Erin Keen-Rhinehart, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor | Biology
For me, teaching students is intrinsically motivating. I like the idea of educating the next generation of scientists in the process of science. No matter in which direction their studies take them, students gain the critical skills necessary to continue learning and growing. At Susquehanna, we don’t just teach the material, we teach students how to think about science.
To have a successful career, students need to develop “outside the lab.” They need to learn how to write papers, network and present their research because it’s not always just about lab work. We teach the skills necessary to think critically.
In my freshman Perspectives class, we relate the University Theme to biological concepts and also talk about the first-year college experience. There’s a lot of seemingly unrelated content, but through discussion, students make connections. It’s an example of how, regardless of their major or career plans, Susquehanna students are taught to think first and foremost—and to connect the dots between different disciplines and experiences they may have.
The science faculty here understands the need to mentor. As an undergraduate, I was fortunate to have an awesome mentor. I found her research to be fascinating and we collaborate now. She was so supportive by tapping into her network for me. Now I try to do the same for my students.
I’m a neuroscientist whose research focuses on the effects of prenatal nutrition on adult offspring behavior. My students study the link between nutrition during gestation and its long-term effects on the brain, endocrine system and behavior.
As an undergraduate, I didn’t get the freedom to design my own experiments. Here, it’s part of teaching students. Funding is available to allow students to pursue their own interests. They don’t have to pursue my research goals. They get the experience of trying to design their experiments, and write their own questions. Opportunities like this usually don’t come along until a student is completing his or her post-doctoral training.
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