#FacultyFriday: Meet Bryan Ness

Dr. Bryan Ness, professor of biology, has taught at PUC since 1989. His research interests include plant systematics and genetics. He advises in the areas of biology, natural science, veterinary medicine, medical radiography, and occupational therapy. He enjoys spending time outdoors, doing a variety of activities such as birding, fishing, tide pooling, hiking, and backpacking. He also has an extensive menagerie, for which is he most known for. At any given time you may see him with a snake around his arm. Without further ado, let’s spend a few minutes getting to know Dr. Ness!

Name: Bryan Ness
Title: Professor of Biology
Email: bness@puc.edu
Faculty since: 1989

Classes taught: Foundations of Biology (BIOL 112), Introduction to Research Methods (BIOL 222), Scientific Discoveries (GSCI 205), Genetics (BIOL 354), Issues on Origins (BIOL 355), Biotechnology I (BIOT 345), Biotechnology II (BIOT 445), Biology Seminar (BIOL 397)

Education: B.S. in biology, Walla Walla University; M.S. in biology, Walla Walla University; Ph.D. in botany, Washington State University

What sparked your interest in biology?

I spent a lot of time outdoors as a child and loved finding animals of all kinds, from insects to snakes. Later I became fascinated with knowing the names of all the plants I would see and learned how to identify them.

What made you want to teach?

I wanted to share what I loved about the living world and share it with others who also come from a Christian background so they could see how nature tells us about God.

What is your favorite area/topic in biology, and why?

Genetics has become my favorite area because it helps make sense of living things, both how they should be classified and why they look and behave the way they do. I especially enjoy the insights genetics gives us about human variation and behavior.

Where did you grow up?

The Seattle area in western Washington State.

What are some of your hobbies?

Reading, photography, reading, music, reading, hiking, reading, and travel. 

Okay, it sounds like you really enjoy reading! Who is one of your favorite authors, and why?

J.R. R. Tolkien, because he is not only an excellent writer, but he makes his stories come alive and they are steeped in Christian symbolism and allegory.

Where is your favorite spot on campus?

The library stacks.

What’s something people may be surprised to learn about you?

That I almost became an apprentice to a harpsichord maker.

Do you have any pets?

A few. Two cats, two rats, a guinea pig, about 15 snakes, three turtles, four lizards, and about 25 tarantulas.

Five Academic Departments at PUC You Should Know

There are over 70 different majors at PUC, which offers students plenty of options to choose from. Some of our more popular and unique departments include nursing & health sciences, biology, visual arts, aviation and education, which is a nice mix making PUC a true liberal arts college. Read on for a few fast facts about these departments!

Nursing & Health Sciences

The department of nursing and health sciences is home to the emergency services program, as well as our AS and BSN nursing degrees, which are some of the most popular at PUC.

  • We talked with PUC’s pre-nursing advisor to cover some frequently asked questions about the program. Curious if a BSN is necessary in today’s workforce? Give this blog post a read.
  • PUC offers a two year degree in health sciences for students planning on continuing on to Loma Linda University for programs such as pre-clinical laboratory science, pre-dental hygiene, pre-radiation science, and several others.

Biology

Interested in gaining some real world research experience? Look no further than the department of biology, where students conduct experiments for research projects and internships on an almost daily basis. Browse through these blog posts about student research opportunities at PUC.

  • PUC biology students have uniquely high acceptance rates to top-notch medical and dental schools like Loma Linda University.
  • There’s more than one way and one place to learn. The department teaches classes on the Mendocino Coast at the college’s Albion Retreat & Learning Center, and students have traveled as far away as Brazil for tropical biology courses.

Visual Arts

For a behind the scenes look at one of PUC’s most exciting departments, check out the department of visual arts’ Instagram.

  • PUC film students have completed internships at DreamWorks Animation, Sofia and Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope film studio, Pixar and HBO.
  • With San Francisco just an hour a 20 minutes away, visual arts students often visit museums in the city, including the SF Museum of Modern Art, the de Young Museum, & the Palace of Legion of Honor.

Aviation

The sky’s the limit in PUC’s department of aviation!

  • PUC is one of only two liberal arts colleges in California to offer a degree in aviation.
  • There are many different career paths aviation students can pursue, including aerial photography, airline pilot, air traffic controller, fire fighting, and more. Read one PUC graduate’s story of how an aviation degree took him to new heights in this blog post.

Education

PUC’s $3,000 renewable Adventist Mission Scholarship is available to students actively pursuing a teaching credential for elementary or secondary education.

  • The department of education assists graduates with job placement through events like the Education Days banquet and interviews, where prospective employers from the local conference and throughout the Pacific Union meet with students.
  • Learn how you can tailor an education degree to fit your future career aspirations by reading about this recent graduate’s experience in this blog post.

For more information about all of PUC’s degree programs and how they can help you reach your educational and professional goals, we invite you to talk with an enrollment counselor in the enrollment services office. Email enroll@puc.edu or call (800) 862-7080, option 2 today.