New biotechnology major

By Staff Writer
September 5, 2002

After being introduced to the regular biology curriculum last year, Biotechnology is now the latest addition to the Cabrini list of academic majors.

Combining the studies of biology, chemistry, physics and bioinformatics, the biotechnology program will help students to develop a foundation for a career in the pharmaceutical industry or placement into a research-based graduate program.

“It actually was a thought four years ago when I first came to Cabrini,” Dr. Sheryl Fuller-Espie, biology department chair, said. “I was asked to develop a three-to-five-year strategic plan to introduce new biotechnology classes to the curriculum.”

This was not a difficult task for the professor. According to Fuller-Espie, the expertise required to teach such courses was readily available at Cabrini. “We had the skill foundation already in place,” she said.

Adding such a program to the academic majors at Cabrini will help the college to keep up with larger colleges and universities, and also bring more interest to the new science education and technology building that is in the making to be built on the school’s grounds.

“It was about brining something different and unique to the new building,” Fuller-Espie explained. “We are going to have a state-of-the-art, cutting-edge facility, so we are bringing something new, fresh and relevant to the program.”

The program’s curriculum is identical to that of the biology program for the first two years. After completing four semesters, students may then decide to enroll into the biotechnology program.

Currently, one full-time student and one part-time student are enrolled in this major. “I don’t think we are going to see the numbers at the freshman level just yet,” Fuller-Espie said. “If in three years time we don’t see at least half a dozen students in the major, then we’ll be worried.”

“It’s a rigorous program,” she said. In addition to the traditional biology studies, the four-year program requires a chemistry class each semester, a full year of physics, an internship during the summer before senior year, and a senior thesis focussing on laboratory-based or library-based research.

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