Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta)

Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) is a society for students dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research. The Hillsdale College Iota Psi chapter is one of more than 430 chapters throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. To become a member, a student must have an overall grade-point average of 3.000, a science grade-point average of 2.500, and have received 12 credits within the sciences. Members have the opportunity to attend and present research at regional and national TriBeta conferences, participate in group trips and activities, and publish in the BBB biannual journal, BIOS.


Samantha Ward, President

Hi! My name is Sami Ward and I am a senior biology major and a politics minor. I am currently serving as president after serving as social chair last year. This year I will be completing my senior biology thesis with the help of Dr. Houghton and the LAUREATES program. My thesis will focus on the population size and age range of Large Mouth Bass in Rockwell Lake. The purpose of my study is to give management recommendations on the fishing capabilities of Large Mouth Bass in the lake. Outside of Tri-Beta, I am also the captain of the Hillsdale swim and dive team, a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority, a member of Sigma Zeta, and a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. I am currently applying to medical schools and will hopefully start medical school next year. After that, I hope to eventually work in the Navy as a primary care physician.

Amber Fausneaucht, Vice President

Hi! My name is Amber Fausneaucht and I am a senior biology major with a minor in chemistry.  I am currently serving as the vice president of Tri-Beta.  For my thesis, I will be studying the antioxidant capabilities of Protandim using a variety of assays.  I am a member of the Hillsdale College softball team and I love volunteering at Mary Randall Preschool.  Presently, I am applying to medical school with the intent to be a pediatric oncologist.

Staci Spears, Secretary

I am a senior biology major and Spanish minor at Hillsdale College. Currently I am the secretary for Tri-Beta, responsible for email correspondence, volunteer hours, and roadside cleanup. For my research, I will be working with Dr. VanZant on creating an evolutionary phylogeny of marine snails from the Florida Keys. After Hillsdale, I plan to attend vet school and become an aquatic animal veterinarian. When I’m not busy with schoolwork, I am volunteering at the Hillsdale Humane Society, working in the conservation and genetics lab, or riding for the Hillsdale College equestrian team.

Elaine Clines, Treasurer

Hi! My name is Elaine Clines and I'm a senior biology major. I love the Biology Department here at Hillsdale, and I'm thrilled to be able to serve as Tri-Beta's treasurer! Through the LAUREATES program, I will be conducting my research on identifying the protein motif by which alpha-amylase binds to oral bacteria. When I'm not studying, I love playing my violin and harp, volunteering at Mary Randall Preschool, and being involved with my sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. I plan to attend dental school after graduation, with the hope of becoming an orthodontist.

Ashley Logan, Social Chairman

Hi! I'm Ashley Logan, a senior biology major from East Lansing, Michigan, and I'm so honored to be serving as Tri-Beta's social chair. In addition to my research (examining the effects of temperature on P. guttifer), and my involvement with Tri-Beta, I'm also Pi Beta Phi's vice president of philanthropy, the head of student staff in the CCA Office, the director of the Habitat for Humanity GOAL program, and a member of Sigma Delta Pi, the national Spanish honorary. In my (very limited) free time, I love skiing, sailing, crafting, baking, and playing with my golden retriever, Jack. After graduation, I plan on applying to medical school with the ultimate goal of practicing as a primary care physician.

Caleb Liebing, Historian

My name is Caleb Liebing. I am a senior biology major at Hillsdale. The Biology Department is fantastic here and has helped develop my understanding and love of the sciences.  I serve as Tri-Beta’s historian, taking care of the organization’s website. I am running genetic analysis of fish populations at Hillsdale’s Biological Station for my senior research.  Outside of biology, I spend time playing basketball and other IM sports and I am actively involved in Hillsdale Christian Fellowship’s leadership teams.  After college, I hope to attend PA school.

Dr. Jeffrey VanZant, Faculty Advisor

Publications & Student Research

Hillsdale College students/alumni are listed in bold.

Students of Dr. Houghton:

  • Proshek, B.T., and D.C. Houghton. 2012. Complex mtDNA variation and species delimitations in the Phyciodes tharos species group (Nymphalidae: Melitaeinae): a second look in Michigan and Ohio. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 66: 41-49.
  • Houghton, D.C., E.A. Berry, A. Gilchrist, J. Thompson, and M.A. Nussbaum. 2011. Biological changes along the continuum of an agricultural stream: influence of a small terrestrial preserve and the use of adult caddisflies in biomonitoring. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 26: 381-397.
  • Houghton, D.C., S.E. Rogers, K. Hocquard, and C.I. Wolfe. 2011. Case-building behavior, persistence, and emergence success of Pycnopsyche guttifer (Walker) (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae) in laboratory and in situ stream environments: potential trade-offs of material preference. Great Lake Entomologist 44: 103-116.
  • Houghton, D.C., C.M. Brandin, and K.A. Brakel. 2011. Analysis of the caddisflies (Trichoptera) of the Manistee River watershed, Michigan. Great Lakes Entomologist 44: 1-16.
  • Houghton, D.C., C. Lux, and M. Spahr. 2009. Demonstration of sex pheromones in Molanna uniophila, Platycentropus radiatus, Pycnopsyche indiana, and P. subfasciata (Trichoptera: Limnephilidae, Molannidae), with an assessment of interspecific attraction in four sympatric Pycnopsyche species. Great Lakes Entomologist 42: 72-79.

Students of Dr. Miller:

  • Berlin, K.N., L.M. Cameron, M. Gatt, and R.R. Miller, Jr. 2010. Reduced de novo synthesis of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate and reduced taurine levels in ethanol-treated chick brains. Comparative Biochemical Physiology 152C: 353-359.
  • Barnett, R.K., S.L. Booms, T. Gura, M. Gushrowski, and R.R. Miller, Jr. 2009. Exogenous folate ameliorated ethanol-induced brain hyperhomocysteinemia and exogenous ethanol reduced taurine levels in chick embryos. Comparative Biochemical Physiology 150C: 107-112.
  • Cole, N.W., K.R. Weaver, B.N. Walcher, Z.F. Adams, and R.R. Miller Jr. 2008. Hyperglycemia-induced membrane lipid peroxidation and elevated homocysteine levels are poorly attenuated by exogenous folate in embryonic chick brains. Comparative Biochemical Physiology 150B: 338-343.
  • Walcher, B.N., and R.R. Miller, Jr. 2008. Ethanol-induced increased endogenous homocysteine levels and decreased ratios of SAM/SAH are only partially attenuated by exogenous glycine in developing chick brains. Comparative Biochemical Physiology 147C: 11-16.
  • Miller, R.R., Jr., C.M. Hay, T.R. Striegnitz, L.E. Honsey, C.E. Coykendall, and K.D. Blacquiere. 2006. Exogenous glycine partially attenuates homocysteine-induced apoptosis and membrane peroxidation in chick embryos. Comparative Biochemical Physiology 144C: 25-33.
  • Miller, R.R., Jr., A.L. Burum, M.E. Leithart, and J.D. Hart. 2005. Hyperglycemia-induced changes in hepatic membrane fatty acid composition correlate with increased Caspase-3 activities and reduced chick embryo viability. Comparative Biochemical Physiology 141B: 323-330.
  • Miller, R.R., Jr., K.E. Waterhouse, and W. Farstad. 2005. Comparative aspects of sperm fatty acid composition in silver (Vulpes vulpes) and blue (Alopex lagopus) foxes, and their relationship to cell cryopreservation. Cryobiology 51: 66-75.
  • Miller, R.R., Jr., C.J. Sheffer, C.L. Cornett, R. McClean, C. MacCallum, and S.D. Johnston. 2004. Sperm membrane fatty acid composition in the Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus), Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), and Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus) and its relationship to cold shock injury and cryopreservation success. Cryobiology 49: 137-148.
  • Miller, R.R., Jr., C.M. Leanza, E.E. Phillips, and K.D. Blacquiere. 2003. Homocysteine-induced changes in brain membrane composition correlate with increased brain caspase-3 activities and reduced chick embryo viability, Comparative Biochemical Physiology 136B: 521-532.
  • Miller, RR., Jr., B.M. Olson, N. Rorick, A.L. Wittingen, and M. Bullock. 2003. Embryonic exposure to exogenous a- and g-tocopherol partially attenuates ethanol-induced changes in brain morphology and brain membrane fatty acid composition. Nutritional Neuroscience 6: 201-212.
  • Miller, R.R., Jr, D.J. Coughlin, E.S. Fraser-Thomson, E.C. Noe, A. Palenick, and E.B. Voorhees. 2003. Ethanol-and Fe+2-induced membrane lipid peroxidation is not additive in developing chick brains. Comparative Biochemical Physiology 134C: 267-279.
  • Miller, R.R., Jr., C.D. Heckel, W.J. Koss, S.J. Montague, and A.L. Greenman. 2001 Ethanol- and nicotine-induced changes in membrane fatty acid composition in embryonic and neonatal chick brains. Comparative Biochemical Physiology 130C: 163-178.
  • Miller, R.R., Jr., J.R. Slathar, and M.L. Luvisotto. 2000. a-tocopherol and g-tocopherol attenuate ethanol-induced changes in membrane fatty acid composition in embryonic chick brains. Teratology 62: 26-35.
  • Swain, J.E. and R.R. Miller, Jr. 2000. A post-cryogenic comparison of membrane fatty acids in elephant spermatozoa. Zoological Biology. 19: 461-473.

TriBeta District Conventions

TriBeta Membership

Regular Membership Requirements 

The Hillsdale College Iota Psi chapter is one of more than 430 chapters throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Qualifications for regular membership include a biology major with 12 hours of biology credit above the 100 level, and a 3.000 grade-point average or above in all biology courses.  All full members are required to attend each chapter meeting. Each member must participate in one or more BBB-related volunteer activities for a total of at least three hours. In the past, these activities have included participating in recycling, plant sales, biostation clean-ups, and stewardship activities.

Associate Membership Requirements

Associate membership includes students with a declared biology major and a grade-point average of 2.500-3.000 in all biology courses, students with 12 hours of biology credit and a grade-point average of 3.000 or above in all biology courses who have not declared a major, and students with a biology minor and a grade-point average of 2.500 or above in all biology courses.  Associate members are encouraged to join full members at each meeting, but are not required to attend.

Membership Benefits 

Being a member of TriBeta comes with many benefits. Members may participate in any of 15 regional conventions or the biennial national conventions. At the heart of every district and national meeting are student research papers presented in the style of graduate meetings. Awards are given for outstanding individual and chapter accomplishment. Students who present papers at the national convention are eligible for research stipends. TriBeta also helps defray travel costs by offering travel grants to chapters attending the convention. Students also receive and have the opportunity to publish in the society journal, BIOS.