Nicole Soper Gorden, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
Department: Biomedical Sciences, Ecology & Conservation Biology, Zoology
Office:  Wall 314
P.O. Box:  6671
Phone:  (828) 689-1291

Nicole Soper Gorden

  • B.A., Biology and English, Gustavus Adolphus College, 2007;
  • Ph.D., Plant Biology, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 2013

Professional interests

I’m a plant ecologist interested in plant-insect interactions, floral herbivory, and alternate forms of plant defense. I earned my bachelor’s with a double major in biology and English. My Ph.D. research studied how chemical defenses in flowers affect plant-insect interactions.  My post-doc work involved helping build Project Baseline, a long-term nationwide seedbank for the study of plant evolution—a project I’m still involved in. Since starting at MHU, I’ve also worked to help establish the Mars Hill University Arboretum and Tree Trail. I love including students in my research, and mentoring them through the process of planning and carrying out independent projects. Students often have the freshest research ideas!

Teaching interests

I teach both of the botany classes at Mars Hill University (Introduction to Botany and Plant Taxonomy). . I also frequently teach our introductory class Bio 120:  Organisms and Evolution and our junior seminar course on Research Methods. When possible, I like to teach interdisciplinary courses as well, and have taught honors courses on plant-insect interactions in human society and on the science in science fiction. I believe in the power of hands-on learning, and like to bring my classes outside when possible.  I also think that quantitative and writing skills, as well as creativity, are essential to being a good scientist.

Other interests

Outside of the classroom, I enjoy creative fiction writing, reading, baking, vegetable gardening, and spending time with my family. Feel free to ask about what I’m reading or writing now, or ask if I’ll share a cookie or scone recipe, or start a conversation about heirloom vegetables and seed saving!

Personal website

For more information about my past projects, students involved in my research, or other information about my professional background, check out my personal website.