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January 27, 2015 : Imagine Your Possibilities: Ohio University Lancaster Assoc. Professor of Biology Joe Faber
- Cheri Russo
Communications and Marketing Manager
Lancaster – Many students who take Associate Professor of Biology Joe Faber’s classes at Ohio University Lancaster | Pickerington find him to be a down-to-earth, relatable instructor.  However, they don’t realize that one of the reasons Faber relates to his students so well is that he used to be just like them.  Faber started his college career at Ohio University Lancaster.
“I went to Lancaster High School and grew up in Lancaster,” said Faber. “After I graduated, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself so I looked around a little bit.  I ended up going to Ohio University Lancaster for a year.  It ultimately launched me into academia.”
Faber changed majors three times in his first year of college.  He wanted to explore his options and see what was out there for him.
“I was an English major at first and then I went into computer science,” said Faber. “I don’t even remember the third one.  I was exploring.”
That exploring lead Faber to take a non-majors biology class.  Biology was something Faber always enjoyed because he grew up hunting and fishing, but he did not realize that he enjoyed it in a classroom setting.
“I found in the OUL class that I had a little bit of an interest in it and I found it easy while everyone else was struggling,” said Faber. “I took that as a sign.  If something was that natural to me, maybe that’s something I should pursue.”
Faber took a year off from college after his first year to evaluate.  When he returned to college, he went to the Athens Campus and pursued a biology degree.
“It was challenging.  I really enjoyed it, and it was a natural fit.” After Faber finished his bachelor’s degree in Athens, he was still wasn’t sure what he wanted to do in the biology field. So, Faber went to dental school at Ohio State.
“I did really well in the classes,” said Faber. “It’s an application of biology but it was not my thing.”
Faber returned to Ohio University in Athens and got a master’s degree in biology.  He then went on to Case Western Reserve and got his doctorate.  Faber spent his time at Case Western studying genetics and ecology of fishes. He now studies and conducts research on freshwater fish.
Before coming to OUL, Faber taught at West Virginia University Parkersburg and Saint Bonaventure University.  He also held a position as a science consultant for the Ohio Department of Education.
”I helped students, teachers and administrators understand how to use the science education standards,” said Faber. “That was a very interesting position.”
When the position to teach at OUL became available, Faber saw it as the perfect opportunity to get back into the college classroom, conduct research and do what he truly loves. When he accepted the position, Faber knew he had come full circle.
“Regional campuses like OUL allow people to explore opportunities,” said Faber. “When you’re young, it’s the time to do that.  OUL gave me a really great start.”