Christendom has been increasing the number of natural science courses in its curriculum over the past two years, primarily to enable students interested in pursuing careers in the medical world to get all of their pre-requisites done prior to graduating. Introduction to Biology and Anatomy and Physiology I and II are just some of the new classes being offered on campus this year, taught by Dr. Aileen Foeckler, a neonatologist and biology teacher. She and her husband, Eugene Foeckler, are the parents of four Christendom alumni and two current students.
Foeckler has taught Biology for twelve years at Seton School in Manassas, Virginia (founded by Anne W. Carroll, wife of Christendom founder Dr. Warren Carroll) at introductory, advanced, and college levels. She earned her medical degree from University College Cork, National University of Ireland, and continued her training and practice in Chicago and Washington DC before taking an extended sabbatical to be with her growing family. When asked to come to Christendom and teach first microbiology, followed by Human Anatomy and Physiology, she came on board to help the continued growth of the mathematics and natural science department. This year, the life science line-up includes an additional general biology course.
“Although many Christendom students plan on a future in the medical field and adding biology as a class offering will help those students prepare, I see a more general need for educated Catholics to understand Biology,” says Foeckler. “There is a beauty in the workings of a cell, the complementarity of life systems, and the organization of nature that is a small reflection of God’s goodness. Studying biology can deepen one’s appreciation for His creation. In order to truly respect human life, we need to learn about it. I have been so impressed with the caliber of students in my classes; Christendom College is doing something right. Our family has been so blessed to be a part of Christendom, and I am grateful to be able to give back to the College.”
Foeckler teaches Human Anatomy & Physiology at Christendom, utilizing the college’s new Science Laboratory for the lab portion of her classes. Students have done animal dissections and more in the new lab space, earning the important credits needed if they want to pursue science degrees later.
While she might be the college’s first biology teacher, Foeckler is no stranger to Christendom. Foeckler and her husband, Eugene, have proudly sent each of their sons to Christendom, starting in 2008 with their oldest, Christopher. Since then, he’s been followed by Johnny, Peter, Stephen, James, and the latest, Nicholas, a freshman. To say she loves the college would be an understatement.
“We owe a great debt of gratitude to Warren H. Carroll, founder of Christendom College. Our sons have been immersed in the history, the heritage, and the living Spirit of the Church. At Christendom they are taught to give everything – mind, body, and heart – to the Christ. We are not alumni of Christendom College, but we have known many graduates of the College over the years. Pius XII’s hope for youth coming forth from schools as ‘religious, honest, cultured, openminded, and enterprising’ is being fulfilled at Christendom College. This is why we want our sons to attend,” concludes Foeckler.
The medical field is as popular as ever, with many Christendom alumni joining the field as nurses, neurosurgeons, and more. Thanks to the efforts of Foeckler and others, students are now able to get a jump start on these careers, while still attaining the timeless liberal arts education that sets them up for even greater success.