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Faculty Feature of the Week: Sarah Mordan-McCombs, biology professor

Sarah Mordan-McCombs

Mordan-McCombs, professor of biology, enjoys sharing her love of scientific research, as well as playing the cello and clarinet.

Sarah Mordan-McCombs, biology professor at Franklin College, enjoys sharing her love of scientific research with her students.

“I think the push that our department has made to get more students involved in undergraduate research is a really important one to prepare students for the next steps in their careers,” she said.

Last October, Mordan-McCombs offered a presentation at the Indiana College Biology Teachers Association about freshman advising and optimizing student success. In addition, she also recently conducted a workshop at the Indiana Academy of Science about doing undergraduate research on a budget.

Mordan-McCombs earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from DePauw University and a doctorate degree in cancer biology from the University of Notre Dame.

She completed a fellowship at the State University of New York at Albany studying the effects of antioxidants on yeast cells. She also has published work pertaining to research about the nuclear hormone receptor for vitamin D and the role it plays in the progression of prostate cancer.

Mordan-McCombs said she delights in seeing the growth her students make during their time at Franklin College.

“I would say the thing that gives me the most joy in my professional career is watching my students get the internships and graduate school acceptances they have been working so hard for during the last four years,” she said.

She continued, “Whenever a student comes along who is genuinely excited about learning, it’s invigorating as a professor, because it reminds me why I was so excited to be a teacher in the first place.”

Mordan-McCombs said she first became interested in science through interactions with her parents.

“Both of my parents are scientists and I spent many afternoons and weekends in the lab ‘helping’ them,” she said. “I’m not sure it was ever in me to do anything else.”

She also acknowledged the help of many of her past teachers, including her kindergarten teacher, with whom she is still in contact.

“I think that having so many wonderful role models, including both of my parents who are teachers and scientists, showed me that I loved teaching and loved interacting with students,” she said.

Mordan-McCombs is a member of the Indiana Academy of Sciences, the Indiana College Biology Teachers Association, the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the National Association of Biology Teachers.

Outside of her field, Mordan-McCombs plays the cello and the clarinet. She participates in the Franklin Community Band and the Hendricks Symphony Orchestra.

Mordan-McCombs is available to discuss the science department and what a Franklin College liberal arts degree as a science major or minor can do for you. Schedule a visit by contacting the Office of Admissions at (800) 852-0232.

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