• Professor Kathy Burleson 2014

    Kathy Burleson

    Senior Lecturer, Biology


    Kathy Burleson is a Senior Lecturer of Biology at Hamline University and the Director of the Women’s Resource Center. She has published research in cancer biology and science pedagogy, and is a Curriculum Section Editor and reviewer for the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education. Dr. Burleson advises in Hamline's pre-health professions program and is working on initiatives in the biology department to broaden diversity in science education. She is the 2012 recipient of the Anna Arnold Hedgeman Center Outstanding Faculty Award for her work on diversity, inclusion, and social justice and a 2014 recipient of the Spectrum Violet Award for LGTQIA allyship and support in the classroom. In 2015, she received the John Wesley Trustee Award.

    Beyond her interests in human biology, Dr. Burleson is actively involved in many programs on campus. She teaches a workshop on pay equity, is a certified Green Dot instructor who trains students in violence prevention strategies, has been a captain for Hamline’s Relay For Life teams, and is involved in numerous diversity initiatives across campus. She is an active member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) at both the local and national level. Dr. Burleson earned her BA in biochemistry from The College of St. Scholastica and her PhD in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics from the University of Minnesota.

    Teaching Style

    Students who come to Professor Burleson’s classes often profess, “I’m not a science person.” Her goal is to change these attitudes and make science accessible to all students. With her primary role at Hamline as a biology educator for non-majors, she strives to find ways to make the material relevant to their daily lives as well interesting enough to capture their attention. The labs she teaches are frequently hypothesis-driven, where students devise their own research questions or bring materials from home to test in their experiments. Since the labs are less “cookbook style,” she finds that students enjoy them more and learn practical information. Outside of class, she hosts extra-credit biology movie nights and encourages students to be involved in health-related activities (Relay For Life, fundraising for women’s health issues, Dine Out For Life) that are tied to the course content.
    Biology majors can expect Professor Burleson’s courses to focus on health and disease in the human body. Her hands-on labs teach students research skills in the field, and student-led journal clubs allow them to develop their abilities reading and presenting primary literature. She also mentors students in career options, Biology Seminar presentations, and works with students on diversity initiatives within the department.

    “I believe that it is crucial for students to be able to make connections between science and other disciplines. Culture and society impact biology, with great effects on human health, and students must recognize the complexity of these interactions. My science courses provide spaces to discuss race and ethnicity, class, sex and gender, and other diverse issues that shape the human experience. If I’ve done my job, students leave my classes better equipped to read and understand science in the news, talk to their health care providers, vote on science issues, and act as critical consumers. And hopefully, they also leave thinking that science is fun!”

    -Kathy Burleson