The Oberlin Review

Melissa Floyd, OC ’91

Melissa Floyd, OC ’91, NASA Astrobiologist

February 28, 2020

Melissa Floyd is currently a NASA research biologist who specializes in environmental microbiology, microbial ecology, microbial biogeochemistry, and astrobiology. After graduating from Oberlin with a Russian major in 1991, Floyd decided to pursue an M.S. in Environmental Science at George Mason University. Floyd will speak as a member of the “Transitioning to Globally Engaged Careers” panel at Norman C. Craig Lecture Hall Friday, March 6 at 12 p.m.  This interview has been edited for length and clarity. ...

Keith Tarvin

Off The Cuff: Keith Tarvin, Professor of Biology

September 6, 2019

Professor of Biology Keith Tarvin published a study last Wednesday which has been covered by major news outlets such as CNN, The New York Times, and NPR. The study, titled “Eavesdropping grey squirrels infer safety from bird chatter,” finds that squirrels use the tone of bird chatter to determine whether an environment is safe. Previous studies had only observed squirrels response to alarmed bird calls. Tarvin earned his B.A. from Hendrix College, an M.S. from the University of Arkansas, a Ph...

College first-year Caracol Haley dissects a rat for her Organismal Biology class. Instead of having students dissect rats, the instructor of one of the lab sections this semester has decided to challenge them to create their own organ.

Professors Discuss Pros, Cons of Dissection in Intro Labs

April 17, 2015

Students in five lab sections of a 100-level biology class dissected rats last week, but those in the sixth section did not. Instead, the section, taught by Associate Professor Taylor Allen of the Biology department, presented ideas for fictional organs for the human body. “The project seeks to deepen students’ understanding of body plans and physiological processes, as well as to develop skills related to creative problem solving, innovative thinking and scientific collaboration,” Allen...

NSF Grant Funds Supercomputer for Sciences

Emma Paul

September 19, 2014

Professors from the College’s Biology, Physics and Chemistry departments were the recent recipients of a $486,256 grant by the National Science Foundation to build a supercomputer, or a high-performance computing cluster, which will allow students to process data sets of an unprecedented size. The computer, which is slated to be built by the end of next summer, is replacing an older high-performance computing cluster, which has been used in the science departments for the past nine years. Nearly 350 Chemistry students per year currently use the old HPC cluster, and the computer also has applications in physics, astrophysics, and computational biology. Matt Elrod, Biggs Professor of Natural Science...

Chair of the Biology Department Mary Garvin (left), Biology Administrative Assistant Twila Colley and Professor of Biology Keith Tarvin make up Twila and the GiTarvins, a folk and country band that played last Friday at the Cat in the Cream as part of Folkfest.

On the Record with Faculty Folk and Country Band Twila and the G’Tarvins

May 9, 2014

This week, the Review sat down with Twila and the G’Tarvins, composed of Chair of the Biology Department and disease ecologist Mary Garvin, her husband, Associate Professor of Biology and behavioral ecologist Keith Tarvin and Twila Colley, the Biology Department’s administrative assistant. The band discussed its changing name, favorite genres and hidden talents. How did your band get started? Keith Tarvin: Last fall Debbie Mull, who was the facilities manager of [the Science Center] re...

At Semester’s Start, Don’t Dismiss the Importance of Sleep

Joshua Kogan, Columnist

February 7, 2014

I decided to try something new during my last semester at Oberlin, and write a column for our lovely local paper, The Oberlin Review. I majored in Biology, so I will try to write about topics of interest to biologists that are also relevant to Oberlin students. For my first article, I’d like to talk about sleep, something that no student here can seem to get enough of. Between classes, clubs, ExCos and Splitchers, who can find the time? And when you think about it, what is the deal with sleep anyway? Why do humans, and for that matter all animals, need to go unconscious for a third of our lives to survive? This adaptation doesn’t seem like something that would help our early ancestors survive against the forces of nat...

Proprioception Sits at Crossroads of Science and Art

Oliver Levine, Staff Writer

February 15, 2013

In her senior thesis show, Proprioception: A sensory understanding of one’s body in space, which opened last Friday night in the Baron Gallery, College senior Madalyn Berg skillfully explored relationships between the human body and nature. A Studio Art and Biology major, Berg used the exhibition to underscore our personal relationships to internal and external environments. Primarily a sculptor, Berg utilizes a wide range of material — from porcelain to snakeskin — to create her pieces. Some works are not handcrafted at all, but appropriated from nature. Fittingly, these works have been put on display in ways that suggest the transience of life, but also the connection between anatomy and art. Among these pi...

Long-time Professor McCormick to Retire at End of Year

Caroline Hui

November 2, 2012

After 26 years of teaching at Oberlin, Biology Professor Catherine McCormick recently announced her retirement, effective at the end of the academic year.  McCormick, who currently teaches Vertebrate Structure and Evolution, joined the Biology and Neuroscience departments at Oberlin in 1986. During her tenure at the College, she has published 10 scientific manuscripts, received research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation and won the 2011 – 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award. She and her husband, Biology and Neuroscience professor Mark Braford, who is also retiring at the end of the year, plan on spending a few more years in Oberlin to finish up scientific manuscri...

Established 1874.