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School of Sciences Newsletter
September 2007

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

Featuring Natural Science and Student Success Stats

Note from the Dean News of the Moment Featured Article: Student Acceptance Stats Featured Alum Thank you's Featured Department: Natural Science

Dr. Holmes

A Note from the Dean

Effective and enjoyable education. That is the ideal that we strive for in the School of Sciences at CBU. It takes dedicated people, and I have the privilege of seeing that dedication on a daily basis. It also takes facilities, and we are in the midst of a major building and renovation project that will increase and upgrade those facilities. It takes tools such as lab equipment and instructional aids, and curricula that put the various pieces into a coherent whole. I am proud to say that thanks to our donors we have excellent lab equipment, and thanks to the work of our faculty we have innovative and effective instructional aids throughout the curriculum. I invite you to see how our faculty have integrated the various parts into each of our degree programs by visiting our web site.

The real proof, though, is in our graduates. The health professional school acceptances (see our feature article) we have had recently give direct evidence that the hard work of our faculty and students does pay off. That success is also evident in the other professional successes our graduates have attained. Our featured alum section shows two examples of this success. I hope you enjoy this issue of our newsletter.

If you have comments, questions or reactions, you may send an e-mail now to jholmes@cbu.edu . If you are interested, there are newsletters from the other CBU Schools (Arts, Business and Engineering). To see our past newsletters, visit our Sciences' Newsletters page.

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Science Center before new construction

News of the Moment

Say goodbye to this view. The image on the right shows a view of the present Science Center before construction began this summer.

The present Science Center is about 40 years old, and has provided most of our Sciences alums with the lab and classroom facilities for their science courses. Most of its labs had extensive renovations made in the mid 1990's.

Over the past summer we have continued working with the architects on filling in the details in the lab rooms of the new building and the renovation of the existing labs in our present building. It is really exciting to see the work in progress.


construction picture August 23, 2007

Construction of a new science building has begun! On the left is the present view (August 23) of the construction site. Click on the image for a larger view.

On May 4, 2007, we had the official groundbreaking for the new Cooper-Wilson Center for Life Sciences.

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

The renovated existing building will keep our present labs and provide a larger and more modern Organic Chemistry lab and a new Natural Science lab.

The new building will provide additional biology and chemistry labs, a new computer science lab, a new location for the Math Center, a cell culture station, student research areas, a student lounge, and student group rooms.


birdseye view of new Science Center

Say hello to the future! The image on the right shows the architect's view of the new building project that involves building the new Cooper-Wilson Center for Life Sciences building and the renovation of the current science building.

Dr. Leigh C. Becker (Professor of Mathematics, returning from sabbatical) is the author of the research article " Function bounds for solutions of Volterra equations and exponential asymptotic stability", which is published in a recent issue of the journal Nonlinear Analysis (67, No. 2 (July 2007), pp. 382-397.) He has been invited to give a 45 minute talk next July in Orlando, Florida on his current research at the Fifth World Congress of Nonlinear Analysts, which is sponsored by the International Federation of Nonlinear Analysts.

Dr. Mike Condren (Professor of Chemistry, returning from sabbatical) has been appointed to the Editorial Advisory Board of the new Journal of Nano Education. During fall break, Dr. Condren will be visiting the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He met a couple of their faculty involved in engineering education while he was attending the National Science Foundation sponsored Nanoscale Science and Engineering Education workshop at Arlington, VA in January. Three UIUC Engineering Education Center faculty visited the University of Wisconsin-Madison Material Research Science and Engineering Center this summer (where he was on sabbatical) at his invitation. Collaboration between the two centers is the result.

While on sabbatical, Dr. Condren attended the 19th Bienial Conference on Chemical Education at Purdue University in August, 2006. He was a co-presentor of two workshops.

CBU grad makes the newspaper (Commercial Appeal, 8/29/2007)! Dr. Scott Adleman (class of 2003) was in an article concerning the Christ Community Health Clinic. Dr. Adleman is a resident in the medicine/peds program at UT.

Many CBU School of Sciences students received summer fellowships or worked at research jobs this past summer.
* Indre Augustinaite was awarded the Neuroscience Institute Fellowship. She worked with Dr. Matt Ennis in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences (UTCHS).
* Kim Williams was awarded the Ophthalmology Fellowship. She worked with Dr. Jena Steinle in the Department of Ophthalmology, UTCHS. This fellowship is funded by the Ophthalmology Department and the Hamilton Eye Institute.
* Ten students (see picture below) were awarded stipends to participate in the prescience program at U.T. headed by Dr. Eldridge Johnson.
* Also at the University of TN this summer Phillip Nguyen worked with Dr. Mark LeDoux, Department of Neurology, UTCHS; and Carter Nazor worked with Dr. Anton Reiner, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, UTCHS.
* Niti Patel worked with Dr. Risa Ramsey at the Maternal and Fetal Center, UTCHS. She worked on a project concerning domestic violence in pregnant females.
* Sami Helou worked at the Shelby County Health Department on his summer internship with Katie Brown (class of 2000). Katie has received her MPH (St. Louis University of Public Health) and is working as an epidemiologist at the Health Department.
* At St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital this summer, Michael Herr worked with Dr. Pat Flynn and Jason Porter worked with Dr. Jian Zuo.
* Eric Davis and Truc Le worked with Rachael Hanson at the Memphis Zoo as interns.
* Indrani (Rani) Biswas worked with Dr. Judy Cole and Ms Lou Boykins at the Integrative Microscopy Center at the University of Memphis.
* Kyle Summers was in Dr. Claudio Toledo's laboratory in Brasil as part of the MHIRT program.
* Chemetra Patrick and Marie Shiue participated in the MHIRT program in Brasil. Chemetra worked with Dr. Luiz Carlos de Lima Silveria in Belem, and Marie worked with Dr. Marie Risoletta Marques in Florianopolis.

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CBU students at UT Prescience Program this summer

The image on the right shows several CBU students who received a stipend to attend the Pre-Science Summer Program at UT this past summer: Nichole Bates, Michael Antone, Rebecca Scott, Angie Metz, Jeremy Armstrong, Thang Pham, and Michelle Paul. Not shown are Ying Wong, Phuc Nguyen and Brian Walter.

Featured Story: Student Success Stats

In the last five years (classes of 2003 to 2007),

* In reviewing these percentages, please note that we do not pre-screen our applicants to the various professional or graduate schools as some institutions do. Some of our students were initially rejected but were accepted in a following year.

For purposes of comparison:


biology students

CBU's Steps for Success

To get into competitive professional (e.g., medical, pharmacy, dental) schools, there are five things that are important:

1. Grades At CBU most of our science courses have labs associated with them, and the instructor for the lecture is usually the instructor for the lab. Our professors have at least 10 office hours each week to help students both with their coursework and with advising for their career plans.

2. Entrance tests (e.g., MCAT, PCAT, DAT) The excellent courses supported by well equipped labs prepare our students for these tests. In addition, the CBU Career Center offers practice tests to try to help prepare our students.

3. Experience in the field At CBU we provide our students with many opportunities to gain experience (see a slide show) in their chosen field. In the freshmen Principles of Biology courses we have a discussion section that spends some time talking about what it takes to get into various fields. In the sophomore year we have a Biology Careers course that has students shadow a couple of professionals and hear many more make presentations about their fields. In the Junior year we have a Junior Seminar course that brings researchers onto campus to talk about their research. All of our majors have a senior capstone research or internship course. This experience is viewed very positively by the various health professional schools.

4. Recommendations from your professors and the supervisors of your work in the field. At CBU you are encouraged to really get to know your professors. If you take advantage of this, the professors will be able to write very specific letters of recommendation for you.

5. Interviews As part of the admissions process for professional schools, students are required to attend an interview. At CBU we help students prepare for this opportunity by holding mock interviews staffed by our alumni and other health professionals.

To help and guide you in your preparation for pursuing any of the health careers, we have a Pre-Professional Heath Director, Dr. Stan Eisen. He has a very extensive set of web pages on the various health careers and what it takes to get into these professional schools.

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Featured Alums: Rebekkah ‘Griffith’ Robbins, Biology 2005, and Paul Robbins, Computer Science 2003

Rebekkah and Paul in Times Square

The image on the right shows Rebekkah and Paul in Times Square, New York City. Click on the picture for a larger image.

Rebekkah: I received a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and a minor in Spanish from CBU in December of 2005. A day after completing the requirements for graduation, I got married and moved to New York City with my husband, Paul (Computer Science ‘03). I took a position as a technician in a tuberculosis research laboratory at Weill Medical College, the medical school of Cornell University. The main goal of our lab (with help from various collaborators) is to identify and characterize possible new drug targets for Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis. Numerous grants fund our lab and they include those from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the NIH. Much of our work is performed in a Bio-Safety Level 3 laboratory, working directly with the tuberculosis pathogen. My largest individual project is characterizing a controllable protein degradation system for the Mycobacteria genus using a mechanism adapted from E. coli. With the results I have been observing, I am hoping for a publication to arise from this project within the next year or so. At some point in the future, I plan to attend graduate school and obtain my Ph. D. to continue research of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis.

New York City is a fabulous place to live. Paul and I never thought that we would ever relocate to a city like this, but we feel quite fortunate to have the opportunity to live here. A fellow CBU School of Sciences graduate, Paul works for The New York Times and both of us feel that to live here is to live on the cutting edge of research and technology. The biggest down side so far has been the lack of good southern barbecue, but we enjoy traveling back to our home towns of Nashville and Memphis to satisfy our craving quite often. We have a dog named Oakleigh who keeps us busy rock climbing and chasing squirrels in Central Park. We are enjoying living in the big city as we wait to see what the future has in store for us.

Paul After finishing my BS at CBU, upon a recommendation from Dr. Yanushka, I enrolled into the Masters of Science program at the University of Memphis. I completed my Masters with a concentration in Management Information Systems in May of 2005. While working on my MSBA, I moved from a programming job at AutoZone to a position at Fred's Inc working on their pharmacy computer systems. In October 2005, I relocated to NYC to work for Duane Reade, a pharmacy chain with 250 locations in the metro New York area. In early August 2007, I started a position with the New York Times working on the nytimes.com website. The programs I work on contribute to the dynamic page generation of the many different topics on the site. Much of the work involves XML, PHP, Perl, and mutliple database products. Open source software plays a major role in our culture, including our contribution to many open source products. My department recently moved into a new building near Times Square which is one of the tallest building in NYC.

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Thank You's to Science Faculty

The thank you note below is from Reem Awwad, 2002 biology alum.

Hi Dr. Busler,

I hope you are doing well! I'm doing great and currently in my 4th year of medical school. 
I have decided to pursue a career in Radiology.  All I can say is WOW. I love this field. 
Especially the area of Nuclear Medicine. Nuclear medicine is a blend of chemistry, physics, 
math, pathophysiology, and anatomy all in one. It also includes diagnosis and staging of 
certain cancers. In addition, therapeutic options for certain diseases. It is amazing. 
While on my rotation, a radiologist (Dr. Fleming) was talking up decay, half lives, atoms, 
alpha particles, beta particles, electrons jumping energy levels, etc... All the basic 
concepts that you taught so well during my time at CBU. And, here it is all over again. 
I did not realize how much I really missed some of this stuff and how much it applied to 
the field of radiology. I am writing to you hoping that you may give me some insight on 
what are the unique characteristics you remember about me. The reason being is that I am 
working on my personal statement for residency and would love to have your input on 
characteristics that I can describe myself by. I can definitely do this on my own, however, 
it is much easier for me to describe myself through other people's eyes. I hope to hear 
from you soon and to possibly come by an visit one day. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Reem

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

The different degree programs in the traditional fields of biology, chemistry, computer science, math, and physics are all designed to give the student sufficient depth to prepare the student for further study in these areas or for a career in these areas. But there are many career opportunities that are more multidisciplinary in nature, and the Natural Science degree is designed to serve students interested in those careers. To serve this broad range of interests, the degree has very few specific courses specified. Below is a brief look at some of the uses of a Natural Science degree.

biology lab

The image on the left shows students in a biology lab.

If you are interested in teaching math or science in middle school or high school, the Natural Science degree is one path you can use. We have developed paradigms for teacher licensure for this purpose.

Essentially all professional health programs do not specify a particular degree requirement for entry, and so a Natural Science degree can be used. The student pursuing this option should work closely with the Pre-Health Advisor to make sure that all of the requirements for the professional school are covered.

Science is big business in America and around the world, and there is a definite need for people who know something about both areas. In the city, the Memphis Bioworks Foundation is working for the development and commercialization of biomedical technology, and CBU is involved in that effort. A degree in Natural Science with either a minor in Business or a cluster of courses in business provides a good background for this type of career.

Science writing is another multidisciplinary field where a Natural Science degree can be combined with a certificate in professional writing that will provide a great foundation for that career.

Since science is such a big business, and big business entails significant issues related to law, a Natural Science degree with a minor in history or political science can provide a good background for law school and an eventual career in patent or regulatory law.

To see more possible careers with a degree in any of the sciences, see our science careers page.

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Sciences home page that includes links to previous issues
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