Dr. Jim Wedincamp to Chair New Four-Year Biology Program

Dr. Jim Wedincamp to Chair New Four-Year Biology Program

by Norma Kennedy | August 01, 2012
Last Edited: June 17, 2013 by Norma Kennedy
Dr. Jim Wedincamp to Chair New Four-Year Biology Program

East Georgia State College is excited to offer the new Bachelor of Science degree in Biology to our students in order to help meet the growing need for a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) trained workforce. The new Department of Biology, led by chair, Dr. Jim Wedincamp, associate professor of biology, has an outstanding faculty, with seven members holding Ph.D. degrees. This wealth of experience and knowledge will enhance the learning experience for our students.

The EGSC Admission Office began admitting students into the Bachelor of Science in Biology Program fall semester 2012. The biology degree marks the first bachelor degree program offered solely by East Georgia State College and prepares students for entry into a wide range of careers including further academic study at the graduate level and for entrance into professional degree programs. The EGSC Biology Department is pleased to announce the addition of two new faculty members this fall.

Dr. Joseph Knoll received his Ph. D. from Purdue University in the area of Plant Genetics. He most recently served as a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Georgia’s Tifton Campus. His research involves the agronomic production and genetic improvement of subtropical and native perennial grasses for bioenergy and the genetic improvement of sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) as an annual sugar-based ethanol crop for the Southeast.

Dr. Joseph Pittman received his PH.D. in Biology from Mississippi State University. The focus of his research is on the adaptive stress response of Listeria monocytogenes to conditions encountered in food-processing and within the host.  One of his manuscripts has recently been accepted for publication in the Agriculture, Food, and Analytical Bacteriology Journal. 

Other EGSC biology faculty include Assistant Professor of Biology, Dr. Breana Simmons. She has instructed at EGSC for the past four years and received her Ph.D. from The University of Georgia. Dr. Simmons was awarded the Antarctica Service Medal of the United States of America in recognition of valuable contributions to exploration and scientific achievement under the U.S. Antarctic Program. Recently, she co-authored a research article titled, “Extreme streams: flow intermittency as a control on diatom communities in melt water streams in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica,” that was published this month in a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Assistant Professor of Biology, Dr. Edward Schneider has instructed at EGSC for two years. He received his Ph. D. from the University of Oklahoma. His research interest is to better understand the causes and effects of oxidative stress to genes and gene expression as it influences the lifespan and health of all organisms, including humans. Mr. John Smoyer, Instructor of Biology, teaches Principles of Biology, Microbiology, and Anatomy and Physiology. He received his M.S. from Georgia Southern University. Assistant Professor of Biology, Dr. Carolyn Broucek received her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. Dr. Broucek teaches Biological Science at East Georgia State College Statesboro.

Dr. Wedincamp, who will chair the new program, received his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in Medical Entomology. He has authored numerous scientific articles, served as a Master Consultant and Captain at the United States Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, and previously served as Chairman of the Mathematics/Science Division at EGSC.

The program emphasizes a broad spectrum of study from the molecular level to the whole organism and emphasizes the understanding of genetics, development, evolution and the interaction with a dynamic environment. B.S. in Biology students will become well-grounded in mathematics, science and technology as well as a common core of biology topics.

The program will provide in depth studies and opportunities for research and internships that prepare students for medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, medically-related research, graduate and professional studies, or joining the business and industry work force.

The B.S. in Biology can be earned by the completion of common core biology courses and biology electives. The core curriculum is followed by the core courses in biology, and includes required courses in chemistry, mathematics, and physics.

Electives within the department allow for training to focus on specific career objectives. Electives will be selected following consultation with the faculty advisor. A grade of “C” or better is required in all courses needed for the degree.