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Department of Natural Sciences
The Department of Natural Sciences includes the Biological, Ecological, and Animal sciences. Each of these disciplines is continually growing as finer instrumentation shows us more about ourselves and the world in which we live. The scientific study of the organisms that God created, including plants, animals, and humans and the interrelationships among these provide abundant opportunities for education and research.
Our goal is to teach these disciplines of science in such a way that students will learn that science is not merely a collection of facts to be memorized, but rather that they would learn science as a process by which we understand the world around us. In this way, we strive to equip students to be successful in their chosen field by fostering in them the skills of careful observation and critical thinking.
The Department of Natural Sciences at Lubbock Christian University aims to advance undergraduate student understanding and appreciation of living organisms and their environments in the fields of biological, ecological, and animal sciences. We strongly believe in preparing our students for lives of purpose, which aligns with the University’s commitment to transformation. Students are developed through a high-quality undergraduate curriculum by faculty who are followers of Christ. We strive to mature students in these fields by 1) teaching truthfully about the value and diversity of living organisms and their environments, 2) providing undergraduate research opportunities that have meaningful implications to society, 3) training students academically and professionally for acceptance into graduate schools and health care professions, and 4) graduating students with abilities to communicate science effectively in society. We value curiosity and the exploration of evidence. Our departmental community of faculty and staff actively engage in mentoring. We invest in the individual lives of our students and proudly proclaim our identity in Christ. We engage our undergraduate students in rigorous yet flexible curricula that affords individual students ownership in their programs of study and scholastic endeavors. We educate our students to have strong foundations in the fundamental principles of biology, physiology, and scientific investigation. We believe undergraduate students that develop a mind of scientific inquiry and service can change society socially, culturally, and economically.
To be the leading department regionally and nationally among private Christian universities for the development of desirable natural science graduates.
Kirt has taught science at LCU for over 33 years, first in the Agriculture Department from 1978 to 1986, and now since 1995 in the Biology Department. Before 1995, he served as a youth minister for Central Church of Christ in Cincinnati, Ohio. Dr. Martin is an advisor of health professions and is the Lead Faculty Advisor for the Office of Health Professions. He also conducts meetings at area churches on Creation and Evolution.
Kirt has been married to Nancy since 1975, and they have two daughters, Lucy and Olivia. Both of their daughters and married and are missionaries in Lithuania and New Zealand. Kirt and Nancy have four grandsons. Kirt is an elder at Sunset Church of Christ and a regular Bible class teacher. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for Sunset International Bible Institute.
Dr. Laughlin grew up in the rural town of Ingram, Texas located in the heart of the hill country. After receiving his bachelor's degree in animal science from Texas A & M University he served as an assistant county agent in Val Verde county. He then moved to San Angelo, Texas where he served as the assistant sheep and goat specialist for the state of Texas. After the completion of his master's degree from Angelo State University he moved back to College Station to pursue his terminal degree from Texas A & M University. His dissertation work focused on subfertility and infertility in stallions. He began teaching at LCU in the fall of 2005. Dr. Laughlin coordinates a medical mission trip to Peru each year, serves as the advisor for the pre-vet club, and continues to judge sheep and goat livestock shows across the nation.
Dr. Durham joined LCU as a full-time faculty member in January 2009. He is Professor and Program Director of the Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources Ecology and Conservation. Dr. Durham was born and raised in a farming and ranching community in the Oklahoma Panhandle. After completing his B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Ecology at Oklahoma State University, Dr. Durham came to Lubbock to attend graduate school at Texas Tech University where he completed both his M.S. and Ph.D. in Fisheries Science. Dr. Durham serves on many university and community committees, and he is the faculty sponsor of the LCU Agriculture Club. He and his wife Cassie have two children, Keeley and Landon.
Although I am interested in a broad range of ecological questions, my primary research focus is in the area of aquatic ecology. Specifically, I am interested in life-history and population dynamics of native fishes in highly variable prairie streams. My current research is being conducted in conjunction with colleagues from Texas Tech University to study the food web dynamics and food source acquisition of imperiled fishes in the Red River of Texas and Oklahoma. I am also interested in the high impact mentoring practice of undergraduate research and undergraduate student mentoring. Along with other LCU science faculty, I am currently engaging undergraduate students in a project to study the broad effects of wastewater reuse on a Texas reservoir ecosystem.
Dr. Swartz is a native of Clovis, NM. After completing dual B.S. degrees at Oklahoma State University in Biochemistry and Microbiology, he moved to Lubbock to pursue a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Texas Tech University Health Sciences (TTUHSC). His dissertation work focused on using molecular biology and biochemistry techniques to create new tools for studying the transport mechanism of P-glycoprotein, an ABC Transporter that contributes to multidrug resistance. Upon completing his Ph.D., Dr. Swartz continued his research at TTUHSC through a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the American Heart Association. He also began teaching at LCU as an adjunct professor and became a full time LCU faculty member in 2015. At LCU, Dr. Swartz continues to pursue his research interests while mentoring undergraduate researchers in a variety of individual projects, as well as collaborative projects with other faculty in the Department of Natural Sciences. During graduate school, he met and married his wife, Dr. Lauren Swartz, who now practices full spectrum family medicine in Plainview, TX.
Emily was born and raised in Lubbock, Texas and grew up around Lubbock Christian University as her mother is a Professor of Mathematics at LCU. Emily graduated with her bachelor’s degree from LCU then began working in Seminole Independent School District teaching Science. While at SISD, Emily served as Science Department Head helping teachers develop their pedagogy in STEM fields. Emily continued school at the University of Florida where she obtained a Master of Science in Microbiology and Cell Science. Shortly after graduating with her master’s, Emily returned to LCU in the Fall of 2020 to teach in the Natural Sciences Department. Currently, Emily is pursuing a PhD in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. She lives with her husband Garrison Howard, also former alumnus of LCU, in Seminole, TX where Garrison serves as a Texas State Game Warden. They have two wonderful little boys. Emily has served on multiple committees during her time at LCU and is actively involved in organizations across campus. In addition, she continues to work in collaboration with local public schools to enhance Science education. Emily is actively working in collaboration with George Mason University on numerous research projects in the field of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology.
As an Air Force dependent, Allie Beth Webb grew up all over the globe, yet she has always been Texas bred. Her family moved back to the Great State her senior year of High School. She attended Lubbock Christian University, and graduated in 2013 with a B.S. from the newly formed Natural Resources, Ecology, and Conservation program. Ms. Webb went on to receive her Master’s in Wildlife, Aquatic, and Wildland Science and Management from Texas Tech University, and started teaching for the LCU Natural Sciences Department in Fall of 2019. She is a member of the Graham Chapel Church of Christ congregation in Post, Texas, where she and her family are involved in children’s ministry and education. Ms. Webb loves to be outdoors camping, hiking, working on the family Christmas Tree Farm, and helping others improve their own lands for livestock and wildlife uses. In addition, she enjoys knitting, embroidering, singing, old western movies, college football, and Christmas. Allie Beth Webb considers herself an ambassador of Christ, a Texan, and Forever Blue.