Staff Profile: Dr. Sandra Cooke, first year professor

By Savannah Simons, Staff Writer/Organization Editor

April 24, 2013

Dr.CookeDr. Sandra Cooke is quickly approaching the end of her first year here at High Point University. Dr. Cooke, an assistant professor of biology, earned her B.S. in zoology and environmental studies at Ohio Wesleyan University then proceeded to earn a Ph.D. in earth and environmental science at Lehigh University.

Prior to coming to HPU, Cooke was a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Duke University. Although Cooke’s research is in biology, specifically aquatic ecology, she was in the Thompson Writing Program teaching science writing.

While at Duke, Cooke’s primary duties were to teach freshman writing seminars. Cooke has been able to design writing seminars on any topic of her choice, whether it be on aquatic invasive species, ocean acidification, or water resource issues.

“One thing I’m happy about here is while I enjoy teaching science writing, I am happy to teach lecture and laboratory classes,” said Cooke.

Besides acclimating to a smaller student body and faculty, Cooke explains how much she has enjoyed the interactions she has had with students, whether they are taking her classes to fulfill their science requirement or students who are very interested in environmental science.

Cooke’s interest in environmental science and biology began early on as her family spent a lot of their time outdoors through camping, hiking and visiting national parks. A trip to Crater Lake in Oregon peaked Cooke’s interest in lake and aquatic ecology.

“I always knew I was interested in biology and understanding how nature works,” said Cooke.

Cooke hopes to continue her graduate research work on the effects of ultraviolet radiation on organisms that live in lakes, essentially looking at how tiny animals get sunburned and how UV radiation can stress certain organisms, affecting the whole food web.