Flowering tree with Assisi Hall and
Cooper-Wilson Center in the background.
It's March, and spring and winter are battling over the weather. After a blast of cold air, spring battles to give us a brief reminder of warm weather before winter comes charging back. But the trees and flowers have confidence that spring will put the winter behind us, at least for this year. At the same time, students were working to get through the mid-term tests and assignments, and then were treated to our Spring Break. We are now back from Spring Break, ready for the sprint to the finish of this academic year.
In this issue we feature the four student groups in the School of Sciences. All four groups have been active this year carrying on a great tradition. As you can see from the article, the groups provide a great way for students to socialize among themselves and to interact with their field in a more relaxed, informal way. We also feature the Mathematics Department and its efforts to show the real beauty of the field while it helps students master the skills and concepts that make it so useful.
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 email now to firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) program had its annual weekend retreat at the Heifer ranch at the end of February. CBU students Samantha Bownes, Biology 2012, and Teaire Carmichael, Natural Science 2012, are in this year's group.
Kathleen Nelson, Biology 2011, is a co-author on a journal article, Vitamin D Analogs 17,20S(OH)2pD and 17,20R(OH)2pD Are Noncalcemic and Exhibit Antifibrotic Activity, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Congratulations, Kathleen!
Brent Holmes, physics and math 2013, has been awarded a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) grant to work on Unresolved Structures in Solar Flares at Montana State University this summer under Dr. David MacKenzie, physics 1989.
Congratulations to CBU's chapter of Alpha Chi. It made Star Chapter 2 years in a row!!!!!
Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, Professor of Biology, attended the Association for Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics meeting. She was a session moderator in the ocular blood flow session and co-authored a presentation entitled Facial parasympathetic circuitry regulating choroidal blood flow by A. Reiner, M.E.C.Fitzgerald, C.Li, M.S. LeDoux and N.DelMar.
Full members of Beta Beta Beta with their
Advisor, Dr. Mary Ogilvie.
On the evening of Thursday, February 24, as a thunderstorm passed overhead, CBU's chapter of Beta Beta Beta held its annual induction ceremony in Spain Auditorium. CBU's President, Dr. John Smarrelli Jr., a biochemist, gave the opening welcome. After the induction, Br. Edward Salgado, Chair of the Biology Department, gave a presentation on the work of the Haiti Medical Missions of Memphis. His talk inclulded examples of CBU students working at the clinic in Haiti during spring and fall breaks.
The Memphis University School (MUS) team for the Science Olympiad.
The CBU School of Sciences had another successful production of the Science Olympiad. The Olympiad was held on campus Saturday, February 19. We had seven teams participating at the High School level in 20 separate competitive events, and we had three teams participating at the Middle School level in 18 separate competitive events. These competitive events range from classroom exams to practical applications such as construction projects, or perhaps the more arts oriented event of building musical instruments and playing a tune upon that instrument. At the High School level, White Station won first place, Memphis University School won second and Arlington finished in third place. These three schools obtained a berth at the state level competition in Knoxville. At the Middle School level, Memphis University School (coached by a CBU Alum Analice Sowell, chemistry 2002, M.A.T. 2005) won first place and the Memphis School of Excellence finished second. Both of them have a berth to the state tournament. The state tournament will be held in Knoxville Saturday, April 2. The Director for the West Tennessee Science Olympiad is Dr. Andrew Diener, Assistant Professor of Mathematics. For more photos from the event by the Memphis School of Excellence, click here.
The 57th Memphis-Shelby County Science and Engineering Fair will be held March 23-24 on the campus of Christian Brothers University (CBU). Project judging begins at Noon on March 24. There will be two judging divisions this year: one for grades 6 through 8 and one for grades 9 through 12. The Awards Ceremony will be held on April 4 in Spain Auditorium of Buckman Hall on the CBU campus. If you are interested in participating in project judging or if you know of a student who would like to enter the fair, please contact Dr. Dennis Merat at email@example.com.
The Forty-Second Annual Competitive Examination in High School Chemistry and the Twenty-Sixth Annual Local Examination for the Chemistry Olympiad will be held at Christian Brothers University (CBU) on Saturday, March 26, 2011. Students who earn top scores on the Local Examination for the Chemistry Olympiad will return to CBU on April 16, 2011, to take the National Exam. Top scorers on the National Exam will be invited to join the U.S. team that will compete in the 2011 International Chemistry Olympiad that will be held in Ankara, Turkey. The Competitive Examination in High School Chemistry and the Chemistry Olympiad Examination are sponsored by the Memphis Section of the American Chemical Society, the CBU Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society, and the CBU Department of Chemistry. For more information, please contact Dr. Dennis Merat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Group photo of biology seniors at the CBU
Research Poster Session last April.
The West Tennessee Collegiate Division of the Tennessee Academy of Sciences rotates its spring meeting through colleges and universities in West Tennessee. It is the turn of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to host the event this spring. The meeting will occur on Saturday, April 9, 2011. Abstracts are due by March 25, 2011. For further information see the website.
The Fifteenth Annual CBU Student Research Poster Session will be Tuesday, April 19, 2011, in the Sabbatini Lounge of the Thomas Center. Titles of Posters are due by April 13 via email to Dr. Randel Price at email@example.com. Here are pictures from last year's session.
The Math Department will be hosting part of the Tennessee Mathematics Teachers Association (TMTA) High School Math Tests on April 19. Last year there were 430 high school students taking the various tests at CBU, and we expect a similar number this year.
Jenny Wells Kiesel, 2004 Biology, MS 2007, and her husband Bill Kiesel, Business Administration 2003, had a baby girl, Claire Annabelle Kiesel, born on October 25, 2010. Claire is the grand niece of the previous president, Br. Michael McGinnis.
Action during last year's volleyball game.
As usual, Tri Beta has been busy. We have been blessed with a team of 11 bright and energetic officers and committee chairs
who have worked well together. Our president this year, Mary Jane Dickey, has done a great job of leading the board. We are looking for more young men, however. We have had only one on the board
this year. To a slight extent, this reflects a prevalence of women in Biology but a ratio of 10:1 is a bit out of kilter. In short, we’re looking for more testosterone on the team next year. Here are
some of the highlights of what the group was up to in the fall.
* In September, Tri Beta sponsored a behind the scenes look at the Memphis Zoo's aquarium facility.
* This was followed a few weeks later by an evening of Mock Interviews. Participating students were asked to wear their Sunday best, and meet professionals in science-related fields for one-to-one interviews. Several of our seasoned interviewers were CBU alums enticed by the offer of homemade lasagna, i.e., Colleen Hastings, M.D., Chemistry 1996; Jarad Braddy, D.D.S., Natural Sciience 2000; Scott Adelman, M.D., Biology 2003; and Melissa Hines, M.D., Biology 2006.
* Finally, our largest event of the year, the Bowl-a-thon for Hope North, garnered $1,600 for the small community in Uganda that provides safety and education for refugees of the civil war. Close to 100 students, faculty and alums participated, most of us bowling rather badly but having fun, nonetheless.
This semester promises to be equally productive.
* In February, new associate and full members were inducted at an event attended by family, friends, faculty and (call me a name dropper) our CBU president, Dr. John Smarrelli Jr. Invited speaker, Br. Edward Salgado, Professor of Biology, spoke passionately about his experiences as part of the Haiti Medical Missions team and the life-changing events encountered by CBU students who have accompanied the team.
* Br. Edward's commitment to working with the people of Haiti has convinced the Tri Beta board to make the Medical Missions the recipient of profits earned at our annual student/faculty volleyball tournament in April. The faculty, last year's tournament (Youth and Vitality vs. Old Age and Deceit) champions, deceitfully stole the title from a group of kind and unsuspecting students. The Youth are determined to be avenged.
Justin Edwards at the ACS meeting with the
ACS mascot, Mr. Mole.
The Student Members of the American Chemical Society, commonly referred to as SMACS, have had a very busy
academic school year thus far.
* The year began with a joint meeting with the Chemistry Department Faculty welcoming students back after summer vacation in the Fall of 2010. Meeting attendance has improved dramatically over recent years thanks to the very able leadership of our 2010-2011 chapter's officers. The President is Erik Scott, Chemistry 2011. Our Vice-President is Justin Edwards, Biochemistry 2012, who recently returned from the 2011 American Chemical Society's Spring Leadership Conference; he was one of only 17 undergraduates nationally selected to attend this prestigious meeting. He is pictured on the right with the American Chemical Society mascot, Mr. Mole, during a break at the conference. Other officers for SMACS include Cathlyn Chan, Biochemistry 2011, Demario Smith, Biochemistry 2011, and Larry Anderson, Chemistry 2012, who are this year's SMACS Secretary, Treasurer, and Senator, respectively.
* Justin Burt, Chemistry 2011, is Chair of the High School Chemistry Competition; he will be very busy in the coming days as we prepare to host the Local Examination for the Chemistry Olympiad and The Competitive Examination in High School Chemistry on March 26, 2011.
* Justin Gallagher, Chemistry 2012, is Chair for our very successful National Chemistry Week activities; and Catherine Gluszek, Biochemistry 2012, is Student Life Chair of SMACS and Vice-President of Tri-Beta. We are also grateful for the services of our newly named Historian and Photographer Alvin Siow, Chemical Engineering 2014.
Demo of the gummy bear with potassium chlorate.
* The focus of the SMACS Fall activities were chemical demonstrations performed during Science and Engineering Day, Alumni Weekend and National Chemistry Week. This year we performed a variation on the
classic Elephant Toothpaste Experiment called the Foaming Pumpkin and sacrificed a poor unsuspecting Gummy Bear in a fiery redox reaction with molten potassium chlorate shown on the left.
* National Chemistry Week is an annual week-long celebration of Chemistry that occurs every October. The 2010 festivities included a seminar on Chemical Demonstrations by Dr. Harmon Dunathan. National Chemistry Week concluded with faculty and SMACS members joining together for our annual Mole Day Dinner celebrating the accomplishments of Amedeo Avogadro and the number that bears his name; this year's dinner was held at the Spaghetti Warehouse. The event must be celebrated on October 23 with the consumption of food beginning around 6:02 pm.
* Another highlight of the Fall semester was notification that we had been selected by the American Chemical society to receive a national award.
* The CBU SMACS chapter has a full slate of activities to round out the year. In addition to the High School Chemistry exams, the CBU SMACS chapter is a co-host of the Memphis-Shelby County Science and Engineering Fair that will be held on the CBU campus on March 23-24, 2011. The Chapter is also sponsoring several Green Chemistry activities, including a seminar by Dr. William Busler, Professor of Chemistry, on global Warming, an informational Bulletin Board and Green Chemistry Demonstrations for Earth Day.
* Next year, everyone is invited to join with us during National Chemistry Week as we celebrate the International Year of Chemistry 2011.
The winning pumpkin in the MAA pumpkin carving contest.
The Student Chapter of the Mathematical Association of America continues to be active this year. Among the highlights:
* In October we held our annual Dress like a Mathematician Halloween Party & Pumpkin Carving contests. The features of the winning pumpkin (see image on the right) are: square root of minus one has the symbol i (I); 2 raised to the 3rd power is 8 (spelled ate); S is the Greek symbol for summation (some); and p is the Greek letter, pi, which stands for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter (pie).
* In November, Rex Hammonds, Business Administration 2011, was the winner of our Chess Tournament. A portion of the proceeds from that event go to St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital.
* At one meeting after discussing Mobius strips, we carved bagels that looked like some of the interlocking strips.
* After a long hiatus, CBU students again will be attending the MAA Southeastern Section Meeting. This year it is held in Tuscaloosa, AL. Three faculty members and seven students plan to make the trip. Some of the activities geared especially toward the students are a scavenger hunt, Jeopardy contest and a graduate school fair with pizza! Brittany Course, Mathematics and Computer Science 2011, Steven Menezes, Computer Science / Electrical Engineering 2012, Chasity Adams, Accounting 2013, and Rebekah Herrman, Mathematics 2014, will represent CBU in the Jeopardy competition at the meeting.
* The planned pie throw on Pi Day (3/14) was rained out, but a make-up day will be planned. This event is held to help fund the MAA trip.
* We will celebrate Math Awareness Month in April by twisting balloons into geometric domes.
* We will help with the Tennessee Mathematics Teachers Association (TMTA) Contest on April 19.
* We will host our year-end ice cream social.
The CBU Chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) activities this year include:
* SPS members showed physics demonstrations for alumni and families at Alumni Weekend this fall.
* SPS sponsored a talk and demonstration show by Mr. Daffron, the Instrumentation specialist at the University of Memphis, in December.
* SPS members ran four events at the Regional Science Olympiad held last month (see News of the Moment above).
* SPS is planning a kite building and flying competition in March after spring break.
* SPS has been invited to be part of the Engineering Competition in April, and will have several demonstrations including hands-on physics fun.
* SPS is planning on having at least one invited speaker (to be announced) that will give a talk on "cutting edge" physics research.
When Dr. Ogilvie asked me to write this essay, I immediately thought back to the moment when I decided upon my career path. While bored in a statistics class I began to daydream and contemplate my future. The idea of being a dentist simply came to me during this daydream. I had never considered it before, but quickly realized it was a perfect fit. I graduated from CBU in 2000 with a degree in Biology and went on to University of Tennessee Dental School. After a challenging five years (I actually had to repeat a year due to a mono infection!), I finally graduated from UT in 2005. After passing all of my boards, I began working in a practice in Southaven, MS. About six months later, I bought into the practice and the company, Drs. Joe, Braddy and Simmons PLLC was formed. I now have two partners, Dr. Stephen Joe and Dr. Rhett Simmons. Following my epiphany in my sophomore statistics class, I truly believed that dentistry was going to be a great career for me, but I never expected to enjoy my work as much as I do. I simply love the variety of people I have the opportunity to care for daily. At least ten times a day I hear the phrase "I hate the dentist." (One patient went so far as to state he would rather be getting an exam by a gynecologist. This patient was a man.) Instead of bothering me, I take these statements as a challenge. It's my job to make sure my patients have the best experience possible while receiving the best care possible. My favorite part of my job is when one of these challenging patients actually begins to enjoy their time at my office. I am so thankful that I not only enjoy my work as much as I do, but I also have been able to watch our practice grow despite the challenging economy. We have outgrown our current office location and will be constructing a new, larger building soon. I am so excited about the future of our company and look forward to all the challenges and rewards that are headed our way.
This month we have two thank you notes. One from a CBU student to Ms. Julia Hanebrink, Adjunct Lecturer and the MHIRT Program Coordinator. The other is from a student at Pepperdine University for Dr. Stan Eisen, Professor of Biology and CBU's Pre-Health Advisor.
From: lauren rotzoll
Date: Tue, Sep 7, 2010 at 10:14 PM
To: Julia Hanebrink
Hi Dr. Hanebrink!
I was just thinking about your forensics class the other day, and I
wanted to write you an email to say thanks. I don't think I have ever
learned so much in a class! There were so many times this summer when
I would need to reference something from class and I was able to
remember it. My parents were really proud of how much I had learned,
and my sister who is pre-med at memphis was also really astounded.
So anyways, Thanks again. I hope you're having a great semester!!
Pepperdine University 2009 Graduate
2010 Dental School Applicant
Dear Dr. Stanley,
I has been wonderful getting updates and e-mails from you for the past 4 years,
but I was just recently accepted to UCLA and will no longer be using this e-mail.
If at all possible, I would like to be removed from the mailing list. Thank you
for helping me stay informed throughout these years!
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.
Dr. Diener making a Mobius strip out of a bagel
at an MAA student chapter meeting.
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 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, the department has recently created three new ALG courses, ALG 110, ALG 115 and ALG 120. The department offered these in the fall in the day program after using them in the professional program last year. They are designed to prepare the student for Finite Math, MATH 105. The department hired Mrs. Sandra Davis this fall to help with the new ALG courses. The Math 103 course was designed as a prerequisite for those that will take Precalculus and Calculus. Both the ALG courses and the MATH 103 course use computer tutorials to supplement instruction by the professor. These tutorials allow students to spend more time concentrating on individual weaknesses.
This is the sixth year of a special 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!
The image above shows the MAA members
at their Christmas party.
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. Since moving into the new Math Center room in Cooper-Wilson, student visits have increased from about 1,000 per semester to above 2,100 per semester.
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 couple 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 website. 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.
Two seniors, Brittany Course and Alan Killen, will graduate in May with B.A. or B.S. degrees in mathematics. Besides the usual array of mathematics courses, math majors must also take two semesters of seminar (Math 481-482) in their senior year. Both seniors expressed interest in discrete mathematics so Prof. Cathy Carter introduced them to the mathematics of origami in senior seminar I this fall. While the art of origami is centuries old, its study as a branch of mathematics is fairly new. Through origami, see image on the right, they saw connections with many of the other areas of mathematics that they had studied. The seniors complemented each other well as Brittany likes to fold and discover conjectures experimentally while Alan likes to start with literature searches. In January, they presented a talk Folding Mathematics Together: A Senior Seminar in Origami at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in New Orleans, LA. In this semester's Senior Seminar II, Brittany is pursuing modular origami, while her folding has been noticed on campus. The Office of Admissions asked her to entertain and educate an elementary school class visiting the CBU campus. Her hands-on presentation used her Bucky ball and Phizz units to reinforce the geometric shapes from their math classes. She will present a poster on her origami explorations at the Southeastern Sectional Meeting of the Mathematical Association of America in Tuscaloosa, AL. This semester, Alan is studying the mathematics behind using trees to design origami. He enjoys graph theory and gravitates toward those areas within origami that build on his knowledge in that field. Both students are double-majors. Brittany will also earn a computer science degree and Alan will earn a degree in civil engineering.
Dr. Leigh C. Becker, Professor of Mathematics, is presently engaged in research in the area of integral equations with singular kernels. Such integrals are important in physics and engineering, one of which is Abel's integral equation relating the path of a particle to a prescribed time of descent (known as the classical tautochrone problem). He has a journal article entitled Resolvents and solutions of weakly singular linear Volterra integral Equations appearing in this month's issue of Nonlinear Analysis. The abstract of the article can be accessed by clicking here. He is presently working on a sequel to this article. Another research article, co-authored with T.A. Burton (Northwest Research Institute) and I.K. Purnarus (University of Ioannina, Greece), investigating singular integral equations with Liapunov functionals was recently submitted for publication. Also, Dr. Becker has recently refereed articles for some journals.
High school students taking tests during
the TMTA competition at CBU last April.
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 support so that CBU can be a test site for the Tennessee Mathematics Teachers Association high school tests in the spring.
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. Senior mathematics majors are also required to take the MFAT (Major Field Achievement Test) in mathematics in April, which is based on the GRE mathematics subject test. Last year's five math seniors did remarkably well---their average MFAT math score was higher than 82% of the average institutional scores of some 260 colleges and universities!