Published 03/20/13

Research opportunities in the lab

Kirsten Hokeness, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Science and Technology

With her mother a nurse and father a doctor, science and medicine were regular topics at the dinner table when Kirsten Hokeness, was growing up. Today, she teaches courses in biology, biotechnology, and ecology, her area of interest extending to cancer biology, microbiology, and viral immunology. Her passion for these subjects is contagious.

Classes include lively discussions about cutting-edge topics such as cloning, immunology, and stem cell research. “It’s my job to give students the facts and encourage them to think critically,” she says. “I try to make the classroom a conversational learning environment, a place where they can voice opinions and ask questions.”

"It's my job to give students the facts and encourage them to think critically."

At Bryant, students who major in Biology or Environmental Science are required to take part in scientific research for a year. First-year students and sophomores can actually choose which faculty member he or she wants to work with, says Hokeness. “In addition to the very rigorous scientific curriculum, the complimentary business minor gives students a well rounded education, allowing them to be very successful in terms of their goals and careers in the scientific field.”

Garrett D. Holmes ’13, a future psychiatrist who is double majoring in Applied Psychology and Biology, is inspired by Bryant’s professors, including Hokeness, who stands out, he says, because of her ability to simplify the most complex biological processes into easily understandable segments.

Says Hokeness, “Choosing to study science at Bryant gives students the distinctive experience of very small classes and one-on-one-opportunities to do research with faculty. Faculty members know all their students by name, understand their individual needs and interests, and work with them to tailor their programs. This is unique to Bryant, compared to other universities offering similar programs.”

Hokeness joined Bryant in 2007 and is a Merit Award recipient. She holds a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from Brown University.