Careers and Graduate Success

As a biology major at Augustana, you’ll have the benefit of being located in the state’s largest city with access to choice internships in health care, research, wildlife preservation, ecological endeavors and more. You also have access to a vast network of hands-on learning opportunities throughout the U.S. and around the globe.

Rob Ihry

Rob Ihry ‘08 had his Ph.D. thesis selected for a "Thesis of the Year" award in cellular and molecular biology. The mainstay of his thesis was generated by what he learned in the basement of the Gilbert Science Center.

Read more.

Students who major in biology prepare themselves for careers in areas such as teaching, research, industry, medicine, dentistry, medical technology, physical therapy, and environmental biology.

Graduates of the biology department have been very successful in gaining admission into prestigious graduate and professional schools, such as Vanderbilt, Cornell, Michigan State, UC Davis, Oregon Health Sciences University, the University of Chicago, and Penn State. In fact, our students’ acceptance rate to medical school is nearly twice the national average.

Our graduates have gone on to distinguish themselves in a variety of fields related to biology, including the health professions. Recent graduates have found employment at Duke University Medical Center, Sanford Research, the University of Washington Children’s Hospital and the South Dakota Department of Health, to name just a few.

The following sample of alumni provides an indication of the careers pursued and positions achieved by our graduates. It is a mere snapshot in time, as well-educated, capable and successful professionals sometimes change jobs and even careers. In fact, it is often their liberal arts education that gives them that flexibility and versatility.

  • Dr. Jeff Oakland '02
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Dakota Vision Center
  • Dr. Maria Bell ’84
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Director of Gynecologic Oncology
    Sanford Health
  • Dr. Lon Kightlinger '77
    Pierre, SD
    State Epidemiologist
    South Dakota Dept of Health
  • Dr. Patrick Casey '78
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Senior VP of Research, Pharmacology/Cancer Biology Professor
    Duke University Medical Center
  • Dr. Nancy N Nichols '87
    Peoria, IL
    Microbiologist, Bioenergy Research Unit
    United States Department of Agriculture
  • Elizabeth (Davis) Hultgren '08
    Vermillion, SD
    MD/PhD Program
    University of South Dakota
  • Anders (AJ) Davidson '08
    Omaha, NE
    Medical School
    Creighton University
  • Dr. Jesse Munkvold '01
    Ithaca, NY
    Postdoctoral Researcher
    Cornell University
  • Dr. David Olson '71
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada
    Director of Perinatal Research
    University of Alberta
  • Angela Peck Campbell '93
    Seattle, WA
    Pediatrics — Division of Infectious Diseases
    University of Washington
  • Ellen Holste '03
    East Lansing, MI
    Graduate Program, Department of Forestry
    Michigan State University
  • Dr. Joy Buswell Zedler '64
    Madison, WI
    Aldo Leopold Chair in Restoration Ecology
    University of Wisconsin
  • Chad Backsen '08
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Biology Teacher
    Roosevelt HS
  • Dr. Bartholomew (Bart) Johnson '08
    Marshall, MN
    Johnson Family Dental Care
  • Kelsey O’Fallon ‘11
    Omaha, NE
    Physical Therapy Doctoral Program
    Creighton University
  • Raelyn Walczak ‘12
    Blacksburg, VA
    Virginia — Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Carl Hjelmen ‘13
    College Station, TX
    PhD Program Entomology
    Texas A&M
  • Michelle Connor '87
    Le Mars, IA
    Certified Hand Therapist
    Le Mars Physical Therapy