Academics & the Arts

Math & Sciences

The Department of Mathematics offers a major and a minor in Mathematics. With these programs, you will be prepared for positions in business, industry, research, education, and graduate studies–wherever mathematics related problem-solving skills are needed.

The major and minor programs in Computer Science are designed for students with interests in the discipline of computing and its applications. The major provides students a background in computer science and mathematics within a liberal arts context. You will acquire a foundation for lifelong personal and professional growth through a variety of career paths, including application programmer/analyst, systems analyst, or graduate study.

The Biology major is one of the fastest growing programs at Grand View. The department offers a strong traditional premedical curriculum, a strong laboratory-based cellular/molecular biology curriculum, and support courses for the Grand View Nursing major and General Education Core classes. 

Grand View also offers majors in Biotechnology and Biochemistry, as well as minors in Biology and Chemistry.


Dr. Felicitas Avendano, Associate professor of biology
Earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina, and she earned her Ph.D. from Michigan State.




Dr. Lucas Bennett, Associate professor of mathematics
Earned his bachelor's from Central College, and his master's and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.




Jennifer Donnelly, Lab coordinator
Earned her bachelor's in zoology from the University of Maryland College Park and her master's in ecology and evolutionary biology from Iowa State University.




Dr. Florence Dusek, Assistant professor of biology
Welcome to Grand View! I have been a professor here for several years. I have two master's degrees, one in physiology and a second in public health.  I teach Nutrition and Environmental Science.  Learning involves participation - if everyone is participating in the journey, everyone is learning - students and instructors together. I encourage students to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and recyle, recycle, recycle! Faculty Website


Dr. Craig Erickson, Assistant professor of mathematics
Earned his bachelor’s from Drake University, master’s from Minnesota State University - Mankato, and Ph.D. from Iowa State University. Faculty Website



Dr. Eric Hart, Professor of mathematics




Dr. Idit Hazan, Professor of biology
Hello! I'm happy that you're interested in my area of expertise. I typically teach courses such as Genetics, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Intro to Biology, and Biotechnology. I believe in challenging my students while providing excellent support for them as they develop in their understanding of genetics and molecular biology. My door is always open to students and, in exchange, I require that they work very hard. Faculty Website


Diane Hintzsche, Mathematics resource specialist
I have been at Grand View 10 years, and I teach Basic Mathematics (Math 100) and Beginning Algebra (Math 110). I spend most of my time in the Math Lab where I help students with problems they may have in math classes. I believe that every student can succeed, and sometimes we have to make adjustments as instructors and as students. I enjoy spending time at home with my children and attending their activities.


Dr. Adriana LaGier, Assistant professor of biology
I teach and mentor students in topics geared towards General Biology I and Cell Biology. I started my career by earning a master’s in marine biology from Florida International University and a doctorate in molecular immunology from Brown University. Before I joined the GV faculty,  I performed post-doctoral work at Yale University and the CDC, supervised a division of biodefense for the Department of Homeland Security, investigated the eye at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, studied air pollution at the EPA, and taught cell biology courses at Florida Gulf Coast University. I am honored to help train the next generation of budding scientists in this ever-changing and (dare I say) fun field of science.


Dr. Michael LaGier, Assistant professor of biology
I earned my bachelor's in biology and my Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the State University of New York. In addition to my formal education, I have conducted basic and applied microbiological research as a postdoctoral fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellow at UNC, I also received formal training in undergraduate science education.


Dr. Sergio Loch, Professor of mathematics and computer science
Earned his master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with further study at the University of Minnesota. Faculty Website



Dr. Kristin McCullough, Assistant professor of mathematics
Earned her bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University.



Dr. Amethyst Merchant, Associate professor of biology
Earned her bachelor's degree from Georgia College and State University; earned her master's degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; and earned her Ph.D. from the University of Florida.



Donna Mohr, Mathematics resource specialist
Mathematics is an invention of humankind designed to explain the workings of the physical world. While it cannot describe love, it can describe planetary motion or the amount of sales tax on a given purchase. Learning mathematics is both an intellectual endeavor and an acquired skill. As such, it is my desire to teach students the building blocks and the logic of algebra, and then give them sufficient opportunities to apply their knowledge. I am married with four children, five grandchildren, a dog, and a cat. I hope to see you soon!


Dr. Paul Rider, Professor of physics and division head of natural sciences
Hello! I teach physics (I am the Physics Department!) as well as courses in the physical sciences, the history and philosophy of science, and science issues. I believe one learns science the same way one learns to play a musical instrument or sport. I try to structure my classes accordingly, using activities and creating a classroom environment that encourages students to think like scientists.



Dr. Laura Salazar, Professor of chemistry
Hello! I will work with you in courses such as Organic Chemistry, Physical Science and Contemporary Science Issues. I believe in the learner-centered model of teaching that gives students control over their learning and makes them responsible for it. Not only is this an exciting way to learn, it is a thrill to teach. I love spending time with my husband and three children. We like to play outdoors and do outside activities such as hiking, biking and camping. My favorite two places in the world are Kauai, Hawaii, and the Rocky Mountains in Colorado where I grew up.


Dr. Corbin Zea, Professor of chemistry
Welcome to chemistry! I teach General Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis. I truly love to teach. Students learn best from actively being involved in their learning, so I use a lot of active learning approaches. In addition to engaging my students in the classroom I also work with students in the laboratory engaging in various research projects. Some recent projects that students have worked on include calculating the ring strain in various ringed systems, usint wet chemical and computational chemistry to measure carbocation stability, and the synthesis of various phospho sugars.

Awards and Accomplishments

Current Students
Jessica Mesecher and  Mike Wignes (Biochemistry majors), presented at the National American Chemical Society meeting in Indianapolis, IN. Here are their abstracts as well as Dr. Laura Salazar's:

"POGIL application in the organic chemistry classroom: Overcoming the activation energy"

Dr.  Laura Rusch-Salazar
POGIL curriculum has been used in the organic classroom at Grand View University starting in the fall of 2007.  The change in teaching pedagogy was met with resistance from students and other faculty members.  This presentation will share the lessons learned from starting POGIL for the first time.  It will address how the program grew through the transformation from a more traditional teaching approach to a learner centered, engaged approach.    The change in culture and expectation of the community will also be discussed.

"POGIL application in a chemistry curriculum: A culture of active learning from a student perspective"

Jessica Mesecher and Michael Wignes
POGIL has been implemented in a majority of classes in the Grand View University Biochemistry major.  Students are learning through POGIL in general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry and physical chemistry.  Student presenters will share their perspective of this approach to their education and how it affects their learning.

Dr. Corbin Zea, associate professor of chemistry, co-authored a research article entitled, “Spectral and thermodynamic properties of methanobactin from γ-proteobacterial methane oxidizing bacteria: A case for copper competition on a molecular level,” which will be published in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry.

Dr. Mo Liang, professor of computer science, published a research paper, "A natural generalization of orthogonality of Latin squares", in an international journal titled Discrete Mathematics. 

Dr. Sergio Loch, professor of mathematics and computer science, gave a presentation based on his and co-authors submitted research paper entitled "LINE - Linear algebra In New Environments" at the JMM - Joint Mathematical Societies Annual Conference held in San Diego, California between January 8 - 13th. Mr. Loch also had a Poster Presentation at the conference based on his and Co_PI NSF grant on the research paper. 


Math, Computer Science, Science and pre-med students take courses in Elings Hall on the west side of campus, which is equiped with four full biology and chemistry labs.  There is also a cadaver lab used for dissection.

Several classrooms are Smart Classrooms, with advanced technology to aid in classroom disscussion, student learning and comprehension. Students and faculty take advantage of in-room Internet and projection technologies used to enhance student engagement. Many classes are held in Elings room 130, the lecture hall. With comfortable stadium-style seating, every student has a full view of the professor, white board and projection screen.

Students also have access to the Internet at computer Internet stations in the building.  Comfortable study areas are located on the first floor.

Students may take full advatage of math labs to obtain help with freshman, sophomore, and selected upper level math courses. Professional and peer tutors provide individual instruction for all students. Computers are available for additional practice and combined with alternative instruction to balance the traditional classroom learning environment. 

Go to the Virtual Tour for more about Elings Hall. (Link not mobile friendly)