Note from the Dean

Effective and enjoyable education. That has been my goal ever since I started teaching. I put it into these words soon after I became Dean. There are other aspects to college besides education, and there are a lot of other good words that begin with e for use in this electronic era: engaging, excellent, elegant, etc. So why did I choose effective and enjoyable education? For a University, education is probably an obvious word, but there are also service and research aspects which are important. But at CBU, education is the focus. In later issues, we'll talk about service and research and how they support the overall goal of education.

I chose effective because we have to compete with so many things in today's society, and there is so much we want our students to learn in such a limited time. To serve our students best, we must choose the best ways to present the material, and we have to decide on which material is the most important. All of this is incorporated in that word effective. Our relatively new biochemistry major which is featured in this newsletter is one example where we have tried to effectively put together coursework to serve our students interests.

The enjoyable part is probably the most controversial word, but for me you work harder at things you enjoy and life is so short why not spend it on something enjoyable. By choosing enjoyable, I am not saying everything we do must be enjoyable. I was a baseball pitcher in college and had to run wind sprints to strengthen my legs for pitching. This was not what I would normally consider enjoyable, but in the context of becoming a better pitcher I knew that I would enjoy the pitching much more with stronger legs.

Our feature article for this issue is about Student Success. This is one of the important areas that show how successful we are in achieving our goal of effective and enjoyable education.

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 .

News of the Moment
Biology Researchers

The image above shows the biology students who presented their research at the 13th annual CBU Student Research Poster Session.


back of T-shirt

The image above shows the back of the
biology students' tee-shirts. The names
of the 'hazards' are a take-off on the
names of some of their professors.

On Tuesday, April 21, we had our 13th annual CBU Student Research Poster Session. There were 54 posters.

We welcome Dr. William Peer as a new Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Peer received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin.

We also welcome Dr. John Young as a new Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Young received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Mississippi State University.

Dr. Leigh C. Becker Professor of Mathematics, is the author of the paper Uniformly Continuous L1 Solutions of Volterra Equations and Global Asymptotic Stability, which appears in this month's issue of the research journal CUBO: a Mathematical Journal, which is published by the Universidad de la Frontera Temuco-Chile and the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco Recife-Brazil. The paper is in a special issue devoted to the qualitative properties of functional equations. Four of the eight papers were written by former Ph.D. students of the guest editor T. A. Burton, including Dr. Becker. Click here to download the paper. Dr. Becker is also the author of a computer application entitled "Constant Delay Differential Equations and the Method of Steps," which was recently published by the Maplesoft Application Center. Click here to download the application.


The image below shows Dr. Ted Clarke
giving his talk in Taranto, Italy.

Dr. Ted Clarke gives his invited talk

Dr. Ted Clarke, Assistant Professor of Physics, gave an invited talk entitled "Asymptotic Analysis of the Abstract Telegraph Equation" in Taranto, Italy, at the international conference on Evolution Equations and Mathematical Models in the Applied Sciences held this summer from June 29th to July 3rd. Dr. Clarke also did a short program at Klondike Elementary School for their summer science camp in June. "I had a great time with the kids. We raced different round and circular objects down a large water slide. The kids discovered that the solid sphere will win every time and that the hollow ring always loses!"

The University of Tennessee Neuroscience Institute awarded the 2009-2010 Merit Fellowships for Undergraduate Neuroscience Research to three area students, who will work in UTHSC labs this summer. Cameron Kasmai, of Christian Brothers University, Danielle Helton, of Baylor University, and Leslie Baker, of Rhodes College, were selected by a committee at their respective institutions based on their academic excellence and strong interest in neuroscience. Jessica Hines received the Ophthalmology Merit Research Fellowship which is similar to the Neuroscience fellowship. Maeghan Lytle received the Crane Vision Research Fellowship which is given to a student that conducts research in the area of vision science. Congratulations to all three CBU students!


Dominic Dunn award winners

The image above shows the three winners
of the Dominic Dunn award: John Legge
(CHEM-MATH), Daniel Darnell (BIOL),
and Tuyetdung Tran (CHEM).

The 2009 winners of the Dominic Dunn award were announced at the Student Poster Presentations in April. They are: John Legge (CHEM-MATH), Daniel Darnell (BIOL), and Tuyetdung Tran (CHEM). This award is presented annually by the faculty of the School of Sciences to the outstanding graduating senior with a major in science or mathematics. The award is given in the memory of Brother Dominic Dunn, FSC, to the graduate giving strong evidence of academic excellence and service to the university and/or community.

The 2009 winner of the Biology award was announced at graduation in May. The winner is Kelly Towns.

During the week of July 6 through 10, CBU hosted the West Tennessee high school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) workshop. Three CBU Sciences faculty members assisted with the workshop: Br. Walter Schreiner, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Dr. Katie Sauser, Assistant Professor of Biology, and Ms. Lynda Miller, Science Lab Coordinator and Adjunct Biology Faculty member. About 50 middle and high school teachers from the West Tennessee area attended.

The first day of class for the 2009-2010 academic year was Monday, August 24.


Dr. Stan Eisen at Pre-Health meeting

The image above shows Dr. Stan Eisen at the
Health Careers meeting.

The first Biology Majors & Health Careers Meeting of the year was held on Thursday, September 3, 2009.

The Mid-South Coalition for Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) Projects Symposium and Wrap-up for Summer 2009 projects will be held Saturday, September 19 from 9 a.m.- Noon, at Christian Brothers University (CBU), Cooper Wilson Center for Life Sciences, Room 105. If you plan to attend, please RSVP with Julia Hanebrink at jhanebri@cbu.edu.

Beta Beta Beta, the Biology honor society, will be hosting mock interviews on Tuesday, September 29, at 6:30 p.m. Mock interviews give students a chance to practice their interviewing skills with professionals in their field of interest. We will have health professionals come and give 30-minute interviews.

Alumni News

Engagements:
Katrina Thompson, Biology 2006, is engaged to Greg Bowdry.
Rebekah Meadows, Biology 2002, is engageg to Ben Dedwylder.
Christen Gregory, Biology 2005, is engaged to Andrew Kovacs, Biology 2005.
Elizabeth Graham, Biology 1999, is engaged to Charles S. Mitchell, a defense attorney in Memphis.
Jerad Shultz, Biology 2006, is engaged to Susan Kaye Brower from Clarksdale, MS.
Corta Thompson, Biology 2004, to Bo Ronnie Nilsson.

Marriages:
Amy Fallon Phillips, Biology 2000, to Christopher Phillips on May 9th. Amy is practicing OB/GYN at UAMS in Little Rock.
Ashley Wise Jett, Biology 2004, to Bryan Paul. Ashley is working at Walgreens Pharmacy in Oakland TN.
Christopher Sage, Biology 2005, finished his Doctor of Pharmacy from UT and married Carrie Lodge who is currently at Walgreens in Covington as Pharmacy manager.

Graduations:
Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS): Elizabeth Graham, Biology 1999; Cristina Martinez, Biology 2005; Ed Trouy, Natural Science 2005
Doctor of Medicine (MD): Manish Patel, Biology 2005; Eric Weirich, Biology 2003
Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT): Christy Harwell Mostert, Natural Science 2006
Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD): Chris Sage, Biology 2005; Melanie Huggins (formerly Joyner), Chemistry 2005; Lindsay Jo Pirtle, Psychology 2005; Andy Christensen, Natural Science 2005; Crystal Blade, Natural Science 2004; Rebecca Chim (formerly Finley), Biology 2005.
Chiropractic School: Justin Carmichael

Recently accepted to graduate school in epidemology both at UTCHS and St. Louis University to begin September: Ashley Miller, Biology 2006, who has served as a CBU Admissions Counselor for the past couple of years.

Katelyn Brumfield, Natural Science 2009, is in Physical Therapy School at the University of Tennessee at Memphis

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Featured Story: Student Success

At CBU, we strive to give each and every student the best opportunity for success. Sometimes that means helping students get into professional or graduate school to further pursue their ambitions. Sometimes that means helping students determine a "Plan B" if their initial plan was not really suited to their talents and/or initial expectations. Othertimes, it means helping a student determine what are the possibilities out there that match up with their interests and talents.

In the last five years (classes of 2005 to 2009):

  • We had 20 of our graduates accepted into medical school (74%* acceptance rate)
  • We had 18 of our graduates accepted into pharmacy school (78% acceptance rate)
  • We had 11 of our graduates accepted into physical therapy school (85% acceptance rate)
  • We had 13 of our graduates accepted into nursing school (100% acceptance rate)
  • We had an additional 18 students accepted into various other health professional schools such as dentistry, veterinary, optometry, occupational therapy and chiropractic.
  • We also had 11 of our graduates accepted into graduate programs in the health sciences (100% acceptance rate).

* 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 comparison purposes with medical school acceptances at UT, East Tennessee, U of Arkansas and nationwide (data for 2008, see data from aamc):

  • UT-Memphis accepted 150 out of 1,432 applications (10% acceptance rate).
  • East Tennessee Quillen accepted 60 out of 1,641 applications (4% acceptance rate).
  • University of Arkansas accepted 154 out of 1,522 applications (10% acceptance rate).
  • nationwide, 18,036 are accepted out of 42,231 applicants (43% acceptance rate).
Michelle Paul at her white coat ceremony

Michelle Paul, Biology 2009, at her white coat ceremony
at the start of medical school at the University of Arkansas Medical
School College of Medicine in Little Rock. The white coat ceremony
marks the transition from pre-clinical into clinical studies.
In some instances where clinical studies are integrated into all
the years, it can happen during the first year of the program.

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 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.

Jason Porter at his white coat ceremony

Jason Porter, Biology 2009, at his white coat ceremony
at the start of medical school with his mother.

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. See the note in the News of the Moment section above for information on this year's event. For more information and pictures from the 2006 event, click here. [Due to the hassles of construction and renovation, pictures are not available for the 2007 and 2008 events.]

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 Alum:
Christen Gregory, 3rd year medical student, Biology 2005
Christen Gregory with her mother

Christen with her mother. Click on the image to get a bigger view.

My name is Christen Gregory and I graduated from Christian Brothers University in 2005. Since then, I have gone on to work as a research technologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for two years before starting medical school at Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University. While at CBU, I was accepted to St. Jude’s Pediatric Oncology Education program for my senior research with the help of Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald. While I was there, I made several contacts and gained invaluable experience that ensured that I had a position waiting for me when I graduated from CBU. The lab skills and courses that I took as an undergraduate Biology major prepared me for my work as a research technologist.

After working at St. Jude for two years, I started medical school at Quillen. During these first two years, I have been involved in mostly didactic studies, including Gross Anatomy, Embryology, Physiology, Neuroscience, Microbiology/Parasitology, Biochemistry and Pathology. Surprisingly, I remember going into more detail during some of my undergraduate courses than we do in medical school! The volume of these medical school courses can be daunting, but my Biology degree from CBU really prepared me for what was to come and I owe a great debt of gratitude to all of my undergraduate professors!

At ETSU, I’ve been involved with a few extracurricular activities. I am currently serving as the vice-president of the Emergency Medicine Interest group, which educates medical students about the details of a career as an EM physician. I am also serving as a member of the Quillen Honor Council. This past summer, I worked as a student research fellow in the Quillen Dept. of Psychiatry. My mentor Dr. Norman Moore and I published an abstract entitled, “Visual and Auditory EEG biofeedback in Anxious Patients Compared with Healthy Controls” which will appear in the upcoming July issue of the EEG and Clinical Neuroscience Society Journal. I also presented this research at the joint EEG and Clinical Neuroscience Society / International Society for Neuroimaging in Psychiatry conference on September 7, 2008 in Frankfurt, Germany.

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Thank You Notes to Sciences Faculty

This month we have a thank you note from an evening student to one of our math professors, Dr. Pascal Bedrossian.

Date: Mon, 4 May 2009
Subject: Dr. Marguerite Cooper Distinguished professor Award for 2009
From: "Heather L Tamargo"
To: pbedross@cbu.edu

Dr. Bedrossian,

Congratulations on your award! Of all of my professors to date, you have
been the one who has made the greatest impact on me. I took Calculus in
high school (20+ years ago) and always thought of it as a necessity for
the math and engineering majors, but never understood the correlation to
the business world until taking your classes. I wasn't always able to
keep up in class and follow what you said, but I trusted that if I just
wrote what you wrote and paid attention the best that I could, then I
would be able to make sense of it when I got home and tackled the
homework. I was right.

I have recommended you to numerous business students who have the mindset
that they hate math. I told them that if they put forth the effort, and
applied my same technique, and actually did the homework, then they should
do well. I saw that you included all the steps, even the basic Algebra,
when you worked through a problem so that older students, such as myself,
and weaker students could keep up if they applied themselves. I really
appreciated that.

So, congratulations again. It is an award that is well deserved. Feel
free to share my comments with anyone you would like to.

Sincerely,

Heather L. Tamargo

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Featured Major: Biochemistry
Dr. Merat with students in the Biochemistry Lab

The image above shows Dr. Merat in the
Biochemistry lab with a student.


Our relatively new degree in Biochemistry is turning out to be a very popular degree here at CBU. It is designed to provide a strong preparation for both the workplace and professional schools, including pharmacy school or medical school. The program places emphasis on development of a wide range of laboratory skills that are needed in today’s biomedical laboratories, whether they are found in industry or academia.

Because pharmacy schools are starting to require more biology courses without taking away the required chemistry courses, this biochemistry degree will serve students interested in pharmacy very well. Of course, we still continue to offer our traditional Biology and Chemistry degrees and our Biomedical Science and Natural Science degrees.

The image below shows Justin Edwards and
Erik Scott loading the centrifuge in the Biochemistry lab.


physics research project equipment

The Biochemistry degree has 32 hours in biology and 35 hours in chemistry. This compares to the Biology degree which has 49 hours in biology and 19 hours in chemistry and the Chemistry degree which has 45 hours in chemistry and no required hours in biology.


This major is heavy on science labs. Of the 17 biology and chemistry courses, 14 of them have labs. This heavy emphasis on labs not only supports the lecture classes, but it also provides a wide range of laboratory skills that are needed in today’s biomedical laboratories.


The new Cooper-Wilson Center for the Life Sciences, which opened last fall, contains a brand new Biochemistry Lab and a new Microbiology/Molecular Biology Lab. The other chemistry and biology labs in Assisi Hall (formerly Science Center) were renovated. This included a complete renovation of the Organic Chemistry lab that now contains 18 hoods, enough for each person in lab to have his or her own hood for the organic chemistry experiments.