Successful Graduates

More than two-thirds of Coe's biology graduates each year go on to graduate and medical schools. Others have gone into careers as zoologists, genetic counselors, industrial research scientists, environmental analysts and high school biology teachers. Here are some examples of what Coe biology graduates have accomplished:

Keenan Laraway graduated from Coe in 2011 with majors in biology and neuroscience, and minors in chemistry and political science. The Marion, Iowa native is currently studying medicine at the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa.

"The biology program at Coe provides students with extraordinary opportunities in the classroom, in the laboratory, and in the field.  From the Wilderness Field Station to our renowned REU associations and the development of new cross-disciplinary courses, Coe's biology department is truly growing into one of the strongest and most regarded on campus! As a pre-medical student, I conducted my own research with the direction of Professor Tom Lackner. We coordinated work in the botany lab course with new techniques available through the departments of chemistry and biology. As a result, I was asked to speak at regional and national conferences of the American Chemical Society. When I came to Coe, I would have laughed if you told me that would happen! I strongly encourage students to take advantage of as many opportunities as they can. If you jump in and work hard, when you look back four years later, you'll be amazed at what you've accomplished." – Keenan Laraway ’11

Alex Michaud

Alex Michaud graduated from Coe in 2009 with majors in biology and environmental science. As a graduate student at Montana State University he conducted research in Antarctica as a member of the WISSARD (Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling) team. Click here to read Alex's blog, "Journey to Subglacial Antarctica."

Michaud was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy in Ecology and Environmental Sciences with a focus in Environmental Microbiology from Montana State University in 2016. Dr. Michaud has accepted a two-year post-doctoral appointment to continue his research studies at Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark. His post-doctoral research will focus on Arctic marine sediment microbiology and the coordination of an international research team and expedition to the Norwegian Arctic.

  • Jeff Nekola (biology), Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Assistant Professor of Biology at University of Wisconsin Green Bay
  • Marianne Wellington (biology), staff member, International Crane Foundation, Baraboo, WI
  • Todd Bjur (biology), D.D.S. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, dental officer, U.S. Navy
  • Michael Faust (biology and general science), M.D., obstetrician, Mason City, IA
  • Mark R. Wiesner (biology) Ph.D. Environmental Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Assistant Professor at Rice University
  • Nedra Foster Hecker (biology), Chief of Mammology at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD
  • Johanna Josephson Abernathy (biology), M.D., obstetrician/gynecologist in Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Alycia Baybayan Marler (biology and general science), M.S., Pharmaceutical Consultant for Smith Kline Beecham
  • Elizabeth Cerny (biology), scientific assistant at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois
  • Ryan Bomgarden (biology), Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University in Molecular Pharmacology