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Biology teacher connects with students

John Doudna

John Doudna has been teaching biology at LCC since 2020.  Courtesy photo

Chloe Gregg

By Chloe Gregg
Editor in Chief

John Doudna is an assistant professor of biology at Lansing Community College. Doudna was hired during the COVID-19 pandemic in the fall of 2020 and said he has loved working at LCC ever since.

“LCC is an amazing place to work,” Doudna said. “They care for their students and provide support in a way I have never seen before.

“I remember also being very taken by the campus when I visited. The art and the landscaping on campus make it feel like a thriving community.”

Doudna graduated with an undergraduate degree in 2003 from Muskingum College in southeast Ohio, which is near where he grew up. For his master’s degree, Doudna went all the way to California’s San Francisco State University, where he majored in ecology and systematics.

He worked as a biological consultant in California before deciding to go back to school to get his PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology.

He finished at Iowa State University in 2015 and made his final move to Michigan, where he worked for around four years at Lake Michigan College.

“I always loved biology, and I settled on environmental and conservation biology because I wanted to make a positive impact on the world,” Doudna said. “I grew up in an area that was devastated by surface coal mining (strip-mining).

“I focused a lot of my research on fixing what humans had broken: bringing back native animal communities to strip-mined lands, restoring coastal dunes, and understanding how some native species can thrive in agricultural monocultures (corn).”

He said his research led him to finding ways to help his students.

“I also figured out along the way that in the same way I wanted to repair the land, I wanted to help students become more aware and better understand their world,” Doudna said. “This realization was what led me to know that I should be in a career dedicated to education. I love being at a place that is open to all and welcomes all. I love working to help all students reach their full potential for understanding the world we live in.”

Mallory Stiles, a student of Doudna, said she could tell immediately that Doudna actually cared about his students.

“Dr. Doudna is a teacher who captured my attention in the first class, which is hard to do,” Stiles said. “He is incredibly kind and charismatic, but takes the time to pose questions that make you relate science to life.”

In his free time, Doudna enjoys hiking and camping around Michigan, especially with his family. He said he also enjoys tinkering, whether it’s building, repairing or modifying.

For those interested in a career in biology, Doudna offered some advice.

“Find good mentors – official and unofficial,” Doudna said. “Find people who will support you and give you good advice; people who want you to succeed. Find opportunities to do biology – and get experience.”

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