Dr. Simina Ventila, a biology instructor at Eastern New Mexico University, wants to "get more students interested in and excited about biology. I want to make the general education biology class more relevant to the day-to-day life.
"I like that ENMU is a small university, it's easier to get to know the faculty and to get to know the students," she explained. "I enjoy getting students interested in biology and making them realize how much of our daily life involves biology.
"I like to teach basic biology and see 'aha'-moments with students," said the instructor, who researched biodiesel production from microalgae at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Since joining the Greyhound community, she has had the "chance to expand" her experience by teaching whole seminar classes. Her previous teaching experiences focused on individual mentoring for graduate students and lab classes.
Dr. Ventila, who grew up in Stockholm, Sweden, received her master's degree in molecular biology in 2005 and her Ph.D. in plant physiology in 2009 from Stockholm University.
She taught lab classes and mentored graduate students in plant physiology at Stockholm University as part of her doctorate program.
"I've also mentored cadets at the United States Air Force Academy in their independent study projects (research)," she added.
Dr. Ventila has "always been interested in science because I want to know how things work. In high school, I found biology and chemistry to be easier to understand than math and physics. I particularly enjoyed biochemistry, so I decided to study molecular biology."
"How I ended up in plant physiology was pure chance, but my Ph.D. thesis was about functional genomics in a certain species of cyanobacteria."
Dr. Ventila previously worked at the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, doing cystic fibrosis research.
She grew up in Bucharest, Romania, but her parents emigrated to Sweden when she was a child. Her mother is a clinical psychologist, her father is a musician and her sister is a computer programmer.
She said her husband is an important role model in her life because he taught her to "never give up. He lives by a strong moral code and is very tenacious."
Dr. Ventila, who enjoys gardening, growing orchids and cooking, has two children, a three-year-old and a one-year-old.