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Department of Biology

Biology at SUNY Potsdam is founded on the principle of providing a quality undergraduate education for students with diverse interests.

A broad general background in biology, as part of a liberal arts education, allows students to pursue a variety of careers or continue learning at the graduate level. The Department of Biology offers both Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees.

Undergraduate Research

The Department of Biology is always providing new course offerings and research projects. Faculty members' interests include a wide range of subjects in the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology, cell and molecular biology, and anatomy and physiology? all of which are reflected in the program.

Thinking about PreMed?

We have tailored the Bachelor of Science in Biology program to be one of the best preparations for medical school. Just ask your advisor to help you choose the right combination of classes to help you succeed on your MCATs and at a competitive graduate school.

Community Connections

In the same way that vertical aeroponic Tower Gardens help plants grow under a series of LED lights, so too have the partnerships grown between SUNY Potsdam and the community over the past decade. Through generous grant funding from the Alcoa Foundation, the WISER Center has continued to make an impact in the region—leading to educational workshops on campus, and allowing the College to supply 11 local schools, and now the Riverview Correctional Facility, with more than a dozen Tower Gardens at no cost.

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The Tick Trackers

As Jada West ’24 drags a light-colored flannel sheet across the forest floor, she searches for microscopic creatures most of us hope to never encounter. Pulling the sheet over leaves, plants, and soil she captures Blacklegged ticks like a lint roller absorbing fuzz balls from a favorite sweater. Working with Dr. Kate Cleary, Dr. Glenn Johnson, Dr. Bridget Amulike, and Dr. Jessica Rogers, West and four other students were able to get hands-on experience through grant-funded research this summer, studying small mammals and examining tick abundance around Potsdam.

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Realizing His Dreams

When Wilber Parada ’20 arrived at SUNY Potsdam his freshman year, he already had a vision for his future. His plans to one day become a Doctor of Physical Therapy would involve years of hard work, completing undergraduate and graduate degrees, and passing the National Physical Therapy Examination. Seven years later he has made his dream a reality. Parada is now working at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, one of the top-rated hospitals in the country, where he’s conducting research on exoskeletons and robotics, and helping to rehabilitate patients suffering from chronic illnesses.

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Protecting the Majestic Grey Crowned Crane

Taking flight like the endangered birds she studies, Bridget Amulike has launched an inspiring career as a conservation biologist, educator, and researcher. Born and raised in Tanzania, Amulike is now in the middle of a prestigious two-year SUNY PRODiG Fellowship at SUNY Potsdam, teaching her students about wildlife conservation with real world examples from her research in Africa on grey crowned cranes.

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Smile for the camera

Imagine a game camera with reading glasses. That’s one of the creative ways that four faculty members have been capturing photos of an unsuspecting assortment of small mammals through the modified lens of a wildlife camera. Funded by a grant through the Lougheed Center for Applied Learning, Dr. Glenn Johnson, Dr. Kate Cleary, Dr. Jessica Rogers, and Dr. Bridget Amulike launched a pilot project this summer to determine the most effective ways to collect data on a variety of critters ranging from deer mice and shrews to chipmunks and weasels—research that will inform future projects looking at tick abundance in the region.

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Protecting the Endangered

Traveling up and down the east coast, and through the Gulf of Mexico, Brogin Van Skoik ’11 puts his degree from SUNY Potsdam to the test. Working as an endangered species observer on a large dredging vessel, he carefully monitors the human impact on a precious assortment of turtles, fish, and whales—halting dredging operations at a moment’s notice if too many species are harmed by the shipping operations.

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Amber Rudolph ’20

Whether she’s visiting an ecovillage in Ireland, conducting a research project about a community garden, or cleaning a boa constrictor tank in the Department of Biology, Amber Rudolph ’20 has been gaining a cornucopia of applied learning experiences, while pursuing a double major in biology and environmental studies at SUNY Potsdam.

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To Belize and Back

Eight biology students recently joined Dr. Glenn Johnson for a 14-day “Tropical Ecology and Conservation” travel course to Belize where they got to explore a variety of eco-systems and interact with wildlife ranging from baby sea turtles to snakes.

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Tower Gardens Constructed at the WISER Greenhouse

Five Tower Gardens were constructed in SUNY Potsdam's WISER Greenhouse, giving our biology students the opportunity to utilize a unique aeroponic growing system. The Watertown Daily Times wrote an article about the project.

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Biology Professor and Alumni Capture Spruce Grouse in Canada

To improve population numbers and genetic diversity of spruce grouse, SUNY Potsdam Biology Professor Glenn Johnson and alumni spent two weeks in Canada capturing and relocating the birds to the Adirondacks.

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Looking for the Varroa Mite in Beehives

Experiential learning is the at the heart of a SUNY Potsdam education and that is no more clearly expressed than when four students ventured out to inspect local honey bee hives as they were looking for the presence of the Varroa Mite.

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“I’ve definitely loved the small community at SUNY Potsdam. It’s really great because every professor that I’ve had knows my name and knows my story and knows me—it’s kind of amazing!" 

Camille Holmes ’19