Torn between pursuing history or biology, Susan D. Zimmerman ultimately chose the latter at the encouragement of her freshman college biology teacher. She loved being able to learn about how life works and felt inspired to continue in the field. She proceeded to become a certified secondary teacher in the state of California in 1985 and earned a Master of Science in cellular and molecular biology from the University of California, Riverside, in 1986. That year, Ms. Zimmerman obtained a position as an instructor at Williston State College, and she hasn’t looked back since. She remains with the school even today, as a full professor of biology and astronomy.
Ms. Zimmerman considers one of her greatest achievements to be the material that she has written for students. Even though these lab manuals, workbooks, and lecture notes aren’t published or sold, she is proud of how much they have helped her students. Her favorite part of the career is seeing “little light bulbs” go off in their heads and knowing that she prepared them for the future.
In her community, Ms. Zimmerman is active as a Sunday school teacher at the Trinity Lutheran Church in North Dakota and as a member of the National Association of Biology Teachers, the National Science Teachers Association, the Association of College and Biology Educators, The Planetary Society, and ACUBE. Additionally, she connects with her community through presentations on ethnobotany and archeoastronomy. She hopes to be remembered as a positive person with lots of energy.
Looking to the future, Ms. Zimmerman intends to continue taking classes from the University of North Dakota and to write a grant and get a planetarium on her college campus. Her achievements thus far have been featured in the 27th edition of Who’s Who of American Women.