Major in Biology

Bachelor of Science Degree • School of Arts and Sciences

Biology Faculty

The biology faculty of Utica College is noted not only for the quality of its teaching but also for the depth and breadth of its scholarship. Research conducted by faculty members involves students. These students earn research credit, gain valuable field and lab experience, and publish their research in peer-reviewed scientific journals. This student research has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, NASA, the National Geographic Society, The Alden Trust, The Community Foundation, and the New York Energy and Development Authority. Many biology professors have been honored with the college's awards for distinguished teaching, research, or both.

Note: For a listing of adjunct faculty, click here >

Members of the biology faculty and their research interests are:

Dr. Sara E. Scanga , Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology

Dr. Sara Scanga
Phone: (315) 792-3137
Office: 195/199 Gordon Science Center


I grew up in Pennsylvania. As an undergraduate, I majored in Biology at Drew University (New Jersey), intending to enter medical school upon graduation. However, during my third year at Drew, a number of experiences conspired to wrest me away from a career as an M.D. These experiences included a semester at Hampshire College (Massachusetts), where I participated in an excellent environmental science research seminar, followed by a semester learning about tropical and marine ecology in Belize.

Upon returning to the US, I assisted with ecology research at a field station in northern Minnesota. When I returned to Drew for my fourth year as an undergraduate, I had a completely different outlook on life (as well as an amazing suntan). I decided to pursue a career in ecological research.

After graduating with my B.A. in Biology, I took a position assisting with lake research at a field station in northern Wisconsin. After a few years of this job, I made a brief foray into molecular biology research, and then entered graduate school at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) in Syracuse.

My dissertation research focused on the management and conservation of the globally rare wetland plant Trollius laxus (spreading globeflower). Several wonderful teaching experiences at SUNY-ESF, including two years as a National Science Foundation GK-12 Graduate Teaching Fellow, sparked my interest in teaching. I realized during my time in graduate school that not only do I love ecological research, I also love teaching.


I study the ecology of plant populations and communities in both upland and wetland ecosystems. I invite motivated students to conduct research under my direction within the following—or any other—areas of plant ecology. Research activities generally include field work, which usually occurs in the summer, and data analysis and population modeling, which occur year-round.

For more information about my lab and research opportunities please visit:  http://sarascanga.weebly.com/.


Dr. Daniel Kurtz
Chair of Biology

(315) 792-3923
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(315) 792-3006
1600 Burrstone Road | Utica, NY 13502