Program Spotlight: Biology

Biology Transfer Pathway A.S. Degree

The Biology program at Inver Hills Community College is the doorway to a career dedicated to one of the two main branches of natural science. One branch is physical science, which involves studying nonliving phenomena and includes physics, chemistry and astronomy.

The other is life science, or biological science, which involves studying life and living organisms. Biologists explore the living world around us, including the life stories of baobab trees, blue whales, human beings and even nanobacteria, the latter one billionth of a meter in diameter (10 times smaller than bacteria), but big on controversy, challenging notions on what’s alive and what’s not.

According to Encyclopædia Britannica, biology is the field dealing with “all the physicochemical aspects of life. The modern tendency toward cross-disciplinary research and the unification of scientific knowledge and investigation from different fields has resulted in significant overlap of the field of biology with other scientific disciplines.

“Modern principles of other fields—chemistry, medicine, and physics, for example—are integrated with those of biology in areas such as biochemistry, biomedicine, and biophysics.”

With a recorded heritage that describes best practices for harvesting dates in Babylonia c. 3500 BCE, biology today is an immensely diverse field with at least 60 branches, including for starters:

  • Astrobiology: Study of extraterrestrial life
  • Botany: Study of plants
  • Gerontology: Study of ageing
  • Ecology: Study of organisms interacting with their environments
  • Genetics: Study of genes and heredity
  • Microbiology: Study of microorganisms
  • Virology: Study of viruses
  • Paleontology: Study of fossils
  • Quantum biology: Study of quantum phenomena in biological processes
  • Zoology: Study of animals

Faculty perspective…

Kristin Digiulio serves as chair and coordinator of the Biology department at Inver Hills. Kristin is also biology faculty. She reported that the Biology program offers numerous resources and opportunities for students interested in pursuing a career in the biological sciences.

“Our Biology program features a huge natural area on campus as well as great lab facilities,” Kristin said. “Our faculty have expertise in a wide variety of subdisciplines. Our students participate in ongoing research projects, international trips and internships.”

Kristin noted that agriculture, food and natural resources (AFNR) offer exceptionally promising career paths for students seeking ways to help feed the world, protect the planet, and preserve air, water, soil and climate for future generations.

“Modern agriculture presents rewarding occupations in food production and distribution, fiber manufacturing, renewable fuels and environmental science to name a few,” Kristin said. “Whether you want to work in a field, lab, office or another setting, there’s a huge need for professionals trained in science, forestry, production, communication, business, accounting, engineering and more. Demand is high and so are salaries.”

Biology stories at Inver Hills…

Heather Brient-Johnson: Inver Hills 2020 Instructor of the Year

Heather Brient-Johnson

Tanya Smutka: LeadMN Instructor of the Year

Tanya Smutka
Tanya Smutka

Ag Academy 2019: Frogs and Resumes

Ag Academy 2019: Frogs and Resumes

Ag Academy 2019: Animals and Soils

Ag Academy 2019: Animals and Soils

Reef to Rainforest 2019: Citizen Science in Malaysian Borneo

Reef to Rainforest
Reef to Rainforest 2019

Alumnus Spotlight: Matthew Repke

Matthew Repke

2018 Summer Ag Academy

Summer Ag Academy 2018
Summer Ag Academy 2018

Jordy Bush: Agronomist of the Future

Jordy Bush Agronomist
Jordy Bush

Ag Roadshow 2016

Ag Roadshow
Ag Roadshow 2016

Inver Hills Biology Students EAB Survey @MVNWR

EAB Survey

More about the Biology Transfer Pathway A.S.

The Biology Transfer Pathway A.S. offers you a powerful option: the opportunity to complete an associate of science degree with course credits that directly transfer to designated biology bachelor’s degree programs at Minnesota State universities.

“The Biology Transfer Pathway helps students transfer more seamlessly to a Minnesota State university,” said Heather Brient-Johnson, biology faculty and Inver Hills 2020 Instructor of the Year. “This pathway has opened up new opportunities for students to imagine and explore the many exciting biology-related fields in their own backyard. It is easy, saves time and money—a big win for our biology students!”

The curriculum has been specifically designed so that you can complete this pathway degree and transfer with junior-year status to one of the seven Minnesota State universities. All courses in the Transfer Pathway associate degree will directly transfer and apply to the designated bachelor’s degree programs in a related field.

Studying life for a living

Careers in biology are almost as varied as life itself. The field is composed of branches and subdisciplines as widely known as ornithology, the study of birds, or the more obscure myrmecology, the study of ants.

As a biology major, you will develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential for rewarding careers in scientific research and health care. Your skill set will also include:

  • Understanding the scientific method
  • Setting up experiments
  • Using scientific equipment
  • Applying laboratory techniques and procedures
  • Gathering, organizing and analyzing data

Below are just a few examples of possible career paths that can start with a Biology Transfer Pathway A.S. from Inver Hills.

  • Biochemists and Biophysicists
  • Microbiologists
  • Biological Technicians
  • Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists
  • Genetic Counselors
  • Medical Scientists
  • Biomedical Engineers

Additional resources

Why Inver Hills?

Completing your freshman and sophomore biology obligations at Inver Hills is smart on several key levels:
  • Manipulate the powerful genetic building blocks of life in cutting edge laboratory experiences
  • Explore the dynamic interrelationships between humans and the ecosphere
  • Discover the living world around you while working with recognized biologists in small teams
  • Receive an excellent education with one-on-one interactions with biology faculty
  • Get hands-on experience in superb biology labs
  • Save money and continue your academic and professional careers with less student debt

On a national scale, student loan debt has mushroomed to $1.56 trillion with 44.7 million borrowers. Minnesota is ranked ninth in the nation with an average student loan debt topping $32,000.

Tuition and fees for one year at Inver Hills costs less than $5,500. Compare that to $15,000 to $20,000 at a for-profit college, or $40,000 to $50,000 at a private college or university. You can complete your first two years at Inver getting a topflight education firsthand from Ph.D. faculty and then transfer to a four-year as a junior all while saving thousands of dollars.

Learn more about Biology at Inver Hills by contacting:

Kristin Digiulio
Biology Department Coordinator/Chair/Faculty

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