Heather Brient-Johnson has nearly two decades of experience teaching biology at Inver Hills. Heather has an M.S. in Biology (Mammalogy and Physiological Ecology) from the University of Minnesota Duluth and a B.S. in Zoology/Animal Biology from Ohio University. She also has a B.F.A. in Theater from Ohio.


Heather began her college teaching career at Hibbing Community College in Hibbing, Minnesota. She has taught the following courses at Inver Hills:

Her professional work in the biology field includes service as a naturalist and DNR field technician in Erskine, Minnesota. In the latter role, she surveyed small mammal populations in western Minnesota, preparing small mammal specimens, mapping field locations and entering field data into computer files.


While at UMD, Heather educated the public on recreational activities in the outdoors, giving formal presentations on plants and other wildlife. She also conducted small mammal research, trapping and preparing small mammal specimens and surveying small mammal populations over several areas in northeastern Minnesota.

Awards / Accomplishments

Published work

Brient-Johnson, Heather and Donald P. Christian, 1998, "Lack of Effect of Tannic Acid on Sodium Balance in Microtus pennsylvanicus" Journal of Mammalogy, 79 (3):992-998.


Hummon, William T., and Heather Brient, 1991, "Morphological characteristics of a marine Gastrotrich, Musselifer profundus," Proceedings of the American Society of Zoologists, Sept.

Teaching philosophy

"Success is highly influenced by how much a student is engaged in the learning process. Create a learning environment in which students are highly engaged and they will discover their own motivation and drive their own success."

Hobbies, interests or other information

In her spare time, Heather raises and trains Australian shepherds to work stock. During the spring and summer, she enjoys competing in working trials for herding cattle, sheep and ducks. Outside the trial arena, she trains her dogs in obedience, rally and agility. She also enjoys canoeing, camping and hiking with her family along the North Shore during the summer.