Mary Jane Carmichael

Mary Jane Carmichael

Assistant Professor

Mary Jane Carmichael Mary Jane Carmichael|Mary Jane Carmichael

I am an assistant professor of biology and environmental studies at Hollins University. As a microbial ecologist turned biogeochemist, I am interested in the direct and indirect links between above- and below-ground processes. I believe that understanding the connectivity between these two systems plays a critical role in our ability to predict the response of ecosystems to global climate change.

My dissertation work focused on questions that lay at the intersection of the fields of biogeochemistry, microbial ecology, and physiological ecology. My research at Hollins will continue to address unanswered questions that stem from my dissertation work, and I also plan to launch a new line of investigation that seeks to understand the linkage between rhizosphere and phyllosphere microbial communities and physiological plant ecology. ​

During my years in the science classroom, I’ve taught students ranging from seventh graders experiencing their first real laboratory investigations to college majors equipping themselves for graduate and professional pursuits. My teaching philosophy revolves around four principles: (1) a supportive learning environment, (2) high standards for myself and my students, (3) emphasizing fundamentals while also modeling an interdisciplinary approach to biological and environmental sciences, and (4) cultivating in my students a sense of wonder in the natural world. In lecture and in lab, students in my Hollins classroom take a multi-dimensional approach to the fields of biology and earth science, with a goal of helping them to become inspired, ask questions, and be equipped with the tools to find the answers. ​

News: Assistant Professor Carmichael was the principal investigator for an initiative in which Hollins was awarded nearly $1 million from the National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program (NSF S-STEM) to educate the next generation of diverse, highly skilled leaders in the STEM workforce. The NSF grant will be used primarily to fully cover unmet financial need for high-achieving, academically talented scholars, providing each with a full cost of attendance scholarship to Hollins.

News: For her dedication to higher education and student success, Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Sciences Mary Jane Carmichael has received the 2022 H. Hiter Harris III Rising Star Award from the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.

Curriculum Vitae PDF