students reading in hallway

Student Profiles


Bard's Biology Program has a long tradition of original research by its students. Each student's educational experience at Bard culminates in a senior project, in which the student conducts an independent research project of his or her own design.

Graduates of the biology program are extremely successful. About 80% are involved in science or math as graduate or professional students, health professionals, teachers, writers, or researchers. Bard students who apply to medical school have had a 78% placement rate (the national average is 50%). Their scores on the MCAT are equally impressive -- a recent report shows that average scores for Bard students are in the 96th percentile or above, and Bard is ranked as one of the top 25 schools in the country for the Verbal Reasoning part of the MCAT.

Below are some profies of current graduates.

Alexis Gambis

Alexis came to Bard with equal passions for both science and the arts. After graduating, he received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from The Rockefeller University, where he studied apoptosis in fruit flies. During his graduate career, he also founded the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York, which celebrates films that feature science. Now a graduate student in film at NYU, Alexis is working on his first feature film, The Fly Room, much of which was shot at Bard College. 

Daniela Anderson '12

Daniela Anderson came to Bard having recently visited leper colonies in Nepal, and received a grant through Bard's Trustee Leader Scholar (TLS) Program to create a program that supports these colonies. Later in her undergraduate career, she and a friend bicycled across the US to raise awareness and funds for leper colonies. In the summer of her junior year, Daniela earned a competitive NSF-REU award to study genetics of cancer growth; her summer research grew into her senior project, which examined the effects of micro RNA on the differentiation of cancer cells as a means of making them susceptible to existing therapies. Daniela earned a prestigious Watson Fellowship, which funded her for a year following graduation to visit existing leper colonies around the world and learn about both the medical and human impacts of this disease, which still infects tens of thousands of people annually. She is planning to pursue medicine as a career.

Olivia Nathanson '12

Olivia (Liv) Nathanson transferred to Bard College from a large state university in part because she felt she wasn't getting the individual attention there that she wanted. At Bard, she was on the equestrian team. She also volunteered at veterinary clinics throughout her undergraduate career. Liv chose to pursue veterinary studies after graduation, and after being accepted to a number of veterinary programs, chose to attend the University of Pennsylvania's veterinary medical college.

Samantha Root, '11

Samantha Root came to Bard with pre-medical aspirations. She began her studies in Biology by taking Biodiversity with Felicia Keesing during her first semester at Bard. She took many biology classes and was able to take her studies abroad when she traveled to Costa Rica as part of a course on Tropical Ecology. For her senior project, Sam studied the invasive algae Didymosphenia geminata in the Esopus Creek in New York State. She was able to present some of this work in written form through a published article in the Poughkeepsie Journal, and gave oral and poster presentations at various conferences throughout her senior year. After graduation, Sam stayed at Bard to obtain her Master of Arts in Teaching degree at Bard College and is now an environmental educator at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

Sam Israel, '10

Sam Israel began his Biology work at Bard in Eukaryotic Genetics (BIO202) with Mike Tibbetts. During his time at Bard, Sam took an ambitious load of courses, including  Evolution, Molecular Evolution, Biostatistics, Introduction to Physiology, Biochemistry, Protein Structure & Function, Molecular Biology, an Advanced Seminar in Ecology, Microbiology, Cancer Biology, and a Cell Biology Tutorial. He was also a member of the Bard Music Conservatory and graduated with degrees in both music and biology. His coursework was complemented by 3(!) summer research experiences, including a semester and summer at the Bard-Rockefeller Semester in Science Program.  Sam completed his senior project in the lab of Mike Tibbetts, and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in neurobiology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Sarah Mount, '09

Sarah Mount began her Bard career as as student in at Bard High School Early College in Manhattan. Upon her arrival to the Annandale campus, Sarah to Eukaryotic Genetics, but quickly began to focus on ecology based courses. Sarah took part in a number of independent research projects, prior to beginning her senior project with Catherine O’Reilly, entitled “A Native Species, the American Eel (Anguilla rostrata), as a Potential Biocontrol for an Invasive Crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) in Tributaries to the Hudson River, NY”. Until recently, Sarah worked for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program through SCA/Americorps running their American eel conservation and education programs. She is now in graduate school pursuing a Ph.D. in aquatic ecology.

Ran Tao '07

Ran Tao '07 graduated with a degree in biology and immediately began working at the Environmental Defense Fund on their sustainable development programs in China. Ran spent another year in China before completing a graduate degree in environmental science at Yale University. He is now a corporate sustainability officer for the Coca Cola company.

Nsikan Akpan '06

Nsikan transferred to Bard from Bard College at Simon's Rock after his sophomore year. In the summer of 2005, he did research on neuroendocrinology with Bruce S. McEwen of Rockefeller University. For his senior project, he did research on NMDA receptors in zebrafish. He was a research assistant in the Department of Pathology at Tufts Medical School studying Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease. In 2012, he obtained his Ph.D. from Columbia University for studies of drug treatments for stroke victims. He is now a medical reporter who specializes in infectious diseases and mental health. His writing has been featured in Medical Daily (International Business Times), Scientific American, Science nagazine, NatureNews, and The Scientist magazine.

Parris Humphrey '06

Parris Humphrey '06 transferred to Bard. In his junior year, he traveled to Kenya with Dr. Felicia Keesing to study why the sandflies that transmit leishmaniasis, a tropical disease, are more abundant in areas without large herbivores like giraffes, zebras, and elephants. For his senior project, he figured out that deer can clear blacklegged ticks of the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. After graduation, he worked as a research assistant studying the molecular ecology of disease at the U. of Pennsylvania with Professor Dustin Brisson. He is now a Ph.D. student at the University of Arizona studying disease ecology and evolution.