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Biology and Environmental Science Research

Incredible opportunities for discovery and enhanced learning await you at Simpson College

Research is the key component to your experience in the Biology and Environmental Science department at Simpson. You will gain the skills needed for research right away, as it is embedded in your very first intro courses that you'll take in the major. Research can take place inside the lab or outside the classroom, locally or at a national research facility. Showing you understand and have participated in solid, quality research experiences is crucial in getting accepted into a graduate school.

Variety of research opportunities

Simpson College out punches its weight when it comes to providing research experiences for its students.

Simpson College Ecological Research (SCER) Program - The SCER Program provides hands-on research opportunities for up to four undergraduate students with the goal of providing students with critical skills, training and experience in conducting ecological research. Students will work with faculty mentors to design and conduct experimental research that addresses novel ecological questions.

Summer Research Program - Participating in a summer undergraduate research program is an opportunity for you to spend 8-10 weeks working directly with faculty, focused on conducting research. Students get to explore research in their major and they generally receive a stipend and housing allowance. Each fall when classes resume, students who participated in summer research will get to showcase their work during the Summer Research Symposium held on campus.

The Riley Farm - Located on a 285-acre tract of restored grassland just 25 minutes from campus, the Riley Farm provides a plethora of opportunities to study nature, right in the middle of nature. The site was formerly managed for conventional agriculture but has been restored and currently comprises multiple habitat types (prairie, savannah, stream, wetland, pond, forest). It includes a newly-constructed barn that provides space to keep equipment, allowing students to process samples and complete research on site. It's a unique outdoor classroom that will allow you to understand how the environment has an impact on everything we do.

Prairie Reconstruction Area - Interact with and learn from a transformed 5.6-acre plot of land near campus that students and faculty have turned into a natural prairie, much like those that originally covered Iowa. It not only gives people a chance to see what 95% of our state actually looked like before we started controlling it, the site provides a location where students can sample for insects, birds, plants and mammals for research. Every two to three years, a controlled burn will take place in order to to help rejuvenate the prairie.

Undergraduate Research Symposium - The Undergraduate Research Symposium is a interdisciplinary event that allows students to present the results of their work in either a 15 minute oral presentation or a poster presentation. Also listed in the program are projects that are still in progress or projects without a presentation. The list of presentations from science division students reveals the diversity of research being conducted by students at Simpson College.