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Lyon College to offer new Animal Behavior minor

Above: Alison Koons, a pre-veterinary major from Jonesboro, is an undergraduate research student in the Animal Behavior and Cognition Lab at Lyon College. / Image provided by Lyon College

Lyon College will offer undergraduate students a new Animal Behavior minor starting fall 2024.

According to a release from Lyon, the interdisciplinary major combines new and existing courses in biology and psychology. The move is in line with the college’s liberal arts mission.
The release noted that creating an Animal Behavior minor is another step towards making Lyon College a leading institution in animal-related academic and professional opportunities.

There are multiple Animal Science programs in Arkansas, but there are no Animal Behavior programs in the state and only a handful in the country. Animal Science programs emphasize husbandry procedures such as nutrition, milk and meat production, breeding, and management.

“At Lyon College, we aim to offer a distinct but complementary perspective on animal-related professions,” said Dr. Britt Florkiewicz, a Lyon College psychology professor involved in creating the Animal Behavior minor. “Our new minor offers a comprehensive program where students can learn about various topics in animal behavior, cognition, and ecology. Students will receive theoretical and practical training through required courses such as Principles of Biology I and II and Animal Behavior I and II. Upon completion of required coursework, students can specialize in various animal-related topics (and species) through elective courses in Biology and Psychology. Elective courses such as Evolution, Zoology, Parasitology and Comparative Physiology, for example, will give students essential knowledge to fully comprehend animals’ behavior.”

The college said pursuing a minor in Animal Behavior can be highly advantageous for students interested in animal-related careers such as veterinarian, conservation, and research.

“One of the advantages of this minor is its emphasis on interdisciplinary study, providing students with extensive and comprehensive training in animal behavior. After completing our courses, students will have the skills needed to pursue careers as animal trainers, wildlife rehabilitators, zoo technicians and more,” said Dr. Florkiewicz.

The Animal Behavior minor will also offer valuable research opportunities for undergraduate students.

“In courses such as Primate Perspectives on Behavior and the Brain, students conduct their own independent research projects,” said Dr. Florkiewicz. “Some students have even presented their work from this class at research conferences and submitted their final projects for publication in scientific, peer-reviewed journals. For those who wish to pursue graduate education, demonstrating research excellence will help them stand out as applicants.”

“Students also get to see how the different fields are complementing each other and essential to be able to get the full picture. For example, in Comparative Physiology, in which students design and conduct a research experiment during the course of the semester, combined knowledge from several courses like physiology, zoology, ecology, and animal behavior is necessary to be able to understand animal responses to environmental changes,” said Dr. Maryline Jones, a Lyon College biology professor involved in creating the program.

Individuals interested in the Animal Behavior minor at Lyon College should contact the Admissions office at

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