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Meet Our Professors: Helen Boswell

Dr. Helen Boswell has been teaching general biology since her sophomore year in college as help to a professor. This started her on her own path to teaching as a professor and sharing her knowledge and the life applications of biology with her students. As an associate professor of biology, Dr. Boswell teaches general courses, sharing the complexities of biology and how all living forms are connected. 



Associate Professor of Biology

Department of Biology

How long have you been working at SUU?
17 years

Where did you grow up?
Upstate New York

Where did you attend college and what did you study?
-Bachelor’s in Biological Studies at The University of Buffalo
-Doctorate in Biological Studies at The University of Buffalo

Where did you work before coming to SUU/do you work somewhere else in this field?
Prior to this coming to SUU, I had been working as a graduate research and teaching assistant.

When and how did you decide what you wanted your career to be?
When I was a sophomore biology major, one of my favorite professors asked me if I might be interested in helping out in his introductory Biology class for majors. This professor was a distinguished teaching professor, I had loved his class, and I absolutely wanted to work with him! During my junior and senior years, I was paired with a graduate student to teach the labs for this class, and I loved it so much that I knew I wanted to go into teaching at the college level.

What do you feel is the most interesting thing about your field?
Biology is fascinating to me because it’s more than just knowing facts and information -- it’s a way of looking at the world around you. We are constantly discovering new things every day about life, and to me, this continual discovery is probably the most powerful and interesting thing about this field.

Favorite thing to teach about your subject?
I’m all about the connections and “so what” aspect of biology. I try to teach students how to apply what they learn in my classes to the world around them or their lives. We learn about starfish and sea urchins and why it’s applicable to stem cell and cancer research. We learn about coevolution and can apply it to the study of diseases and medicine. We learn how to ask questions and seek answers. Being able to use what you learn is key.

Why do you love your field?
What’s there not to love about the study of life? It’s fun to ask questions and have a way to answer them scientifically. I also love the complexities of biology, from DNA to cells to how interconnected all living forms are.

What has been your proudest moment working at SUU?
I think the proudest moments have been when I see my students graduate every year and then go on to do incredible things.

What is one thing you wish to tell every student in your class? (about college or life?)
That anyone has the power to be a great student. I had terrible study habits as an undergraduate student, and sometimes I struggled, and sometimes I made bad choices. But I also kept working hard, and that is the key to reaching your goals. Also, I’d tell them that they should choose a path that makes them happy.

What do you love about SUU?
The best thing about being at SUU by far, are the people here. I love working with my students, my colleagues in our department and across campus are wonderful, and we have a supportive administration and staff.


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