Community Spotlights

We are an interdisciplinary hub of scholars studying plants, microbes, neuroscience, cellular development, evolution, ecology, & biodiversity at Washington University in St. Louis. 

We are Biology. 

Monthly Highlight

Joan Strassmann

"I love to teach. I think that it’s one of the most rewarding things I do. I have three kids, and they are all now highly functioning adults. They can all tie their shoes and handle their lives. I was patient with them. I saw to it that they learned what they needed to learn, and I feel like that’s how we should treat our students. We shouldn’t be their judges. We should be their teachers and their mentors. I think that everybody should be given the opportunity to get a high grade. I reject the idea that our job is to sort students for medical schools or graduate schools. I feel that we should treat every student as an individual. If a student needs more time to learn the material, he should be given that time. For example, when your kid fails to tie his shoe, you don’t say “Oh! You can’t tie your shoe. You failed at tying your shoe.” You work with him until he gets it. I feel like if the students care, why would we not keep working with them until they master the material? And why wouldn’t we care more for the students who don’t get it the first time but want to get it? Why would we give a test that if failed tells the student that he can’t ever learn that material? I reject this prevalent mentality that has infiltrated our American educational system." Joan Strassmann, Charles Rebstock Professor of Biology

Interviewed by Rachel Becknell

“Being a scientist is about finding out all of these little secrets that are in the natural world that you cannot see with your eyes. For example, one insect I worked on is a major crop pest that destroys fields of squash and watermelon. But it can’t survive without this tiny microbe inside of it. By just looking at it, you would never guess that was the case. To me, it is just fun to be privy to all of these little secrets and to discover new ones and to figure out how our world really works.”

―Justine GarciaPostdoctoral Research Associate

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