Importance of field experience to integrated studies majors

In addition to Human Anatomy and Physiology, Elena Brezynski, PhD, teaches BIO 2571:  Introduction to Biology, a course for integrated studies majors.


The course was written and intended for students majoring in integrated studies as it is a non science major class. It is structured around surveys scientific method, chemistry of living organisms, organization of cells, foundations of genetics and molecular biology, evolution, ecology, and diversity.

She speaks upon the importance of this field experience for students who are not biology majors, students who instead will become elementary school teachers. As someone with over twenty-five years of teaching experience, she expresses how the course in many ways is the “perfect course” for her, considering she is both a biologist and has a teaching degree. Brezynski taught in middle schools and high schools in London for over a decade and is able to understand where particular students. They often don’t see themselves as scientists, but she is able to play to their interests and to their fears.

Brezynski also speaks upon the importance of community that the BIFS field experience creates within the students.

In regards to BIFS’s upcoming changes, she is saddened by the current facilitators’, Cindy and LeRoy’s retirement, and is looking forward to the continuation of the facility as it will be soon in the care of new facilitators.


Brezynski with Cindy. By: Jenn Tran


She gives thanks to Cindy and LeRoy for their hospitality over the years towards the visiting students, and recalls things she will miss such as LeRoy’s storytelling, and Cindy’s wonderful cooking.


IMG_1183The students of BIO: 2571 express their gratitude towards her, for her patience, organization, and thoroughness in teaching the course objectives. Her teaching assistant Antonia Duerre (featured below) highlights the best parts of working with Brezynski, and the value of having a professor who not only teaches new material, but also new ways to present material.


Aurora Turner (featured below), another student in BIO: 2571 opens up on her nervousness before the course had began due to her emphasis in language arts and not science. She believes that it is through Brezynski’s thorough teaching and attention to detail, that she is able to understand the material, and feel confident in what she has learned.

Turner adds that she and her peers are consistently encouraged by Brezynski to ask questions, and to answer questions without fear of discouragement if they were to be wrong. One of the greatest resources Brezynski offers are the flexibility in her office hours, and willing to help students outside of the classroom.


Brezynski and student Ocean Swanson-Dexel at the dinner table. By: Jenn Tran


Brezynski stopping to identify a snake on a hike to Blakely Peak. By: Jenn Tran


Brezynski identifying various marine specimen in a tide pool. By: Jenn Tran


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