Dr. Bev Dow Shares Her Love of Life, Natural World with Students

Bev Dow looks at hibiscus flowers with students in Belize

In the Belize jungle, Bev Dow, Ph.D. and her students look at hibiscus flowers and discuss pollination strategies.

The way MCC Biology instructor Bev Dow sees it, the most important thing a student can take away from her classes is respect for the complexity, beauty, and interrelatedness of living things. She strives to instill this respect in her students as she shares her love of life and the natural world in her biology and plant science classes.

“I’d love students to leave my classroom with a curiosity about the natural world,” said Dow, who has taught full-time at MCC for 10 years.

While respect for nature is one aspect of her lessons, she can hardly contain her excitement when telling students about the latest and most fascinating breakthroughs in science, which occur virtually on a daily basis.

To pique their interest and keep them engaged in learning, she provides real life examples. One tidbit of wisdom she is quick to point out is that “if it weren’t for photosynthesis, none of us would be alive.”

“I try to make class relevant to them; show them why biology matters and connect concepts to something they’ve experienced.”

Her favorite part about teaching is interacting with students and seeing “the light come on” in their faces. “When students take the knowledge learned in class and do something with it, that’s amazing. Knowing that I could make a difference in their lives is really rewarding to me.”

In addition to teaching introductory courses in biology and plant science, she co-teaches Belize Field Studies, a new 8-week online course that links anthropology and biology, and concludes with six days in Belize.

Dow, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois-Chicago, began her career as a respiratory therapist before becoming a high school biology teacher, followed by a biology researcher and later a college instructor.

In her free time, she and her husband raise chickens and grow a 4,500-square-foot vegetable garden and produce a fruit orchard. Dow loves writing and pens a garden blog, Fiacre’s Spade at www.fiveoakschemung.blogspot.com.


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