Biology Flier


Biology Major

Students who pursue a Biology major will gain a broad-based foundation in the biological sciences that is necessary to pursue graduate work in biology or to pursue a career in the medical and environmental fields, in the laboratory, or other related areas. In addition to a broad overview of biology, students will also strengthen their scientific skills through participation in research trips, laboratory work and internship opportunities.

Simpson University's Biology major features small class and lab sizes, so students can get one-on-one attention from faculty members. Selected students also have the opportunity to do summer research projects with the science faculty.

Learn In Real World Environments

As a biology student at Simpson University, you'll have the opportunity to practice stewardship and expand your horizons...all while earning credits toward your degree.

You can choose to take summer classes at Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies, where you'll participate in sustainable community-building, environmental education projects and community outreach services in the Great Lakes Forest, Puget Sound, South Florida or South India.

You'll also have the option to enjoy a semester abroad through the Latin American Studies Partnership Program.  In Latin America, you'll broaden your horizons by traveling through diverse cultures and living with native families, while taking part in field studies and dynamic classroom experiences based on the politically and economically sensitive relationship between North America and Latin America.

Career Opportunities

In addition to careers in medicine, research or teaching, your biology degree from Simpson will also help prepare you for a career in:

  • Pharmaceutical Sales
  • Business Consultation
  • Biotechnology
  • Patent & Environmental Law
  • Healthcare Technology
  • Technical Writing
  • Nursing
  • Science Journalism 
  • Physical Therapy
  • Computer Programming
  • Public Health
  • Computer Modeling
  • Wildlife Biology  
  • Environmental Science
  • Clinical Chemistry
  • Waste Management
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Agriculture
  • Pharmaceutical Research
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Research

 ...and dozens of other fields

Research Challenge:

If your plans include graduate studies, we also invite you to take a close look at our B.S. in Biology classes to see how our curriculum aligns with the prerequisites for the graduate or professional school of your choice.

Essential Preparation:

At Simpson University we want to see you thrive. If you are considering a career in biology or nursing and other medical professions, we encourage you to come prepared. A passion for knowledge and a strong college preparatory background in mathematics (Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and Trigonometry) and the natural sciences (physical science, biology, and chemistry) are essential. If you are well prepared, you will find your academic experience at Simpson University not only challenging, but also incredibly rewarding.

To address the rising demand for medical professionals, Simpson University offers an undergraduate biology major and nursing program (BSN) and a R.N.-to-B.S.N. Nursing program.

Science and Nursing Center

Simpson University’s Science and Nursing Center

The Science and Nursing Center is equipped with:

  • Two stories: one floor dedicated to science majors and one to nursing education
  • Six patient simulation zones
  • Two clinical skills labs
  • Specialized areas for physics, microbiology, genetics, chemistry, ecology and anatomy
  • General-purpose classrooms
  • Centralized faculty offices

Larry Siemens, M.A.

A headshot of chemistry professor Larry Siemens

Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Science and Math Department Chair
(530) 226-4516


Mr. Siemens has 23 years of college science teaching experience including 12 years teaching in Ethiopia, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Kenya. For 17 years he did analytical chemistry for Columbia Analytical Services and CH2M Hill. He is the faculty adviser for the biology club, the chair of the science department, and the chemical hygiene officer for Simpson University. Mr. Siemens enjoys bird watching and teaches birding field courses on the Mendocino and Humboldt coasts of California.

Educational Background:

  • M.A., Pacific Union College
  • B.A., Pacific Union College

Courses Taught:

  • Introduction to Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Environmental Science


Trenton Smith, Ph.D.

 A headshot of biology professor Dr. Trenton Smith

Associate Professor of Biology
(530) 226-4972


Dr. Smith is a cellular/molecular biologist who obtained his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 2001. He has been teaching at the college level since that time, and has been at Simpson since 2007. Having previously held teaching positions at Goshen College and George Fox University, Dr. Smith came to Simpson at the start of the school's biology major. His research interests primarily focus on the molecular interactions between plants and the viruses that infect them. His other interests include hiking, camping, and kayaking in the wonderful northern California environment.

Educational Background:

  • Ph.D., University of South Carolina
  • B.S., Western Kentucky University

Courses Taught:

  • General Biology I
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology


Shani L. Golovay, Ph.D.

A headshot of biology professor Dr, Shani Golovay

Assistant Professor of Biology
(530) 226-4196


Dr. Shani Golovay is a plant biologist who received her BS in plant biology from the University of Illinois and a MS and PhD from Mississippi State in Plant Biochemistry and Genetics. She has worked for Monsanto and University of Florida investigating toxicology in pesticides and how genetics reduces pesticide use. She has taught at the University of Florida, St. Louis Public Schools, Wheaton College, California Baptist University, and Greenville College. She has also lived in Austria and Ukraine. Her research interests include the intersect between science and theology, teaching the new NGSS standards to K-2 students, and plant genetic engineer acceptance.

She currently teaches classes in Ecology, General Biology, Physiology, Plant Biology and Introductory Chemistry at Simpson. She has three small boys at home.

Educational Background:

  • Ph.D., Mississippi State
  • M.S., Mississippi State
  • B.S., University of Illinois

Courses Taught:

  • Ecology
  • General Biology
  • Physiology
  • Plant Biology
  • Introductory Chemistry


Teresa Holder, M.A.

Assistant Professor of Physics
(530) 226-4713


Educational Background:

Courses Taught:


Brian Hooker, Ph.D., P.E.

A headshot of biology professor Dr. Brian Hooker

Associate Professor of Biology
Math and Science Division Chair
(530) 226-4734


Dr. Hooker has had a distinguished career as a chemical engineer, managing a large-scale systems biology research program at Batelle/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. Since 1995, he has served that laboratory as a senior research engineer, a staff engineer, and a principle consultant in biotechnology.

He also taught chemical engineering for three years at Tri-State University in Indiana and teaches at Walla Walla Community College in Washington in addition to operating his own consulting agency. He has a long list of research grants, scholarly/technical publications, awards, and formal presentations, and is co-owner of several patents.

Educational Background:

  • Ph.D., Washington State University
  • B.S., California State Polytechnic University (Pomona)

Courses Taught:

  • Microbiology
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Senior Seminar for Biology majors
  • Intro to Chemistry
  • Intro to Physics
  • General Physics I and II


Suzanne Vincent, Ph.D.

Suzanne Vincent

Associate Professor of Biology
(530) 226-4980


Dr. Vincent has taught at several universities, including Oral Roberts University and Texas Tech University. Her research specialization is neuromuscular control, which is seen, for example, in Parkinson tremor or stretch reflex contribution to movement. She is a certified senior fitness instructor and has worked with elderly persons to help them maintain their physical fitness. Suzanne Vincent has published in Experimental Neurology, Movement Disorders, Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and other journals. She is also certified in cognitive fitness and has worked with Alzheimer patients.

Educational Background:

  • Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle
  • M.A., San Francisco State University
  • B.A., University of California, Santa Cruz

Courses Taught:

  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
  • Human Biology


  • Students will be able to recall and articulate basic scientific concepts and processes.
  • Students will be able to employ and apply appropriate laboratory techniques to obtain data.
  • Students will demonstrate proficiency in applying the scientific method and creating a mock grant proposal.
  • Students will be able to read reviews of primary scientific literature and effectively present their findings.
  • Students will be able to analyze one issue in biology that engenders controversy, present multiple view points on the issue, and articulate a Christian viewpoint with means of addressing the issue in public space.

“I was encouraged to use my inquisitive nature to pursue questions about the world around me as well as have my eyes opened to questions I never knew existed. It is so fulfilling to be able to use my hands and literally work through an experiment or problem.”

Leanne Davis, Class of 2015

“I developed real relationships with my professors, who were able to eventually write me excellent letters of recommendation,” she said. “They always believed in me and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. They did everything they could to help me get there.”

Erin (Brink) Hoffman, Class of 2011

Siby Sabu - 2013 Biology Graduate

"There was something about the way the (biology) program was set up and the way teachers interacted with students. Their heart behind why they wanted to do what they do just drew me in."

— Siby Sabu, Class of 2013 Biology Student

Kayla Holland - Current Biology and Spanish Student

"Being able to move into the new building in the fall is making science and nursing majors so much more passionate about our field of study."

— Kayla Holland - Biology and Spanish Student, Class of 2017