A prominent figure in the field of bird ecology, Dan Cristol is a professor and researcher who is unafraid to cross disciplinary boundaries. He has been an integral part of the William & Mary biology department for more than two decades and currently serves as director of the 1693 Scholars Program. Dan served as the university's first faculty director of undergraduate research, and is especially well-known for involving students in his own research. According to Dan, William & Mary is doing better undergraduate research – and more of it per capita – than any other school, and it's a goal of his to increase the number of undergraduate researchers at the university.
Within the Biology Department, Dan has worked to create the Pre-Med Advanced Track for Health-Career Success (PATHS) program. This program provides experiential learning opportunities and career preparation for students considering medical careers. These experiences consist of classroom training combined with supervised clinical experiences, conversations with experienced physicians, deep investigations into the diagnostic process or summer biomedical research opportunities. Outside of the classroom and lab, Dan serves as faculty advisor to the Bird Club and leads extra-curricular field trips. He is also an active researcher, ornithologist and birding columnist for the Virginia Gazette.