Department of Natural Sciences

Welcome to the Department of Natural Sciences

The Department of Natural Sciences strives to help students develop a strong science background and critical thinking skills through meaningful experiences in and out of the classroom. The department aims to prepare students for productive professional careers or for entry into graduate or professional schools. Balancing an interdisciplinary science foundation, the department maintains allegiance to Christian values, including faith, stewardship, ethics, and social responsibility.

GWU’s Department of Natural Sciences offers two majors: biology and chemistry. Graduates from these programs receive comprehensive instruction in their discipline within the context of a Christian environment.

Bulldog Profiles

Students and alumni of the Department of Natural Sciences share perspectives on the culture of learning and achievement at Gardner-Webb. Click on a profile below to learn more about their stories.

Benjamin Humphrey ’15 environmental science major, biology minor

Benjamin Humphrey ’15Before graduating from Gardner-Webb University, Benjamin Humphrey ’15 was hired on the spot during an interview with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR). After starting the job, he asked his supervisor why she knew he was the right choice. “Her response was, ‘When I asked you about the research you conducted, you were able to clearly explain it on the spot without hesitation. You sounded excited to talk about it,’” Humphrey recalled.

Although the job was temporary, it opened a door and provided experience for Humphrey’s current job as a malacologist with Research, Environmental, Industrial Consultants Inc. (REIC) in Beckley, W.Va. A malacologist studies mollusks, which are invertebrates like snails and mussels. At Gardner-Webb, Humphrey studied aquatic snails in the Broad River and discovered that one species of snail, Elimia, had different shapes of shells. “Working with Dr. David Campbell at GWU on my independent research equipped me with the tools, skills, and experience I needed,” Humphrey assessed. “He was instrumental in jumpstarting my career, and I will always be grateful.”

Read Benjamin Humphrey's full story.


Caitlin Silver Porter (’14) major, biology

Caitlin Silver Porter (’14) majored in biology at Gardner-Webb University as a stepping stone to medical school. She minored in mission studies, because of her heart for ministry. A course that explored issues in science and religion helped to connect her two interests.

“Because I split my time between Withrow (science building) and Lindsay (religious studies), I was sort of a college anomaly,” she observed. “But this class showed me that these two disciplines can actually mesh very well and both can be a huge part of who I am.”

All of her classes increased her knowledge and skills, but her professors also challenged her to evaluate her beliefs. “Apart from the great education and preparation, I attribute Gardner-Webb and its faculty and staff with growing me in my faith and solidifying a firm foundation in Christ,” Porter assessed. “I was challenged in my beliefs, encouraged in my calling, and united with some of my closest friends who continue to walk with me through life.”

Read Caitlin Silver Porter's full story.


Tyler Hemingway ’18 chemistry major

Tyler Hemingway ’18Tyler Hemingway ’18 wasn’t familiar with Gardner-Webb University when he came for a visit as a high school senior. A resident of Cape Coral, Fla., Hemingway was looking for a college with an exceptional science department and research opportunities.

“I first heard of Gardner-Webb at a college fair held in Fort Myers, Fla.,” Hemingway recalled. “I decided to attend after I toured the campus. I really loved the friendly and caring atmosphere displayed at Gardner-Webb. The location was also very appealing to me. When I toured the science labs at Gardner-Webb, I was impressed by the facilities and believed that my educational desires would be met here. I believe that God led me to Gardner-Webb.”

He likes the small class sizes, because the professors know his name and his interests. When his chemistry professor, Dr. Stefka Eddins, found out about a research opportunity in France, she gave him the application and proofed his submission. She and other professors also wrote letters of recommendation. He won the scholarship and spent two months doing research at the University in Lyon, France. The program was co-sponsored by the University of New Orleans.

Read Tyler Hemingway's full story.