|School of Sciences Newsletter|
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|
A Note from the Dean
Spring is a time of hope and change. Coming out of winter, spring can tease you with some beautiful days followed by the return of cold and dreary weather. Spring includes its share of storms and wind as well as sun and flowers. College can be a lot like spring. The sun (getting into your subjects) can be stimulating, but then come clouds (problems), storms (tests) and wind (homework). But with support (the faculty) so that you are not blown down by the storms and wind, that combination of sun and rain can bring forth beautiful flowers (understanding and expertise). Just like plants that can bloom even in the desert, people can learn in all kinds of situations. But just like a good gardner can grow beautiful flowers well beyond what grows in the desert, we at CBU try to find the right mix of sun (inspiration) and rain (challenges) to make our students blossom (understand and appreciate). It is a real challenge, but one that we enjoy.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
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News of the Moment
On Sunday, February 15, Alpha Chi, a national honor society, had its 2009 induction ceremony. the following School of Science students accepted the invitation to join: Katelyn Brumfield, Elizabeth Calabretta, Rachel Haag, and Kathleen Nelson. To be eligible, they must be in the upper 10% of the junior or senior class in the School of Science.
On Tuesday, February 24, Beta Beta Beta, a biology national honor society, had its 2009 induction ceremony. The image on the right shows Dr. Mary Ogilvie with some of the officers and newly inducted members of BBB. Click on the image for a larger view. Fourth year medical student, Manny Patel, Biology 2005, spoke at the induction about his work with Hope North in Uganda. He was presented with $2,600 raised through its recent Bowlathon for Hope North. Also at the ceremony, a team of engineering students lead by Morgan Harrell, Biochemical Engineering 2011, was honored with a trophy for collecting over $450 for Uganda, the most raised by any team. Of course the point of the ceremony was to proudly welcome this year's new members. Associate Members: Robert Banks, Elizabeth Beebe, Anthony Ford, Justin Gallagher, Catherine Gluszek, Sherita Granderson, Michael Hankins, Jeffrey Hicks, Tammy Jeans, Kely Jeu, David Kim, Sierra Mann, Roberto Martinez, Elizabeth Meadows, Katrina Montgomery, Hajra Motiwala, Sierra Nash, Dana Pabalate, Rachel Reese, Adrienne Renfro, Mario Sauceda, Ashley Schnedorf, Ashley Scudder, Nick Selvo, Dione Smith, Kyle Smith, Ebony Talbert, Matt Vincent, Xinyu Wang, Jamie Frommelt, Amanda Fitzgerald, Natalie Hart, Robert Parker II, and Chirag Shah. Full Members: Victoria Bujalski, Elizabeth Calabretta, Jennifer Cobb, Mary Jane Dickey, Meghan Foard, Rachel Haag, Jennifer Hilton-Smith, Natalie Hurt, Matthew Jackson, Brandon Maharrey, Kathleen Nelson, Caitlin Clay, Raelyn Pirtle, Cameron Kasmai, Supriya Ponnopula, and Jessica Wright. Tri-Beta offers special thanks to Daniel Darnell, 2009 Biology, for his hard work in planning and implementing the event.
On Wednesday, February 25, Julia Hanebrink held a Forensic Anthropology Workshop at CBU for area high school students. The image on the left is from this Forensic Anthropology workshop. Click on the image for a different and larger view. The workshop included an overview and a hands-on lab component.
On March 3, Junior Biology students in Dr. Ogilvie's Biology Seminar course, BIOL 362, presented posters on a paper of their choice from the primary literature. See some pictures.
The 55th Annual Memphis & Shelby County Science Fair will be held from Monday, March 23, to Thursday, March 26, 2009, at the Fairgrounds (across from CBU) in the Pipkin Building. CBU will again be one of the major sponsors of this event. The fair is for middle school and senior high students from all schools in Shelby County including Home Schools. Volunteers to help and to judge can contact Brother Kevin Ryan, FSC, at CBU Phone: 321-3444, e-mail: email@example.com .
The High School Chemistry Exams will be held at CBU on Saturday, March 28, 2009.
The 2009 Tennessee Academy of Science Western Collegiate Meeting will be hosted on Saturday, April 4, 2009 by the Biology Department of the Rhodes College in 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.
CALLING ALL ACTS! BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! The Annual Faculty/Staff Talent Show and Silent Auction is back and scheduled for April 1, 2009. The purpose for this event is to raise money for De Lasalle Elementary, operated by Christian Brothers in Memphis. Faculty and staff are invited to participate in this fun event by displaying talent and/or donating items for the Silent Auction. Detailed information on the event will be provided at a later date. Individual or group acts are welcome. Outsiders can participate in acts, as long as at least one CBU faculty/staff member is part of the act. Performances can be comedy, musical, skits, etc., Forms for participants can be obtained by contacting Karen Conway at firstname.lastname@example.org.This year, a special category will consist of a team from each of the four schools (Arts, Business, Engineering, and Sciences). Each team will present a group performance consisting of individuals from that school only. A special award will be given for the best performance of the four schools, as well as for an additional individual or group performance. Please contact one of the following individuals with questions and/or donations: Karen Conway (321-3536), Mary Ogilvie (321-3437), or Pong Malasri (321-3419).
Assistant Professor of Mathematics Miguel Arellano (on the right) oversees the Junkyard Challenge event at the Science Olympiad.
SCIENCE OLYMPIAD AT CBU: The West Tennessee Regional Science Olympiad was held at CBU on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009. In the middle school division, there were 18 events in which 73 students competed. The students were from 5 teams from 4 schools: White Station Middle School, St. Paul Catholic School, Memphis University School (with two teams) and Cordova Middle School. At the high school level there were 17 events in which 60 students competed. The students were from 4 teams from three schools: Bartlett High School, Central High School and White Station High School (two teams). The National Tournament is in May. Examples of potential events can be seen at the National Science Olympiad website.
The following CBU students were accepted into the MHIRT program for Brazil: Catylin Ashley (biology), Casey Carr (chemistry), Ting Wong (biology), and Caroline Mitchel (history). Other accepted students are from the following schools: University of Tennessee at Knoxville, University of Tennessee at Memphis, University of Memphis, Rhodes College, and Spellman College.Alumni News
Kelley Ward, Biology 2005, is in the accelerated nursing program at Union University in Jackson where she began in January 2009. She will graduate with a BSN degree in December. This is the same program that Gloria Bird, Biology 2008, is in.
Katie Brown, 2000 Biology, was married September 20, 2008 here in Memphis to Jason Dyer who is originally from Maine. Jason is a drummer in a band called One Less Reason. Katie has been an Epidemiologist with the Memphis and Shelby County Health Department since 2006. She will visit the biological career choices class, BIOL 275, on March 16th.
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Featured Story: Science-Oriented Student Clubs
In the picture on the left, one of the volleyball games is underway at the Charity Volleyball games sponsored by Beta Beta Beta last April.
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 08 and plans on doing this again this spring.
* Had a lunch for science majors at their opening meeting in September.
* Held mock interviews in October for students interested in applying for health professional schools.
* Organized and ran a Bowlathon fundraiser in November for a project in Uganda (see News of the Moment above).
* Held a Christmas party with the SAACS (chemistry) group.
* Had their Induction Ceremony in February.
* Ran a Movie Night showing the comedy, "Evolution", in February.
* Faculty/Alum vs. Student volleyball in April (for Church Health Center)
* Tour of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
* Back stage look at the Memphhis Zoo
* Senior Farewell Day in April (with pizza and cake).
The picture on the right shows some ACS members doing a demo during Alumni Weekend. Click on it to go to more pictures from this event.
The Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS)
has received chapter awards in three of the last six years. This year, the CBU chapter:
* Provided demonstrations (see image on the right) during the Alumni Weekend this fall.
* It helped celebrate National Chemistry Week by giving lunchtime demonstrations in the quad along with a trip to Holly Springs, Mississippi.
* It will provide support for the Competitive Examination in High School Chemistry and the Local Examination for the Chemistry Olympiad which will again be held on the CBU campus on March 28. The winners of the Local Examination will be invited to the National Examination for the Chemistry Olympiad to be held on April 25.
* It hosts one or two meetings a year for the Memphis Section of the ACS.
* This spring, it is offering free chemistry tutoring on Tuesdays from 12:30 to 2 PM.
The image on the left shows Dr. Sandra Thompson-Jaeger, Associate Professor of Biology, in the middle of the "Loop of Death" apparatus in its maiden launch on March 3 - see SPS info below. Click on the picture for another view of the appartus with (left to right) SPS members Tony Bownes, Harsh Shroff, Daniel Benson, and Ozzy DeLima standing in front of the loop.
The CBU Chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) has won an Outstanding
Chapter award for three of the last six years. SPS Activities this year include:
* SPS members showed physics demonstrations and led a sunspot viewing session with one of the department's telescopes on Saturday, Oct. 4, for alumni and families at Alumni Weekend.
* Co-sponsor with MAA for a talk to the campus community by Mr. Ted Clarke, Assistant Professor of Physics, on fractional calculus. The talk was well attended by students and faculty. Pizza was served on behalf of SPS.
* SPS members ran three events at the Regional Science Olympiad on Saturday, Feb. 27 (see News of the Moment above). The Olympiad is a contest for middle school and high school students. Winning schools go on to compete at the state level. SPS members supervised the Egg-o-naut event where contestants launch an egg with a water-powered rocket and try to land it safely, the Scrambler event where the contestants transport an egg as close as possible to a wall without breaking it, and the Pentathlon event where student teams compete in a series of academic and athletic challenges.
* SPS members refurbished a large apparatus demonstrating gravitational potential energy. The students dubbed this apparatus the “loop of death”. It consists of a long track made from electrical conduit formed into a large loop. A bowling ball is released and travels around the loop while a person sits inside the loop. Ted Clarke, Assistant Professor of Physics, obtained it from the University of Memphis where it was headed for the trash. SPS members spent several hours repairing it with the help of Mr. Bob Moats in the Engineering Machine Shop. The maiden launch occurred on March 3 and was a huge success! Click to see a video of the apparatus in action.
The CBU Student Chapter of the Mathematical Association of American (MAA) had a busy year.
The image on the right is from the MAA sponsored Chess Tournament held in the Student Lounge in the new Cooper-Wilson science building.
* Leonardo Fibonacci himself (aka Dr. Holmes Peacher-Ryan) visited one meeting and regaled the members with tales of his times. At that same meeting Br. Joel Baumeyer provided further information about the Fibonacci sequence.
* In October, the MAA had its first “Dress Like A Mathematician Halloween Party and Pumpkin Carving.” In addition to such mathematicians as Fermat, Hypatia, and Mandelbrot, we had three Yanushkas (in honor of our own Dr. Arthur Yanushka) attend the party, and a Bedrossian (in honor of our own Dr. Pascal Bedrossian) arrived a day late!
* In November the MAA sponsored a Chess Tournament in which CBU students, faculty, and staff participated. Computer Science major Nate Phillips survived all of the brackets and was named CBU Chess Prodigy 2008. Based on the response, we plan to make this an annual event. Half of the proceeds of the event went to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
* The MAA managed to squeeze in some activities during the first week December before everyone was buried with exams. Members festively decorated the 3rd floor of Cooper-Wilson Center for the Life Sciences for the Christmas season. In addition to the tree lighting, we sang the traditional Calculus Carols. The group co-sponsored the talk by Mr. Ted Clarke, described above in the SPS section. That same week, MAA members continued to support St. Jude Children’s Hospital by volunteering at the St. Jude Memphis Marathon.
* Spring meetings included planning for upcoming events and a movie about Wiles’ proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem.
* MAA members helped with the Science Olympiad held at CBU on February 28 (see News of the Moment above).
* As Pi Day (3/14) occurs during Spring Break, the MAA will quietly mark it at its March 18th meeting by eating pi(e).
* Upcoming plans also include a ping pong tournament March 27. If interested, contact Pouya Saberi at email@example.com .
* Mathematics and Climate is the theme of Mathematics Awareness Month 2009. Among the MAA’s activities to mark the month are assistance with the TMTA (Tennessee Mathematics Teachers' Association) Contest and an ice cream social.
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Featured Alum: Stephen Wetick, O.D., Natural Science 2000 The image on the left shows Stephen with wife Emilie at his graduation from the Southern College of Optometry. Click on the image for a different and larger image.
Greetings Buccaneer community and science connoisseurs. It is an honor to be this month’s SOS featured alum. My name is Stephen Wetick and I have lived in Memphis for most of my life. I am a graduate of the CBU class of 2000. It took me 5 years to complete my degree, which at that time, earned me the nickname among my friends as the “5th-year senior.” As is the case with many high school graduates, I entered college not knowing what career to pursue. To be honest, this was an awkward stage in my life. I mean, just two years ago I was worrying about passing my driver’s exam, and now all of the sudden I’ve got to make decisions that will impact me for the rest of my life. “What do you like to do?” my parents would ask me. I would think to myself, “Well, I enjoy rockin out to Led Zeppelin, mountain biking, and hanging out with friends.” Needless to say, I knew this dream job did not exist. In the end, I relied on my inner voice to help me determine which career path to take. Something inside pulled me in the direction of becoming a healthcare provider. I guess the best way to describe it is an “innate sense.” Yes, I know this sounds strange, but at the same time I believe this is a unique ability we all possess. I am sure you can think of a time in your life when you did something for no rhyme or reason, other than the fact you knew it was the right thing to do.
College life at CBU was filled with a lot good times and some bad. I made several new friends, learned a ton of fascinating things in the classroom, and had many moments of fun and laughter. Some of the bad moments were results of me not applying myself hard enough, such as failing to turn in a paper on time, or receiving a poor grade on a test due to lack of preparation. Other tough moments included the death of a friend, the death of my grandmother, and my parents moving eight hours away due to a job transfer. Just as CBU was there to provide good times, CBU was there to help me through bad times. It was perhaps my professors, who helped me the most by providing a constant source of encouragement. I recall Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald really being able to connect with her students through her laid-back approach. Dr. Fitz made it seem as if there were not any limits to my capabilities as long as I set my mind to it. With this encouragement I found the strength to get through tough times—both in and out of the classroom. As a result, I left CBU with a sense of accomplishment, and even more important, confidence in my ability to overcome challenges and achieve any goal I set forth. I truly believe this would have not been the case had I attended a larger university where one is simply a “face in the crowd.”
After college, I obtained a job as a technician at a private eye care practice. A fellow CBU classmate also worked at the practice, which helped me tremendously in procuring the position. Eventually, I was accepted into optometry school and graduated from the Southern College of Optometry (SCO) in May of 2008. CBU gave me the foundation to get through courses such as optics, pharmacology, pathology, and neuro-ophthalmology. Thanks to confidence in my ability, I graduated with honors AND in four years (no more 5th-year senior!). I am currently pursuing an ocular disease residency at a co-management facility in Memphis. Working in a referral center provides for exciting and challenging days. You never know what problem you will have to face. The eye is an incredible structure—it has vascular, lymphatic, neurological, muscular, dermatological, and connective tissue components. This unfortunately means a lot of things can go wrong with the eye! Similar to my college experiencing, working in healthcare has a lot of good moments and bad ones. Helping someone get better is a wonderful feeling. Telling someone that their vision cannot be restored is not easy, but offering encouragement and help to overcome this obstacle can be just as rewarding.
Speaking of rewarding, my wife, Emilie, and I are expecting our first child on March 18th! Claire Cecille Wetick might have arrived by the time the March newsletter is released!! My plans after residency include becoming an associate at a practice or possibly returning to SCO as a didactic/clinic staff doctor. I truly enjoy patient care, but the idea of educating and providing guidance to optometry students is something I could see myself enjoying as well. It would most certainly give me an opportunity to provide students encouragement similar to what I received during my time at CBU. I honestly believe that attending CBU and pursuing studies with an emphasis in science was one of best choices I have ever made. For current students, I can assure you that the knowledge gained during your time at CBU will be heavily utilized in whatever career path you happen to take. I wish you all the best of luck.
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Thank You Note to Science Faculty
Sometimes faculty never know how they affect their students or who will find their work useful. Sometimes little things do mean a lot. The thank you note below comes from a 1983 CBU engineering graduate to one of our Math professors.
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2008 From: Fadi Yamout To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: I am an old student of yours - 1981 Dear Professor Yanushka, I was so happy to see you website. I am Fadi Yamout from Lebanon, an old student of yours (Civil Engineering). You taught me Calculus III in 1981 and I still remember what you have told that Semester: "Fadi, you're a good person since you have helped you friend with the Calculus material and he has done well in the final exam"; Most probably he had told you that I helped him. I went back to Lebanon in 1985 and and studied Computer Science (BS and MS) and then got a PhD in Computer Science from UK and currently teaching computer courses at a University in Lebanon. I will always be a "...a good person since you have helped you friend..." as you have told me 27 years ago. It is a statement that I will always remember and will still have too many people to help in many ways. Regards, Fadi Yamout
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Featured Department: Mathematics
(In each issue we feature a different department or major.)
The picture on the right shows Dr. Arthur Yanushka, professor of Mathematics & Computer Science, teaching MATH 405 Discrete Math. 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.
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 needs of students who 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 last academic year.
This is the fourth 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! This January, Professors Bedrossian and Carter gave a presentation about the Mathematical Immersion for Freshman Engineers (MIFE) at the Joint Mathematical Meetings in Washington, D.C.
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.
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 doing research on the robustness of maximum likelihood factor analysis using five-valued Likert data. As an example of five-valued Likert data, consider the sort of questionnaire we have all seen in which we answer "1" for "strongly agree", "2" for "agree", "3" "neutral" or "don't know", "4" for "disagree", and "5" for "strongly disagree". Maximum likelihood factor analysis is a statistical technique which finds underlying factors or "causes" of the pattern of responses to a group of questions. As an example, factor analysis of a forty-Likert-item Work-Orientation questionnaire given to the 10,000 employees of a company might reveal one factor underlying responses to questions about job satisfaction, work-and-life balance and actual job content. Another factor might underlie responses to questions about the workplace social environment. The fact that the number of factors is generally much smaller than the number of questions makes the results easier to understand. The significance of Dr. Peacher-Ryan's research is twofold: (1) even though factor analysis often assumes that variables are continuous and normally distributed, it is widely used for the analysis of five-valued Likert data from questionnaires and evaluations in social and psychological research, and (2) the results for maximum likelihood factor analysis have implications for linear structural equation models and other complex models used in social research.
In the MATH senior seminar this year, Andrew Assadollahi is studying a linear delay differential equation model of the feedback control of the level of a liquid in a leaking tank. He and Dr. Becker are collaborating on a Maple worksheet to solve linear delay differential equations using the method of steps. Ryan Blankenship is studying Dirichlet problems; that is, finding solutions of Laplace's equation in a domain with preassigned values on the boundary of the domain. He is also writing a Maple program that will solve some Dirichlet problems with simple boundaries in electrostatics. 3. John Legge is studying resolvents of linear Volterra integral equations of the second kind. He and Dr. Becker are collaborating on a Maple worksheet that will help compute analytical forms of resolvents for certain types of kernels of nonconvolution type (they believe no one has done this before because of the complexity of the computations). Two other seniors are working with Dr. Bedrossian on projects for the dual degree in Math and Computer Science.
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.
The Math Department also provides service to the university and community through the Student Section of the Mathematical Association of America. In addition, Dr. Andrew Diener, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, is the CBU site director for the West Tennessee section of the Science Olympiad (see news of the moment section earlier in this newsletter). The Math Department also provides the support so that CBU can be a test site for the Tennessee Mathematics Teachers Association high school tests in the spring.
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