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Justin P. Hoshaw

Mathematics and Sciences
Biology / Microbiology
Instructor of Biology

Why should I be interested in biology?

Biology has to do with every aspect of our lives and if you have a good understanding of biology you can easily improve numerous aspects of your life by finding answers to those little curiosities you come up with on a daily basis.  A range of questions, from why are plants green to why is my diet not working, can be answered using information from biology and science.  In my classes I tie in as many of these aspects as possible.  There is a vast amount of biological information out there and I do my best to focus and highlight information that can be used in daily life or helps students understand daily processes.

A good portion of my background has focused on studying genetics.  Information about genes is floating around in the media so much these days that students need to have an understanding of what a gene is and what it can do in order to better understand a number of different topics in science.  Not only do my classes look at how DNA functions but we also relate it to topics currently in the media.

Another big aspect of biology and science in general, is the “Green” movement.  As our society learns more and more about the world around us, we are continuing to understand just how important sustainability is for our lives and the lives of our children.  There are some issues that most people have heard about and then there are other issues that only a few people know about.  I want to bring everything out into the open so that people are talking about their choices, their impact, and being a force for change.

Years ago science and writing were two different disciplines with very little overlap.  Today, it is not only useful for English majors to understand some of the basics of biology, but it is also increasingly helpful for biology majors to understand some of the basics of good writing.  Being able to express your ideas, communicate your results, and evaluate data require clear writing if you want to lead.

To my students: 

My principle goal is to have my students leave the semester with a working understanding of major concepts in biology and be able to effectively express their ideas and opinions to others.

BIO120:  Principles of Biology I

This course includes an introduction to science, general chemistry, organic chemistry, cell structures and their functions, cellular activities (photosynthesis, respiration and reproduction), classical and molecular genetics, and evolution. Selected topics discussed in lecture are expanded upon and explored in the laboratory.  Emphasis in the laboratory is on cellular functions and processes.  NOTE: This course is the first semester of a two-semester sequence of majors’ biology lecture and lab.  This course is designed for Biology majors and/or students who will be pursuing health-related careers such as medicine, nursing, veterinary, dentistry, pharmacy, etc.  Some physical education majors may need to take this course.  If you will be transferring, it is strongly recommended that you take Principles of Biology II (BIO122) at Waubonsee to ensure that your biology credits will be accepted by your transferring school.

A student who successfully completes this course will be prepared to take BIO122 and/or upper-level Biology courses. 

  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental concepts of molecular and cellular biology.
  • Students will demonstrate fundamental laboratory skills utilized in biology.
  • Students will utilize and explain scientific processes for investigating and answering questions in biology.
  • Students will demonstrate proper scientific communication skills.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of sustainability and how it relates to concepts in biology.

BIO250: Microbiology

This course is meant to familiarize you with basic microbiological concepts.  The study of microbiology refers to the study of organisms that are too small to be seen with the naked eye.  Though small, these organisms are vital components and contributors to our world and should not be underestimated.  Microorganisms play important roles in basic and medical research and are of great concern in the healthcare field in terms of controlling infections and epidemics.  In this class, we will focus on bacteria but also cover other organisms such as viruses, prions, algae, protozoa and fungi. 

Although there is no prerequisite for this course, at the 200-level, this is a rigorous and fast-paced class.  This course is a requirement for admission to WCC’s Nursing Program as well as many transfer health professions programs.  Microbiology is a recommended major elective for pre-med, pre-dent, pre-vet, and pre-pharmacy as well as biology majors, but you should check with your transfer school to be sure it will be accepted.  If you are not entering a science or health-professions major, you should not be in this class.

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to: 

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the classification, cellular anatomy and physiology, metabolism, genetics, growth characteristics, and ecology of microorganisms.
  • Explain the role of evolution in affecting the ever-changing relationship between microorganisms, humans, and the environment.
  • Describe the current and historical role of microorganisms in human health and disease, and discuss selected aspects of pathology, immunity, epidemiology, and pharmacology as they relate to infectious disease.
  • Describe selected infectious diseases in terms of clinical, pathological, ecological, and epidemiological factors.
  • Discuss microbiology as a field of study grounded in the process of science.
  • Use standard microbiology laboratory techniques to safely handle, culture, identify, and observe microorganisms.

Research Resources

Articles from the web that everyone should know about…

Financial sense…

Science News Links

NBC Science News

Groups on Facebook

  • Science News Magazine 
  • Current Biology
  • Biology 

MSN – Science and Technology

Study tools/links

I earned my undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin - Madison where I worked in several different labs gaining valuable experience and many different laboratory skills. I majored in biology, genetics, and agricultural journalism. I then went on to pursue graduate work at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities where I earned my Masters of Science in molecular, cellular, developmental biology, and genetics. After graduating, I went to work at Chromatin, Inc. in Chicago where I researched crop genetics for many different species. My passion for science and teaching has brought me to Waubonsee Community College, where I hope to use my knowledge and experience to give students the same appreciation and fascination with science that I have.  I thoroughly enjoy teaching this class because it allows me to share not only my passion for biology, microbiology, and sustainability, but also my knowledge of a variety of useful laboratory techniques.

To be successful in my courses, I expect students to have read the assigned material before coming to class and be ready to participate in classroom discussions.  My goal for class is that everyone leaves with the ability to comfortably discuss biology or microbiology topics covered in class with others.  I want to emphasize the major concepts in my courses, but there will still be smaller pieces of information that you will be responsible for understanding.

I look forward to having a fun and interactive discussion during every class. I fully believe that the more you contribute the more you will walk away with, so ask your questions and share your stories (if relevant).  This way we will not limit our learning to just the information in the chapter, but start to explore more of what's around us.


Sugar Grove Campus
630.466.7900 ext.5739

Office Hours:

Mon 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Tues 11:00 am – 12:15 pm

Wed 3:15 pm – 4:30 pm

Thurs 11:00 am – 12:15 pm

*Also available by appointment.

None during the summer