Research & Internships Biology Department

Explore many opportunities in biology research and internships

Our program provides students with the opportunity for medical and biotech internships (BIO 190, 190SS), as well as environmental internships with organizations such as the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, and the Santa Barbara Zoo (BIO 191, 191SS).  

Students engaged in research with Westmont Biology professors can do so for credit during the semester, or during a summer research fellowship - or even both! Typically, a student will take 1-2 units of research for credit during the semester (BIO 198), which involves roughly four hours per week per credit.  Some students pursue a more intensive research experience during their senior year and complete a Major Honors project (BIO 199). Summer research fellowships involve 8-10 weeks after the close of the Spring Semester, with research and housing stipends provided. Applications for summer research are typically solicited in February of each year. 

Students have the opportunity to present their work on campus at two annual research symposiums: the Summer Research Celebration, and the Spring Research Symposium.

Interested in pursuing research opportunities further? Read the descriptions of research below, and contact the professors you might be interested in working with, to see if they have any openings available.

Research and Internship Opportunities

What our students say about their research programs

“Conducting research on the pathogenesis of Bordetella pertussis with Dr. Steve Julio was one of the greatest ways I became involved and connected on campus at Westmont. Under Dr. Julio's amazing leadership, I was able to develop as both a researcher and a student. I learned how to critically think about complex issues and creatively problem solve to achieve my goals in the lab.”

Macy Gipson, Doctorate of Pharmacy USC

Macy Gipson, Class of 2019, in first year of Doctorate of Pharmacy program at USC School of Pharmacy in LA

“As a research student at Westmont, I worked with a mentor at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden to test experimental soil solarization treatments for an invasive grass, Phalaris aquatica. Through the process of developing, executing, analyzing, and presenting a field-based research project, I learned how to interact with the research and professional world, developed field and analytical practical skills that I use regularly in my current job, and took ownership of a project I could see through towards the end. It was an important developmental experience for me in my journey towards working in conservation biology and ecosystem stewardship back home in Hawaiʻi and I am super thankful for the many people who helped me along through it.”

Stacey Torigoe, Field Biologist

Stacey Torigoe, Class of 2012, field biologist Haleakalā National Park on Maui.

"My summer research experience with Dr. Sparkman was the highlight of my time at Westmont. I developed resilience, courage, and attention to detail. I learned about the importance of basic science research, as well as how to care for some of the most feared, yet beautiful, creatures of all of God's kingdom! Snakes!"

Brooke Oppenhuizen with Snake

Brooke Oppenhuizen (Hobbs), Class of 2016, Current MD Candidate at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

“While at Westmont, I performed research with Dr. Steve Julio, and was fortunate enough to experience the full arc of a scientific research story: from a question with tangible biomedical impact all the way to reporting our findings to the scientific community. Working so closely with your principal investigator is an experience unique to liberal arts colleges like Westmont, and was instrumental in encouraging me to pursue a career in academic medicine.”

Aaron Wilk Ph.D. Program

Aaron Wilk, Class of 2016, in M.D./Ph.D. program at Stanford University