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School of Sciences Newsletter
October 2007

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

Featuring Biology and the MHIRT program

Note from the Dean News of the Moment Featured Article: MHIRT program Featured Alums Thank you's Featured Department: Biology

Dr. Holmes

A Note from the Dean

As part of the IDS 101 course (an interdisciplinary studies course that is one of the general education requirements) a professor in each of the four schools at CBU (Arts, Business, Engineering, and Sciences) makes a case that an ideal person from their area should be chosen to take the last space on a raft so the group can survive on an island. Various science faculty have served as the science advocate in these debates, and so far they have all been won by the science advocate. Dr. John Varriano (physics) in the past couple of years, and this year both Dr. Sandra Thompson-Jaeger (biology) and Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald (biology) have participated. In place of my usual note, I am providing a link to the position paper for science (word document) that Dr. Fitzgerald prepared this year. I found it extremely interesting, and so I thought I'd share it with you.

If you have comments, questions or reactions, you may send an e-mail now to jholmes@cbu.edu .

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News of the Moment

new building on Oct. 1

The new building is proceeding on schedule. The image on the right (click on it for a larger view) was taken on Monday, Oct. 1. The new building should start rising from its base in the coming weeks.

Click on the links below to get pdf images for the present floor plans for the new building and for the refurbished present building:
new building biology floor
new building chemistry floor
new building math/CS floor
present building physics floor
present building biology floor
present building chemistry floor

For up to date pictures of the progress, visit Cooper-Wilson Center for Life Sciences construction pictures.

The image below (click on it for a larger view) was taken on Tuesday, Oct. 9. As you can see, it is rising from its base!

new building October 9

MHIRT program at CBU begins 8th consecutive year. Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald has completed the seventh year and has begun to start the eighth grant year for the Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) grant. (See the feature article below.)

Dr. Leigh C. Becker (Mathematics) is the author of the Maple computer program "Scalar Volterra Integro-Differential Equations," which was recently published by the Maple Application Center.

The CBU chapter of the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society has been selected to receive an Honorable Mention Award for the 2006-2007 academic year. The award letter states: Professor David Dawson, faculty advisor of the chapter, deserves special commendation. Few faculty members are willing to make the great commitment of time and energy that a successful chapter requires. Professor Dawson's efforts certainly represent the best in undergraduate education and mentoring around the country. We extend our warmest congratulations to the students and Professor Dawson for setting such a fine example for other chapters and preparing the next generation of chemical professionals.

Keith Criner (Natural Science alum, 1999) is getting married to Mary Kenny this month. Keith has graduated from UALR with an M.D. and is currently a fellow in Critical Care medicine at the University of Arkansas Hospital. His wife has a doctorate in audiology.

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Featured Story: Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) Grant

MHIRT participants

The picture on the right shows the MHIRT participants for this past summer (2007).

CBU prides itself on effective and enjoyable teaching. An integral part of such teaching is having the students perform research. In recognition of this, all science majors at CBU are required to do either a senior research project or an internship. There are different ways for students to perform their research: with a CBU professor, with a researcher at another local institution such as St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, or with a researcher in the studentís hometown. In addition, CBU is pleased to provide an excellent opportunity to do this research via internships at sites in Brazil and Uganda with all expenses paid and a stipend through a Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This is a major collaborative project involving CBU, St. Jude and other regional academic institutions. Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, CBU Professor of Biology, is the program director. There is also an advisory board that consists of faculty from University of Memphis, St. Jude, Rhodes College, University of TN and Le Moyne Owen College. These faculty assist in the recruitment of students locally at their institutions.

Last month, Dr. Fitzgerald and CBU finished up the seventh consecutive year of the MHIRT grants with a Projects Symposium at CBU on Sept. 15. Dr. Fitzgerald is now beginning the eighth project year for research for this coming summer (2008). The MHIRT program is open to any US citizen or permanent resident; however, CBU students do receive preference, followed by local and then regional undergraduate students. The program can also accept 3-4 graduate students as well. This past summer (2007), 15 students particiated, with 3 being from CBU.

The most wonderful things happen as a result of these summer research experiences. Students go on to graduate programs in dentistry, medicine, public health, and biological sciences. Some dedicate their lives to helping others by setting up non-profit organizations, or working with refugees from Burma. All continue to be globally involved. It is wonderful for our students to have this life altering experience.

For more information, visit the MHIRT website.

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Featured Alum: Laura Williamson

Laura Williamson The picture on the left shows Laura Williamson, our featured alum. (click on it for a larger view)

I am a 2001 CBU graduate of the School of Science. I completed my coursework in December of the previous year, and immediately set out to find a full-time job at a small animal hospital. Something was telling me to wait to apply to vet school. I didn't feel like I was ready on a maturity level or on a field-related experience level. I am so glad I waited. I ended up working for six years as a surgical technician at an extremely busy small animal practice. While some may think that is too long to wait, I am now in vet school with people twice my age, so it can be done at any time of your life. The years I worked were invaluable. Knowing exactly what to expect out of your profession, how to turn that profession into a career, and how to harness hard work and passion for what you do is something that I lived everyday while working as a veterinary technician. Not only did I learn the ins and outs of the veterinary profession on a clinical and business scale, but I also realized that this was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, even on the worst of days (and there are plenty of those!). I eventually felt ready to apply to vet school, but after getting rejected to several U.S. schools I felt let down. How was I going to pursue my dream? Then one day I came across a flier at work from St. George's University, on the island of Grenada in the Carribean. After taking one look at the beautiful picture on the front, I decided that was where I would go to vet school! I love to travel, and I've always wanted to live abroad, so I figured I had nothing to lose by applying. I was not disappointed, and less than a year later I was on a plane to the south Carribean.

Laura at CBU in Dr. Ross's lab

Being back in school again has been an adjustment after seven years out of the classroom, I will not deny that. But the thorough academic curriculum at CBU laid a solid groundwork for what was to come. The days I sat studying for hours for Dr. Ross's histology class came to fruition when I made a perfect score on my first histology exam in vet school! I have not once felt like I am behind any of the other students that are younger and entered vet school directly out of college. I feel like I owe that largely to attending an academically superior university like CBU. Their science curriculum more than adequately prepared me for the intense workload that is a part of any medical school, veterinary or human. I look foward to graduating a licensed veterinarian, no matter what country I receive my degree in. I hope one day I can influence someone who has the same desires as I did.

The picture on the right shows Laura as a student in Dr. Ross' Histology lab.

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Thank You's to Science Faculty

A&P Lab

The picture on the right is of two students working in Dr. Anna Ross's Comparative Anatomy lab. Here is her course website.

The first thank you is to Dr. Anna Ross (biology) from another professor at another university for her wonderful course materials.

Subject:  Comparative Anatomy website
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 09:46:02 -0400

Hi Dr. Ross

I am writing to inform you that your Comparative Anatomy website is a 
wonderful tool for student. I also teach Comparative Anatomy , I am 
sure you know the magnitude of information  associated with this course. 
I am  to developing a blackboard site for this class and  I have not 
found any ancillaries for this subject.  I am writing to thank you 
because I know several professors that use your website as a reference 
tool in their class.
Maureen Scott
Biology Department
Norfolk State University

CHEM 115 lab with LED's

The image on the right is from Dr. Condren's CHEM 115 lab. Click on it for a larger view.

The second thank you was given to Dr. Mike Condren (chemistry) while on sabbatical at the University of Wisconsin at Madison from his chemistry classes he taught during the spring and again during the summer. This thank you was not given in written form, but instead as a 20 second ovation at the end of his courses. He also received this e-mail:

Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2007 13:21:51 -0500
To: mcondren@cbu.edu
Subject: Chemistry 103- thank you

Hi Professor Condren,

I just wanted to say thank you for being a really 
excellent professor of Chemistry 103. 
It was really nice to have a professor that was 
good at teaching to a group and also willing and 
able to help students on an individual basis.


Amelia Boornazian

p.s. I hope all is well. :)

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

Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy lab

The Biology Department is one of the most popular departments at CBU serving 127 majors. The department has a very good record of preparing students for medical school and other health related professional schools. It also has had some of its graduates go on to other science related careers.

One of the strengths of the Biology Department is the caring nature of its faculty. That care for the students shows up in many forms, both formally in lecture, lab and field trips, and informally in their interactions with students in the hall, in the office, and in the Beta Beta Beta student honor society. Br. Edward Salgado, as Chair of the department, has led the department to develop a very strong overall curriculum that includes a Biology degree and a Biomedical Science degree. Dr. Stan Eisen, as Director of the Pre-Health Program, works very hard to give CBU students the best opportunity to succeed in a very competitive field via both individual counseling and via his web pages and Caduceus newsletters. Dr. Ross is famous for her departmental and course web pages that support the students in their learning. Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald supports the students early in the Biological Careers course for sophomores and in the senior research including the MHIRT program (featured earlier in this newsletter). Dr. Mary Ogilvie runs the Junior Seminar that prepares students for their senior research and she also serves as moderator for the Biology student group Beta Beta Beta. Dr. Sandra Thompson-Jaeger, the most recent addition to the department, serves as Vice President of the Faculty Assembly and has been involved in starting up an honors Principles of Biology section.

Another major strength of the department is its commitment to making the science real to its students. Science, and biology in particular, is image oriented. To make the subject real and visual, the department has developed labs to accompany most of its courses, and it has developed web resources that are image intensive. There are 25 biology lecture classes and 20 of them have labs attached!

Biology Lab

An important component of any science education is research. Research gives motivation and context to the work done in lecture and lab. In the CBU Biology Department, research is interwoven into the curriculum. It starts with a discussion section in the freshmen Principles courses (BIOL 111 & 112). It continues in the sophomore year with a Careers Course (BIOL 275) where students shadow two professionals and hear presentations made by many others. It continues with Biology Seminar (BIOL 362) in the junior year where students see presentations made by area researchers and are helped with choosing a senior project. It then culminates with the Senior Research project (BIOL 463, 464 & 465) where students do research with either local researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, the Memphis Zoo, through the MHIRT program (featured earlier in this newsletter), or with CBU faculty. Students present their research at a local or area science meeting. Many of our students have won awards for their research, and 29 have had their research published in peer-reviewed articles over the last ten years.

The results of a CBU biology degree, and with any of the CBU science degrees, is quite impressive. The statistics for the past five years for acceptance into medical and other health professional schools were highlighted in the previous newsletter.

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