Student Research

The biology department encourages all students to get involved in research projects to develop their scientific skills, test their interests and work to address answers to the world’s complex problems. There are a variety of ways to get involved in research.


Kristen & Anne with MR equipment

Most of the biology courses have independent research projects as laboratory components. This is a great way to get started.

Junior & Senior Seminar

During your junior year you will take a 2-credit course in which you will design, propose and begin implementing a collaborative team-based research project. This project should match your interests: it could be a lab-based investigation, a field research project, or a sustainability initiative. By your senior year, you will work with your team to publicly present your findings during the 1-credit Senior Seminar.

Research during the academic year

Each year faculty supervise some students in research projects during the school year.  Typically students commit to working 5-7 hours per week on a project.  Many of these activities can help prepare students for their junior research projects.

a.    Fall faculty research presentations – Each fall, faculty will present their projects to all biology students in one of the BSD Coffee Hours. During this time you will learn which professors have openings in their labs.

b.    Applying – Email the professor directly if you are interested in applying to work with them. Professors are free to select students based on student experience, performance in classes and/or needs in their lab.

c.    Credit – The main goal for research is to involve students in learning new skills.  However, you may elect to receive credit for your research where 40 hours of work = 1 credit of BIOL 400 Biology Research.

i.    Register for BIOL 400 Biology Research credit like you would sign up for a class.
iii.  Log your hours in your research lab book.

d.    Financial rewards – After students work for 40 hours on a project with a professor, they are eligible to receive pay for their work at $7.50 per hour. Payment is warranted because students with more experience are expected to teach the newer students the ins and outs of the research protocols. With more responsibility comes more reward!  (Students may not receive both pay and credit for their work.)

Maple Scholars Summer Research Program

Each summer 15-20 students are selected to work with an individual professor on their research project for 8 weeks (for most of June and July).

Bee research

a.    Faculty apply to host a project – Each November faculty send applications to the Maple Scholars Committee to have a project included in the summer’s listing.
b.    Projects announced – Early in the spring semester, projects are announced and advertised on the Maple Scholars website.  Students have until early February to apply for the projects in which they are interested.
c.    Logistics – Students are paid a $2500.00 stipend, in addition to the provision of room and board on campus!

Marine Biology Internship Program

Each summer two Goshen students are selected to work with Dr. Mark Butler for 4-6 weeks at the college’s J.N. Roth Marine Biology station in the Florida Keys.

a.    Application – Each February students will be invited to apply to the program. Applications are available here and due Feb 1st.
b.    Logistics – Students are paid a $1000.00 stipend, in addition to free housing at the station. Students are responsible for their own transportation and food while in FL.

Marine Biology May Term Research

Each May term 2-3 biology students are selected to join the May term marine biology course as research assistants. Research assistants develop an independent research project, which they implement during the 3-week course.

Students swimming during Marine Biology terma.    Application – During spring registration of the year before you would like to attend, contact Ryan Sensenig to express your interest.

b.    Selection – Applicants must have taken BIOL 304. If more students express interest than can be invited to participate the following criteria will be used:

i.    Performance in BIOL 304

ii.   Demonstrated ability in field research

iii.   Expressed interest in marine biology

c.    Logistics – Students should NOT sign up for BIOL 304, but instead should sign up for BIOL 400 for 3 credits.  Students will be expected to independently design a research project during the spring semester before mayterm.

Kenya Wildlife Ecology Research

During the summer of 2013 and 2014, BIOL 375 Conservation Biology & Research Methods in Savannas, was in Laikipia, Kenya at Mpala Research Centre. This 3-week course is open to all students and demonstrates the key links between ecological theories and conservation.

After the completion of the class, 3-4 students are selected to remain in Kenya for 3 weeks of research, assisting in field work. See the Kenya 2011 blog, Kenya 2013 blog, and/or the most recent 2014 blog to get a better idea of the kinds of work students do.

Kenya field courseThe next Kenya field course/research experience will be in the summer of 2016.

a.    Application – Students who have enrolled in the class will be eligible to apply.
b.    Selection – Applications will be provided in the fall of 2015. Students  will be selected based on course performance, recommendations, statements of research interest, and interest in ecological research.
c.    Logistics – Students living expenses will be covered.