Pioneer Spotlight: Dr. Ben Grady

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Pioneer Spotlight
Dr. Ben Grady
December 30, 2016

Dr. Ben Grady, an instructor of biology and botany at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, sees his job as helping his students appreciate the world that they live in. Grady, who began teaching at UW-Platteville in 2012, enjoys spending his time outside of the classroom working with botany societies and studying different plants, particularly in the western United States.  

What is your favorite thing about teaching people about biology and botany?

My favorite thing is trying to get students excited about learning about the natural world, and when I can see that they do, it's kind of mission accomplished for me. I'm trying to get them excited about all of the stuff out there that they weren't really aware of. The most rewarding thing for me, by far, is seeing when students get this.

What do you hope students will take away from your classes?

I hope students take away the idea that there is a lot more out there than just humans. When you hike or walk around, you see all different kinds of organisms out there doing a whole lot of really complex things. It is easy to ignore, but as soon as you learn a little bit about what's going on in this plant or that plant, it gets to be almost magical. I hope students gain a better appreciation of all of this stuff out there and humans' place within the world.

Do you do projects outside of the classroom with your students?

I do like to get students outside, especially when we're learning about plants or the natural world. We're very lucky on this campus to have a lot of natural areas within walking distance, which is another thing that I really like about UW-Platteville. We can grab some gear and walk down to the park and learn about all different kinds of species and still be back in a couple hours. So, I do really enjoy the sort of outdoor, ecological types of labs, where we're collecting data and learning more about all of these different things.

What qualities do you see in UW-Platteville students that have impressed you the most?

I like the way most students here at UW-Platteville are not afraid to jump into something. Whether it's going out and measuring trees in February, or wading around in a stream, or getting muddy in the rain, I think for the most part, students here seem to accept that and are willing to learn outside of the classroom.

Is there anything you would like people to know about the biology department at UW-Platteville?

The biology department here at UW-Platteville is great. The people who work in it are great, they each have their own area of expertise while still maintaining a broad knowledge of biology. We have a unique collection of experts in the department and it is a pleasure to be able to contribute a small amount to that.

Interview conducted by Emily Drews, Student Writer, Communications. To nominate someone for the Pioneer Spotlight, email


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