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School of Sciences Newsletter
March 2008

By Johnny B. Holmes, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Sciences

Featuring Mathematics and our Science-Oriented Student Clubs

Note from the Dean News of the Moment Featured Article: Science-Oriented Student Clubs Featured Alum Thank you's Featured Department: Mathematics

Dr. Holmes

A Note from the Dean

As much as I hate moving, there is a silver lining. It forces me to get rid of "junk" that hides important and useful things. However, it entails many little decisions on what to keep and where to put what you keep. The faculty members in the School of Sciences are all in that moving situation right now as we prepare to get our present building ready to be renovated starting April 20. In fact, some of us have already had to move to temporary offices because work on an elevator has already started.

Even in the midst of our move, our work of teaching our students goes on. A little inconvenience now will hopefully allow a much nicer and more efficient and effective situation next fall. I'd like to commend the Sciences' faculty for their cooperation in the move while keeping their focus on their teaching. I would also like to commend our students for their cooperation and continued hard work during this construction phase.

While we are in the process of building, renovating, and moving, university life goes on. This issue features our student groups and the math department. Learning can be found in many situations including, of course, the classroom and the lab. It can also be found amoung your peers, and the student groups provide an excellent forum for this. I hope you enjoy seeing in this issue a summary of what they have done this year.

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

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new building on March 3, 2008

News of the Moment

The new building is proceeding on schedule. The image on the right (click on it for a larger view) was taken on Monday, March 3. For up to date pictures of the progress, visit Cooper-Wilson Center for Life Sciences construction pictures.

Besides the work on the new Cooper-Wilson Center for the Life Sciences building, renovations to the existing building are taking place now. An elevator is being installed now, and the full renovation work is scheduled to begin on April 20. Some of the Sciences' faculty have already moved to temporary offices around campus, and we will all have to evacuate the building before April 20. All phone numbers and e-mail addresses should remain the same while we are in our temprorary offices.

***Tour for Alumni*** We have a tour of the new building for alumni scheduled for Wednesday, March 26, at 5:30 PM. For more details, contact Andrew Prislovsky, Director of Development, at (901) 321-3278 or e-mail him at aprislov@cbu.edu.

Music event at Science Olumpiad

The image on the left is from the Sounds of Music event at the Science Olympiad. Pictured are Professor Cathy Carter, Mathematics (far left), and assistant Kristi Prevost, Biology 2010 (center left), with two participating students (right).

SCIENCE OLYMPIAD AT CBU: The West Tennessee Regional Science Olympiad was held at CBU on Saturday, February 16. Brother John Monzyk (Physics) is serving as West Tennessee Director of the Science Olympiad, and the event was supervised and scored by CBU faculty members, CBU students, and off-campus volunteers. Eight teams with up to 15 middle school or high school members each engaged in 19 B-division (6th-9th grade) and 17 C-division (9th-12 grade) science events. Some are written tests, some are hands-on activities, and some are testing of things which participants have built prior to the Olympiad. Medals were given to participants coming in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places in each event; plaques were awarded to teams scoring best in the top three; and schools received trophies for the top three placing teams. The top two winning schools in each division advance to the State Tournament in Knoxville on April 5. The two winning schools in division B were: John P. Freeman Middle School and Cordova Middle School. The two winning schools in division C were: White Station High School and Central High School. The National Tournament is in May. Examples of potential events can be seen at the National Science Olympiad website.

Science Olympiad event with Assistant Professor Arellano

Assistant Professor of Mathematics Miguel Arellano (in the green shirt) assists with the Crave the Wave event at the Science Olympiad. CBU students Emily Wong and Ryan Nicolini are also assisting. Click on the image for a bigger view.

Volunteers needed. The annual Memphis and Shelby County Science Fair will be held on March 18 at the Fairgrounds. Br. Kevin Ryan is the director and is looking for volunteers to judge the projects. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Br. Kevin at 901-321-3444 or kryan@cbu.edu.

Dr. Mike Condren, Professor of Chemistry, is back to his regular routine. Dr. Condren had suffered a mild heart attack in January, but his doctor has now cleared him to return to his regular duties. Dr. Condren had been teaching his lectures from his home via the internet and two-way cameras during his recovery time. Welcome back, Dr. Condren!

Dr. Mary Ogilvie, Professor of Biology, has been asked to give the inaurgural "LAST LECTURE" as part of a new CBU Honors Program series. In this series, an esteemed CBU professor will be asked each spring to deliver his or her "last lecture." The lecture may relate to the professor’s academic work, other professional or life experience, or may be words of inspiration and advice for students, or all of the above. This year the Honors Program chose Dr. Mary Ogilvie, Professor of Biology and 2006-07 Distinguished Lasallian Educator, to give the inaugural "Last Lecture." Save the date and please join the Honors Program and the CBU community for this extraordinary event Thursday, April 17, 12:45 p.m. in Spain Auditorium. Light refreshments will be served.

Beta Beta Beta Induction Ceremony skit

The Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society had its initiation of new members on Wednesday, February 20th, 2008, in Spain Auditorium. Twenty three new full members were installed, and twenty six new associate members were added. The officers and members put on a 15 minute skit at the beginning of the meeting where they parodied the biology and chemistry faculty members. It was well done! The image on the left shows Beta Beta Beta member Alicia Scarborough portraying Dr. Sandra Thompson-Jaeger during the skit.

The High School Chemistry Exams will be held at CBU on April 5. The Chemistry department will also be celebrating "Nano Days" that week (March 29 through April 6) and will have demonstrations concerning Nanotechnology. The "Nano Days" are an effort of Nanoscale Informal Science Education and are described at this web site.

Michael Herr presenting at a conference

Michael Herr, Biology 2008, recently attended a conference, "Focus on Fungal Infections" in San Antonio. He presented a poster on his senior research project entitled "Breakthrough Mould Infections and Changing Epidemiology Related to Voriconazole Prophylaxis in Pediatric Patients with Acute Myelogeneous Leukemia/Myelodysplastic Syndrome". The image on the right shows (L-R): Dr. Gabriella Maron, Dr. Katherine Knapp and Michael Herr. Click on the picture for a larger view.

The 2008 Tennessee Academy of Science Western Collegiate Meeting will be hosted on Saturday, April 5, 2008 by the Biology Department of the University of Memphis. This meeting is intended as a forum for undergraduate student research. Undergraduate researchers in the natural sciences, social and behavioral sciences, mathematics, and computer science are encouraged to present their work in various sessions during the meeting.

Alumni News

Michael Beebe, Chemistry 2006, is engaged to Kelly Nicole Swingholm. Michael is a medical student at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine.

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Featured Story: Science-Oriented Student Clubs

BBB at Bowling for Hope North

The picture on the left shows some Beta Beta Beta members at Bowling for the Hope North project in Uganda event. Click on it to go to more pictures from this event.

At CBU we strive to provide an effective and enjoyable education. One of the ways that we do this is to provide the opportunity for students to interact and learn from each other via student groups associated with the individual scientific areas. In the School of Sciences at CBU, we have the Beta Beta Beta National Honor Society for biology, the Student Affiliate of the American Chemical Society, the Student Chapter of the Mathematical Association of America, and the Society of Physics Students. These groups allow students to not only socialize, but to learn from each other. They also provide a means to let students learn by providing service to others. Other student groups form by doing work in common, such as senior mentored research.

The Beta Beta Beta Biology National Honor Society is very active. Besides functioning as an honor society, the CBU chapter of Beta Beta Beta also serves as a Biology Club welcoming interested students to participate in a variety of social and career related activities. So far this year, it has:

* Held a Student/Faculty volleyball game for the Church Health Center in the spring of 07 and plans on doing this again this spring.
* Held an interview workshop for students interested in applying for health professional schools.
* Went to the Zoo.
* Held a Bowlathon fundraiser for a project in Uganda.
* Held a Christmas party with the SAACS (chemistry) group.
* Made and sold Christmas ornaments for the Memphis Muslim Medical Clinic.
* Entered three teams in a Bowl-a-thon sponsored by Birthright of Memphis, an organization dedicated to helping young pregnant women to find alternatives to abortion.

bottle rocket demo by SPS

The image on the right shows SPS advisor Dr. John Varriano firing a pressurized water bottle rocket.

The Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS) has received an Honorable Mention for its activities this past year (2006-2007). It received a Commendable Chapter Award from ACS for its activities during the academic year (2004-2005) and Honorable Mention for the previous year (2003-2004). It helps celebrate National Chemistry Week by giving lunchtime demonstrations in the quad (see the November newsletter), and it provides support for the Competitive Examination in High School Chemistry and the Local Examination for the Chemistry Olympiad which are held at CBU in the spring. It hosts one or two meetings a year for the Memphis Section of the ACS.

The CBU Chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) has won an Outstanding Chapter award for three of the last five years including last year (2005-2006). It helped with the Science Olympiad in February and held demonstrations for the university community throughout the year including a bottle rocket demonstration (see picture on the right).

The CBU Student Chapter of the Mathematical Association of American (MAA) again celebrated Pi Day on March 14th by eating pi(e). When does ice cream go with voting? This year, the theme of Mathematics Awareness Month is Math and Voting – our MAA group will include an ice cream social in the month’s celebration. CBU will again serve as a testing center for the TMTA (Tennessee Mathematics Teachers' Association) Contest and the student chapter will assist in this event.

MAA Pi day gathering

The image on the left shows the CBU section of the Mathematical Association of America meeting on Pi day (3/14) this year. Click on the image for a bigger view.

In addition to the opportunities provided by the formal student groups, there are other avenues for student involvement. As an example, on Saturday, October 20th 2007, over 70 people (and a few dogs!) took to the streets downtown in order to support the abandoned children of northern Uganda in Memphis’ 2nd Annual GuluWalk. Faculty member Julia Hanebrink (‘01) coordinated this event with assistance from 2007 MHIRT participants Jenifer Meeks and Mary L. Fryman. GuluWalk took place in 100+ cities in 16 countries around the world with over 30,000 participants globally. Since its inception, GuluWalk has raised over $1 million for the children of northern Uganda. Funds raised go to support children’s programs in northern Uganda through AMREF, CPAR, War Child Uganda and the Liu Institute. For more information go to www.guluwalk.com or email jhanebri@cbu.edu.

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Featured Alum: Keith Criner, Natural Science 1999

Keith Criner on a fishing trip

The article below is from an e-mail to Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald. In the image on the right, Keith is shown on a fishing trip with his catch.

Dr. Fitz, Always good to hear from you. I have been getting the SOS newsletters which I enjoy reading. Its nice to see that CBU is thriving and that the SOS is doing well. The new building sounds nice. As for the Alumnus article, I would be happy to do whatever I can to help, and would be honored to be featured. I guess to update you on what's going on in life, I will finish a combined 4 year Internal Medicine and Pediatric residency this June and then will start a combined 3 year Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship in July at UAMS. After that, I guess I will grow up and get a 'real job',probably doing just Critical Care Medicine in an ICU somewhere. Maybe academics, maybe private practice. Recently got married to Mary in October who is an Audiologist (ear hole specialist as i call it). Hobbies include fishing, traveling, flying (just a couple more hours and I will have my private pilot license). My interest in medicine started when I was at West Memphis High School, when I used to round on the weekends with Dr. John Huey, a Pulmonary doc in Memphis. CBU further fostered the desire to pursue medicine, though I had my doubts after a couple of exams with Drs. Ross and Wescott. While at CBU, I worked at Baptist Hospital Pharmacy as a Pharmacy Tech for 4 years, and later in Maternal Fetal Research at UTMem/The Med under Dr. Baha Sibia and Dr. Risa Ramsey. I think the employment and research activities helped keep me interested in medicine and provided some much needed money.

This was said in an earlier email,but I really didn't realize how important your classes were at the time. We learned a lot of 'stuff' in college, but YOUR classes had actual real life 'stuff' that I still use today. Not a day goes by that I'm not thinking about Beta Receptor blockers or agonists, Alpha Receptor agonist or antagonist, chronotrophic and inotrophic agents such as Norepi, Epi, Dopamine, Dobutamine, Phenyeph, and how all of those things work together. When the BP goes down, the HR and ejection fraction needs to go up as does the vascular resistance. Hence, I remember your explanation of how dopamine is broken down into other neurotransmitters and what neurotransmitters have alpha, beta 1 or beta 2 effects. I can then make a decision on what drug to use and know why i am doing it. How can sodium worsen congestive heart failure and increase blood pressure? One simply needs to look at renal physiology and the Angiotension system. It all seems very simple now, but at the time it was a lot to grasp. I can remember pulling out my Physio notes from your class in college (which i still have) and reviewing physiology after a med school lecture. Your notes were, to say the least, easier to follow and actually made sense. Its easy to develop pattern recognition, that is someone is hypertensive they need fluids and dopamine. However, it is paramount to know why you are doing something, so when the old stand bys don't work one can figure out what to do next. I think med school throws so much 'stuff' at you, it is sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees, and hence difficult to recognize what is important. You teach important concepts in a relaxed environment that tend to stick with people long after the class is over.

Neuroscience, without a doubt, was my hardest class in med school. Had I not taken your Neuroscience class and had a basic understanding of neuroanatomy and physiology, my battleship may have been sunk. All ten million gyri/sulci with those pesky spinal tracts and cranial nerves may have been the death of me. However, I was ahead of the game and was able to keep my head above water. None of my friends in medical school had ever had a Neuroscience class. I found myself correcting someone the other day. She said that birds knew to migrate South because as it got cooler they knew it was time to go. Actually, as I learned it, they have an area similar to our SupraChiasmatic Nucleus (I think the Eddinger-Westphal) that recognizes the amount of daylight and hence as the days get shorter, there is less sunlight, and that is how they know to migrate. This can further explain some depressive disorders such as Seasonal Affective Disorder, less light stimulation equals less happy neurotransmitters. Its also the reason watching TV late at night can cause insomnia. Anway, the point is, these are things I learned from you, not from med school. But they are important concepts that we need to know and that I use regularly.

I didn't mean to get verbose, I was just sitting here on call in the intensive care nusery and got to rambling. Compared hour for hour, college is a much more efficient way to learn than med school. Would love to come see the new building sometime. Maybe next time I come to visit the parents. Thanks Keith

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Thank You's to Science Faculty

Dr. Mike Condren received this nice note last summer. It refers to his material on Inorganic Chemistry that is on the web.

Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2007
From: Anindya Ghosh
To: mcondren@cbu.edu
Subject: inorganic chemistry coursework

Dear Professor Condren,

My name is Anindya Ghosh and I have taken a position at the University of Arkansas at Little
Rock. I have to teach inorganic chemistry in the Fall semester. I was looking in the website and
found that you have an excellent website on the inorganic chemistry course.  I would like
to use some of your powerpoint slides and assignments. Please let me know if I'll be able to use those. 
I'll appreciate greatly if you have any advice for a new inorganic chemistry instructor.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kindest regards,

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Featured Department: Mathematics
(In each issue we feature a different department or major.)

Intro to Bioinformatics class

The picture on the right shows Dr. Arthur Yanushka, professor of Mathematics & Computer Science, teaching his Introduction to Bioinformatics class. Click on the picture for a larger view.

The Mathematics Department serves essentially every CBU student and is probably the biggest service department at CBU. It provides courses for Arts majors, courses for Business majors, and many courses for Engineering and Science majors. It offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics, a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics, and a dual degree in Math and Computer Science. There are options in the math degree in bioinformatics with a minor in biology or chemistry, and an option in forensics with a minor in biology. Most people recognize that you can teach with a math degree, and we do have a program for teacher licensure in Math. There are lots of other career options with a Math degree.

Math for some students is a fascinating and wonderful subject. For others it is something initially feared and dreaded. This wide range in attitudes and backgrounds in mathematics provides quite a challenge for the department. To handle this challenge, the departmental faculty have tried many different teaching techniques and use a wide array of tools.

It all starts with trying to place students at the appropriate level. The initial placement is based on ACT scores, but the department offers placement tests for those who think their ACT results do not really indicate their level of skill and knowledge.

Math Center in action

The image on the left shows the Math Center in operation. Click on the image for a bigger picture.

The mathematics department continues to explore ways to increase student success. To meet the need of students that require a review of algebra before attempting other mathematics courses, Math 100 was designed as a prerequisite for Finite Math, and Math 103 was designed as a prerequisite for those that will take Precalculus and Calculus. These courses use computer tutorials to supplement instruction by the professor. These tutorials allow students to spend more time concentrating on individual weaknesses. Br. Joel Baumeyer was instrumental in trouble-shooting the latest release of the computer software that the company launched this academic year. This is the third year of a new course, Math 129, that was designed to improve success for engineering students. The math department calls it MIFE (Mathematics Immersion for Freshman Engineers). Dr. Pascal Bedrossian and Ms. Cathy Carter have been team-teaching Math 129 in the Fall semester. In it, students meet for nine contact hours each week and cover the topics of Pre-calculus and Calculus I. The students who succeed in the course are pleasantly surprised in Calculus II when the lectures are less than an hour!

Br. Joel Baumeyer continues to serve as Director of the Math Center which offers free assistance in mathematics, physics, and computer science to CBU students. Tutors are typically CBU students majoring in mathematics, engineering, or the sciences. These tutors take pride in offering their services to their fellow students.

plot of solution

The figure on the right was drawn by Dr. Leigh Becker, professor of Mathematics, using the Maple worksheet "Scalar Volterra Integro-Differential Equations", which was published by Maplesoft in 2007.

In the upper level courses, the department uses the MAPLE programs to help make the material as visual as possible. Br. Walter Schreiner spent many hours of the past summer revising and updating MAPLE worksheets and aligning them with our new calculus text. Dr. Leigh Becker continues to publish worksheets at the Maple Application Center web site.. He also uses MAPLE in his manuscript Ordinary Differential Equations: Concepts, Methods, and Models. CBU uses this manuscript as the text for Differential Equations. Dr. Holmes Peacher-Ryan is still working on statistical components of a project directed by political scientist Dr. Doug Imig of the Urban Child Institute and the University of Memphis. He is involved in the analysis of 100 years of data on the political movements around the issues child labor, child care, child health, and child abuse.

In senior seminar this year students are exploring chaos and fast Fourier transforms. Evidence of the Math Department's success in its teaching can be found in the results of the EBI Engineering Exit Assessment test given to senior engineering students where the questions on satisfaction with required coursework in Calculus and Differential Equations (as well as in Physics and Chemistry) score well above the national average for engineering schools.

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