Travel Experiences in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Travel the United States!

Each year we travel with our majors to regional and national meetings of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), American Chemical Society (ACS) and the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) where students present the results of their research and chapter activities and deepen and develop professional relationships. Students have traveled to San Diego, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Orlando among other cities.

For those of you with an interest in human health, you may also be interested in taking part in a faculty-led summer course to the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Sicangu Oyate. In this Integrative Studies (INST) course, students learn the rich history and culture of Rosebud and other Lakota Sioux peoples through readings and cultural experiences led by Lakota teachers, artists, and political and religious leaders. Students take part in service-learning activities, with a focus on those that relate to the unique health challenges of Indian reservations. This INST 3910 course provides a unique and moving cross-cultural experience.

Another travel opportunity is in Field Geology.  This course, offered in alternate years, includes both an on campus lecture portion and a 2-week geological field trip. Centered in Nevada, Death Valley, and the eastern Sierra, students will visit and explore outstanding examples of volcanic, desert, glacial, and canyon terrains. Field exercises will include interpreting sedimentary rocks, fossil, and the tectonic history of the area.

Students and faculty at the ACS National Meeting in New Orleans, March 2018 – Dr. Joan Esson (left), John Liu, ’18, Carolanne Norris, ’18, Manh Tran, ’18, Liz Isaac, ‘18, Meredith Marshall, ’21, Dr. Dean Johnston (right).

Travel the World!

Travel the world by working with a faculty advisor and the university to plan your own study abroad experience or taking part in one of our faculty-led study abroad courses. Through these experiences, you can deepen an intercultural mindset and develop relationships with culturally different others. Students in our department have spent semesters abroad in Australia and England.

Dr. Joan Esson teaches a faculty-led study abroad course to Italy and is developing a course to Guatemala and Mexico. Students take the May term Italy course as part of the Integrative Studies program or an Independent Study in Chemistry. The course focuses on the preservation of cultural heritage and students learn from scientists, conservators and others as we travel northern Italy from Milan to Venice, study in the Tuscan capital of Florence, and explore Rome. For example, students not only see frescoes by Leonardo da Vinci but also study microscopic samples collected from these paintings to understand their degradation, not only visit Venice but also take an aquatic lagoon tour to examine the environmental impacts of climate change and other human impacts on the city.

May 2018 Italy Travel Course Participants in Florence.


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Being abroad and out of my comfort zone pushed me to think deeper about science since the classes were taught in slightly different methods from what I had been used to. It also helped me develop more self-confidence in my abilities which has been paramount to graduate school work.
Otterbein enabled me to study abroad, while keeping me on track to complete my two degrees without delaying my graduation date. The experiences and lifelong friendships I gained from being in Australia would not have been possible without the support of everyone at Otterbein.

Erin Hughes ’19
Erin Hughes

In addition to the travel course to Italy, there are many other faculty-led travel courses that you might be interested in – from an INST course that travels to Costa Rica where you learn how to prepare traditional medicines from local plants among other activities to a Senior-Year Experience course where students travel with the Otterbein Medical Brigades to Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua or Ghana to set up mobile medical clinics.

Travel can be a great way to earn a Global Engagement Card through our Five Cardinal Experiences program. Below is a list of the travel courses offered by the department. They are just a sample of what Otterbein has to offer.

  • These experiences can happen as part of May-mester travel classes or as a semester abroad experience.
  • Many of our students also travel as part of their Internships and Research experiences.
  • Students also work with their faculty advisors and the university to plan their own study abroad experiences. Students in our department have recently traveled to Costa Rica, New Zealand, and Iceland this way.

Understanding the Nature of Belize 
This course, offered in alternate years explores the coral reefs and rainforests of Belize and includes a homestay in a local Maya Village. On the reef students do projects on coral reef ecology and learn the organisms and techniques to survey and monitor coral reef ecosystems.

Tropical Ecology and Agriculture in Costa Rica 
The phrase “Pura Vida (pure life)” and the calls of howler monkeys are among the sounds you will experience on this travel course to Costa Rica. After a semester of classroom preparation, students spend two weeks in the diverse regions of Costa Rica including the lowland rain-forest, mid-level cloud-forest and the western dry-forest. One of the highlights of the experience is staying two days with the Bribri Indians of Yorkin learning traditional skills like processing chocolate, thatching roofs, and preparing medicines from local plants.

Learn more about our Costa Rica Course > (PDF)

SYE 4950 Global Medical Brigades 
The Global Medical Brigades SYE is a course offered to students traveling with Otterbein Medical Brigades to Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua or Ghana to set up mobile medical clinics. Students will enroll in SYE 4950 during the spring semester. Before leaving campus students will meet with the course faculty advisor and all journals and most assignments will be electronically submitted to the advisor. Students will also attend monthly organizational meetings to discuss trip preparations with the rest of the brigade.

Examining paint samples from Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper under a microscope at the Politecnico di Milano.