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With all of the opportunities available outdoors, combined with the superb aquatic biology program attending Bemidji State University was an easy decision. 

After having a disappointing freshman year at another college, I had a big decision to make. I needed to find a new university to transfer to. The second I stepped out of my vehicle and approached the BSU campus I knew it was meant to be. It is a smaller campus and I really enjoy that, you are able to connect with many students and faculty. At BSU you are able to feel like you mean something to the university you’re not just a student you’re a member of a community, a community of people that rely on each other to succeed and further their education. As an avid outdoorsman I am able to go fishing on some of the best walleye lakes in the world right outside my backdoor. I can go duck hunting on some of the finest backwaters in the upper Midwest, and I can go camping in a number of the most beautiful hardwoods in Minnesota. The aquatic Biology program here at BSU, is like no other. The teachers are willing to listen and go out of their way to help make your college career go as smooth as possible. The equipment this college has is incredible and the resources you have available to you make the Biology program here mind-boggling. My suggestion to any incoming students is make yourself known on campus become involved and don’t be scared to talk to the faculty when you have questions that need to be answered. Be free and enjoy your time in college, open up a bit, and be kind to others. You’re college experience will be much enhanced with those simple steps.


Nicolai  Tourville
Aquatic Biology
Class of 2012

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Bemidji State University has become my home away from home

Bemidji State University has become my home away from home.  As a transfer student, unsure and nervous to the challenges of college life, it didn’t take more than a quick tour of the campus along with an introduction to the Aquatic Biology degree offered here at BSU to set my heart on this University.  The exceptional beauty of the lake along the whole campus creates not only a breathtaking view, but a wonderful opportunity for faculty and class members to embrace its educational qualities for Aquatic Biology majors.  
Perhaps the most rewarding quality of BSU in my opinion is without a doubt the extensive hands on experience you will gain.  Field work such as freshwater invertebrate collections, secchi disk readings, lake alkalinity measurements, fish seining, wildlife tracking…you name it, Bemidji State will teach you the necessary skills needed to succeed.  Every memory I share with my classmates along with faculty members is a rewarding and joyful experience that I will keep with me for the rest of my life.  If you are interested in an exceptionally fun educational experience, BSU is the place for you.


Mitch Rigelman
Aquatic Biology
Class of 2012

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I never expected such a warm and welcoming learning environment

Everybody gets lucky every now and again, and for me it was with my choice in going to Bemidji State. I stumbled upon a treasure when it came to Bemidji state and their Aquatic Biology department. The professors are amazing; they are well educated and eager to share their knowledge with students who share a passion in their field. Along with knowledgeable, the teachers in the Aquatic Biology department are very helpful, they genuinely want you to succeed and requests for help are never ignored.  Along with a beautiful campus that runs along Lake Bemidji, there are opportunities surrounding the entire city as well. With public lakes, streams and forest everywhere, field labs provide a never ending chance to learn something new while taking you to new, sometimes breathtaking, sites. I never expected such a warm and welcoming learning environment with such hospitable teachers but I definitely found it here at Bemidji State.

Patrick Reardon
Aquatic Biology
Class of 2012

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I know I will have the knowledge and resources needed to go anywhere and do anything I want.

When I first came to BSU I had NO idea what I wanted to do with my life. Biology was my main interest but as with any of the sciences there are so many directions you can go with them.  I don’t know if it was the 8 a.m. labs out on the lake, or the fact that the professors have a genuine passion for what they teach and will do just about anything to help sell the point that made me fall in love with the aquatics program.  I know that when I’m done I will have the knowledge and resources needed to go anywhere and do anything I want. BSU has one of the best faculty families that I have seen and I’m happy to have found them.   They have instilled in me the confidence to know that when my non-biologist friends call me a nerd it is nothing short of a compliment not to mention the tiny satisfaction of knowing that one of my professors would be so proud.  In the last four years, I feel I have found a true home and even rarer the same passion that my professors have.  From trees to bugs, fish to plants and everything in between there is sure to be someone here that shares your interest.

Angela Dirkes
Aquatic Biology
Class of 2011

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I don't believe I could have found a better place to grow intellectually and personally.

I fell in love with BSU after my first semester.  It is an absolutely beautiful campus; I totally remember crunching fall leaves on the lake walk after learning about apoptosis! But, what really impressed me was the outstanding faculty. I feel very fortunate to have stumbled upon such an amazing group of educators: people who invest great amounts of time and energy to teach you! Let’s face it most of us can pick up a book and learn, but true teachers facilitate our understanding of the material—they help us transcend learning. I will never, ever forget kinetic and potential energy from Introductory Bio because Dr. Fulton ran around the room and jumped up on the lecture counter. I will never forget the histological features of osteoclasts because Dr. Openshaw compared them to Pac-Man ghosts. I could go on, and on, and on, but I’m sure you get the point: the professors work very hard to make learning fun and help you understand the material way beyond what you would if someone just talked at you.

Ok, so BSU has a great program, beautiful campus, and excellent educators. This isn’t what makes the faculty and environment outstanding. The professors are REALLY COOL PEOPLE! They invest so much in each student personally and professionally. Having graduated in 2010 I still stay in contact with many of them because they have shaped my life. Currently, I am in my first year of medical school at the University of Minnesota Duluth. I have sent out a lot of emails saying: “Dr. Hamann, guess what? We learned about G-protein signaling today, and I totally remember that from Immunology!” or “Dr. Ketel, I totally understand why Vibrio cholerae is so cool now.” But even cooler still, is that I can still come back and talk about shoes with Dr. Guelda, life in general with Diane Morris, and everyone still acts as advisors.  This outstanding department is a true family; over four years I watched them celebrate together, play pranks on each other, and help each other through rough times. This in itself is very rare. Even rarer still is that they adopt students; they still want to know how I am doing in medical school, what my life is like, and if I need anything. I don’t believe I could have found a better place to grow intellectually and personally. I think I got the best deal out there—an excellent education supported by compassionate and dedicated life-long learners with fantastic skills (not just teaching!)

Krista Stowe
Class of 2010
First Year Medical Student, University of Minnesota-Duluth

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...I couldn't ask for a better place for Aquatic Biology

As a recent transfer student from Central Lakes College in Brainerd, I had some choices to make with what school to go to for Aquatic Biology. As I toured a few schools around the Midwest I couldn’t help to look out the window of BSU onto Lake Bemidji. Boy am I glad that I did, with outstanding teachers and great equipment to use out in the field. The little time that I’ve been attending BSU has been a great experience and I know the knowledge that I am getting will be a great tool with the jobs I’m looking for in the future. With Lake Bemidji a stone toss away and the Mississippi in the back yard, I couldn’t ask for a better place for Aquatic Biology.

Grant Wilkins
Aquatic Biology
Class of 2012

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If you have a love for the outdoors, like I do, then Bemidji State University is the place for you.

I came to Bemidji State as a sophomore transfer student in 2009. My major is Aquatic Biology with and emphasis in Fisheries. The main reason I chose BSU is that it is a very outdoors-oriented university. Bemidji has an unlimited amount of lakes to fish on and abundant wildlife to hunt. I can't say enough about the outdoor recreation opportunities in this area! If you have a love for the outdoors, like I do, then Bemidji State is the place for you.   I have found the Aquatic Biology major to be quite challenging but very rewarding. From my experience, the Biology Department has some of the most passionate profs on campus. They love what they do and they love to see students succeed! To me professors either “make” or “break” a class and so far I have enjoyed every biology class! So if you feel like attending class on a pontoon or wading in the Mississippi, Bemidji State Aquatics is for you.


Matt Sonday
Aquatic Biology
Class of 2012

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It's easy to see we are crazy people with a love of the outdoors, and a want to help and understand more about our natural world!

I will be the first one to admit that Aquatic Biology Majors are not the most normal people out there, but I can tell you for a fact we have one heck of a time! We are those weird people that have 8 am classes every single semester, walk around with nets, waders, and jars full of bugs in our hands, always have our faces in a microscope, wade around in rivers and lakes collecting samples, and walk around campus talking and saying words any other person couldn't even pronounce. Yes, all these things sound very weird and maybe not so appealing to some, but if you have a love for this stuff like we do, you'll fit right in. I mean, what is better than spending your 8am lab out on a pontoon collecting samples, then going straight to your 10am lab to go to a river to collect fresh water invertebrates? I would much rather be out in the field than cramped up in a classroom for 2 hours. Being an aquatic biology major isn't just memorizing a bunch of terms out of a book, you actually get to collect the things you're learning about. That's what makes this major so great. Not only do you get to learn about very interesting things, you'll also meet some of the coolest and most down to earth people. I've actually met most of my best friends through this program. Sometimes it seems as if we're a family instead of just a bunch of kids in the same major. It's easy to see we are crazy people with a love of the outdoors, and a want to help and understand more about our natural world!

Kellee Banta
Aquatic Biology (undergraduate)
Class of 2008


If you are interested in a career that involves working with fish, invertebrates, or aquatic plants, Bemidji State is the school to go to for a degree in aquatic biology.

So, you are thinking about attending Bemidji State University and entering the aquatic biology program? Most likely, one of your biggest questions is, what would it be like to be an aquatic biology major at this school? Let me tell you first hand, it is absolutely a blast and I'm going to try to prove to you how exciting this particular major at this university actually is. First of all, you are probably looking at this major because you are like me. You either love fishing or just being out on a lake. I have noticed this similarity in every aquatic biology major that I have met in my tenure here at BSU. If you are interested in a career that involves working with fish, invertebrates, or aquatic plants, Bemidji State is the school to go to for a degree in aquatic biology.

The aquatic biology faculty members are some of the friendliest faculty you will encounter as you complete your college courses. As an aquatic biology major you will get to know one or more of these faculty members quite well. There is Dr. Cloutman who will instruct you in the courses of Limnology (study of fresh water), Ichthyology (study of fishes), and Fisheries Management, along with others. Dr. Guelda teaches the second half of Limnology along with Freshwater Invertebrates, Animal Behavior and Marine Biology for those of you who might be interested in working with saltwater environments someday. Finally, there is Dr. Koch, the wetland ecologist for the biology department, who teaches the courses of Aquatic Plants, Wetlands Ecology and the biological perspective of People and the Environment, to name a few.

I know, I know, you're wondering what life is like as an aquatic biology major at BSU. The aquatic biology program is different from other major programs in the amount of time that is spent out in the field. My family and friends are always amazed when I tell them about how often I go out on the lake or up to Hobson Forest for lab. I think that is one of the main aspects that set this program apart from every other program here at BSU. The Aquatic Biology program at Bemidji State is different than other majors. The faculty are friendly, the students all have similar interests, and you spend a lot of time out in the field. If you are thinking about pursuing a career in Aquatic Biology, I would suggest taking a serious look at Bemidji State University.

Chris Lafean
Aquatic Biology (undergraduate)
Class of 2008


...there is never a dull moment...

From the very first exam to the end of the year aquatic biology party, there is never a dull moment. What other department takes you on a pontoon for lab or to a small river where you can pick through the mud. Not to mention the Hobson Forest is just miles away. Although 8am class may seem like the pits, you are all in it together. You get to know your classmates, along with your professors. And when the year is done, you are excited for the next one to begin. Oh and remember the average ice off day for Lake Bemidji is April 26; you might win a bungee cord!

Madeline Pletta
Aquatic Biology (undergraduate)
Class of 2008


I have enjoyed everything about my aquatic biology experience so far and I can't wait to see what's to come.

There is no better place to study aquatic biology then at BSU. With Lake Bemidji and Mississippi River right out your back door you get use the equipment and techniques that you learn about in the classroom in the field. The faculty is first rate and is always there to help you in anyway that they can. They have a passion for the topics that they're teaching, which caries down to the students. I have enjoyed everything about my aquatic biology experience so far and I can't wait to see what's to come.

Zachary Neusinger
Aquatic Biology (undergraduate)
Class of 2008


With a strong passion for the outdoors, it [Bemidji State University] was an easy decision.

I transferred to Bemidji State University in the spring of 2007. I knew I wanted to go to school for Aquatic Biology, but where was uncertain. Considering that I wanted an Aquatic Biology degree, Minnesota transfer schools were limited. It was either the University of Minnesota or Bemidji State University. With a strong passion for the outdoors, it was an easy decision. The professors are very approachable and are more than willing to assist in every way possible. Not only is BSU a great place to learn, meet people with same interests, and have fun, but it has become a home away from home.

Tyler Kneisel
Aquatic Biology (undergraduate)
Class of 2008


Throughout my career here at BSU I have learned how rewarding this campus has been for me and my goals as a student.

As an Aquatic biology major I have experienced many great benefits. First off the faculty here is by far the best if have seen. As a transfer student, originally I had professors that were pressured to teach more classes then they were qualified for. That is part of the reason I came here to BSU. Here the professors are more than qualified in the fields they teach. The faculty here are very friendly and are always open to hear questions and to help with guidance. Professors here make it their goal to know all of their students by name. This friendliness makes for a great learning environment in the classroom and essentially everyone ends up knowing each other on a personal basis. Plus this campus defiantly carries out the "Minnesota nice" mentality. Throughout my career here at BSU I have learned how rewarding this campus has been for me and my goals as a student. The courses here are taught in a way that makes learning fun and also challenging. In many classes the labs are not only done in the classroom, but out in the field. This hands on learning fits well with most that come to BSU looking to major in Aquatic Biology. I have been involved in many class field trips on the Mississippi River and many nearby streams and lakes. Where time is spent interacting with not only the environment collecting bugs, data, and plants, for classification and identification, but interacting with fellow colleagues and professors. Yeah, this may sound kinda nerdy, but how many majors allow you to do your homework while going on fishing and hunting trips? This interaction between academia and fieldwork has given me a deep understanding of what my role is as a biologist. Overall I have to say the Aquatic Bio faculty here will make sure you get a healthy education, well suited for your future career.

Christian Levitt
Aquatic Biology (undergraduate)
Class of 2008


I would not trade my educational experience from BSU for anything.

You could not ask for a better environment in which to earn your degree in aquatic biology. The professors are truly energetic and excited about what they are teaching. That overflows to you as the student and makes the experience that much more enjoyable. Beyond the professors, you have access to a 6,000 acre lab right from campus! With the lake being that close, you can go out and enjoy what it has to offer between classes. Furthermore, the end of the year aquatic biology party is a sight to behold. I would not trade my educational experience from BSU for anything.

Lucas Borgstrom
Aquatic Biology (undergraduate)
Class of 2006


The program is very hands on and extremely fun, the people are great and I could always count on ALL the Profs to be very helpful, knowledgeable, willing, and extremely fun.

I think this program is what made my experience here at BSU memorable, I met my best friends, had wonderful times, and the best profs I could hope for. The program is very hands on and extremely fun, the people are great and I could always count on ALL the Profs to be very helpful, knowledgeable, willing, and extremely fun. I can only say that about the Biology and Aquatic Biology departments, so that means something. Take advantage of all the extra activities and experiences these departments offer, the experiences are invaluable. Thanks to all the Profs that made my experience fantastic.

Tim Girod
Aquatic Biology (undergraduate)
Class of 2005


...what separates BSU's aquatic biology program from other schools is the professors commitment to making students a priority...

BSU's aquatic biology program prepares students for experiences beyond the classroom — for further study (graduate school) or direct work experience. The key to the program is what a person makes of it — the program can take a person any direction they are willing to go. I think what separates BSU's aquatic biology program from other schools is the professors commitment to making students a priority.

Kelli Schmeling
Aquatic Biology (undergraduate)
Class of 2004