Alissa Packer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
This year’s recipient of the Horn Lectureship earned her Ph.D. from Indiana University and joined the Susquehanna University faculty in 2003. A plant ecologist, her field of research is how plants defend themselves against natural enemies. Along with her students, she studies how a plant’s defenses increase when the plant is damaged. She has also studied the role of service learning in promoting positive attitudes and values about the environment.
One of her nominators noted that Packer's research “is both ground-breaking and accessible to students.” She has been well published in leading scientific journals as well as popular media like the New York Times. One of her papers is taught in population ecology courses, mentioned in ecology textbooks, and has been cited over 430 times by other authors.
Packer has also served as the Director of Susquehanna’s Common Reading program and has the chief responsibility for developing the anthology that all incoming first-year students read in the summer. In addition to the book, she coordinates visits by authors represented in the anthology and arranges not only a public lecture but also opportunities for the authors to meet with Perspectives classes. Her service doesn’t end there, however, as she has served on several committees and has been a driving force behind the creation of our community garden.