Fall 2023:

BIO 211, Foundations of Genetics

Courses Taught in Prior Semesters

BIO 112, Foundations of Cell Biology

BIO 211, Foundations of Genetics

BIO 211H, Foundations of Genetics Honors Laboratory

BIO 324, Cell Biology

BIO 325, Biotechnology

BIO 326, Genetics

BIO 546, Molecular Genetics Laboratory

BIO 629, Topics in Eukaryotic Molecular Genetics


Student hours (also called office hours) are dedicated times that I am available for meeting with students. The students who make use of these student hours are usually enrolled in a course I am teaching, or else are in need of academic advising.

How to schedule:

Please use this link to schedule an appointment with me in person or online. If you have any questions, please email me. I look forward to speaking with you!


Dr. Karp is an academic advisor for Biology majors with a Biomedical, Cellular, Molecular concentration. She is assigned to students considering medical school, whose last names begin with K-O, or to students interested in genetics or cell biology. If you have different career plans or other interests you would be best served by seeing an advisor that specializes in that area. Click here for a list of Biology faculty advisors and their expertise.

Please use this link to schedule an appointment. Feel free to email Dr. Karp with any questions.

What is Biology faculty academic advising?

A major purpose of Biology faculty academic advising is to help students map out the courses they need for their major or minor. For example, your Biology advisor can ensure that you are taking all the prerequisites in the correct order, and that you are on track to graduate. A meeting with a Biology faculty advisor is required to declare your major when you reach 56 credit hours, and is highly recommended before then, and anytime you have questions along the way.

How should I prepare?

  1. Read the academic bulletin, focusing on the section that describes the Biology majors.
  2. If you have an academic plan, have it available at your appointment. If not that is something we will make together. Other academic advisors may help you with a draft academic plan, but your Biology faculty advisor may need to change it. Only the Biology advisors know the details of the Biology courses and majors.

When should I see a Biology academic advisor and when should I see another academic advisor?

Biology academic advisors are faculty within the Biology department, and therefore they are experts in the Biology curriculum. If you are planning your major or have questions about your major, your Biology faculty advisor is the one to see. Biology faculty can also provide advice about careers.

Your other assigned academic advisor is a full-time advisor with expertise in advising. They will know the ins and outs of the UPs, degree requirements, and other general aspects of CMU. If you have declared an interest in the health professions, including pre-medicine, you will be assigned an advisor with expertise in that area.


Letters of recommendation are used by graduate schools, professional schools, employers, scholarships, and others as an important tool when deciding which of the many highly qualified applicants to accept into their programs. This page will clarify what is required for me to write the best possible recommendation for you.

Letters are used by programs to learn things about an applicant that may not be obvious from the other aspects of their application. The type of letter that will help you get accepted is one that describes details based on the letter-writer's personal experience with you. These details must demonstrate the qualities the program is looking for in an applicant, to provide confidence that if accepted, you will thrive in their program. In addition to the letter itself, many programs ask letter-writers to rate the applicant on various criteria (e.g., intellectual ability, communication skills, interpersonal skills, etc..). These ratings ask in which percentile the student ranks compared to their peers. The letter-writer must be able to truthfully provide strong rankings across nearly all categories.

Given this information, the careful selection of letter-writers is vital for the success of your application. You should choose people who have interacted with you in relevant ways and can provide a strong letter with detailed information about how you demonstrate the qualities sought by the program in question. It is also advisable to ask potential recommenders whether they will be able to provide a strong letter for you.

If you think that I am in a good position to write you a letter, please follow the instructions below. Since creating a strong letter takes time and effort, it is in your best interest to make your letter writer's job as easy as possible by providing sufficient and timely information.


  1. Please email me a request to be recommended at least one month in advance of the earliest deadline
  2. After I have agreed to write the letter, please complete the online form available at the link below. This form must be completed at least 3 weeks prior to the earliest deadline.

For your convenience, the information requested in the online form is shown here, in order to allow you time to gather the requested information.

Basic information

  1. What name would you like me to use in my letter (so that I don't use Sue for Suzanne or vice-versa)?
  2. What pronouns should I use to refer to you in my letter?
  3. For CMU students, provide your CMU email address
  4. For undergraduates, what is your year, major, and CMU GPA?
  5. How long have I known you (years and months)?
  6. If I taught you in a class, list the name of the class, the semester you took it, and your final grade.
  7. Who else is writing letters for you? (So I can provide information which may not otherwise be covered.)

The meat of the letter (This is the most important category)

  1. What qualities are the people reading this letter looking for? For example, intellectual ability, communication skills, teamwork, problem solving, etc.. You may need to do some research to figure this out.
  2. Provide examples that I can personally attest to that demonstrate the qualities you listed in the previous question. (If there are no examples, you should ask someone else to write the letter). This part is strongest if some examples are unique to you, rather than something the whole class did.
  3. Optional: Is there anything else you would like me to address or that you think would help me write a stronger letter?


  1. What programs are you applying for?
  2. What is the deadline for this letter? (The earliest deadline is most important)
  3. How will I submit the letter?
  4. If there are any other specific instructions to letter-writers, please copy those here.

Background Information

This optional information may give me a more complete picture of you as an applicant. However, note that information in my letter that is not based on my direct observations is given much less weight by the letter reader. In addition, this information may already be in some of the materials you will attach- see below. In that case there is no need to repeat it.

  1. What are your long term goals? How will this position/award help you attain that goal?
  2. How would you describe yourself? What are your strengths? Important accomplishments?
  3. If relevant, what are your extracurricular interests and passions?

Materials to send

  1. You will be asked to email me any materials that will help me complete my letter (e.g., your cv or resume). Materials you will submit with your application are especially helpful.
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