Biology major update: New offices, new structure, expanded advising team

The UW-Madison biology major is operating under a new administrative structure, in a new location, with additional staff and a new website. Biology is the most popular major on campus, with 1,372  students enrolled this fall—798 in CALS, 574 in L&S and other schools and colleges—and 62 faculty mentors in 30 departments across campus (details below).

The program is now being managed jointly by CALS (through the Department of Bacteriology) and L&S (through the Department of Zoology). There’s also a newly appointed program committee, co-chaired by Professors Donna Fernandez (Botany) and Heidi Goodrich-Blair (Bacteriology).

Most important, there is a an expanded biology major advising team:

  • Mary Smith, senior student services coordinator, has been an administrator and advisor for the biology major since 2003.
  • Brian Asen, student services coordinator for the biology major since 2011. After earning a degree in Education, Brian came to UW-Madison in 2003 to work as a Graduate Coordinator in the Department of Computer Sciences. In 2006 he became a program coordinator in the Institute for Biology Education, where he coordinated research programs for both undergraduate and pre-college students (the Integrated Biological Sciences Summer Research Program, PEOPLE and the Summer Science Institute). Since joining the biology major two years ago, Brian has enjoyed advising many biology students as they navigate their way through their undergraduate careers.
  • Todd Courtenay, student services coordinator, comes to CALS from the College of Engineering where he was an advisor in the EGR office. Prior to professionally advising students, he worked with undergraduates as a lecturer and teaching assistant while a graduate student at UW-Madison. With an academic background in history of science, international studies and geography, Todd is excited to continue working with STEM students and helping them navigate the breadth of opportunities at UW-Madison. He is looking forward to the continued development of the Biology major, and is especially passionate about international opportunities for STEM students and facilitating undergraduate research opportunities. Originally from Madison, Todd earned a BA in International Studies at the University of Oregon and a PhD in Geography at UW-Madison.
  • Darby Sugar, student services coordinator, comes to the Biology Major Advising team after working within the science realm since 2003 at Kraft Oscar Mayer, UW-Madison, Lucigen and Madison College. Darby received her BS from the University of Arizona and her MS in Bacteriology from UW-Madison. She is excited to return to UW and to the same building where conducted her graduate research. She is looking forward to working with her advisees and helping each individual student find their unique path.
  • Kelley S. Harris-Johnson, Biology Program Manager, joins the Biology Advising team after working in the Department of Biochemistry as an Assistant Faculty Associate where she taught and developed undergraduate courses and led student services initiatives. She is eager to continue advising and mentoring students and to provide administrative and managerial oversight for the biology major. She will work closely with the faculty co-directors and the Program Committee to establish and execute the vision for the Biology Program. Kelley earned a BS in Biology from Xavier University of Louisiana and a PhD in Genetics from the UW-Madison.

Biology students are also guided by faculty mentors across campus:

  • 24 in CALS (Agronomy, Animal Science, Bacteriology, Biochemistry, Dairy Science, Entomology, Genetics, Horticulture, Landscape Architecture, Plant Pathology, Soil Science);
  • 15 in L&S (Botany, Communicative Disorders, Psychology, Statistics, Zoology);
  • 19 in the School of Medicine and Public Health (Bio Med Informatics, Cell & R Biology, Human Oncology, MedPhys/BME, Neuroscience, Obs&Gyn, Ophthalmology, Pathology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Urology);
  • 4 in the School of Veterinary Medicine (Comparative Biosciences, Pathobiological Sciences)
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