Susan Carty, biology professor at Heidelberg University, said she had been pushed into science and began her love of studying plants as far back as grammar school.
Carty has been a part of Heidelberg's biological and environmental science department for 25-years. She is retiring as the longest-tenured female biology professor in the university's history.
Carty earned a master's degree in science from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate in botany from Texas A&M University.
Originally from New York, Carty worked as an assistant professor at A&T University in North Carolina before coming to Heidelberg.
Carty said when she first moved to Ohio, several people sent her sweaters.
"I didn't think I would make it through the first winter," she said.
Carty said she believes in pushing her students to do research and to always write well.
"Several of my students come back to me and say 'thank you for making me become a better writer,'" Carty said.
Carty has had several accomplishments during her time at Heidelberg. She was one of the founders of the school's student research conference, "Minds at Work." She also served as the conference's first keynote speaker.
"I wanted something that would promote students using their brains. It is not just about the content, but teaching students how to think," Carty said.
As an expert in freshwater dinoflagellates, or algae, she has published a book, titled "The Freshwater Dinoflagellates of North America." She said she will be working on a new edition this summer.
Carty said that she receives emails from around the world, seeking her help with identification of algae and requests to collaborate on research and writing.
Carty will keep an office on campus for the next two years. She said she will have more time for her research, tending her garden and time for her two dogs, Sera and Aster.
"I have really enjoyed changing my students' lives and letting them see plant material with different eyes," Carty said. "I want to encourage students to have that fire in their belly and find something that they can never get tired of doing."
She said she believes in serendipity.
"My research has taken me all over the world and has opened up many opportunities for me and I have met many amazing people," she said. "I don't have any plans and I don't expect to be disappointed and I hope it all continues."