New science professor on campus: Brittany De Ruyter

Even if you aren’t a science major, there is a new professor on campus worth getting to know: Brittany De Ruyter, Biology/Chemistry Lab PT Instructor.

Even though she gets mistaken for a Dordt student at least once a week, De Ruyter in fact teaches labs for Biology 202 and Chemistry 122. She was hired to serve both the biology and chemistry departments by teaching certain labs and smaller tasks around the departments, including setting up a Facebook page, De Ruyter said.

Before Dordt De Ruyter worked at Sanford Research in Sioux Falls, SD in a lab under the Sanford Project studying Type 1 Diabetes. “I did a lot of animal research with mice. I never thought I would say it, but I miss my mice,” De Ruyter said. There are several new changes on campus that will take some getting used to as well. New faculty with new ideas, new structures on campus, new president…. Also, I’ve been away from Dordt just long enough to not recognize any of the current students anymore! Makes me feel old!

The change in work-life is one of the biggest things De Ruyter noticed. “At Sanford, I had almost unlimited access to research resources and equipment. At Dordt, we’re much more budget-conscience, so I have to be more creative,” De Ruyter said.

While at Sanford, De Ruyter said she learned that “research is a dog-eat-dog business. Principal investigators are protective of their research findings and ideas. I wasn’t allowed to share information even with other labs at Sanford. Everything came down to getting papers published. It was a little unsettling.”

However, coming to Dordt was a positive change in work atmosphere. “The sense of community and feeling of serving a common goal is so refreshing. I feel pressure to do a really good job – especially working for people that were previously my professors,” said De Ruyter.

“I want students to care about the experiments that we do rather than try to finish them as fast as possible, to trust me and be positively influenced by my ideas and understanding of science,” said De Ruyter. “The professors I studied under at Dordt challenged the way I thought about science and ultimately changed the way I understand the world, and I want to influence students in a similar way.”

This influence she received from her own professors is what her current students are beginning to get from her as well. Senior Ashley Huisman, a communication major, said that “the experience (De Ruyter) brings from previously working in a hospital lab offers students insight into the practicality of chemistry as a career.”

Sidney Larson, a sophomore and HHP major, added that she loves how De Ruyter “understands how frustrating lab can be, so it’s nice to have a prof that is understanding.”

Hannah DeVries, Co-Editor

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