentration
Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

I love the flexibility of the major.  The department encourages you to build your concentration around classes that you’re interested in, rather than following a rigid formula.  I also like the progression of classes from basic fact-based intro courses to more advanced courses based on recent scientific literature.  My least favorite thing about the department is that many of the intro classes (and some of the intermediate courses) are large.

Important info for potential majors:

Take your Foundations courses (Bio 12, 13, 14, 15, 16) early on.  They’re a great introduction to basic experimental techniques that crop up over and over again in more advanced courses.  It’s a lot easier to understand how something works if you’ve actually done it in lab!

Talk to me if:

You love biology, but you’re interested in a non-medicine, non-academic career.

Most valuable academic info learned:

Major in the subject you’re really interested in, and don’t worry about what you’ll “do” with the major after Dartmouth.

Favorite class and professor:

Bio 37: Endocrinology with Professor Witters was the most “liberal arts” biology class I’ve taken at Dartmouth!  He wove historical, social, and artistic threads into the biology of the endocrine system.  I also really liked Bio 47: Human Genetics with Professor Erives.  It was exciting to read literature from such a new and dynamic field.

Major classes taken:

BIOL 11, 12, 13, 14, 37, 45, 47; CHEM 5, 51, 52; ENGS 10

Major journey:

I arrived at Dartmouth interested in biology, government, and psychology.  I struggled with choosing a major.  It felt limiting to define myself as a biology major while I had so many other interests.  Surprisingly, after declaring myself a biology major, I ended up feeling liberated—my academic career now has a focus, but I’ve continued to take several non-science classes.

Major-specific activities:

Occasional freelance writer for Dartmouth Medicine magazine.

Thesis status:

I’m not planning to write a thesis.

Other activities:

Lego League co-chair; Aquinas House Campus Ministry Council; past research in the psychology and chemistry departments

Off-campus program:

AMES FSP in Fez, 09S

Internship experience:

Dartmouth Medicine magazine, Editorial Intern, 08F, Hanover; The Nielsen Company, Operations Intern, 07X, Illinois.

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Mary Collins ‘10 BIOL-MaryCollins
F09-S10 D-plan:  R-R-R
Biology major, concentration in Biochemistry
Pre-Med (I was Pre-Dent)

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

My favorite things about the Biology Department are the diverse classes that are offered and the professors in the department. The biology department offers a variety of classes for majors and non-majors that are very interesting, and the biology professors and engaging and passionate about their work. My least favorite aspect of the Biology Department is that there is no FSP for students who do not choose to concentrate on the ecological side of biology.

Important info for potential majors:

Potential majors should try to take biology classes early in their academic careers, so they have room to take the major classes they wish to take.

Talk to me if:

You are looking to be pre-med, pre-dental or are deciding between the two, or have questions about the biology major!

Most valuable academic info learned:

Plan out your major, even if it is just tentative or preliminary. This will help you take the classes within your major that you want to take, and have room for other classes that interest you, also.

Favorite class and professor:

My favorite classes have been Biology 12: Cell Biology with Professor Gladfelter and Biology 37: Endocrinology with Professor Witters.

Major classes taken:

Biology 11, 12, 13, 14, 37, 40; Chemistry 58; Math 8, 13

Major journey:

I came to Dartmouth thinking I was going to be a Chemistry major, and realized I enjoyed biology classes as much as I do chemistry classes. I looked for a major that included both subjects and decided to concentrate on Biochemistry with in the Biology department.

Major-specific activities:

tutoring

Other activities:

Research, Alpha Phi-various positions; WISP, NSS

Internship experience:

Women in Science Project, intern, Winter and Spring 07, Dartmouth College
Research Experience for Undergraduates, intern, Summer 07, Dartmouth College
Women in Science Project, intern, Winter and Spring 08, Dartmouth College

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Max Lindeman ‘10bio-maxlindeman
F09-S10 D-plan: R-R-R
Biology/Anthropology
Pre-Med

Favorite and least favorite thing about department:

My favorite thing about the biology department is how diverse the course selection is. There is so much to learn in a field as dynamic as biology, and with such a variety of classes available, it is possible to keep abreast of each advancement. Also, I really like how helpful and excited professors are to recruit new students to the major and serve as advisors. My least favorite thing about the department is that several of the upper level courses are only offered in alternate years, which makes it difficult or impossible to take some of the classes you want.

Important info for potential majors:

The concentrations in the biology department are not as strict or rigid as they appear; you can develop a concentration based on classes that best suit your interests and/or needs. What’s most important is selecting and developing a good relationship with your advisor so that you can succeed on whichever path you choose.

Talk to me if:

Talk to me if you’re interested in several areas of biology that do not necessarily fall within one concentration, or if interested in the summer organic chemistry program at Harvard.

Most valuable academic information learned:

It is important to set goals for yourself and have some kind of plan for how you will deal with each class each term so that classes don’t become overwhelming as the workload becomes more intense.

Favorite class and professor:

In the biology department, I really liked Biol 42: Biology of the Immune Response, which was taught by six different professors, all of whom were very good.  I also enjoyed Professors Calsbeek and Rendi, each of whom teaches several great classes and I’d recommend taking something with at least one of them.  Outside the department, my favorite class overall has been Primate Societies (Anth 42), which is taught by Professor Dobson.

Major classes taken:

BIOL 11, 12, 13, 14, 27, 31, 42; CHEM 5, 6; MATH 11

Major journey:

I found that when I was looking for classes each term, several classes in the biology department would always catch my eye. The more biology classes I took, the more interested I became, so I decided to major in it.

Other activities:

Students Fighting Hunger – Co-Chair, Rotaract Club – President, NSS – Exec. Committee, First Aid/EMS (not on campus)

Off Campus Program:

Transfer term at Harvard, 07X

sliderSamantha Haw ‘10bio4-samhaw
F09-S10 D-plan:  R-R-R
Biology (Area of Concentration: Animal Biology and Epidemiology)
Pre-Vet

Favorite and least favorite thing about department:

The biology professors are amazing – they’re fun,wacky, easy to talk to, and are a great group of chill profs to get to know. Sure they can be a bit strange at times, but that’s part of what adds character to the bio department. For me, a downside of the department is its lack of animal science or more macro-animal-related classes. Being a pre-vet oriented student, it’s a bit of a challenge to find internships or interesting animal-oriented classes. For obvious reasons, Dartmouth is significantly pre-med oriented, and thus there are a significant number of opportunities and resources for human medicine as opposed to animal. However, the professors are still great in trying to help you find things related to your interests.

Important info for potential majors:

Go with your gut, and major in something you love. If you’re interested in being pre-med or something, don’t just become a bio major because “everyone else is.” Take classes in a wide variety of departments, and if the biology ones are those you enjoy the most and get a kick out of, then bio’s for you.

Talk to me if:

you’re considering pursuing veterinary medicine, interested in animal science, or are torn between choosing a “well this is what most people pursuing my career major in”- major and one you really like just ‘cause.

Most valuable academic information learned:

Make sure you take the time to take those different, random, potentially-useless classes that you want to take just because they sound like they could be cool or interesting. A lot of times it seems like students get so caught up with focusing only on classes they “need to” that they don’t always recognize the fact that college only happens once, and you should take advantage of all the different educational opportunities you have.

Favorite class and professor:

Professor Velez is absolutely hilarious. I know the SA reviews make his Bio 14 Physiology class look awful, but it really is not bad and he is a great lecturer. He makes class interesting and entertaining every day through his stories and antics (which actually do help you remember stuff). Also, Bio 46 Microbiology is a great class and well worth the long lab hours. The material is fascinating and interesting in applying to everyday life.

Major classes taken:

BIO 11, 12, 14, 16, 27, 42, 46 (CHEM 5,6, 51, 52; MATH 8 )

Major journey:

I kind of always knew I wanted to be a biology major, because biology is what I love. I’ve always found it enjoyable and interesting. Being pre-vet and a bio student is hard. I’m not a superstar bio student and don’t always perform the best academically in the bio classes, but when it comes down to it, I love bio and like learning about it.

Major specific activities:

Pre-Vet Society, Nathan Smith Pre-Health Society, Women in Science Program, Howard Hughes Medical Institute research intern 08S (Physiology dept. at DHMC)

Thesis status:

Nope, no thesis for me.

Other activities:

DAO Pals; SAPA (Sexual Abuse Peer Advisor); MAV (Mentors Against Violence); Cabin & Trail; Organic Farm; and Link-Up.

Off Campus Program:

Spanish LSA in Puebla, Mexico, 08W
Transfer term at UC Davis working in the livestock animal facilities and then taking two 6-week summer courses. University of California, Davis, 09X

Internship experience:

Freshman year: WISP intern in Biology department Ryan Calsbeek’s lab researching sexual conflict in the Cuban Anole lizard and doing DNA extractions. 07W, 07S, 08F
Sophomore year: HHMI intern in the Physiology department at DHMC as part of the SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) research looking at physiological changes in rat pups while suckling. 08S
Junior year: Helped out in the Bucci lab in the Psychological and Brain Sciences department working with mice in lab learning experiments. 09W

sliderSondra Downey ‘11BIOL-SondraDowney
F09-S10 D-plan:  R-R-R
Biology with Molecular concentration/ Classical Studies

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

The Biology department has some amazing faculty with great life stories and lessons.  One of the best ways to get to know about a professor is to just ask them to tell you a bit about themselves.  Its a great way to get noticed in a class and develop more interest in a class. The only problem is you have to walk all the way to Gilman to see them.  (But it is really worth the walk!)

Important info for potential majors:

The biology major does have some important prerequites, so think about taking them early, even if you are not sure if that is what you want to major in.  Chances are the courses can fulfill some distributive or other courses’ prerequites if you change your mind.

Talk to me if:

You’re not sure how to navigate the complex subfields within the biology major, especially if you are not pre-med.  You have some great choices if you know how to use them.

Most valuable academic info learned:

Sometimes, the most important aspect of a class is not what specificially you learn, but how you learn it.

Favorite class and professor:

My favorite class was by far Biology 12 Cell Biology with Amy Gladfelter.  She actually made you want to get out of bed for a 9L.  The exams were challenging, but at the end you felt like you had accomplished something.  The course helped to build my analytical skills needed for outside research.

Major classes taken:

BIOL 11, 12, 13; CHEM 5, 6;  MATH 3

Major journey:

I came to Dartmouth knowing I wanted to major in Biology.  What I did not realize was all the different places this major could take me or how intergrated certain topics are with real-world situations.  It is hard to believe the type of research I have already done as an ‘11.  I have also taken interesting non-major classes that help to give me well-rounded ideas.

Major-specific activities:

Research with Alexei Kisselev, PhD, at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center

Thesis status:

Intended

Other activities:

Dartmouth Undergraduate Society for Biology Students, Co-presidernt; High Horses Therapeutic Riding Center, volunteer

Internship experience: (include name of employer, position, term, location, 100 max)

WISP Intern for Rebecca Irwin, 08W-08S

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Jennifer (Jen) Fownes ‘11 jenfow
F09-S10 D-plan: L-FSP-R
Biology (Ecology) Major, Hispanic Studies Minor

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

So many classes, so little time. You have to plan out pre-recs and classes early to try to fit in everything you want (sometimes classes are only offered once every 2 years), especially if you want to combine concentrations. On the plus side, there are a lot of classes to choose from (I don’t have time to take all the classes I want to!) and the department is flexible. The ecology professors are engaging, knowledgeable, and doing interesting research – they enjoy talking to students and offer opportunities for them to join the research. Also, the Bio FSP is an amazing research experience (I’m going this winter).

Important info for potential majors:

Take Bio 11 right away! Then don’t be afraid to try different classes – you can probably make them work with your major, and you want to have pre-recs to decide what you like and also be able to take the classes you want later.

Talk to me if:

You are interested in ecology, or are interested in a mix of things and are having trouble deciding.

Most valuable academic info learned:

How to study: go over your notes before the next class. It makes studying before exams easier and also prepares you really well for the next class, so that you have your questions clear early on and can asks questions and go to office hours, in addition to making each new level of information more accessible.

Favorite class and professor:

Bio 11: DNA to Diveristy (professors Peart and Jack) – I loved the wide range covered by this class and found it really interesting. Although it’s not a traditional pre-rec that prepares you specifically in one area, a lot of the topics came up again and I was thankful for this solid base in key concepts! Also, Bio 27: Animal Behavior (Professor Calsbeek) was fascinating and another class that covered a lot of different aspects of ecology and evolution.

Major classes taken:

BIO 11, 12, 16, 27; CHEM 5; MATH 11

Major journey:

I always knew I loved to learn about biology, but wasn’t sure I wanted to major in it – until I realized that the most interesting classes I was taking were all biology. There are so many more classes that I want to take and I’m excited to go on the FSP this winter! I realized that the department was flexible and not scary when it came to filling out a major card. Plus, science is cool.

Major-specific activities:

ASC Study Group Leader (Bio 11); Research in ecology and genetics (Professor Kern and Graduate Student Laurel Symes).

Other activities:

Dartmouth College Chamber Singers; Dartmouth College Handel Society; Dartmouth College Swingers (Swing Dance Club) – VP, President 09X.

Off-campus program:

Spanish FSP in Buenos Aires, 09S; Biology FSP in Costa Rica, 10W

Internship experience:

I volunteered with Professor Kern and grad. student Laurel Symes to look at ecology, genetics, and mating behaviors (08F, 09W, and future).
Off campus: Lab Assistant to Professor Elkinton at UMass Amherst – a little bit of a lot of bugs (07X).