Leah R. Knapp, D.V.M.
Director, Biology Program; Professor of Biology
Dr. Leah Knapp graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science from Rutgers University and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She has done post-doctoral course work in ecology and environmental toxicology at MSU, and did epidemiology research while in veterinary school.
A former veterinary practitioner in small animal, wildlife and exotic pet medicine, Prof. Knapp joined the Olivet College faculty in 1990. She teaches a wide range of ecology, field biology and medical courses including genetics, pathophysiology, ornithology, parasitology, environmental science, microbiology, neuroscience, animal behavior and ecosystem ecology, and also serves as an academic advisor to students interested in ecology, environmental science and human and veterinary medicine. Prior to coming to Olivet, she taught in the medical technology and equine science programs at Lansing Community College. She has won many teaching, service and mentoring awards, and was named Young Achiever of the Year for alumni of the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine.
In the spring and summer, Prof. Knapp does research for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Frog and Toad Survey, and also collects data for the Michigan Herp Atlas, the National Butterfly Survey and the Michigan Audubon Society seasonal bird counts. She has done bird census work for the Michigan Breeding Bird Atlas, the Nature Conservancy and Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. She has traveled around the United States observing a variety of ecosystems and their inhabitants. She also presents programs to community, gardening and school groups on ecology, native plant gardening and the environment.
Prof. Knapp served on the board of trustees for the Michigan Nature Association for five years, and currently serves on the advisory board for the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute for Environmental Education, and as an advisor for the Michigan Audubon Society’s Baker Sanctuary.
Prof. Knapp oversees the Russell and Ruth Mawby Michigan Native Plant Garden on campus as well as doing habitat restoration work with students at the College’s Kirkelldel Biological Preserve, which includes removal of invasive non-native plants and prescribed burning. She has served as the advisor to Earthbound, Olivet’s student environmental awareness organization since 1991 and was co-founder of Alpha Pi Upsilon medical sciences honor society. She is the primary caretaker of the department’s teaching animals, including small mammals, fish and several species of reptiles such as our giant sulcata tortoise.