BioMass Newsletter

Develop and implement STEM engagement activities, which involves:
- Creating content for and leading workshops on communicating science, on conducting team-based STEM research projects, and on how to mentor middle school students engaged in STEM research for undergraduate participants
- Creating session guides for undergraduates to employ in mentoring middle school students in STEM research
- Creating “how to” manuals for faculty and graduate student participants and leading training workshops that employ the manuals
Administration of grant budget and financial reports and budget forecasting, which involves:
- Develops budget to include forecasting, monitoring, and reporting outcomes, variances and problems.
- Using financial databases and systems to manipulate and analyze financial data for internal and external reporting and decision making
- Has signature authority to implement solutions and release funds
- Accepts an institutional responsibility for the University funds assigned.
Develop job descriptions for an assistant director of operations and an assistant director of mentoring (subsequently recruiting, training and supervising these positions). Recruit, train and supervise two undergraduate administrative assistants.
Oversee and support activities of:
- external web consultant (help in design, implementation, and future management of website and social media tools),
- external evaluation expert (help in the design, implementation, and analysis of evaluation materials), and
- 4 middle school teachers who work with undergraduate STEM ambassadors
Direct activities of and provide support of faculty advisors (20), graduate student mentors (30) and undergraduate team leaders (30)
Create tracking system for recording confidential records of participants and alumni (10%)

Master’s degree in STEM field
3 years experience in STEM research and/or education
1 year experience working with STEM undergraduate or graduate students
Excellent administrative skills: organizational and planning, including the ability to independently prioritize work, problem solve, handle multiple tasks simultaneously, set goals, and manage project timelines, attention to detail
Excellent communication skills (both oral and written)
Demonstrated ability to work with a diverse population
3 years experience in data analysis and relevant tools (Excel, SPSS, etc.)
Demonstrated success working in a team environment
Required to work some nights and weekends
Master’s degree in education (or similar field)
Experience with the target student population
Experience working with STEM faculty
Macintosh computer experience



This is a temporary (1-year) grant funded position with the possibility of continuation beyond first year contingent upon availability of funding.

The University of Massachusetts is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origins, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University. To fulfill that policy, the University of Massachusetts is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. It is the policy of the University of Massachusetts to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

Applicants should apply by the priority deadline of March 17, 2016, in order to ensure consideration.

To apply provide letter of application, resume and contact information for three professional references. Submit application at

The 2011 graduation luncheon was attended by more than 400 people, and we didn't even run out of food! Congratulations to all graduating Biologists, and to this year's Biology Department Award Winners (download spreadsheet of award winners). Awardee and Family Group photos from our 2011 inaugural Biology Grad Luncheon are available at our Biology Alumni Links Page! Also, take a look at the Graduates Photobooth Slide Show made at the event.

Free T-Shirts! If you were unable to attend the luncheon this year, a limited supply of T-Shirts is still available in the Biology Undergraduate Advising Office. To get a free T-shirt, all we ask is that you upload a picture and comment about yourself as a Biology Graduate.

State Flower


Biology Alumnus Newsletter
University of Massachusetts at Amherst

State Bird
State Fish

It is an exciting time to be a biologist, and a great time to study Biology at UMass. Over the last few decades, biologists have provided profound new insights into the very mechanisms that account for species diversity on this planet, have contributed to our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that make life possible, and have greatly added to our ability to understand and treat human disease. The current rate of scientific discovery in the life sciences is unprecedented. But not to worry, as each new discovery leads to a host of new scientific questions, there are a multitude of important issues for the next generation of biologists to tackle. Our department combines cutting-edge Life Science research with a strong commitment to excellence in teaching, making UMass an exciting place to study biology.

Download Past Editions of BioMass

by Joe Kunkel

As expected, a modern university is characterized by dynamic change. The University is used to rapid change in its resident students on campus ... they become our alumni. While our alumni may like to remember the campus populated with their favorite friends and teachers, each decade brings a reinvention of the campus population. One face of our new campus is the changes that have occurred in our faculty. Since our last BioMass Newsletter (2001) there have been dramatic changes in our Biology Department Faculty through moves, retirements and deaths.

by Tobias Baskin

In 1963, while Peter Hepler was putting coleus plants under the electron microscope to understand how they build xylem tissue, he saw tiny tubes within the cytoplasm. These are now known as microtubules, an essential part of the cell's cytoskeleton, and Peter would have been their discoverer of record except he got scooped that year by a couple of guys at Harvard. Undeterred, Peter went on to have a highly-acclaimed career studying microtubules and other structures of plant cells. He moved to UMass in 1975 joining the already well respected Plant Biology group, and he has not stopped putting plants under the microscope.

by Elizabeth Connor

The opening of the Integrated Science Building (ISB) heralds a new approach to teaching our Biology courses! Since adopting a set of Learning Goals for Biology majors, the Biology Department has been actively redesigning the curriculum with the goal of offering our students multiple opportunities to develop and hone the skills of practicing science. A $1.6M Undergraduate Science Award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute funded the development of four new courses that provide mentored opportunities for students to practice the skills of a scientist and include two upper level laboratory-based courses, Gene and Genome Analysis and Bio-imaging as well as a two-semester sequence of super deluxe introductory courses for 48 BioTap students, Quantitative Biology of the Cell and Quantitative Systems Biology. These courses, taught in the ISB, incorporate fundamentals of the research experience in the form of inquiry-based learning including experimental techniques, hypothesis testing, data analysis, teamwork, and communication skills. Our course assessment demonstrates that these course experiences prepare students for independent research; many of the students in these courses go on to join research labs, present their work at our annual Undergraduate Life Science Research Symposium, and pursue advanced degrees or careers in science! Following up on that success, other faculty have gotten in on the act … two new courses are being introduced this Fall 2011 that will allow students to explore questions, collect and analyze data, and further hone their research skills.

Help us. We are very grateful to our alumni and friends for responding to our plea for help. Thank you! Your generosity has enabled us to support the projects you have identified; the unspecified donations are being used to enrich the undergraduate research experience, enhance undergraduate field trips, and support the undergraduate organization BioSci. We welcome your ideas and contributions; please contact us!

by W. Brian O'Connor-Jan 2011

John Roberts died in Amherst on May 16, 2010. He came to the Zoology Department 58 years earlier in 1952 and devoted a very productive and memorable 38 years in the Department before retiring in 1990. I describe here his contributions to the department, college and the university, excerpts of my eulogy for John's Memorial Service at the University on September 25, 2010.

by Joe Kunkel

This past Fall 2010 the UMass Campus was treated to a visit from an accomplished Biology alumnus, Dr. Don Wojchowski. He gave a Molecular and Cellular Biology, MCB Colloquium talk on his specialty which is the regulation of red blood cell generation: "Novel molecular mechanisms of (hematopoietic) cell growth, survival and lineage determination as discovered via global analysis of erythropoietin (EPO) receptor action." This return of a Zoology and MCB Alumnus went off so well that we are itching to invite back other of our Alumni who can inspire our current faculty, graduates and undergraduates.