Biology

Understanding the nature, structure and processes of life itself is an incredible undertaking. By choosing to study biology at Oakton, you will have the opportunity to investigate the mysteries and processes of the living world.

This exciting field can lead you to a number of engaging and rewarding professions. Biology majors often work in medicine, zoology, biology, botany, education, environmental studies and more. Students in Oakton Biology classes also go into allied health career programs such as physical therapy assistant, medical lab assistant, nursing and health information technology.

As a biology major at Oakton, you're also choosing to get your start in biology with a close-knit and attentive faculty with decades of professional experience. Technologically advanced laboratories at both the Des Plaines and Skokie campuses further enrich the learning experience at Oakton.

You can gain experience outside of the classroom as well. Students who qualify often participate in an undergraduate research program to develop experience. We also offer opportunities to work as a lab assistant, take field study classes or an environmental sciences concentration, and participate in student groups focuses on topics like global health or sustainability.

Courses can lead to an associate degree in science or fulfill the requirements for such health career programs as health information technology, medical laboratory technology, nursing and physical therapist assistant.

Pre-majors

Oakton offers an Associate in Science (A.S.) for students who wish to pursue a bachelor of science at a four-year college or university.  We also offer a pre-major pathway for students interested in transferring to a school for a bachelor of arts degree in biology: Biology Pre-major for Associate in Arts.

Once you have selected your transfer school, consult the Office of Advising, Transitions and Student Success, as well as the transfer institution's catalog. This will help you select courses that will meet both Oakton's and your transfer school's requirements.

We recommend our Biology Pre-major for Associate in Science, which provides the smoothest transfer experience. It is designed for students who have not decided upon a specific four-year college or university.

Learn More

This Pre-major is for students who are considering completing a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Biology after transferring to a four-year institution. It is designed for students who have not decided upon a specific four-year college or university.

Learn More

Job Outlook

The classes you will take at Oakton Community College are largely the same courses you would complete in the first two years at a four-year school, but by completing them at here, you will save a significant amount of money on the cost of tuition and may be eligible for transfer student scholarships.

Potential Careers

Biology Teacher
Biotechnologist
Biomedical Engineer
Conservation Scientist
Environmental Scientist
Health Educator
Hydrologist
Medical/Technical Writer
Microbiologist
Nursing
Occupational Therapy
Pharmaceutical Sales
Physician
Physician Assistant
Physical Therapy
Wildlife Biologist
Zoologist

Meet Your Faculty

Nicole Perry, Chair
Co-Chair, Biology
B.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ph. D. Northwestern University 
nperry@oakton.edu
847.376.7086
Office: Room B229, Skokie

Kanchana Mendes, Coordinator, A&P
Co-Chair, Biology
M.M.S. Birla Institute of Technology & Science, India
M.S. Birla Institute of Technology & Science, India
Ph.D. Oklahoma State University
kmendes@oakton.edu
847.376.7184
Office: Room 111, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Paul Gulezian
Professor of Biology
B.A. Dartmouth College
Ph.D. University of Illinois at Chicago
pgulezia@oakton.edu
847.396.7120
Office: Room 301, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Nizar Handzic
Professor of Biology 
B.S. Northeastern Illinois University
Ph.D. Michigan State University
nhandzic@oakton.edu
847.376.7225
Office: Room 307, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Khursheed Ichhaporia
Associate Professor of Biology
M.B.A. University of Rochester
M.S. University of Southern Mississippi
kichhapo@oakton.edu
847.376.7197
Office: Room 304, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Stephanie Levi Blumer
Associate Professor of Biology
B.A. Kenyon College
Ph.D. University of Chicago
sblumer@oakton.edu
847.376.7424
Office: Room 303, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Harper Mazock
Assistant Professor of Biology
B.A. Ball State University
Ph.D. University of Illinois at Chicago
hmazock@oakton.edu
847.376.7045
Office: Room 305, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Kalpa Patel
Professor of Biology
B.S. Nagpur University, India
M.S. Nagpur University, India
Ph.D. Rush University, Biochemistry 
kppatel@oakton.edu
847.376.7114
Office: Room 301, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Kritika Pershad
Associate Professor of Biology 
B.S. Osmania University, India
M.S. Osmania University, India
PhD University of Illinois at Chicago
kpershad@oakton.edu
847.376.7074
Office: Room 306, Lee Center, Des Plaines

William Strond
Professor of Biology 
B.A. Wilmington College
M.A. University of Nebraska at Omaha 
bstrond@oakton.edu
847.376.7133
Office: Room 303, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Kristi Zenchak
Professor of Biology
B.S. North Central College
M.S., Loyola University - Chicago
zenchak@oakton.edu
847.635.1615
Office: Room 304, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Suzanne Ziegenhorn
Associate Professor of Biology 
B.S. Bradley University
M.S. Bradley University
Ph.D. Northwestern University
sziegenh@oakton.edu
847.376.7361
Office: Room 306, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Meet our part time faculty:

David Arieti
Lecturer
B.A. University of Denver
M.S. Long Island University
darieti@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

William Avgerin
Lecturer
B.S. Quincy College
M.S. Loyola University
wavgerin@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
847.635.1910
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Arti Ayachit
Lecturer
M.S. Institute of Science, Nugpur
aayachit@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Linnea Boyev
Lecturer
MD Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
lboyev@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Andres Campos
Lecturer
B.S. Universidad Nacional Autonoma deMexico
M.S. Universidad Nacional Autonoma deMexico
Ph.D. Universidad Nacional Autonoma deMexico
acampos@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Jonathan Chong
Lecturer
Ph.D. North Texas State University
jchong@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

May Coulson
Lecturer
M.S. Northeastern Illinois University
mcoulson@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Offices: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Urbi Ghosh
Lecturer
M.B.A. Colorado State University
Ph.D. Colorado State University
ughosh@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Avis Gibons
Lecturer
B.A. Northwestern University
M.S. University of California, Irvine
agibons@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Inna Goldenberg
Lecturer
M.A. DePaul University
igoldenb@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Jason Gomez
Lecturer
Ph.D. Avalon Univ School of Medicine
jagomez@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Paul Gross
Lecturer
Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
pgross@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Michelle Groves
Lecturer
M.A. Roosevelt Univ
mgroves@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Morfenia Joseph
Lecturer
B.S. University of Illinois at Chicago
M.S. Northeastern Illinois University
mjoseph@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Ali Khan
Lecturer
M.B.B.S. Doctor of Medicine
M. S. Ramaiah Medical College, Bangalore, India
akhan@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Imran Khan
Lecturer
Ph.D., M.D.
Bachelor of Medicine
Bachelor of Surgery
ikhan@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Tess Lesniak
Lecturer
B.S. DePaul University
M.S. Northeastern Illinois University
tlesniak@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Miriam Lythberg
Lecturer
B.A. Augustana College
M.S. University of Bridgeport
mlythber@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Dennis Malek
Lecturer
M.S. University of Illinois at Chicago
dmalek@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Ragy Mikhaeel
Lecturer
M.P.S. Cornell University
rmikhaee@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Jacob Nieva
Lecturer
Ph.D. University of Santo Tomas
jnieva@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Jude Nwosu
Lecturer
B.S. Washington State University
B.S. University of Illinois at Chicago
M.S. University of Montana
Ph.D. Doctor of Medicine - Universidad Eugenio Maria De Hostos
jnwosu@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Mary Obernesser
Lecturer
B.S. Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN
M.S. DePaul University
mobernes@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Juan Ojeda
Lecturer
Ph.D. Medicine - Instituto Superior de Ciencias Medicas de La Habana
jojeda@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Elaine Phillips
Lecturer
M.S. Northeastern Illinois University
phillips@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Nazia Sadat
Lecturer
B.S. Benedictine University
M.S. Benedictine University
nsadat@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Krzysztof Slowikowski
Lecturer
Ph.D. Medical Academy - Bialystok, Poland
kslowiko@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Jack Taha
Lecturer
Ph.D. Medicine - Medical Univ Bialystok, Poland
jtaha@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

James Thorson
Lecturer
B.S. University of Illinois at Chicago
M.S. University of Illinois at Chicago
jthorson@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

Samantha Wisniewski
Lecturer
Ph.D. National University of Health Sciences
swisniew@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 100, Lee Center, Des Plaines

What's Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton Community College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.

Contact Us

Contact Us: biologychair@oakton.edu  or 847.376.7086

For help in the Des Plaines campus contact
Kanchana Mendes, Co-Chair, Biology
847.376.7184

For help in the Skokie Campus contact
Nicole Perry, Co-Chair, Biology
847.376.7687