The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

Professor Profile: Dr. Deb Marr

Posted by iusbvision on October 9, 2006

It could certainly be said of Dr. Deb Marr that she has found a niche for herself in the biology department here at IU South Bend. As a professor of ecology and evolution, she enjoys both a department full of supportive colleagues and her students, whom she says “bring a diversity of interests and experiences to the classroom.”

It is that diversity in interest that she’d like to encourage in her students. She says that often students get frustrated with courses that may not seem to bring them closer to their career goals, but students should instead embrace their undergraduate years as a time to explore their interests, and that is advice from someone who should know.

At Binghamton University in New York, Dr. Marr studied music as an underclassman, playing piano for chamber choirs and theatre courses. While she didn’t realize a graduate degree in biology is what she wanted until her junior or senior year, she by no means feels her time in the music department was wasted. “Any subject you study to mastery will help you in the future,” she says. She elaborates, “Studying music taught me self-motivation, how to study individually, and how to work towards mastering a subject for performance, not just to pass an exam.” All of these became very useful as she went onto graduate school at IU Bloomington and then post-doctoral work at Vanderbilt University.

So take the advice of someone who’s arrived in her chosen career. Your undergraduate years are a time to explore your interests and to embrace the diversity of opportunities you’ve been afforded. Enjoy them, and don’t be afraid to try something outside the box.

Shannon Renfrow

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