Dr. Leah Knapp graduated with a Bachelor of Science in animal science from Rutgers University and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Michigan State University (MSU) 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 and exotic pet medicine, Dr. Knapp joined the Olivet College faculty in 1990. She teaches a wide range of ecology, field biology and medical courses including genetics, ornithology, environmental science, environmental health and toxicology, neuroscience, animal behavior and plant ecology. She also serves as an academic adviser to students interested in ecology, zoology, 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 MSU College of Veterinary Medicine alumni.
Dr. Knapp has mentored numerous students in independent research projects, and has students work with her in research for the Michigan DNR Frog and Toad Survey, and collecting data for the Michigan Herps Atlas and the Michigan Audubon Society bird counts. She has done bird censusing for the Michigan Breeding Bird Atlas and Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. She also presents programs to community and school groups on ecology, native plants and the environment. Dr. Knapp works with students on habitat restoration at the College’s Kirkelldel Biological Preserve, and she is the adviser to the Pre-Vet Club and Earthbound environmental awareness organization. She oversees the care and medical needs of the department’s teaching animals, including small mammals, fish, birds and several species of reptiles, such as a giant sulcata tortoise.
Dr. Knapp says teaching is fulfilling and gives her purpose, especially to be able to improve the lives of others and have fun doing it. If she could do any job in the world, she would be doing what she is doing, teaching and mentoring students at Olivet College.