Natural Sciences

Bachelor of Science (BS)

The BS degree program in Natural Sciences offers concentrations in Biological Sciences and Chemistry & Biochemistry. Both programs offer rigorous preparation for careers in the sciences or requiring science foundations. The University’s proximity to the substantial San Diego life sciences and biotechnology affords ample opportunities for real-world experience and internship programs that complement classroom and laboratory instruction. The proximity of the Pacific Ocean also allows significant opportunities for learning and research in the marine sciences.


BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

Concentration

Biology is the study of life and living organisms in the broadest sense- including origins of life, biochemical principles, energetics, cellular organization, mechanisms of heredity and evolution, classification and levels of organization, organismal biology including surveys of plant biology and zoology, ecology and conservation biology. Students will explore unifying concepts in biological science while developing key investigative skills necessary for scientific exploration and hypothesis testing. Studying biology at the University of Saint Katherine provides a gateway to challenging opportunities in medicine and related health care fields, graduate study and research, teaching, and many industrial, agricultural and environmental applications.

The Biological Sciences concentration in the Bachelor of Science Natural Science Degree (BS) program is designed to build on a solid foundation in mathematics and physical science. Instruction is offered in the form of participation in the ongoing research programs of the faculty, as well as in course work that emphasizes the general and fundamental properties of living organisms and research methods.

The faculty encourages participation in its research program and that that research participation should be a part of each student’s program of study. Students completing this concentration will prepare an undergraduate thesis. Research opportunities may be arranged with individual faculty members, or guidance may be obtained from a student’s individual faculty adviser. Students also have opportunities to participate in research activities with outside collaborating laboratories and research groups.

 

CHEMISTRY & BIOCHEMISTRY

Concentration

Chemistry is often referred to as the central science because of its role in connecting the physical sciences with the life sciences and applied sciences such as medicine and engineering. You will find that to be true here at Saint Katherine College in our teaching and in our research which highlights connections to biology, bioengineering, and medicine.

By recognizing the dynamic nature of science, the Chemistry & Biochemistry concentration aims to lead in education and in research opportunities that extend beyond the traditional boundaries of chemistry. In this pursuit, our faculty, staff and students alike are committed to developing and using their creativity and critical thinking skills to achieve excellence in inquiry, discovery, application, and service. The concentration’s collegial spirit of respect and cooperation underlies and facilitates the many truly outstanding contributions to education and chemical research that we aim to achieve.

The Chemistry & Biochemistry concentration in the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree of Natural Sciences leads, especially when followed by graduate work, to careers in teaching and research at colleges and universities, in research for government and industry, in the operation and control of manufacturing processes, and in management and development positions in the chemical industry.

Faculty

Geoff Bray, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Natural Sciences Department

Professor Geoff Bray is a multi-faceted scientist with a primary scientific interest sensory neuron pathologies. He completed his graduate work at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, where he hails from originally. Past research experience has been in both plants and fungi. Currently, his main focus is on the study of liberal arts and science teaching pedagogy in order to deliver the best possible curriculum to the unique needs of the students at USK. He has been an assistant professor and chair of the department for the past 4 years. During the 2016-17 academic year, he was awarded Professor of the Year for excellence in teaching. During his tenure he has helped shape the department to include a wide variety of instructors who bring outside research and experience into the classroom, giving students a unique perspective into what a scientific career will be like upon graduation. He is bilingual (English and Spanish), and loves fishing, hockey, and rock climbing.

Kaitlin Fisher, Assistant Professor of Natural Sciences* (Chemistry & Biochemistry)

Professor Kaitlin Fisher is a specialist in biophysics – in particular the investigation of protein folding and dynamics and their applications to novel drug design. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego where she specialized in NMR, protein kinetics, and computational modeling in 2015. She received her B.S. in Chemistry at Sonoma State University in 2009 where she was awarded the Howell Fellowship for original research. She has a tremendous passion for teaching, research, and scientific outreach. In her off time she is usually somewhere outside running or hiking with her husband and dog, Carl.

Andrej Grkovich, Assistant Professor of Natural Sciences* (Chemistry & Biochemistry)

Dr. Grkovich is a multidisciplinary scientist with educational background in biochemistry, molecular biology and general chemistry. During his post-graduate studies, he investigated the regulation of membrane-associated pro-inflammatory proteins via the activation of inflammatory signaling and lipid second messengers through the use of a macrophage cellular model. During his course of industrial experience as an assay developer, he designed and developed in vitro point-of-care diagnostics that have been vetted through clinical trials for purpose of market sale. He has had the opportunity to provide mentorship and teaching to students in the academic setting, and technicians and junior scientists in the professional environment.

Michael Reedy, Assistant Professor of Natural Sciences* (Mathematics)

Professor Michael Reedy received a Master’s degree and ABD from the University of New York at Binghamton where he studied mathematics in general  with an emphasis in topology. He has taught at most of the colleges and universities in the greater San Diego area, as well as for the department of defense. His current research interest is in the epistemology of mathematics education. He is a father of two, and an avid musician. He is teaching Algebra and Calculus at the University of St. Katherine.

Natalia Volodina, Assistant Professor of Natural Sciences* (Biological Sciences)

Professor Natalia Volodina is a molecular biologist with an undergraduate training in Biology/Genetics from St Petersburg State University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry from Brown University. She has done postdoctoral research in Boston as well as in France in the area of neurodegenerative diseases, and has about 10 years of teaching experience at the higher education level. She moved to the San Diego area 2 years ago and has been teaching Cell Biology at the University of San Diego. She enjoys travelling and learning foreign languages, and is trilingual (Russian-English-French with some Spanish).

*Part-time faculty appointment