Elise Watson Sarvas, B.S. 2007

Pediatric Dentist, Mayo Clinic – Rochester, MN

2007 Major: Biology and Biological Anthropology & Anatomy (now Evolutionary Anthropology); minor in Religion

How has being a Biology graduate from Duke helped shape you personally and/or professionally?

"My Duke biology degree has helped me be fulfilled both professionally and personally. I love being a pediatric dentist who can care for the oral health needs of the most medically complex children. I also am a huge plant nerd and enjoy gardening and hiking. One of my favorite classes at Duke was Trees and Shrubs of North Carolina where we learned the most common flora around the Duke forest. I've carried that knowledge with me many decades later."

What advice would you give students in Duke's Biology programs? 

"Explore the parts of biology that you wouldn't have otherwise. If you're going into health care, take a look at botany as well or take a class on animal behavior. Biology is a fascinating field and it all interconnects. Photo attached is my husband (also a Duke alumnus) and daughter Magnolia (named after the Magnolia grandiflora species, the tree that was outside of our freshman dorm, Bassett) and I hiking in Banff. I was fulfilling a lifelong dream to see the larches (sp. Larix) in their fall color. They're one of the only conifers that drop their needles."

Elise Watson Sarvas with family