Faculty Spotlight: Sister Susan Cronin, keeper of creatures
If you’ve been to the second floor of Loyola, you’ve noticed the impressive display of birds, beasts, reptiles and rodents that make up IU’s very own zoo. A dedicated team of Lab Aides, headed by Deb Tischler and Sister Susan Cronin of the IHM sisters, take care of these creatures. Sister Susan was gracious enough to take some time out of her schedule to talk to the Immaculatan.
A lover of biology from a very young age, Sr. Susan has always liked living things. A few examples would be her attempts at raising tadpoles under her bed as a child, as well as breeding fruit flies in her garage.
Sr. Susan has taught math and science to every grade from kindergarten to college with the exception of first grade, claiming that she would have been unable to deal with children of that age. In her thirty years of teaching, she has taught in Virginia, upstate Pennsylvania and Philadelphia.
She came to Immaculata by invitation of the IHMs. She teaches biology to non-majors, a job she adores because it challenges her to teach in such a way that it appeals to people’s interests. She dubbed this approach, “Bio for the real-world idea.”
“Everyone should know about science because of the world we live in,” Sr. Susan said to clarify. “Many current issues in the world today are actually related to biology.”
In her twelfth year at Immaculata, she brought in some biology to the Biology wing. With only two geckos, Sr. Susan started the zoo, which is now considered a landmark in Immaculata’s Loyola building.
Thanks to donated animals and Craigslist, the two-gecko show has expanded greatly to include twenty lizards and mammals as well as twelve freshwater and saltwater fish tanks holding a variety of aquatic life. Sr. Susan loves the admiration the zoo receives, but admits, “Work-study people make it happen.”
Sr. Susan welcomes all IU students and campus visitors to come visit the zoo. Students are invited to play with the three rabbits as “rabbit therapy,” and small donations are always welcome.
Come see this vibrant display of life in the Biology wing!