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.
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 a part of Catherine O’Reilly’s course, Tropical Ecology. Sam continued working with Catherine O’Reilly for her senior project, studying decontamination methods and controlling factors on the invasive algae Didymosphenia geminata in the Esopus Creek in New York State. Sam 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. Sam is continuing her studies at Bard to obtain her Master of Arts in Teaching so that she can become a high school biology teacher.
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 many classes, including: Evolution, Molecular Evolution, Biostatistics, Introduction to Physiology, Biochemistry, Protein Structure & Function, Molecular Biology, Adv. Seminar in Ecology, Microbiology, Cancer Biology, and a Cell Biology Tutorial. These classes were complemented by 3(!) summer research experiences in various REUs, 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”. Sarah is currently working for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program through SCA/Americorps and in the future would like to pursue a Ph.D. in aquatic ecology/fisheries biology.
Viktoryia Pavlenkovich '08
Viktoryia spent a semester at Rockefeller University in the laboratory of Leslie Vosshall, as part of the Bard-Rockefeller Semester in Science. For her senior project, she studied the effect of odors on behavior of Drosophila larvae. She is currently attending graduate school in Germany, near her native Belarus.
Ran Tao '07
Ran Tao '07 graduated with a degree in biology and immediately began working at the Environmental Defense Fund on their programs on sustainable development in China. Ran has spent the past year in China and is now beginning a graduate degree in environmental science at Yale University.
Nsikan Akpan '06
Nsikan Akpan '06 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 is currently a research assistant in the Department of Pathology at Tufts Medical School studying Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease. He plans to attend graduate school for neurology or neuropathology to develop treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.
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 disinfect 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.
Lindsay O'Reilly '05
Lindsay O'Reilly '05 became hooked on scientific research during a research trip to Kenya with Dr. Felicia Keesing. On that trip, she investigated the effects of savanna fires on bird diversity and abundance, a project that was published in the Journal of African Ecology. After spending a semester in New Zealand in her junior year and doing numerous research projects during her summers, Lindsay developed a senior project asking why nitrogen cycling rates differed between soils from different forest types. She is currently preparing her results for publication while enrolled as a graduate student in ecology at the University of New Hampshire.
Meagan Leatherbury '03
During her sophomore year, Meagan Leatherbury '03 became interested in the biological effects of persistent organic pollutants after hearing a talk by Dr. Lou Guillette in the Distinguished Scientist Lecture Series. She spent the summer after her sophomore year as an REU student at a marine research center studying the effects of a common pesticide on algae. Her senior project expanded on this research to investigate the combined effects on algae of both pesticides and nutrient enrichment. Meagan completed a major in dance as well as biology. After graduation, she worked for two years in Washington, DC at the National Center for Homelessness and Poverty, then did environmental education in Bolivia as a member of the Peace Corps. She is currently applying to graduate school to study environmental education.
Pam Roy '03
Pam Roy '03 came to Bard as an art major but became hooked on science after participating in the biological research during her first year. She ended up majoring in both biology and studio art. Her biology senior project was an investigation of the ecology of sandflies, insects which transmit the disease leishmaniasis. Based on this work, Pam coauthored a paper on the ecology of sandflies in upstate New York that was recently published in the Journal of Medical Entomology. After graduation, Pam taught in an inner-city elementary school in Philadelphia for two years. She is now a graduate student in disease ecology at Michigan State University.
Ryan Schwarz '05
Ryan Schwarz '05 was involved with ISROP research program in his first year and did research in neuroscience on campus in his sophomore year. In the summer after his junior year, he participated in Rockefeller University's SURF program. Ryan also co-directed the Ghana Project, in which students explored issues facing developing nations and went to a fishing village in Ghana to build school facilities. During January intercession of Ryan's junior year, he worked at the Bairo-Pite medical Clinic in Dili, East Timor, where he helped tuberculosis patients in the ward and ran the wound care facility. During this experience, he became interested in public health as a career and cemented his plan to enter medical school. Since graduating, Ryan has worked with a medical team devoted to healthcare for the homeless in Pittsburgh and then worked for The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative in New York City. He is currently in medical school at Yale.
Karin Kram '06
Karin Kram '05 characterized the substrate specificity of the protein product of a gene, Rv1373, in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis, and its possible role in pathogenesis. She had become interested in bacterial pathogenesis and wanted to tackle a significant disease, if possible. Karin found a paper suggesting a rather controversial idea that some of the genes in Mycobacterium were of eukaryotic origin, and she chose one of these genes, Rv1373, to pursue. Her work in the laboratory suggested that the protein product of this gene did indeed have activity with compounds found only in animals, consistent with the hypothesis that Mycobacterium may use this activity to modulate the physiology of its animal host in its favor. Karin is now a graduate student in microbiology at Columbia University.