Whatever your scientific interests, be ready to hit the ground running in the Department of Biology and Earth Science.

Department of Biology & Earth Science

Be ready to hit the ground running in the Biology and Earth Science department! We offer a rigorous curriculum that provides a strong foundation in the sciences, while preparing students for a variety of exciting postgraduate endeavors, including employment and graduate or professional school. From the very first year, students are actively engaged in the classroom, laboratory, and field as they take classes in each of the diverse areas offered by the department:

To keep up with the latest news in the Department of Biology, check out our newsletter, Lifeline, at the Otterbein Digital Commons.

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From painting with bacteria to microscopic pop art—explore a gallery of scientific artwork created by Otterbein's STEM community.

Would you like to view this gallery on your computer or tablet? Download it as an interactive slideshow (220 MB)

Student, Faculty, & Alumni Spotlights


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Dr. Bennett has been very important in shaping my academic experience — the opportunity to join her lab, help with the path to medical school and she helped me get a poster presentation accepted at the ASM Microbe conference.

John Peck ‘21

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
John’s learned that “no task is too great if you’re willing to work hard and surround yourself with the right people.


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Otterbein has not only prepared me academically for the rigor of medical school, but has taught and stretched me in what is more important than a GPA: service. Otterbein has given me tools to meet people where they are.

Megan McClain ’21

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Calling Otterbein a safe and supportive environment, Megan says “Otterbein focuses on not just making a great student, but a great person.


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Otterbein is preparing me to take my next steps by providing me with world-class internship opportunities that are furthering my career in meaningful ways. Only at Otterbein have I been able to branch out from my major with the flexibility to discover and explore new passions.

Aidan Tansey ’22

Zoo & Conservation Science
Aidan says Otterbein’s real world skills, professional experiences and networking opportunities make it hard to imagine going anywhere else.


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The support from faculty, my peers, and the university has given me the confidence to travel to places ranging from Thailand to North Dakota to develop my career while working to solve real-world problems.

Abbey Dunn ’19

Biology, Environmental Science, Zoo & Conservation Science Triple Major
Otterbein has helped me grow into the young professional I am today. I am so grateful to call Otterbein my alma mater!

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You will have the opportunity to join research projects as early as your first year at Otterbein and may also present your work at a national conference or publish it in a peer-reviewed journal.

Learn more >


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Mindful connections in a community of Otterbein peers and integrative studies fostered Mina Makary’s creative growth by teaching him different ways to think. Dr. Makary continues to honor what he learned at Otterbein by utilizing “outside of the box” thinking and creative skills as an interventional radiologist, where medical imaging is used to guide minimally invasive surgical procedures that diagnose, treat and cure many kinds of conditions.​

Mina Makary ’09, MD, DABR

Learn more about this 2020 Otterbein Alumni Research Achievement Award Winner >

Mina Makary


Brandon T. Sinn, Ph.D., Assistant Professor​

Research: Plant genome evolution, speciation, morphology, and conservation.
Learn about his research >


Alicia M. Rich, Ph.D., Assistant Professor​

Research: The health, development, and genetics of human and nonhuman primates.
Learn about her research >



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I wanted to really focus on bringing in scientists of color, female scientists and scientists of different nationalities to speak to my students as a way to show them how a diverse field of knowledge benefits us all.

Dr. Anna Young, Associate Profesor

Director, Zoo & Conservation Science Program

Learn more about Dr. Young’s innovative teaching methods that were recognized with an internationally renowned teaching award. >


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I really value the close, personal relationships that I’m able to have with my students. A critical aspect of my teaching happens outside the classroom when I collaboratively work with students both in the lab and field on undergraduate theses.

Dr. Sarah Bouchard, Professor

2020 Otterbein Teacher of the Year

Learn more about Otterbein’s 2020 Teacher of the Year, Dr. Bouchard and her work as a physiological ecologist and researcher. >


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Congratulations to Professor Casey J. Tucker for receiving the 2020 Teaching in General Education award at Otterbein University.

Dr. Casey J. Tucker, Adjunct Faculty

Learn more Dr. Tucker’s thoughts as an educator who considers himself a door-opener to help students fulfill their own goals. >

Department Features & Student Opportunities

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We believe in investing in talent — from research funding to travel support to scholarships that will fuel your discovery and learning.

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Explore the state-of-the-art Science Complex and its 96,000 square feet of discipline-specific laboratories, research space and classrooms.

Learn more >

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You are encouraged to take advantage of Otterbein’s many connections and partnerships for professional internships that literally span the world.

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Biology Earth Science Student Research

Student Research

“Research helped me think critically and develop skills — it also taught me that life will always be a learning process.” What will you discover?

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Travel Opportunities

Student Organizations

Whether it’s a BMB Tea to chart Oreo flavors or traveling to offer global medical relief, we have many student organizations and other ways to get involved.

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Jill And Sam

Travel Experiences

Count the shark population off the coast of Africa. Explore the coral reefs and rainforests of Belize. Prepare medicine from local plants in Costa Rica.

Learn more >

New Otterbein Composition Combines Music and Environmental Conservation

News - March 8, 2021
Otterbein University guest artist, baritone and lyricist Daniel Neer and pianist Suzanne Newcomb will take the stage on Saturday, March 13, for a concert with an environmental message, framed in context by conservation experts. Water Music: Art Song in Recital will feature two world premieres and a pre-concert discussion and post-concert talkback with Otterbein Zoo and Conservation Science faculty and representatives from Polar Bear International. The livestreamed event will begin at 8 p.m. on YouTube. A recording will be posted for viewing after the livestream.  Water Music will present both traditional art song and new vocal chamber music, including heartwarming…

Read More >

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Interdisciplinary Show and Competition Spotlights the Art of STEM

News - February 9, 2021
Otterbein University’s STEM faculty have an eye for art, so each year they host an interdisciplinary STEM Art Show and Competition open to students, faculty, and staff.   The primary rule of the annual competition is that each piece of art must be related to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Mathematics (STEM). Participants could enter pieces in the categories of painting, sculpture, wildlife/nature photography, agar art, computer art, chemistry art, microscopy art, technology art, and more.  “One of the things that I love about Otterbein is that…

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Casey Tucker

Part-Time Teaching Awards Honorees Display Full-Time Passion for Education and Students

News - November 17, 2020
The seventh annual Otterbein University Part-time Faculty Awards were presented virtually on Nov. 6, 2020. Recipients of this year’s awards were Casey J. Tucker, Department of Biology and Earth Science, for the Teaching in General Education category and Wendy N. Johnston, Department of Chemistry, for the Teaching in Discipline category.  The Part-Time Faculty Awards are given out each year to honor and celebrate the contributions of part-time faculty to the campus community. There are 150 part-time faculty members at Otterbein this academic year.  “Without fail, each year it is clear that our nominees are incredibly dedicated, phenomenal…

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Programs of Study in Biology & Earth Science


B.A. or B.S.


Bio Aquarium 01

B.A. or B.S.

Zoo & Conservations Science Program: Aquarium Track

Biochemistry staff member combining solutions for a laboratory experiment

B.A. or B.S.

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Alligator Skull


Biology & Earth Science

Bio Student In Field

B.A. or B.S.

Environmental Science

Pre Professional Health Studies

B.A. or B.S.

Pre-Professional Health Studies

Bio Student 2

B.A. or B.S

Zoo & Conservation Science

Bio Student In Field 04


Sustainability Studies

Our Institutional Partners

Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (Name and Logo)
Ohio Wildlife Center
Columbus Zoo

Contact Us

Science Center 236
155 W. Main St
Westerville, OH 43081

Administrative Assistant

Donna Rhodeback

“Otterbein is so much more than the place where I received an education. It was there where I found a community that accepted me, friends that became family, and professors that inspired me to attend graduate school. I found myself at Otterbein, and that made all the difference.”

Troy Neptune ’17, Zoo and Conservation Science and Studio Art double-major