Department of Biology
Area of specialty: molecular cell biology
Education: Ph.D. Baylor College of Medicine
M.A. University of Southern Mississippi
B.A. Mississippi College
"Anybody with a name like Sarah Lea has to know how to make cakes," says Dr. Sarah Lea McGuire, but your assumptions about her can stop there. The biology professor is a dedicated rock-climber and loves rappelling; she is a scoutmaster for a Boy Scout troop and plays the trombone and hand bells; she loves stargazing and bird-watching. In short, she's got a lot going on, and that's just outside of work.
Dr. McGuire came to Millsaps in the fall of 1995. "The only kinds of jobs I applied for were at small, liberal arts colleges because it's the kind of atmosphere I really like," she says. So she and her husband and son moved from Michigan back to Mississippi, Dr. McGuire's home state. Now in her twelfth year at Millsaps, what Dr. McGuire loves about the College is the "supportive atmosphere - with the faculty, students and the administration, there's a lot of support here to do what you want to do."
Her favorite class to teach is Molecular Cell Biology: "It's the part of biology that I really love," she says, "and I like bringing students to a level where they really understand complex things." Dr. McGuire's work with the cell doesn't stop at the classroom door, either; her main research is in the molecular biology of the cell cycle and what controls cell division. Student research assistants get the opportunity to work with Dr. McGuire every day, learning as she learns, discovering as she discovers. Though rare at most liberal arts colleges not connected with major research universities, this type of research opportunity is common at Millsaps.
"I knew I wanted to be in academia my freshman year of college," McGuire says, "and the lucky thing is that I love it."