During an Advanced Placement biology course in Easton Area High School, Jennifer Estevez's teacher sped through the large chapter on evolution, focusing on one formula for the AP exam and the basics: survival of the fittest and natural selection.

In those high school years in Northampton County, she also would attend a Baptist leadership retreat where a speaker denounced evolution as false, unproven science.

Seemingly unimportant and even discredited, evolution fell off her radar. So the Easton student, who is a Baptist, arrived at Duquesne University last fall considering herself a creationist, a person who generally believes God created the world as described in the Bible.

But a college biology course convinced her that evolution was valid science with overwhelming evidence that all living things, including humans, evolved most likely from a common ancestor -- over a period of millions, even billions, of years longer than that described in Genesis.

Ending her freshman year, and in pursuit of a career in medicine, Ms. Estevez, 19, said she's "a bit upset" that her high school teacher played down evolution while others trashed the science that serves as the foundation of modern biology, genetics and medicine.