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Kathleen Marrs, Biology, Faculty

Science educator welcomes next chapter of career

Kathleen A. Marrs Ph.D. | Associate Professor | Biology Department A contagious passion for science

From a young age, Kathy Marrs could not contain her enthusiasm for science—often getting her shoes muddy while catching and studying insects or making friends with garter snakes.

Not much has changed since then. As Marrs enters her 17th year with the School of Science, her excitement about science and the natural world is just as vibrant and contagious as ever.

Rachel (Rehlander) Macias, a 2011 IUPUI biology graduate and 2015 IU School of Medicine graduate is grateful for the ways Marrs influenced her as a student and now as an M.D. 

“Dr. Marrs was a powerful mentor to me throughout my four years at IUPUI beginning with Biology K101 and then through the Biology Club,” Macias said. “As a new resident physician, I have now stepped into a teaching role.  I can only hope that I will teach medical students half as effectively and strive to display the same amount of passion and love for surgery in the way that Dr. Marrs did with biology for me.”

Keeping the promise of higher education

Marrs shares her passion for science with all her students and thrives on the connections she makes with them.

“I just love to help students feel like they’re able to succeed in science,” she said.” I love meeting the new class of freshman every year and being a part of their lives from that point on.”

Ruben Naoye, a senior biology major, took K101 with Marrs his freshman year and considers her as an influential part of his life long after his time in her class ended.

 “I was just one of the students Dr. Marrs had in class but she always made time for me one-on-one,” Naoye said. “Science can be kind of intimidating; you sometimes sit in a lecture hall that feels as big as a coliseum but she always finds a way to help. She still checks in on me each semester to talk.”

Impacting students as associate dean

In addition to teaching, Marrs spent the last six years as associate dean for academic affairs in the School of Science. In this position she worked with a team of educators and administrators to fund and support initiatives that improved student retention and graduation rates, with results often exceeding expectations.

Marrs credits the National Science Foundation Central Indiana Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Talent Expansion grant and hard work of the School of Science staff and faculty for the accomplishments the school had during her time as associate dean.

“There are so many good people in the School,” Marrs shared. “My aim was to help everyone I worked with have the support and resources they needed to develop the initiatives that were necessary for student success.”

Beginning in Fall 2015 Marrs stepped down from the role as associate dean. She says she enjoyed her time in the position but is excited to move back into role within the school that allows her more time for teaching. Jane Williams, associate professor of psychology, was chosen to serve the School as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Strategic Initiatives.