Biology - Resources and Facilities | Benedictine College

Resources and Facilities

Endowed Funds

Kemlage Endowed Biology Travel Fund

In 2008, right after celebrating his 25th Reunion at Benedictine College, Dr. Thomas Kemlage ’83 created The Kemlage Endowed Biology Travel Fund. The biology department has used the fund annually to help Benedictine College student biology majors attend the Missouri River Natural Resource Conference and BIOP Forum in Nebraska City, Neb., at the Lied Lodge and Conference Center to present research poster abstracts and presentations, and to assist students who wish to join research trips to Egypt, the Amazon and Africa.

Benedictine Bottoms Faculty/Student Research Grant

The Benedictine Bottoms Faculty/Student Research Grant is an endowed fund that supports both the Sciences and the Discovery Program. Funding from the grant allows students, mentored by college faculty, to uncover new knowledge and insights about the world and about themselves. Assisted by their professors, students engage in research far beyond classroom learning. Since the Benedictine Bottoms Research Grant began in 2008, hundreds of students have presented papers at regional and national meetings and stipends and housing has been provided to students for summer research. Founding benefactors to the endowed fund include: Dr. Stephanie Van Dyne, Dr. Patrick Mullins’93, Dr. Thomas Kemlage ’83, Dr. James Bongers ’77, Tom Sak ’85, Dr. Mark Boschert ’87, Dr. Terence Grewe ’80 and the late Petronella Culivan ’46.

Henry and Mary Hunninghake Scholarship

The Henry and Mary Hunninghake Scholarship was created in 2006 by the five Hunninghake children, Dr. Donald B. Hunninghake ’55, Dr. Leroy H. Hunninghake ’59, Mary Lee Hunninghake Quinn ’64, Dr. Gary W. Hunninghake ’68, and Alice Hunninghake Wurtz ’70. Preference for the scholarship is given to students from Nemaha County studying mathematics or science as their major discipline. All of the Hunninghake children majored in math or science.

Peter Cathers Scholarship

Peter C. Cathers was the son of Clair Calvin ’61 and Virginia Weishaar Cathers ’62, who served as permanent deacons of the church doing work in Belize, Central America. Peter was a student at Benedictine College in Atchison until 1985. Preference for the scholarship is given to students from rural or low income backgrounds studying mathematics or science as their major discipline.

Edwin and Helen McAnany Scholarship

Edwin J. McAnany of Kansas City, Kan., graduated from Maur Hill High School in 1928. He attended one year at St. Benedict’s College in 1929, where he was a member of St. Edward’s Hall. He married Helen Marie Blue McAnany of Kansas City, MO, in 1940. She was a registered nurse, who graduated from the Providence School of Nursing. The Edwin and Helen McAnany Scholarship is awarded to students preparing for a career in law or the sciences.



We have an exciting range of lab and field equipment. We have a complete C. elegans RNAi library, a MJ Mini Personal Thermal Cycler, numerous monocular and dissecting light microscopes, and Vernier physiology equipment paired with MacBooks. We are also well equipped for sampling plant and animal communities in aquatic and terrestrial habitats.  Field equipment includes: Sherman traps, mist nets, bird banding supplies, spotting scopes, binoculars, hoop nets, gill nets, seines, soil and tree corers, electrofishing equipment, water sampling meters (e.g. dissolved oxygen, conductivity, turbidity, etc.), and GPS receivers to capture locality data. All of these items are used regularly by students for individual research projects and in labs associated with our courses.  Our department also houses a computer lab for students. This is a place where students can work on group projects together, run statistical analyses, use ArcGIS software, or, let’s be honest, do some last minute cramming for quizzes or just check their Facebook accounts.

Herbarium and Teaching Collections

We curate an active herbarium with approximately 7,000 specimens dating back to the 19th century and focusing on local and regional flora. We are in the process of digitizing our collection, and student workers are involved in this organization and cataloging process.

In addition, we curate an extensive collection of vertebrate and invertebrate specimens for study and demonstration. This collection includes over 175 bird skins representing 19 orders. A number of these date back to the late 1800s and were put up by the renowned ornithologist Joseph Grinnell.

Benedictine Bottoms

The Benedictine Bottoms Wildlife Area (more information here) is an approximately 2,000-acre mitigation site owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and managed by Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism. During 1993 and 1994, the site was purchased from private landowners and mitigation efforts were started to begin the conversion back from cropland into riparian wetland and bottomland. Students and faculty in our department are active in a number of research efforts on the Benedictine Bottoms. We are investigating the spread and ecology of the invasive plant species, Japanese hops, studying the response of cottonwood trees to flood events, and monitoring population demographics of songbirds.  In addition, we have active projects surveying the biodiversity of the mitigated community on the Bottoms. We survey for many types of life, from invertebrates and small mammals to birds and plants. Our efforts are coordinated with objectives of KDTP&T managers and are designed to address questions about the effectiveness of management activities at the site in order to adapt or modify management decisions at this or any of a number of other nearby riparian mitigation areas.

Meet Our Departmental Mascots

We have a number of furry, slimy, and scaly friends around our lab areas. Animal friends range from the spiky bearded dragon, Oscar, to the 6-foot python, Bella. Please come visit, but keep your eyes open.  You never know what might be around the corner.