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 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 about 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.

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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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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 >

Otterbein alumni are elephant zookeepers at Reid Park Zoo

Otterbein alumni are elephant zookeepers at Reid Park Zoo

News - May 17, 2022
By Payton Kaufman ’24 Three graduates of Otterbein’s Zoo and Conservation Science program are working with each other — and elephants — at Reid Park Zoo in Tuscon, Arizona, thanks to the program’s relationship with the zoo. While the zoo itself is on the smaller side, it is home to many large animals. That’s where Mara Eisenbarth ’17, Lauren Silla ’17, and Matthew Vieth '16 come in. The Otterbein alumni work to care for the African elephant herd at Reid…

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Tyrone Hayes

Otterbein Science Lecture “From Silent Spring to Silent Night” March 23

News - March 18, 2022
The George W. and Mildred K. White Science Lecture Series at Otterbein University will present a free public lecture by Dr. Tyrone Hayes, “From Silent Spring to Silent Night: A Tale of Toads and Men,” at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23, in the Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St. The lecture will be followed by a reception and book signing.  Hayes will also give a technical lecture to STEM students on March 23. Both lectures can be viewed remotely at www.otterbein.edu/slslivestream.   Hayes is a professor of integrative biology at…

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Otterbein Conservation Biology and Conservation Psychology Collaborate in Tree-Tag Project

News - December 14, 2021
By Payton Kaufman ’24 During fall semester, some campus trees were adorned with a new accessory: information tags educating the campus community on the environmental benefits of different types of trees. For the tagging project, Professor of Biology and Earth Science Sarah Bouchard and her conservation biology students teamed up with Professor of Psychology Michelle Acker and conservation psychology students to understand the impact the educational tags had on perceptions of students, faculty, and staff. Tree tag outside Towers Hall…

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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