Recent news about Sweet Briar Biologists
  • Sweet Briar at the ICCBProfessor Fink and biology majors Heather Yepez, Julie Dopheide, Morgan Franke, Nikki Thompson and Julie Sharp (all pictured right) attended the International Congress for Conservation Biology in Baltimore in July 2013. All of the students had taken Professor Fink's Seminar in Conservation Biology, and their meeting expenses were paid by the department's Ernest P. Edwards Student Opportunity Fund.

Student internships this summer included:

  • Kendall Harris, Brookhaven National Laboratory, NY, examined the effect of a solar array on the animal community
  • Beth Rizzo, The Wetlands Institute, NJ
  • Heather Yepez, Cape Fear Botanical Garden, NC
  • Morgan Franke, Archbold Biological Station, FL, plant ecology (a 6-month internship)

    Summer research and new jobs:
  • Rebecca Dalley ’14, recipient of a Sweet Briar Honors Summer Research fellowship, did summer research on interrupted ferns with Professor Steven.
  • Naturalist-in-Residence Mike Hayslett taught a Sweet Briar summer class in Field Herpetology.
  • Tribbie Mckinnon ’12 and Aly Booth ’13 have started veterinary school.
  • Kendall Pruett ’12 has started medical school at East Carolina University.


Sweet Briar faculty and students share a fascination with the natural world and enthusiasm for learning and research.

We provide a comprehensive biology curriculum for students interested in research, education, conservation and the health professions. A strong program is never static, and our recently added courses include marine biology, biomathematics, insect biology and conservation biology. In addition to a biology major, we offer a biochemistry and molecular biology major jointly with the Department of Chemistry.

Field biology is a central component of our curriculum. We take advantage of our enormous campus in field natural history, plant kingdom, ecology and insect biology. We are censusing spotted salamanders in a woodland pond, measuring the effects of deer on forest vegetation, tagging migratory monarch butterflies and documenting the spread of an invasive crayfish.

Student research is embedded within our curriculum. Biology majors first gain research experience in lab courses, and then as seniors (and sometimes as juniors) they conduct a semester or more of research with a faculty mentor. Research is required for the B.S. degree. Many students' projects are supported through the college's Research and Creative Endeavors Grants.

Our state-of-the-art equipment has been obtained through grants from the National Science Foundation, LI-COR, the Jeffress Memorial Trust and an endowment from the Kresge Foundation.

We encourage biology students to take advantage of diverse off-campus opportunities. In recent years students have participated in field courses in South Africa, Panama and Hawaii; internships with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the New York Aquarium and the Wildlife Center of Virginia; research at other universities; and semester programs offered by Sweet Briar's Junior Year in Spain and the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation.

Click here to read journal entries by a student taking a tropical ecology course in Panama.


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