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According to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Education Coalition, over the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs was three times as fast as growth in non-STEM jobs. Now more than ever, U.S. businesses frequently voice their concerns over the supply and availability of STEM workers.

Michael McGrann, Ph.D.

researcher and as a contract biologist with the Institute for Bird Populations where he participated in a Black-backed Woodpecker monitoring project in burned forests throughout the Sierra Nevada.

In addition, he is continuing his work to incorporate the ecological theory and methods of the Pacific Crest Trail Mega-Transect, a project that provides baseline data on the occurrence and distributions of rare and common species. Te project also serves as a valuable information source to decision makers of how biodiversity is responding to the projected changes in climate. Aspects of his work will be woven directly into course curriculum for this new major.

“My goal is to involve undergraduates in every aspect of the Mega-Transect, including planning, fieldwork, data analysis, and co-authoring peer-reviewed publications,” McGrann said.

Stepping up to produce graduates who meet this demand, William Jessup University launched biology as its first life science degree program in 2013. Over the past 18 months, the program has doubled. In an effort to meet this burgeoning growth, the university plans to begin construction on a second biology lab.

Te new 900 square foot organic chemistry lab will assist with increasing the capacity of current laboratory space to accommodate demand from biology and kinesiology majors and to set the stage for anticipated and continued growth in Jessup’s STEM offerings with emphasis on viewing the sciences from a Christian perspective.

“Te new space will expand our ability to offer more lab types such as micro and molecular biology,” said George Stubblefield, Jessup’s lead faculty member for the Biology program. “More specifically, this will enable us to offer various types of labs which increases our students’ experience and their ability to be involved in different types of experiments.”

Te lab will be constructed adjacent to the current inorganic lab with a 500 square


foot prep room between the two labs. Six organic chemistry lab stations will include a sink, natural gas valve/spigot, vacuum valve/spigot, electrical outlet, and a PC/ network connection. Modular shelving systems integrated into the work stations will hold glassware, supplies and smaller equipment such as hotplates, pH meters, and shakers.

Funded exclusively by donors and friends of the university, proposed completion for the lab is fall of 2015 or no later than January of 2016. Currently, Jessup offers 22 biology courses, four chemistry courses, two physics courses and several courses in math, computer science and environmental science.

When asked if he was surprised by the recent growth of these programs Stubblefield replied, “No, I am not surprised at all. We are very enthusiastic about our growth because we know we are meeting a need for a field that has been underserved in many other Christ-centered institutions.”

As we look toward the future, William Jessup University will continue to expand their science offerings. “We have always had the desire to get into the biological sciences such as allied health,” Stubblefield added. “We know there has been tremendous growth in this field, especially in California so we are currently working to meet this need and develop additional programs for our students.”

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