Undergraduate Admission

Jeanette Wilmanski

 

Jeanette Wilmanski

Assistant Professor of Biology

Why is biology the most popular major at Saint Peter’s?  There’s recently been a big uptick in interest in a wide range of health-related fields.  Students are interested in physical therapy, becoming physician’s assistants, going into teaching or working in a lab. Biology is just so broad. I think we have an excellent department, we have outstanding teachers who are very flexible and giving of their time.

I’ve been working at the rooftop garden on top of Gannon Hall that we use for biology and ecology classes.  It contains multiple species of plant life.   It’s part of our long-term sustainability initiative. Saint Peter’s was recently named by the Princeton Review as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada.     

I’m an alumna of Saint Peter’s, class of 2000. Like many of my classmates, I went on to pursue an advanced degree.  I earned my Ph.D. at UMDNJ in Newark.  I spent two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University.  It was a great experience.  I had the opportunity to work with well-known scientists in a highly competitive environment.  I studied innate immunology – the immune system we are born with vs. the immune system we acquire. The reason I studied the immune system is because it has to do with our genetics.  My focus was on Crohn’s disease and Colitis.  There was link between a mutation of a particular gene that gave susceptibility to that particular gene.  

The sciences can be very challenging.  At Saint Peter’s, having a professor who is positive can make all the difference in student success.  The Biology department has mostly female faculty and it reflects our students.  We are role models for them – that hat doesn’t happen in all the sciences.  The classroom is only a small part of the experience with the student, there’s a lot that goes on outside the classroom.  

I was a commuter and a first generation student.  My family is from Poland so I understand the student experience because I was once in their shoes.  We serve many first generation students at Saint Peter’s. I think that the level of kindness here must have left an impression on me so that I would want to come back here and teach.  When you care for the whole person you are better able to nurture students’ individual talents.