In the Spotlight: Dr. Linda Van Blerkom

by Haley Scheuer

If she is not teaching in the Hall of Sciences or Brother’s College, Dr. Linda Van Blerkom can be found on the second floor of Faulkner House. This home away from home is where she can be found studying human and disease evolution, medical anthropology and special sections of public health.

Where are you originally from?

I was born in Minnesota, but I call Loveland, Colorado, home.

Where did you go to college?

I attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and received a BA in Chemistry in 1969, my MA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1973, and my PhD in Anthropology in 1984.

How did you end up at Drew?

I wanted to be closer to New York City area following my husband’s career.

What is the biggest change you’ve noticed since you came here?

I have been here at Drew for over 20 years and the technological advancements provided to students is very impressive, but it does have its downsides because students are devoting their time to so many different things. It also interesting to see that within this major [Anthropology] there has been a steady increase of student interest.

What courses do you teach this semester?

I am currently teaching Evolutionary Medicine, which is the study of disease and human evolution. Human Evolution, which is a big hit with non-science majors, Medical Humanities which is an anthropology based class and special sections of Public Health.

What do you like most about Drew?

I really enjoy how beautiful the campus is; living at Copper Beech I live right in of the front arboretum and there’s nothing but nature, something that reminds me of my life in Colorado. Being at Drew has also introduced me to many great colleagues and allows me to have the opportunity to teach classes freely.

Why should students at least take one class in Biology?

There are so many major problems in the world and we’re causing so much harm, a lot of us forget that we evolved from animals. We’re not a special being that is entitled to control. So many aspects of health and behavior have developed through evolution and it’s important to understand how we’ve come to be. I also think a person becomes more aware by understanding our evolutionary past.

Where is your office and when are the best times to see you?

Faulkner House Room 6

Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 1:15 – 4, Tuesday and Thursday 1:15-3

What is one thing you want students to know about you?

I’m very passionate about what I do, if I could give any advice to students here at Drew it would be to try to learn as much as you can about many different things. Don’t just settle specializing, it’s a good thing to read widely and be as knowledgeable as you can be.

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