November 2023 CAS Staff Spotlight: Jen McGuinn

Each month of the academic year, the Appalachian State University College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) randomly selects one staff member to be featured in a staff spotlight on our website and social media accounts and to receive a small gift in recognition of their service to the College. To view the past recipients, visit

Jen McGuinn
General Biology Laboratory Supervisor

Department of Biology

Jen McGuinn joined the Appalachian State University Department of Biology as the General Biology Laboratory Manager in 2019. She was promoted to Laboratory Supervisor in 2022.

McGuinn earned her bachelor's degrees in environmental science and biology from Muskingum University and her master's degree in environmental and plant biology from Ohio University. After graduate school, McGuinn worked as a substitute K-12 teacher while searching for a full-time biology position. McGuinn's love of teaching brought her to Appalachian State.

In her role, McGuinn manages the biology laboratories for non-majors: BIO 1203, 1204, and 1205. "I train the graduate students that teach these labs, manage the AsULearn sites, work on course design and schedules, as well as provide support. I also assist with the other general biology labs as well as maintain the general biology lab spaces," she explained.

McGuinn shared that her favorite part of her job is working with the faculty, staff, and students in the Department of Biology. "I am fortunate to work with some amazing colleagues in the general biology program. In addition, we have two talented and hardworking undergraduate assistants that help maintain the spaces. We are also fortunate to have an amazing group of graduate students and adjunct instructors (between 25-30 each semester) that teach the general biology courses. It is exciting to watch the graduate students develop their teaching skills and grow in confidence as they teach. I am always learning from them and am lucky to get to work with a great group of folks," remarked McGuinn.

Recently, McGuinn was nominated for the 2022-23 College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Staff Award. Her colleagues in the Department of Biology highlighted how she started in her role as the department was undergoing several personnel changes. They wrote: "From the beginning, Jen demonstrated her natural ability to take challenges in stride, making the best of the situation and volunteering to learn each of the various aspects and courses of the general biology program, and helping out wherever she sensed the greatest need. Her flexibility, accommodating nature, and willingness to serve in whatever way she could provided the program with the necessary push it needed to traverse this transition."

In her free time, McGuinn enjoys hiking, canoeing, and exploring the High Country with her husband, Davie. "I also enjoy gardening, jigsaw puzzles, reading, and crocheting," she added.


About the Department of Biology
The Department of Biology is a community of teacher-scholars, with faculty representing the full breadth of biological specializations — from molecular genetics to landscape/ecosystem ecology. The department seeks to produce graduates with sound scientific knowledge, the skills to create new knowledge, and the excitement and appreciation of scientific discovery. Learn more at

About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at Appalachian State University is home to 17 academic departments, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. CAS aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. More than 6,400 student majors are enrolled in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing App State’s general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at

Jen McGuinn joined the Appalachian State University Department of Biology as the General Biology Laboratory Manager in 2019.
Published: Dec 4, 2023 8:10am