Cynthia Norton

Professor of Biology and Women's Studies


Cindy Norton is an evolutionary biologist with broad interests in the intersections of ecology, evolution and behavior. She studies reproduction, growth, and development of the freshwater snail Planorbella (Helisoma) trivolvis as a model for understanding the life history, reproductive biology and behavior of hermaphrodites. Students actively collaborate in all aspects of the research – from conception of projects, data collection and analysis to presentation at both local and national conferences. Dr. Norton has been a faculty member at St. Kate’s since 1990, teaching courses in both Biology and Women’s Studies including: Foundations of Biology I, Evolutionary Biology, Animal Behavior, Biology of Women, and Foundations of Women’s Studies, as well the interdisciplinary collaboration Discovering the History of Evolutionary Thought: Darwin in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands during January. She is also the pre-Vet adviser.

  • Reproductive behavior, growth and development of hemaphroditic freshwater snails, Helisoma trivolvis
  • Genetics and evolution of reproduction, sex determination, and sexual dimorphism
  • Curricular development and reform/feminist pedagogy
  • Intersections of race, class, gender and science

Ph.D., Biology
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, 1985

Bachelor of Arts, Biology
Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, Honors, 1980

Endowed Professorship in the Sciences, 2006–2009

St. Catherine University Carondolet Scholar, 2011–present

Project Kaleidoscope Faculty for the 21st Century, Class of 1994

  • Foundations of Biology I
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Animal Behavior
  • Biology Sophomore Seminar
  • Foundations of Women's Studies
  • Biology of Women

Assistant Director of Collaborative Research, St. Catherine University

Conference Co-Chair: Inclusive Science: Articulating Theory, Practice and Action. College of St. Catherine. June 2008

Norton, CG and BR Newman. 2016. Growth, reproduction and longevity in the hermaphroditic freshwater snail Helisoma trivolvis. Journal of Molluscan Studies 82 (1): 178-186.

Possidente B., Norton C. and D. Possidente. 2014. The Dover Wild Type Strain and Four Derived Isogenic Lines. Drosophila Information Service 97.

Norton, CG. 2009. Introduction to Inclusive Science Cluster. National Women’s Studies Association Journal 21(2): vii-xii.

Norton, CG and DD Wygal, guest editors. 2009. Inclusive Science Cluster. National Women’s Studies Association Journal 21 (2).

Norton, CG, Johnson, AJ, and RL Mueller. 2008. Relative size influences gender role in the freshwater hermaphroditic snail, Helisoma trivolvis. Behavioral Ecology 19(6):1122-1127.

Norton, CG and J Bronson. 2006. The relationship of body size and growth to egg production in the hermaphrodite freshwater snail, Helisoma trivolvis. J Moll Stud 72: 143-7.

Norton, C., Johnson, A., Nelson, B. & Wright, M. (2015). "Albinism in Helisoma trivolvis: Using pigmentation differences to understand reproduction in hermaphrodites." Simultaneous Hermaphroditic Organisms Workshop

Norton, C. & Wright, M. (2014). "Sperm precedence in the hermaphroditic freshwater snail, Helisoma trivolvis." International Society of Behavioral Ecology

Norton, C. (2013). "Sperm Precedence in the hermaphroditic freshwater snail Helisoma trivolvis." World Congress of Malacology

Norton, C. (2011). "Balancing Our Academic Lives: How to be a good teacher, engage in service to the community, and continue to be an active scholar." SCU Opening Workshop

Norton, CG. (2009). "Intersections of Science and Gender: Possibilities for Collaboration and Transformation." Keynote Speaker at the Red River Valley Women’s Studies Conference.