“People concerned about the future should be interested in biology.”
Kate Bussell '12 knows firsthand that there is life beyond the lab. A Lexington native, Bussell has discovered in the classroom and in the field that biology is "important for the future." She looks to be a part of that future, already venturing beyond campus in her commitment to applying what she's learned to the world around her.
As a senior, Bussell worked on a project at Floracliff Nature Conservatory, which maintains a field habitat to support diverse populations that wouldn't survive if the field were to grow into a forest. The project is experimenting with the timing of mowing the field in an attempt to see when growth would be most successful. Bussell, along with Transylvania biology professors Sarah Bray and James Wagner, presented their findings at a conference of the Association of Southern Biologists.
To Bussell, this opportunity highlights one of Transylvania's greatest assets. In a small college setting without the extensive research facilities you might find elsewhere, "you can do research here—you can make it happen," says Bussell. She attributes this to the Transylvania faculty's personal investment in their students.
"That's really what I love about Transylvania," Bussell says, "The faculty take the time to know their students and really care. They see your passions and provide opportunities that fit you.
"The networking is pretty sweet," she adds. Thanks to the faculty and a research grant from the university, Bussell gained "hands-on experience" that helped her "learn a lot about the process" of biological research.
Bussell entered Transylvania's biology program as a pre-med student. She leaves with a much richer sense of what biology means to the world. She gives credit for her growth to a faculty that "helped with life experience" and to experiences that helped her realize "how many different aspects of biology there are." Hoping to enter a field involving wildlife and conservation, Bussell's experiences in and out of the classroom have taught her that biology is vital to life—both her own and the planet's.