Department of Biological Sciences

Biology Graduate Student Association

The Biology Graduate Student Association (BGSA) is a Western Illinois University organization that promotes interest in the biological sciences and provides fellowship among students and faculty.

Our Mission:

We represent graduate student needs and desires in regard to post-baccalaureate education and research in the biological sciences at
Western Illinois University. We provide a forum for the presentation of innovative ideas to benefit the biology community.

Photo: BGSA Meeting, September, 2014

BGSA Officers:

  • President: Kayleigh Diveley
  • Vice President: Terry Torres Cruz
  • Treasurer: Sangya Paudyal
  • Records Officer: Donald Bath
  • Faculty Liaison: Alanna Griffin



The BGSA believes that enthusiasm for science education can and should be developed at an early age. Unfortunately, due to limited resources, many schools in rural communities are poorly equipped to provide a curriculum that emphasizes hands-on learning experiences in the sciences. It is with these limitations in mind that the BGSA has chosen to organize our Adopt-A-Classroom program. For the past 2 years, our Adopt-A-Classroom program has sought to promote passion for and literacy in the sciences by conducting monthly hands-on activities with students in local 3rd grade classrooms. Past activities have included working with a diverse assemblage of live organisms, making science-related art, and conducting outdoor activities. BGSA has also emphasized fund-raising to provide teachers with additional resources. We hope to continue developing relationships with local students and teachers alike for many years. As the program continues to grow, BGSA encourages graduate students from diverse scientific backgrounds to assist in the planning and implementation of activities.

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End of the year outdoor activity at Spring Lake, May 2015

Annual Graduate and Undergraduate Biology Student Research Symposium

The graduate students present the results of their research to the department and Western Illinois University with oral presentations or posters. This gives the graduate students experience in presenting their research before taking these presentations to a regional or national scientific meeting. Besides the poster and oral presentations, BGSA graduate students help with the logistics and organization of the activity including judging of undergraduate posters.


Graduate students that served as judges in the 13th Biology Research Symposium (from left to right: Sami McCarrel, Cedric Ndinga Muniania, Sangya Paudyal, Shiloh Lueschow, Kay Diveley).


Graduate students that gave oral presentations in the 13th Biology Research Symposium (from left to right: Anthony Kloppenborg, Shiloh Lueschow, Noland R Deaver, Katie Lamagdeleine, Phil Scheibel, Michele Rehbein, Cory Anderson, Rebekah Haun, Cedric Ndinga Muniania, Terry Torres Cruz).


Students that participated in the 13th Biology Research Symposium

WIU Graduate Research Conference

Graduate students from the Biological Sciences Department participate at the annual university-wide Graduate Research Conference, hosted by the School of Graduate Studies. Our graduate students present posters and paper presentations to share the results of the research study they have been conducting at WIU.

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Students presenting at the WIU 2015 Graduate Research Conference (from left to right: Noland R Deaver, Cedric Ndinga Muniania, and Terry Torres Cruz).

Biology Day

Biology Day is an annual event that gives high school students the opportunity to explore the field of Biology. The Biology Graduate Student Association helps planning the activities for this day.


High school students visiting Dr. Meagher’s lab at Biology Day during Fall 2014.

Other Activities

Students participate in different outreach activities including Earth Day and the Science Demo Show.

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Contact information:

For more information about us and our activities, like our Facebook page and become a member on the Purple Post