Note from the Dean
CW in the spring

Springtime in front of the Cooper-Wilson Center.

We are approaching the end of the academic year. We have worked hard, both students and faculty. This newsletter shows some of the results of that hard work, particularly in the featured article on Student Research.

In my courses I model for the student a seven step problem solving paradigm. The last step in the paradigm is to evaluate your answer, i.e., is it reasonable? As a faculty member applying this paradigm to my teaching, I should ask whether or not I have taught my students the right stuff in an effective way. As a student, I should ask myself if I have really learned anything important. On one level, there are specific career-oriented concepts and skills that students do need to know, and our students do appear to have learned enough of those to proceed onward with their career objectives, e.g., see where some of our students are headed in the News of the Moment section of this and previous issues and see our success stats.

But college is not only about career preparation, it is also a place to see what others have found interesting and what others have been capable of doing. It is a place to see what we might find interesting and what we are capable of doing. One of my favorite and most desired replies by students to me is That makes sense! Not all students say that about all the things I try to teach, but it happens to enough students enough times that I think they really do believe that they can make sense of things. That, I think, is a major accoomplishment for students, whether they realize it or not.

I hope you are enjoying these newsletters, and I look forward to sharing more of our work with you next academic year. If you have comments, questions or reactions, you may send an email now to jholmes@cbu.edu .


News of the Moment
Brain Awareness Week

Dr. Fitzgerald working with a CLUE student
during Brain Awareness Week.

Teaire Carmichael, Natural Science 2012, has been accepted to the Clinical Nurse Leader (Nurse Practitioner) program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Johnny Timmerman, Biology 2012, has been accepted to the Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Larry Anderson, Biology and Chemistry 2012, has accepted a position in the Department of Chemistry at Madison, Wisconsin. He plans on working on his Ph.D. in Chemistry with Dr. Eric Strieter.

Dr. Dennis Merat, Associate Professor of Chemistry, has been selected as the recipient of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Region III Outstanding Faculty Advisor for the state of Tennessee!

Dr. James Moore, Assistant Professor of Biology, has been elected as a Full Member in the Sigma-Xi Scientific Research Society. He also has a paper accepted for pugblication: Long-term population demography of Trillium recurvatum Beck on loess bluffs in western TN by Moore JE, Franklin SB, Weins G, Collins BS. Accepted for publication in Annals of Botany- Plants (AoB Plants).

Julia Hanebrink, MHIRT Program Coordinator, has been awarded the UT Knoxville Chancellor's Honor for Extraordinary Professional Promise. The Award goes to graduate students who demonstrate professional promise in teaching, research or other contributions. Julia and Lanie Smith have a chapter coming out on their MHIRT research in Northern Uganda in an edited volume by Marisa Ensor called: African Childhoods: Education, Development, and Peacebuilding in the Youngest Continent. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers. The title of their chapter is: Painting a Picture of Creative Arts Therapy for War-Affected Youth in Northern Uganda. The book is in print and will be released this year.


Alpha Chi book drive

Alpha Chi book drive.


The Tennessee Theta chapter of Alpha Chi, CBU's chapter, has been conducting a book drive as part of the national goal of Reading is Fundamental. The CBU chapter collected 233 books and will donate these locally. Some have already been given to Snowden School and the Hadley Head Start Program.

CBU's chapter of Alpha Chi, a multi-disciplinary honor society, has won a Star Chapter award! This is the fourth year in a row that the chapter has won this honor.

On March 15, Dr. Xiaohua Huang, Department of Chemistry, University of Memphis, presented a seminar titled Gold Nanoparticles for Cancer Detection and Treatment as part of the CBU Department of Chemistry Seminar Program. This seminar was co-hosted by the CBU Department of Chemistry and the CBU Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS). Dr. Huang was the research mentor for Raymond Wilson. The results of their research was presented at the Area Collegiate Meeting held at the University of Tennessee at Martin (see Student Research section below).

On March 19, Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, Professor of Biology, had 19 5th graders coming to her Neuroscience lab. They came as part of an outreach for Brain Awareness Week. The 19 are CLUE students from Snowden School.


Science Fair

Overview of the Science Fair.

On March 21-22, the 58th Annual Memphis-Shelby County Science and Engineering Fair was held on campus. CBU, Memphis Light Gas and Water Division, and private donors were sponsors of the event which is hosted jointly by the Chemistry Department, the School of Science, and the CBU Chapter of the Student Members of the American Chemical Society. This year 230 projects, including 24 middle school team projects, were entered in the Fair representing Middle and High Schools from across Shelby County; 260 students from 17 middle schools and 4 high schools participated in this year's Fair. The projects were showcased in Canale Arena, the Thomas Center Conference Room, and the Sabbatini Lounge. The Awards Ceremony for the Science Fair was held April 2 in the University Theatre. Approximately 150 people attended the ceremony where awards, ribbons, and monetary prizes were presented to the winners.


Science Fair

Jonathan Lin is shown beside his first place poster.

This year Arabella Hamm from Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Cameron Spence from Snowden Middle School tied for first place in the Middle School Division. Jonathan Lin from Germantown High School won first place in the High School Division and an all-expense paid trip to Pittsburgh to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair to be held May 13-18, 2012. Last year, Bowei Deng, who placed first in the High school competition, went on to place 4th in the category of Medicine and Health at the 2011 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. For more information, please contact Dr. Dennis Merat at dmerat@cbu.edu.

On March 22-24, Dr Malinda Fitzgerald, Professor of Biology and Chapter Advisor of Alpha Chi, and Larry Anderson, Biology and Chemistry 2012 and President of CBU's chapter of Alpha Chi, attended the 2012 Star-Spangled Super-Regional Convention of the Alpha Chi Honor Society in Baltimore. Larry won first place for his presentation in the Chemistry division at the meeting. His presentation was entitled Synthesis of (Z)-4,4’-bis(iodoacetimide)stilbene as a Cross-linker in a Peptide Drug Delivery System. At the meeting Dr. Fitzgerald judged presentations in the health science division. She was also elected Vice President for Region III which covers the Southeastern part of the U.S. The chapter also presented a poster on the organization of the Senior Research Poster Session held every April at CBU (see the Upcoming Events section).

On Saturday, March 24, the CBU chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) went to Shelby Farms for a kite flying day. To see an image, go to the featured department section of this newsletter.

On Monday, March 26, Dr. Stan Eisen, Professor of Biology, gave a presentation at Shelby Farms on parasitic infections as an indicator of ecological status to a group of scientists attending that week's International Integrated Pest Management conference. According to Robert Mayer, Director of Park Operations for the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, What was especially interesting about this group visiting the park was that they were from all over the world. Entomologists, horticulturists, foresters, facility managers, from Australia, Zimbabwe, England, Mexico to name just a few countries. A very worthwhile exchange of issues and solutions occurred. See this facebook page for more info and images.



On Tuesday, March 27, Dr. Stan Eisen, Professor of Biology, took seventeen students in his BIOL 335 Invertebrate Zoology class on a field trip to Coon Creek. In the image on the left, the two people in the immediate foreground are Pat Broadbent, Coon Creek Instructor wearing the green hat, and Staci Long in the white t-shirt holding the linoleum knife in her right hand. Behind her are Grace Hutchison wearing a tan baseball cap, and Pat Graham, the guy with the sunglasses.


On Tuesday, March 27, Dr. John Varriano, Professor of Physics, gave a talk sponsored by the CBU chapter of SPS on 3-D glasses and the physics behind the glasses. As part of the talk, Dr. Varriano provided some hands-on demonstrations of both linearly and circularly polarized light.



On March 29 to 31, members of the CBU chapter of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) attended the regional Mathematical Association of America meeting at Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Our two teams came in 5th and 7th out of 20 teams in the Math Jeopardy contest and Rebekah Herrman lasted into the 6th round of the Integration Bee. In the image on the right, Front Row: Steven Menezes, Rebekah Herrman, Mrs. Grilli, Middle Row: Mike Stuart, Josh Swillum, Jonas Broughman, Mrs. Davis; Top Row: Eddie Gallarno, Br. Joel Baumeyer.


On Saturday, March 31, the Tennessee Academy of Sciences West Tennessee Collegiate meeting was held this year at LeMoyne-Owen College here in Memphis. Thirty one of the 35 oral presentations were from CBU (including three high school REAP students mentored by Lynda Miller). CBU students received 10 of the 12 Best Oral Presentation Awards. For more information, see the featured article on Student Research later in this issue.





On April 10, the Department of Chemistry hosted the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program Senior Chemistry class from Germantown High School. The students, along with their teacher Ms. Jennifer Davis, toured the department and viewed demonstrations and heard presentations describing the operation of major instruments in the department. This is the second year that the program has visited the Chemistry Department. In the image on the right, students from the Germantown IB program are viewing a demonstration of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy presented by Dr. William Peer (on the left).


Group picture from the SPS meeting.

Inductees to Sigma Pi Sigma.



On April 13, three students were inducted into the CBU chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honor society. Brent Holmes, Kyle Moats, and Thomas Schill are the newest members of the society that recognizes outstanding academic achievement in physics and service to the community through the activities of the Society of Physics Students (SPS). Dr. Ted Clarke, Assistant Professor of Physics, also was inducted for his work in the department and with SPS.



Upcoming Events

On Tuesday, April 17, the Sixteenth Annual CBU Student Research Poster Session will be held in the Sabbatini Lounge of the Thomas Center. Here are pictures and information from last year's session.

On Wednesday, April 18, CBU's biology honor society, Beta Beta Beta, is hosting its 10th annual Students vs. Faculty Charity Volleyball Game, a.k.a. the Old Age & Deceit versus Youth & Vitality game, at 6:30 p.m. in Canale Arena. This year, all proceeds will go to the Church Health Center. Lots of prizes will be raffled, and admission is free! If you'd like to show off your volleyball skills in front of professors and friends, bring $2 to the game; sign-up sheets will also be in front of Dr. Ogilvie's and Dr. Merat's offices (Cooper-Wilson 113 and 213). Don't miss out on the Tri Beta Bake Sale and your chance to buy raffle tickets during lunch outside Alfonso Dining Hall now until game day! Here are pictures from last year's game.

On Thursday, April 19, Dr. John Smarrelli, President of CBU, will give a talk sponsored by the CBU Student Members of the American Chemical Society and the CBU Chemistry Research Seminar program at 1 P.M in AH 153. The title of Dr. Smarrelli’s talk will be From Cloning Genes to a College Presidency: Is it in the DNA?. Everyone is welcome.

On Saturday, April 21, the 10 top-scoring students from the Twenty-Seventh Annual Local Examination for the Chemistry Olympiad held on March 31st will be invited to return to the CBU campus to take the National Examination for the Chemistry Olympiad. The top scorers on the National Exam may be invited to become part of the team that will represent the United States at the 44th International Chemistry Olympiad to be held in Washington, D. C. July 21-30, 2012. This Chemistry Olympiad examination is sponsored by the Memphis Section of the American Chemical Society and co-hosted by the CBU Student Members of the American Chemical Society and the CBU Department of Chemistry.

On Monday, April 23, the Student Members of the American Chemical Society will present Green Chemistry demonstrations at 11:50 a.m. and 12:50 p.m. in the lobby of Assisi Hall in observance of Earth Day which falls on Sunday, April 22, this year.

On Wednesday, April 25, the BIOL 103's Annual Chocolate Tasting Session, featuring Dinstuhl's Gourmet Chocolates, is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

On Saturday, April 28, the CBU Chemistry Department Undergraduate Research Conference is scheduled to begin at 9 A.M. in Room AH 155. Everyone is invited to attend.

On Tuesday, May 1, the CBU Department of Chemistry will co-host the Annual Chemistry Awards Banquet for the 10 top-scoring students on the Forty-Third Annual Competitive Examination in High School Chemistry and the 10 top-scoring students on the Twenty-Seventh Annual Local Examination for the Chemistry Olympiad. The students and their parents and teachers are invited to this event that is sponsored by the Memphis Section of the American Chemical Society.

On Tuesday, June 5, a transit of Venus will occur, and Br. Kevin Ryan, Adjunct Instructor of Natural Science, will have a viewing (weather permitting) of the transit starting about 4 PM in front of the Cooper-Wilson Center for the Life Sciences building. This viewing is free and open to all. Br. Kevin will have a telescope with the sun filter set up if the skies are reasonable clear.

Return to top


Alumni News

Dr. Felix Vazquez-Chona, Biology 1998, and his wife, Sara, joyfully welcomed Diego Tomas Vazquez into their family by adoption today! Here are the vital stats: Born Mon April 9, at 1:26 AM, 8 lbs 10 oz, 21 inches long.

Amanda Fitzgerald, Biology 2011, has accepted a position at the University of Texas, Austin. She will be working on her Ph.D. in Biology with Dr. Peter Thomas at the Marine Science Laboratory in Port Aransas after the initial year of coursework in Austin.

Jessica Hines Beard, Biology 2010, has been accepted into the neuroscience Ph.D. tract of the Integrated Biomedical Science program at UTHSC. She has been working with Dr. Tonia Rex since she graduated from CBU in 2010.

Minoli Perera, Biology 1997 and Pharm.D. & Ph.D. 2003, and her husband, Eric Gengler, welcomed their second child (both boys), Wolfgang Augustus Gengler. Born on Jan 3rd, 2012 at 6lbs 9.5 oz. Everyone is doing well. Minoli is still at her faculty position at the University of Chicago in genetic medicine. Her husband is an engineer at Caterpillar.

Future MD/DCOM class 2012: (DCOM is a doctor of chiropractic medicine)
Carter Nazor, Biology 2008, matched in Neurology at UTHSC.
Rebecca (Scott) Crow, Biology 2008, matched in Internal Medicine at the University of Oklahoma at Tulsa in Internal Medicine. (Rebecca is one of our featured alums for this issue.)
Jennifer Hendrick, Biology 2006, matched in Pediatrics at LeBonheur.

Brian Walter, Biology 2008, has been accepted to the William Carey College of Osteopathic Medicine. He wrote: I want to personally thank you (Dr. Stan Eisen) for your involvement in my medical school application process. I was informed this week that I got accepted into William Carey COM and have an interview with LMU-DCOM this coming week. Again I appreciate all your help and support throughout this process. I want to thank you and the entire CBU faculty and staff for the guidance and knowledge that enabled me to make it this far.

Return to top

Featured Story: Student Research

In the School of Sciences at CBU, almost all of our seniors do some kind of research. A lot of it is done during the summer between junior and senior years with our students working with real researchers at local research institutions including St. Jude Childern's Research Hospital, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the University of Memphis, and the Memphis Zoo. In the September issue of this newsletter, we reported on the research that was done last summer, and below we show some of the results of that research as reported by our students at scientific meetings this spring. In our next issue of this newsletter coming in September, we plan on sharing what our students worked on for this coming summer.


Tennessee Academy of Sciences West Tennessee Collegiate meeting

The Tennessee Academy of Sciences West Tennessee Collegiate meeting was held this year at LeMoyne-Owen College here in Memphis. Thirty one of the 35 oral presentations were from CBU (including three high school REAP students mentored by Lynda Miller). CBU students received 10 of the 12 Best Oral Presentation Awards. Best Presentation Award recipients for each session are listed below. To see all of the participants and the titles of their papers, click here.

Session I: Cell/Molecular Biol & Chem
Nick Watkins, CBU, Altered ultrasonic vocalizations in a mouse model of Fragile X syndrome by Nick Watkins, Snighda Roy and Detlef Heck, Christian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennessee (NW) and University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee (SR, DH).
Shanandria Jackson, CBU, Comparison of siRNA transfection rate between L2 and L4 larval stages of Caenorhabditis elegans by Shanandria Jackson, Larry Anderson, Lynda Miller and Malinda E.C. Fitzgerald. Christian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennessee.
Brent Rainwater, Union


Session II: Environmental Science
Joseph Alfonso, CBU, Examining herpetofauna richness and diversity in Shelby Farms Park with respect to land utilization by Joseph Alfonso and Lynda Miller, Christian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennessee.
Sarah Ferguson, Rhodes
Carey Bowen, CBU, Flooding and wetland plants: Localized versus whole-plant response by Carey A. Bowen, Melissa B. Koontz, Lyndsay E. Saunders, and Samuel C. Pierce. Christian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennessee (CB). The University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee (MK, LS), and Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi (SP).

Session III: Health Care, Pharmacokinetics & Microbiology
Kyle Smith, CBU, Analytical method development and validation for the measurement of Methotrexate (MTX) 7-OH-MTX, and 4-Amino-4-Deoxy-N-Methylpteroic acid (DAMPA) by online extraction-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) by Kyle Smith, Thandra Owens, Feng Bai, Stacy Throm, and Clinton F. Stewart, Christian Brothers University (KS), Memphis, Tennessee and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (TO, FB, ST, CS), Memphis, Tennessee.
Samantha Sol Bownes, CBU, Healthcare and malaria in the Pallisa district, eastern Uganda by Samantha Sol Bownes, Dustin James, Chris Moore, Veronica Wittman, and Luis Sanchez, Christian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennesse (SSB, DJ), Rhodes College, Memphis, Tennessee (CM), Florida International University, Miami, Florida (VW, LS).
Adrienne Renfro, CBU, Determination of baseline CRP values in post-operative transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion patients, by Adrienne Renfro and Patrick M. Curlee. Christian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennessee, and Southern Spine Specialists, Germantown, Tennessee.

Session IV: Vision Science & Behavioral Science
Corey Haughey, CBU, Retinal pathology following interruption of autonomic regulation of choroidal blood flow, by Corey Haughey, Malinda E.C. Fitzgerald, Nobel Del Mar, Chunyan Li and Anton Reiner, Christian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennessee (CH, MECF) and The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee (MECF, NDM, CL, AR).
Grace Hutchison, CBU, Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Response to Alcohol Exposure, by Grace Hutchison, Candis DuBose, and Kristin Hamre, Christian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennessee (GH) and The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee (CD, KH).
Teaire Carmichael, CBU, Color discrimination task using pseudoisochromatic stimulus: Luminance noise variation provides better sensitivity than noise mean luminance, by Teaire L. Carmichael, Bruno D. Gomes, Mellina M. Jacob, Eliza Maria C. Lacerda, Givago S. Souza Malinda E. Fitzgerald, Luiz Carlos L. Silveira. Universidade Federal do Para, Belem, Brazil (BDG, MMJ, EMCL, GSS, LCLS), Christian Brothers University, Memphis, Tennessee (TC, MECF), University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee (MECF).

Names of all the presenters and the meeting schedule can be found on CBU’s TAS 2012 web page.



34th Annual Student Members of the American Chemical Society Area Collegiate Chemistry Meeting

The Senior Chemistry and Biochemistry majors presented the results of their undergraduate research at the 34th Annual Student Members of the American Chemical Society Area Collegiate Chemistry Meeting held at The University of Tennessee at Martin in Martin, Tennessee on Saturday, April 14, 2012. With 11 different student presentations, Christian Brothers University was recognized for having the largest number of presentations at the meeting. Following the banquet, Dr. Stanley E. Manahan, a recognized leader in Environmental Chemistry presented the Keynote address “Green Chemistry: Sustainability and the Environmental Chemistry Connection”. Pictured above with Dr. Anna Bukiya are the senior Chemistry majors, Larry Anderson, Justin Gallagher, Keara Moore, and Nicholas Selvo; and the senior Biochemistry majors, Justin Edwards, Catherine Gluszek, Luanzo Lung’aho, Prashant Patel, Sarah-Catherine Ryan, and Xinyu von Buttlar who presented at the meeting. Dr. Bukiya worked with both Justin Edwards and Justin Gallagher in the laboratory of Dr. Dopico at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center at Memphis. Raymond Wilson, Chemistry major (not pictured), also presented his research. Dr. Dennis Merat (not pictured) accompanied the seniors on the trip.

Research is an important component of our Chemistry and Biochemistry degree programs. Students perform their research in a variety of locations, both in the United States and abroad; and many have received prestigious fellowships and grants. Recent recipients of these awards include:
Larry Anderson, Chemistry and Biology 2012, was awarded a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) grant to conduct research at Virginia Commonwealth University during the Summer 2011.
Catherine Gluszek, Biochemistry 2012, received the 2011-2012 University of Tennessee Neuroscience Fellowship to study protein and mRNA levels in fear-conditioned mice in the laboratory of Dr. Scott Heldt at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis, TN.
Alecia Stewart, Biochemistry 2013, worked at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, with Dr. Y. S Prakash.
Stephen (Riley) Pace, Chemistry 2013, and Xinyu von Buttlar, Biochemistry 2012, both received Pediatric Oncology Fellowship awards for Summer 2012 from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Stephen (Riley) Pace will work with Dr. Clinton Stewart in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Xinyu von Buttlar will work with Dr. Junmin Peng in the Department of Structural Biology.
Chemistry and Biochemistry students also complete their research as part of special research internship programs, either in industry or local research institutions such as St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center.


Mathematics and Physics Research

Information about the research done by the seniors in the Mathematics Department was in the March newsletter.

Information about the physics research done by the seniors in the Physics Department is found in the featured department section of this newsletter.


On-Campus Research this summer

Dr. James Moore, Assistant Professor of Biology, will have three students doing research with him this summer: 1. John D. (JD) Wolfe will be examining the effects of a two month ‘head-start’ on the competitive advantages and increased water stress tolerance of Xanthium strumarium (cocklebur). JD’s project will aid in elucidating factors associated with Mississippi River island plant community assembly. This research will be conducted on the campus of Christian Brothers University behind the physical plant. JD submitted a Sigma-Xi (GIAR) proposal to fund this research.
2. Daniel Stewart will be examining whether or not root nodulation (symbiosis with nitrogen fixing bacteria) of an invasive tree is promoted or reduced when grown with either another invasive tree or a common native tree. His focal species will be Albizia julibrissin (mimosa). This project will greatly add to the literature on invasive plants and illustrate how nitrogen dynamics are altered in invaded systems.
3. Austin Johnson will be working with Dr. Thompson-Jaeger and Dr. James Moore examining the genetic relatedness of Ailanthus altissima (Tree of Heaven) a common clonal, invasive tree here in the mid-south. His project will address two main questions: 1) do trees from different localities show different levels of plasticity; 2) how genetically similar are populations from 5 states.


Return to top

Featured Story: Math Tutors IV
Kathleen Branscum

Kathleen Branscum, Math Tutor



Kathleen Branscum, a junior Biochemical Engineering major, is now in her third year as a tutor in the CBU Math Center. She graduated from Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock, AK, and has become very active here at CBU. Besides being a tutor in math she also has found time to be on the Executive Board of UpTill Dawn and works at St. Jude in the department of Immunology. Her other activities include president of Alpha Xi Delta (AXD) sorority and treasurer of the student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).


Michelle McEachron

Michelle McEachron, Math Tutor



Michelle McEachron, a native Californian, came to CBU to play softball. She is a third year Math major who intends to become a high school math teacher. This is her first year as a Math Center tutor.


Return to top

Featured Alums: Rebecca Scott Crow, D.O., Biology 2008 and Robert Scott, M.D., Ph.D., Chemical Engineering 2002

Editor's note: This month we have a brother and sister pair of featured alums. Rebecca graduated from the School of Science with a Biology major, and Robert graduated from the School of Engineering with a Chemical Engineering degree. Below is their story.

Rebecca Scott Crow, D.O., Biology 2008, and Robert Scott, M.D., Ph.D., Chemical Engineering 2002, are both alumni of CBU. This brother and sister pair were born and raised north of Memphis in the Shelby Forest area to now retired Shelby County school teachers. Christian Brothers University's well known reputation in science and engineering made it the obvious choice for their desire to pursue higher education after graduating high school. Rebecca said, When I was still a sophomore in high school, I remember going to CBU's campus with my older brother on multiple occasions. I spent time with him in the engineering lab, library and the campus apartments. I knew even then I was going to follow in his footsteps and choose CBU as my collegiate home. While Rebecca was studying Biology at Christian Brothers and serving as an active member in Alpha Xi Delta sorority, Robert was working on his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Temple University in Philadelphia which he received in 2008. Reflecting back, Robert said, At that time we were both at a crossroads, both trying to decide what we wanted to do with our lives. The training CBU provided us in the basic sciences had prepared both of us to pursue futures in medicine. We agreed medicine was a fascinating field of study and was a career goal that we could each make a difference in our own unique way.


In 2008, Robert began at East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine, and the same year Rebecca attended Lincoln Memorial University DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. The brother and sister duo, both starting medical school at colleges less than two hours apart, proved to be an excellent support system. Having my brother so close during such a grueling school schedule was a blessing. It is always great to have the support of someone else going through the same thing you are, it just makes it so much better when its family, said Rebecca Crow. Rebecca married Vincent Crow, a native of Little Rock, AR, in December 2010. Vincent was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity and graduated from Christian Brothers in 2008 in Mechanical Engineering. This May, Robert and Rebecca both graduated from their respective medical schools. Rebecca will be an interning physician at The University of Oklahoma in Tulsa to begin her training in Internal Medicine. My goal is to do further training after I finish the Internal Medicine residency by pursuing a fellowship in Geriatric Medicine. After seeing such a strong need for these physicians with the booming geriatric population, I decided this is the area I could have the greatest positive impact in serving a generation worthy of so much respect. Robert will start his first year of post graduate training in Psychiatry at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. There he hopes to expand his knowledge and skills in research and medicine to impact psychiatry as a whole. I feel like my graduate training in Biomedical Engineering has given me invaluable insight into the world of research allowing me to pursue a career in academia. At the same time, my medical school education has taught me the importance of forming a personal connection with patients.

Both agree that Christian Brothers Schools of Science and Engineering set the groundwork for their future careers. During my interviews for residency, one of the physicians I spoke with mentioned he had heard great things about Christian Brothers and had several friends who had sent their children there. It was exciting to hear CBU's good reputation preceded me from several states away, said Rebecca. Both hope to one day return to Memphis to practice and positively impact the Memphis community.

Return to top

Thank You Notes to Sciences Faculty

This month we have a thank you note to Dr. Leigh Becker, Professor of Mathematics, from one of his students.


November 8, 2011

Dear Dr. Leigh Becker,

I want to express my sincere gratitude for providing me with a deeper knowledge of mathematics. The first day I walked in your class, I was intimidated by your methods of teaching and the material being taught. I have never been taught math in so much depth. I took Finite Math 105, or a similar class, in high school. However, your methods of teaching opened my eyes to another world of math that I did not know existed. Being a freshman at Chrisitan Brothers, you have made my first encounters special. Your unique personality and style of teaching has made math in my life more gratifying and extraordinary. I have realized that there is more to math than just numbers and equations. There are real-life instances that math is applied to. For instance, we are now studying simple and compound interest. I had no idea that simple and compound interest are used for bank accounts. Because I am a business major and plan to open a clothing store, it is imperative that I know about this particular topic so I can oragnize and do my own finances wihtouot having to pay somebody else to do the job for me.

Furthermore, I want to express how thankful I am for training me to use my critical thinking skills and to think outside the box. Some professors just teach without pushing students to use the power of their minds to succeed. You set high goals and expectations for students and expect them to reach it. You encourage students to jump the hurdles and persevere although roadblocks and difficulties come along the way. Sometimes I can tell that you get frustrated with students' poor attitude towards their studies. You know what? That is all right because I know that you genuinely care for their future and want them to prosper in their careers. I can truly say you care for both students' academics and their personal endeavors.

Thank for for understanding my personal problems. For instance, I remember during the beginning of the semester, I had a minor wreck on my way to school. I emailed you and told you my problem. You were very sensitive to my feelings and made sure I was not hurt. Nort only did you make sure I was all right, you also gave me the notes I missed for class that day. I did not tell you this earlier, but I really appreciated it. Another example was when I was terribly sick for two days. During my absence I missed my quiz. Instead of getting frustrated and upset, you told me you wished I would get better and I could make up my quiz once I am well. I can say that many professors would not have done the same. Again, I can truly see that you care about your students.

I appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to a profession that you love and enjoy. Your eyes sparkle every time you get a chance to teach mathematics. Remember,

Give, it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and runing over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Luke 6:38)

Yours truly,
Jasmine D. Lewis


Return to top

Featured Department: Physics
flying homemade kites

The image above shows SPS members
flying their homemade kites.

The Physics Department serves essentially every Science and Engineering student at CBU. In addition to its service courses, the department offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and in Engineering Physics. Most people recognize that you can teach with a physics degree, and we do have a program for teacher licensure in physics. There are lots of other career options with a physics degree. Our recent majors have entered graduate programs in physics and other related disciplines at institutions including Harvard, Tufts, Vanderbilt, University of Tennessee, University of Arizona, and University of Memphis.

As with other Sciences' departments, the Physics Department has a student organization on campus. The CBU chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) is open to all students with an interest in physics. Dr. Ted Clarke serves as the faculty moderator. The chapter has been active this year sponsoring various talks and helping out with the Science Olympiad and the Science Fair. They recently went to Shelby Farms to try out their kites and learned about 3-D glasses from a talk given by Dr. John Varriano (see News of the Moment section above).

Students working in lab

The image above shows students working
in the PHYS 202 lab.

The department members are continuing their efforts of incorporating computer-aided instruction into physics education. Dr Johnny Holmes and Dr. John Varriano have worked on a project called Computer-Assisted Homework for Physics (CAHP) that consists of 48 individual programs that provide physics homework problems for students in which the computer immediately grades and provides feedback to the students. Dr. Holmes and Varriano updated these programs to run more easily in the Windows environment this fall, and these programs are available to the public for free. So far over 750 people world-wide have downloaded these programs. CBU students have consistently indicated on student evaluations of courses that these programs are a valuable learning tool. Dr. Varriano recently prepared video presentations of solutions to over 90 practice problems for his Physics I and II classes. The videos show the solutions being worked out by hand with audio commentary. They are posted on-line and can be played from any browser. Dr. Varriano reports that many of his students found the videos to be very helpful. Dr. Ted Clarke uses an on-line textbook with electronic resources including web-based assigned problems.

PHYSICS LABS: We have many lab courses to accompany our lecture courses (PHYS 150L, 251L, 252L, 201L, 202L, 415L, 452) so students get to investigate in a hands-on way the theories that are discussed in class. The photo shows students in the lab working to determine the charge to mass ratio of the electron. These students are sophomore or junior biology, biochemistry, and natural science students enrolled in our Intro to Physics II (PHYS 202) course and lab. The department has designed the lab experiments to directly support the lectures, and the faculty have written their own lab manuals (10 of them!). The manuals are very efficient since they are custom made for our experiments and our equipment. The manuals are posted on-line for students to download free of charge.


Kyle Moats' apparatus

Kyle Moats' research apparatus.

RESEARCH Our physics majors are required to perform a senior research project as a capstone to their undergraduate studies. Some students are able to participate in summer research at other universities through funding by the National Science Foundation. This Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) program provides travel expenses and a stipend for the student.
Thomas Schill, Physics & Mathematics 2012, participated in the REU program at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech University in the summer of 2011. This program focused on mathematical modeling of mammalian iron metabolism.
Brent Holmes, Physics & Mathematics 2013, participated in the REU program at Montana State University in the summer of 2011. Brent worked in the area of solar physics. This summer, Brent will again be participating in an REU program in mathematics at Auburn University.
Other students perform their research on campus with a CBU faculty member. Kyle Moats, Physics 2012, designed and constructed a freeze-drying apparatus for use on biological samples. Kyle was able to utilize an old vacuum pump that was sitting in storage, a hand-me-down freezer from the Biology Department, and an old bell jar from a defunct evaporator to build the unit. The photo shows the unit with a small bird inside the bell jar. Ms. Lynda Miller from the Biology Department expressed a desire to freeze-dry samples so that they don’t have to be kept frozen. This facilitates the studying of specimens by students. Initial results on some bird samples look promising and Kyle learned a lot about vacuum systems working on the project.


Spark demonstration

Spark demonstration.
See the paragraph on the left for a description.

DEMONSTRATIONS Over the past several years Dr. Ted Clarke, Assistant Professor of Physics, along with the Society of Physics Students, has added many physics demonstrations to the collection of the CBU Department of Physics. Most of the demonstration equipment was constructed in-house. The demonstrations range from classical mechanics demos, to electricity and magnetism, to nuclear physics and other topics. Dr. Clarke's demonstration equipment is generally built from familiar items that are recognizable to students of engineering and science. This helps the student understand the relationship between physics concepts that are presented in class and real world materials.

The setup in the photo on the right is a demonstration of Faraday's Law along with other concepts. Faraday's Law explains the operation of transformers and spark coils. In the photo, there is a spark coil from an old Volvo, a simple timing circuit, a power transistor, and a 12V power supply. The spark coil consists of two concentric copper wire coils. By rapidly changing the current in one of the coils, a large voltage is induced in the other coil, resulting in a spark. The spark is produced between the two pieces of copper wire. By introducing a match flame into the spark gap, ions are produced. This allows the spark to travel across a larger gap than it normally would due to the presence of additional ions in the air. Many more aspects of electricity and magnetism can be investigated with this simple configuration.

Dr. Clarke and the Society of Physics Students plan to continue building physics demonstration equipment for future education and enjoyment. Please feel free to stop by and visit the Department of Physics. Dr. Clarke is always willing to show you the latest addition to the CBU physics demo collection.