Squirrels and Spiritual Life: SAU’s New Biology Professor Katie Weakland
By Grace Archer
Spring Arbor University’s (SAU) newest associate professor of biology Cathy (Katie) Weakland has arrived, bringing with her an enthusiasm for both spiritual life and the campus squirrels.
While serving as a professor at Bethel College in Indiana, Weakland was involved in projects like landscape ecology, studying owls and fox squirrels. She often spent her class periods trapping and tagging the squirrels to find the density of their species on campus. She also spent time incorporating discipleship into her lessons and participating spiritually in the campus.
“I was involved in the spiritual atmosphere and I loved going to chapel,” Weakland said. “In fact, I went to every single one.”
After teaching at Bethel College for ten years, she decided to take a break from teaching and follow God’s call for her life in Tajikistan, where she lived for three and a half years. Eventually, she found and joined a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), researching and proposing projects to raise funds for the group.
“I always wanted to live overseas and learn a new culture and language,” Weakland said.
Although Weakland spent a great deal of time overseas and away from home, she had always taken an interest in Michigan. In her time at Bethel College, she often took camping trips up to Michigan on the weekends as a getaway.
One thing that attracted Weakland to the task of teaching at SAU was the spirituality on campus.
“I appreciate a campus that has chapel,” Weakland said. “I love that I can talk about Jesus in class and do devotions all while incorporating science and research.”
Weakland is excited to teach Environmental Science. In it, she hopes to expand on views of evolution and creationism and other diverse views on that topic. She wants to look at what Scripture says about evolution as well as ideas outside of Christianity and compare the two.
“I see God’s fingerprints all over creation and I encourage students to take a step back (from) what they’re observing and stand in awe of it,” Weakland said. “Creation is how God reveals himself to us.”
Stats and Facts:
According to her: The owls she studied at Bethel sounded like “women screaming.” Sounds spooky.
Not her first time in the state: While at Bethel, she took weekend camping trips up to Michigan as a getaway.
A goal as a teacher: to challenge students as image bearers and stewards of creation and their responsibilities as followers of Christ.