Interview with Eileen Gregory

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Oral History

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Eileen Gregory received her BS from Michigan State University, an MS & PhD in microbiology from The University of Washington, where her research focused on freshwater bacteria. As a young professor in Biology, Eileen Gregory came to Rollins College in 1979, one of two women in the department’s faculty of five, when the sciences were dominated by men. She never expected to be at Rollins all her professional career: “I came to Rollins with the idea that I would stay here for three years and move on,” Gregory says. “But I love my colleagues; I love my students; and for a school this size, it’s got an amazing amount of scientific equipment. You can do research here. Most people fall in love with Rollins.”

Earning her tenure in four years, Gregory has specialized in microbiology, bacteria, viruses, and immunology. But she equally enjoys teaching introductory biology courses to non-biology majors, and inspiring female students to pursue their interests and career in sciences. She has collaborated with the Rollins education department to help improve science education in elementary and high schools. In 1988, she and Linda DeTure, then professor of education at Rollins, received grants from the Florida Department of Education to instruct elementary and pre-service teachers in teaching science. Gregory later started a program at Fern Creek Elementary School in Orlando that involved Rollins students working with schoolchildren on science projects.

The College has recognized Gregory’s success in the classroom. She is a three-time recipient of the Arthur Vining Davis Fellow Award. She has multiple awards of recognition from the Off-campus student Association, the SGA, and the Office of Res Life. She was named Florida Scientist of the Month and was twice recognized by Orange County Public Schools for her volunteer work with Fern Creek Elementary. In 2004, she became the first recipient of the Cornell Distinguished Teaching Award. President Rita Bornstein created faculty awards in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service.

Gregory has been a model of service to the College. She has served on the Faculty Evaluation Committee three times, including being Chair. She has also been Chair of the Biology Department and the Division of Science and Math. She also served as Director of the Christian A. Johnson Institute for Effective Teaching. In 1987, Eileen was funded by the City of Winter Park to investigate fecal bacteria pollution in Lake Virginia.

Besides teaching, research and services, Gregory enjoys travels around the world. She believes in global citizenship, allowing people to learn and appreciate other cultures. While at Rollins she was awarded three Fulbright grants, allowing her to teach molecular biology at medical schools in Jordan in 1985 and Syria in 1993 and to participate in a women’s studies seminar in India in 1988. Gregory retired from Rollins faculty in 2014, and has officially concluded her 38-year teaching career in 2017.

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