A different perspective

Biology 140 lets students enter the world of scanning electron microscopy


Photo courtesy of Schoolcraft College

Director of Laboratory Sciences and Biology Professor Melissa Gury points to the monitor to show her Biology 140 student a detailed look at an object using the Electron Scanning Microscope.

Kathryn Wenske, Editor-in-Chief

Have you ever been interested in looking at the world around from a different perspective? Biology 140 provides the perfect opportunity to do just that. 

The class is called Scanning Electron Microscopy, and teaches students how to use such equipment with all different detectors and explore the fine details of materials students get to choose. 

“We get students from all walks of life that are interested in all sorts of diverse backgrounds. In this class we get to expose them to the STEM fields and get to link all of these different detectors with a couple of different projects in the class,” said Director of Laboratory Sciences and Biology Professor Melissa Gury. 

This 4 credit hour class has no prerequisites and required textbook, and is offered during the fall as well as winter semesters. It is a project-based class with limited lecture hours to allow for more hands-on opportunities. The curriculum is structured to accommodate a wider variety of students’ interests and spark students’ curiosity but can also aid in employment opportunities. 

“[My biggest takeaway was] definitely learning the electron microscope. It set me up to get a job at the Pathology Lab at Beaumont because working with that expensive machine gave me experience in how to use [that type of machinery] in other labs,” said Schoolcraft Nursing Science major Katrina Meusling. 

The class’s main project includes specimens students are permitted to bring and examine, whether it is spiderwebs, the difference between strains of the same herb, salt, or some have brought in jellyfish and the beak of an octopus. 

The class is not only available to students who are interested in the field or science but can also act as an avenue for artists to explore their creativity in a way they wouldn’t expect. 

One student Gury had in her class was not particularly interested in the science of the microscopes but ventured into artist expression and colorized the original black and white images; defining the patterns and fractals, highlighting the geometric designs found in nature. 

“Our biggest hope is that students learn a new piece of equipment, learn about a whole new field that it’s possible for them to go into and most importantly, learn to view the world in a different way,” said Gury. 

Biology 140 not only satisfies the Natural Science Lab Course requirement for the Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA), but can also open the door to a world students have never seen before. The class could also introduce a whole new career field and another interest to pursue. 

The class is held in the Biomedical Technology Center room 175 and currently runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6pm. 

For more information about this class, contact Melissa Gury at [email protected].