Welcome from the Chair, Dr. Mike Antolin
Here we are again, starting another academic year, welcoming record numbers of new students, both undergrads (580 incoming freshmen and transfers) and graduate students (31). We’ve had a busy year, busier than usual because of construction on the new Biology Building (see updates in our newsletter), which not only rose out of the ground but also took its form in shaping the Science Mall at the south end of campus.
We lived in a construction zone this summer while both Colorado State and the city of Fort Collins hurried to get their work done while the days are long and the sun is shining (well, the sun shines 300 days a year here, but you know what I mean). The excitement of welcoming so many to campus – some returning from great adventures in exotic places, some for the first time – is my favorite part of being chair. People and place: marking how much we’ve grown and are continuing to grow.
We’ve also had a year of accolades (see more in our newsletter). Our faculty continue to gain recognition, with Dr. Janice Moore being honored with the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behavior Society for her lifetime of research on how parasites manipulate the behavior of their hosts. Dr. LeRoy Poff received the CSU Scholarship Impact Award for his work on stream ecology and water flows and the effects of water diversions (see below). Our graduate students have a record number of fellowships and grants to support them in graduate school and in post-doctoral fellowships and to move them along to the next steps in their brilliant careers. And of course, our Bachelor’s students also find success, via scholarships to support their studies, in completing degrees through the university Honors Program and in finding their next opportunity. Two students I know personally, Karen Holcomb and Zane Moore, are heading to graduate school this fall at the University of California, Davis, to study epidemiology (Karen) and plant sciences (Zane). Another, Laura St. Clair, started veterinary school at Cornell University. Current students are also busy. Read below about some of the many adventures they experienced in their summertime internships!
As a comprehensive life sciences program, we always look for ways to help our students succeed. Our Professional Science Master’s in Zoo, Aquarium and Animal Shelter Management is attracting students from across the country, and graduates are finding jobs in places such as Chimp Haven (Louisiana) and the Downtown Aquarium in Denver. We’ve recently initiated new programs at Colorado State’s Todos Santos Center in Baja California Sur in Mexico, with a marine biology course, informatics workshops and a One Health Research Initiative (see more in our newsletter).
And we celebrate the career of Dr. Steve Stack, who retired from CSU after an illustrious 47-year career studying and teaching genetics (see below). Steve is beloved both by students and colleagues, and his unique character will be missed. I’m sure most of our alums will remember him as one of their favorite instructors!
Finally, we recognize what a privilege it is for us in biology to have this place and time. Each day is a great day for discovery, learning things our predecessors found so appealing and tying their knowledge to new discoveries they may have never imagined. Each day we look to spur the next generation of scientists and world citizens, people who in their lifetimes will also discover the unknown. And we get to do this while sharing Charles Darwin’s awe for “…grandeur in this view of life…forms most beautiful and most wonderful…,” a love for all living things. Life matters.
– Mike Antolin, Chair