Dr. Raegan Skelton Uses Love of Biology to Inspire Students

Published by Brooke Lange 6 months ago on Thu, Aug 17, 2023 12:56 PM

Dr. Raegan Skelton, assistant professor of biology at Concordia. has lived a life that has been marked by her interest in living things around her. “I was one of those kids who would make PowerPoints just for fun and make my parents sit through my presentations simply because I found something interesting. On road trips, I would make them wait longer at rest stops because I would find a really cool flower and start peeling it apart pointing out all the different parts to them," recalled Skelton. 

It wasn’t until high school that Skelton found that her love of learning was not just for herself, but for other people. “It was small moments during many of my classes that began to show me God’s calling for my life. I would naturally turn to my peers to help them understand difficult concepts in class or offer to host review sessions prior to large exams. I look back now and can see how the Lord was constantly leading me to teaching opportunities.”  

Even though Skelton knew that she wanted to teach, she did not imagine that her love of biology would bring her to Nebraska. During her last two years of high school, Skelton got her associate degree in science and biology and was able to complete her Bachelor of Science in Cellular and Molecular Biology at Central Washington University in 2017. Throughout her graduate experience, she slowly winded her way closer to Nebraska. Skelton completed her PhD in basic biomedical sciences at the University of South Dakota in the Sanford School of Medicine in 2021. After she finished her PhD, she worked at a medical technologies company in Columbus, Nebraska. She then got a call to be a professor of biology at Concordia. “It is difficult to see God’s plan as it is happening—but looking back, I can clearly see how He led me away from my home state of Washington to South Dakota for grad school, and finally to Nebraska to lead me to my dream job as a biology professor at Concordia,” reflected Skelton.  

Skelton’s journey did not just involve finding what she enjoyed and where she was going. She also spent energy finding how to reconcile her own faith with principles of science. “One challenge I have faced over the years is having Christian values in a field and academic environment that is often filled with individuals with differing views from myself, “said Skelton. Skelton believes this challenge synonymous with being a scientist has grown her capacity to listen to perspectives that are different from her own, while also centering her faith and focus on God. Skelton states, “My experience in this field has taught me to lean on God, as well as learn how to have patience, love, and discernment with others when they may have a different opinion from me.” 

In the classes she teaches, Skelton pairs this discernment with a genuine care and awe of the created world. “God’s creation is incredible. Guiding students to truly understand how creation works and how beautifully complex life is, and helping them to eventually grasp that is one of my favorite parts of being a professor.”  

Skelton clearly shows great care for her students. “I love helping students accomplish their goals while they are at Concordia and preparing them for their own callings.” Skelton believes that her background especially prepares her for advising students at Concordia. “Advising is just as much a part of the job as teaching is here. I love that we are able to make deep connections with our students and truly help them be known.” 

Raegan is married to Concordia alum Jesse Skelton, and has one son, Jackson. In her spare time, she works on the family’s farm, and she enjoys cooking, gardening, drawing, and crocheting.  

Interested in being part of the biology program at Concordia? Learn more here