Alumni and Faculty Highlights

Department of Biology & Biochemistry

Our alumni and faculty have been doing many great things over the years. Check out some of the most prominent highlights.


Alum in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry find top jobs in the field and have a high acceptance rate to medical school and graduate school programs after graduation. Our alum have been accepted to schools such as Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the Rockefeller Institute, Yale University, University of Washington, University of Indiana, and the University of Minnesota, just to name a few. Our biology students are selected for top internships both nationally and internationally.

Just a few student stories…

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Graduation: December 2019
Health Sciences and Spanish, Eagle Scholar, Tri Beta Biology Honor Society
“In May 2020 I will be moving to Ecuador with the Peace Corps. During my two year program, I will be doing public health work in Ecuador as a Health and Wellness Specialist with a focus on nutrition, hygiene, and sexual/reproductive health. I’m very excited to see my degrees from UNW in action in this next phase of my life.”

UNW Experience: “I’m so grateful for my time at UNW and all the ways I was stretched as a student, a Christian, and a human being. As a student, I was challenged in my classes and constantly encouraged by professors to keep going when the going got tough. As a Christian, I found more questions than answers during my years at Northwestern, but I’m learning that the questions and wrestling are keeping me close to the God who sees me. Finally, as a human being, my years at UNW increased my empathy for the world as I engaged in the world outside UNW. Some of the experiences that stand out include my internship at Children’s Dental Services, studying abroad in Costa Rica, and attending the Tiny Earth conference in Madison, WI before my last semester.”

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Graduation: May 2018
Two-year post-baccalaureate in gene expression at the National Institutes of Health
Accepted for PhD in Cell Biology at Johns Hopkins University Fall 2020

UNW Experience: “Being a student at the University of Northwestern was a fantastic experience. I was a PSEO student for two years during high school, then continued as a traditional student double-majoring in Biology and Biochemistry. One of my favorite things about UNW is the small, close knit community atmosphere. Because of the small class sizes, students are much more than just another face in the classroom, which allowed me to get to know my professors personally. My classmates also quickly became my friends, and I met some of my best friends during my time at UNW. At UNW, I was equipped to not only be a scientist, but also how to be a Christian in science. The coursework at UNW was rigorous and gave me a strong foundation for understanding biology, and the courses with lab components gave valuable hands-on experience. There were also great class discussions about how our Christian faith interacts with components of science such as research ethics, and my professors had valuable perspectives on how they personally fit science and faith together in their own lives. I am thankful for the education I received and the friendships I made during my time at UNW and wouldn’t be who I am today without it.”

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Graduation: Spring 2015, B.S in Health Science, B.A. in Psychology
Post Graduate Education – Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, Indiana University, 2017
Employment – Positions as an occupational therapist in schools as well as in outpatient medical clinics.
Adjunct OT instructor of Neuroscience at Indiana University

UNW Experience: “My experience at Northwestern set me up for success in graduate school. I graduated with lasting relationships with a variety of faculty members, many of whom wrote my recommendations for OT school. Attending a smaller university, allowed me the opportunity to form meaningful, working relationships with my professors. However, I was still able to acquire all of the necessary pre-requisites needed to gain acceptance into my target program.”

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Graduation: May 2020 Biochemistry and Biology Major, Eagle Scholar, Tri-Beta Honors Society Officer, Biology and Biochemistry Department Tutor, UNW Men’s Golf
Employment: Research assistant in Harvard University’s Balskus Lab
Post-graduate Education: Chemical Biology Ph.D. program at Harvard University beginning fall 2021.

Dominick Jenkins was awarded an honorable mention in the 2021 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP). Dominick was also an Amgen Scholar at Duke University for a 10-week paid summer research internship in 2019. Subsequently, he was recruited and hired by a Harvard University lab for a research associate position, which he began in before completing his undergraduate degree, finishing Northwestern coursework online while living and working in Boston. His goal is to become a university professor.

UNW Experience: The faculty and staff at the UNW have played an integral role in preparing me for my current position at Harvard University. Their training, both scientifically and as Christ-like role models, has helped me reach places I could never have imagined. I was offered the freedom to be creative in my research and the personal mentorship I needed to learn valuable scientific skills. Having a Christ-centered school to support and guide me in understanding God’s unconventional and amazing plan is something I would not have received at any other institution.

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Graduation: May 2018 major in Biology
Post Graduate Education: Boston College, PhD Developmental Biology

UNW Experience: “UNW equipped me for a successful career in developmental biology by providing superior scientific instruction and unparalleled mentorship. Between rigorous coursework and extensive on/off-campus opportunities available for teaching and independent research, I developed a comprehensive scientific foundation and an array of technical skills. Moreover, the mentorship I received at UNW was beyond outstanding; professors personally investing in me on both an academic and personal level. Their guidance and wisdom were critical in transforming the timid PSEO high-schooler that first stepped foot in Nazareth Hall into the proficient, competitive PhD student I am today.”


Graduation: May 2016 Double major Biology and Biochemistry Tri Beta Biological Honors Society
Current job/employment – Chemist, 3M Drug Delivery Systems Division, Maplewood MN

UNW Experience: “UNW gave me a plethora of opportunities in education, research, and leadership that grew my confidence and skill set, ultimately landing me my first job as a Research Associate at Bio-techne shortly after graduation. More than that, I was able to get to know professors living out their faith in their fields. I was challenged to know the loving word of God and to let it inform every facet of my life – personal and professional. It is life changing to see the hand of God in every atom of creation.”


Graduation: 2015 Biology and Biochemistry double major
2019: PhD Molecular Biology Rockefeller Institute

UNW Experience: “It’s been an amazing experience having my first paper published in the journal, Nature. The scientific community has responded to it with a lot of enthusiasm, which is very encouraging. Looking back at how I have been brought to the Rockefeller Institute for my PhD in Molecular Biology, it is abundantly clear that I am only here by the grace of God. Surely, I have worked hard, but there are so many circumstances that are far beyond my control. I say this because I would not be here without the mentorship and guidance from my UNW professors, both scientifically and spiritually. At Northwestern I learned not only how to be a scientist, but how to be a scientist that honors the Lord with his work and life. So, thank you for pouring so much time and energy into me, my life has been dramatically altered as a result of it.”


For the last seven years, Mayo Clinic has held clinical competitions for undergraduate research teams throughout the Midwest. The Impact Program — Innovative Minds Partnering to Advance Curative Therapies proposes complicated clinical cases and how the different teams would address the diagnosis. UNW has participated for the last five years and every year the teams were asked to present a research hypothesis poster.

This spring, two of four UNW teams received awards at the competition. The spring 2020 research was asked to find the mechanistic link between binge alcohol drinking, addiction and the function of the neuroimmune system. The spring competition was the largest ever with 45 teams and 140 students. One of our teams was in the top ten and was asked to present an oral presentation to the other scientists present. The team led by Sydney Switters, consisted of Maisie Bry, Caleb Johnston and Guerin Szafraniec. One of our teams won the Best Poster Award for their poster on The Effects of Ethanol on Microglia Activation and Neuroplasticity. The team, led by Lily Courneya, consisted of Jessica Crosson, Jack Hackney and Savannah Martinson. UNW will receive a plaque from Mayo Clinic which we will proudly display in the Biology Department.

In 2019, two of our four teams received Honorable Mention Awards and one team was invited by Mayo Clinic to give an oral presentation of their research to the other scientists. The clinical scenario in 2019 was Hypoplastic Left Infant Heart Syndrome.

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Faculty Achievements

Please visit the faculty web pages for more information on faculty interests and research.


Dr. Winslow is a Fulbright Scholar holding two doctorates: a PhD in Cell Biology and a PhD in Systematic Theology. Dr. Winslow was keynote Speaker at the Global Congress on Rationality and Spirituality in Leuven, Belgium in August 2020.
“I am honored to have had the opportunity to teach at UNW for eighteen years. It is wonderful to engage students in the classroom and to train them to be world-class scientists in the lab. Students also have freedom to ask questions of faith and place their love of biology and medicine in the context of their faith in God. But for me, the best part of the UNW education is the relationships. I know my students.”

In addition to her numerous scientific articles on marine invertebrate immunology, Dr. Winslow has two new books in Science and Theology in 2020:

  • Winslow, Lisanne. (2020). A Great and Remarkable Analogy: Jonathan Edwards’ Onto-Typology of Nature. Yale University Jonathan Edwards Center, “New Directions in Edwards Series” published through Vandenhoek and Ruprecht Publishers.
  • Winslow, Lisanne. (2020). A Trinitarian Theology of Nature. The Princeton Theological Monograph Series, published through Wipf & Stock Publishers with a Foreword by Dr Alister McGrath, Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at the University of Oxford.