Biology

Henry Doorly Zoo Aquarium fuels Ocander’s marine biology aspirations

An Omaha native and Hastings College wildlife biology major, senior Ashlyn Ocander dreams of rescuing and rehabilitating marine mammals. Her passion for marine biology blossomed when she was 13 and witnessed newborn sea turtles returning to the Gulf of Mexico. Since that day, she’s aspired to make a positive impact on aquatic ecosystems, despite her roots in the oceanless Midwest. “Sometimes when I tell people that I’m studying marine biology at a college in Nebraska, they ask me, ‘Where is your ocean?’” she said. Ocander found an Nebraskan ocean of sorts during her January Term (J-Term) ...Read more

Stogdill learns life lessons from dermatology internship

Sophomore biology major Alex Stogdill traveled to Nevada for January Term, or J-Term, to shadow a professional dermatologist. After nearly a month of observing the trade, Stogdill would leave the silver state and return to the Nebraska good life with a new outlook on how to prepare for his future. The Lincoln, Nebraska, native didn’t foresee a future in dermatology before his internship. His original focus in the field of medicine was orthopedics, and he later grew interested in genetic counseling. While on the hunt for internships, his mother suggested he intern with his cousin, a partner at ...Read more

Piper completes two internships in a single J-Term

Two internships are better than one. Or in sophomore biology major Geena Piper’s case, two internships during a single January Term. Piper has raised the bar and has already started preparing herself for a career after graduation. For the first half of J-Term, Piper, from Norfolk, Nebraska, spent her time shadowing the professionals at Valley County Health Department, a part of the Valley County Health System Hospital, in Ord, Nebraska. “They have four family doctors, three physician assistants (PAs) and a nurse practitioner,” said Piper. “I spent my time shadowing all nine of these medical ...Read more

Hajny finds ‘magical moments’ fighting wildland fires

A biology degree from Hastings College can often lead to a career in a white coat, as many graduates go on to become physicians, veterinarians and laboratory scientists; but others, such as 2002 graduate Kristy Hajny, don a helmet and fire-resistant clothes each morning. Hajny is a wildland firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, a job which requires not only mental strength, but physical stamina as well. Each morning while on the job Hajny wakes up early, usually in a tent, and spends the next 16 hours in briefings, on hikes and fighting fires in our nation’s forests. However, despite the ...Read more

Two HC grads on the bench

Two Hastings College graduates have been appointed as judges in Nebraska courts. John H. Marsh ’81 was appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts in March to the Ninth Judicial District Court, which covers Buffalo and Hall counties, including Kearney and Grand Island. Stephanie R. (Leibert) Hansen ’96 was appointed by Ricketts in November 2015 to the Fourth Judicial County Court, which covers Douglas County, including Omaha. Prior to his appointment, Marsh was a partner at a private law office in Kearney and served as the Deputy Buffalo Public Defender since 2007. During 22 years of private practice, he ...Read more

Seeley '88 sculpts snow into colossal creatures

Matt Seeley’s sculptures might last only a few days, but for him, that’s part of the beauty of ephemeral art. Seeley ’88, a systems engineer, sculpts large-scale creations with snow, creating jumbo characters like a 16-foot praying mantis, oversized gnomes and a sprawling, crawling octopus. He also does sand sculpture and giant 3-D sidewalk chalk drawings. Each January, Seeley takes part in the U.S. National Snow Sculpting Competition in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, as one-third of Team Nebraska, which also includes sons Taylor and Thane. Over the past nine years, the team has earned several ...Read more

Protein crystallography leads to structural insight and skills for graduate school

Julia Thibault, a biochemistry and molecular biology major, shares her experiences at the University of Missouri Summer Research in Biochemistry program. She describes her research, how it applies to what she has been doing at Hastings College, and what she hopes to accomplish in the future. ...Read more