Arts & Sciences


Jessica Howells


Hi! I am Jessica Howells, and I have been teaching biology at Western Piedmont Community College for about 5 years. My love of biology started in middle school when I learned about ecology. My family lived in Atlanta at the time, and then moved to Charlotte. I had chickens in the suburbs of Atlanta and really wanted goats. I went to college at N.C. State University and studied wildlife biology, then worked in toxicology and teratology research at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and in water quality as an environmental specialist for the NC Department of Natural Resources. I returned to school at Appalachian State University and earned both a M.A. in Higher Education and a M.S. in Biology. My thesis research was in plant/insect interactions, studying chemicals induced in plants by insect herbivores, and I published my research in the journal Environmental Entomology.


As much as I love research, I also love teaching, particularly at community colleges. I am passionate about equal educational opportunities in the sciences. I have taught at Appalachian State University, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Wilkes Community College, and now I am teaching where I have lived for many years, in beautiful Burke County at Western Piedmont Community College, and I am so glad to be here.


As a believer in the power of education, I continue to learn by being active in the National Association of Biology Teachers, the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education, the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative, the National Science Foundation, and the NC Community College Association of Biology Instructors. I also believe in the power of community, and I have volunteered as a girl scout leader and a 4-H leader and in our local library. I enjoy gardening, reading, hiking, and music and dance, and love to spend time with family and friends.