Cindy Church received her PhD in yeast genetics and molecular biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She began her academic career as a visiting assistant professor at Oberlin College, and is currently a professor in the Department of Biology at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She has taught at all undergraduate levels, from introductory biology classes to upper division parasitology and evolution courses. In addition, she teaches an intensive summer marine biology course in Monterey Bay, California and leads a study abroad course to the Galápagos Islands and Ecuadorian Amazon. Dr. Church maintains that teaching and mentoring students is the most rewarding part of university life.
Dr. Church taught Marine Biology, Parasitology, and Animal Diversity for the 100th SAS voyage (Fall 2009). On that voyage she led a service-learning trip to Wamase, Ashanti, Ghana, gave a presentation to the Graduate Zoology Association of American University in Madurai, India, and averted a shipboard panic due to a false bedbug report—just another case of bug misidentification. Cindy welcomes any questions/concerns/testimonials about parasites from students and colleagues throughout the voyage.
Dr. Church’s research in parasitology is both field and laboratory based. She described a new species of fish tapeworm in the spiral valve of the round stingray from the Gulf of California in Sonora, Mexico. Having the opportunity to conduct field research at a marine biological station is what originally piqued her interest in marine and tropical field biology.
Professor Church believes that Semester at Sea benefits most from its diverse group of students and colleagues, each bringing a different perspective. She is honored to be part of the Fall 2022 voyage and looks forward to teaching Oceanography and The World of Parasites in a global context.