Note from the Dean 2/14

BIOL 321 L lab

Dr. Thompson-Jaeger’s BIOL 321L Microbiology lab

Information is everywhere and available almost instantaneously.  So what is the point of a formal education?  I suggest that the point of true education is to get students to ask good questions.  Last fall I gave a presentation to an AP Physics class at a local high school, and last month one of the students came to an Admissions event at CBU and said he recognized me – as the person who made the class feel dumb!  How could anyone make a very bright high school teenager “feel dumb”?  I suspect it was because in my presentation I did not present a lot of information (so the students could go blah, blah, blah, so what).  Instead I asked a lot of questions.  Basic questions, such as, what is time, what is distance?  The questions were so basic, that they were hard, if not impossible, to answer simply because they were so elementary.  But to ask good questions, we must know something – really know it and not just have things memorized. Labs help students get their hands on the subject (see the image above) so that they can  know the subject better. That cyclic process of knowing and asking takes work, guidance, and encouragement.

In the School of Sciences, we want our students to know how something works but also why that something works.  With an understanding of why, we can hopefully keep asking the good questions that keep our society and us as individuals moving forward.  I hope you enjoy this newsletter where we showcase our students moving forward.

News of the Moment 2/14

Juste Augustinaite, Natural Science 2014, has been accepted into the Accelerated BSN program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) for this fall.

Shesha (Sheshaben) Shah, Chemistry 2014, has been accepted into the fall 2014 class of the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry in Memphis.

J.D. Wolfe, Biochemistry 2015, had a paper accepted for publication:  Moore, J.E., J.D. Wolfe, and S.B. Franklin. Growth responses of different aged individuals of Xanthium strumarium L. in flooded conditions. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society. (Forthcoming).  This work was part of an on-going effort to understand plant community dynamics on Mississippi River islands. J.D. performed this work as an independent project in the summer of 2012. J.D. designed the experiment and collected data. He was also involved in co-author review of the manuscript.  Dr. James Moore, Assistant Professor of Biology, was also one of the authors.

BBB's Bowling for Uganda

BBB’s Bowling for Uganda

On Friday, November 15th, CBU’s biology honors society, Tri Beta, hosted their annual Bowling for Uganda event at Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes. Twenty-four teams came out to support two worthy charities in Uganda: Hope North and Ishaka Health Plan. The night was full of fun, friends, and raising money for a great cause — teams included alumni, faculty, Zeta Phi Beta, Alpha Xi Delta, Kappa Sigma, Zeta Tau Alpha, SGA, ACS, School of Business, School of Arts, two Honors Program teams, and Tri Beta. Between bowling, door prizes, and bake sales, Tri Beta raised $1,460 for Uganda.  Trophies were awarded to:

 Top Female: Melody Caldwell (Avg. 172)

 Top Male: Thomas Summers (Avg. 191.5)

 3rd Place Team: School of Arts (Avg. 115)  Team Members: Brendan Prawdzik, Reid Prawdzik, Amy Sattler, Tracie Burke, and Maureen O’Brien

 2nd Place Team: Tri Beta Team 2 (Avg. 134.2)  Team Members: Vu Cao, Stephen Russell, Sonny Nguyen, Bao Duong, and Kelly Giang

 1st Place Team: Bowl Movements (Avg. 135.9)  Team Members: Taylor Tartera, Indiana Soliman, David Vaughn, Melody Caldwell, Velita Thorton, and Ebony Talbert

MAA Chess Tournament

Two of the chess games during the MAA Chess Tournament in November.

On Friday, November 15th, the Student section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) held its annual Chess Tournament.  Graham Lemly won the tournament.  Josh Swillum placed second.

Before Christmas,  members of MAA decked the halls of the Cooper-Wilson Center for Life Sciences and sang traditional Calculus Carols at its Christmas party.

Tri Beta hosted their annual Tri Beta/ ACS Holiday Party in December. There was lots of food, drink of the nonalcoholic sort and carols thanks to Dr. Ogilvie and her incredible guitar playing (she asked me to say that).  Students from across the campus came to celebrate the coming of Christmas, Hanuka or winter break.

January 13-18 two members of MAA, Rebekah Herrman and Eddie Gallarno, and advisor Cathy Grilli attended the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore, Maryland.  This conference is billed as the largest mathematics meeting in the world with about 6500 mathematicians registering. The CBU delegation presented 2 papers and a poster:  “Lions, Tigers, and Mathematicians”, “Walk the Line”, and “Continuous Time Quantum Walks.”

On February 11, Dr. Mark Scott, Director of CBU’s Physician Assistant Studies Program, talked to students about the Physician Assistant profession and about CBU’s program.

On February 12, Dr. Raena King, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, presented a talk about the game, SET.

Beta Beta Beta Induction members

Beta Beta Beta Induction members

On February 13, Beta Beta Beta (Tri-Beta) held its Induction Ceremonies.  The chapter inducted 41 associate members and 27 full members. Induction began with guest speaker JD Wolfe, Biochem 2015, who talked about his Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) experiences in Brazil. The induction ceremony followed and the evening ended with a reception. We are happy to report that Spain auditorium was packed to the gills with inductees, proud relative and friends.

Upcoming Events 2/14

Thursday, Feb. 27:  Due to Pi Day (3/14) occurring over Spring Break, CBU’s MAA will celebrate the day on February 27 (2/27) since the fraction 22/7 is an approximation for pi.  Officer elections will also be held on that day.

Saturday, March 1:  The Christian Brothers University Regional Science Olympiad competition will be held on campus.   We expect to have 7 high school teams competing, some from as far away as Gibson county.  We will also have 3 middle school teams at the competition.  We expect 130-150 middle and high school students plus their coaches and quite a number of parent to attend the event this year.  Opening ceremonies are at 8 AM in the CBU Theater Auditorium.

Spring Break:   A group of CBU students plan to attend the Southeastern Section Meeting of the MAA over Spring Break.

March 24 & 25:  The Memphis and Shelby County Science & Engineering Fair is scheduled for March 24 and 25.  Judging will be from noon until 2 PM on March 25.

March 29:  The Forty Fifth Annual Competitive Examination in High School Chemistry and the Twenty Ninth Annual Local Examination for the Chemistry Olympiad will be held at CBU.  For information, contact Dr. Merat at .

MAA trial run for Scavenger Hunt

Students going through a trial run for the upcoming MAA Zoo Scavenger Hunt.

April:  CBU is planning several events to celebrate Math Awareness Month this April.  The national theme is Mathematics, Magic, and Mystery.  A signature event will be its first Mathematical Scavenger Hunt at the Memphis Zoo.  It is currently scheduled for the afternoon of April 1st.  Alumni are welcome to join in the fun.  We expect the weather to be warmer in April.  E-mail for information.

Volleyball Game

Things were looking up for the faculty team, but the students ended up prevailing last year.

Upcoming events to look forward to are Tri Beta’s tours of St. Jude, UTHSC and the Church Health Center in March and April, as well as the annual Faculty/Student Volleyball game (Youth and Vitality vs. Old Age and Deceit). Last year Tri Beta raised ~$700  for the Church Health Center.  Due to superior skills, the young and vital students reigned victorious over the deceitful faculty who had won for three years in a row under questionable circumstances. This year on April 3rd there will be a re-match to see if the faculty will regain their title or if the students really have surpassed their mentors.

Saturday, April 5:  CBU will host the annual Western Collegiate Division of the Tennessee Academy of Sciences meeting. The abstract submission deadline is Friday, March 21st.  If you have any questions concerning the meeting, contact Ms. Lynda Miller ( or Dr. James Moore (  This year we have yet another wonderful keynote speaker scheduled. Dr. Diana Outlaw (Assistant Professor at Mississippi State University) will be discussing her work on the evolution of malaria parasites. The title of Dr. Outlaw’s presentation will be “Evolution and Diversification in Malaria Parasites”. To see more of Dr. Outlaw’s work visit her website

Alumni News 2/14

Accepted into Medical School

Annie Bauman, who entered CBU after completing a Bachelor’s Degree at Washington University (St. Louis) in order to take the prerequisites for veterinary school, has been accepted to the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

Jessica Ferrell, Biology 2013, has been accepted to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine M.D. program!

S. Riley Pace, Chemistry 2013, was accepted into the Fall 2014 class of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine.

(Robert) Scott Parker, Biology 2012, has been accepted to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine.

Indrani Biswas

White coat ceremony for Indrani Biswas.

Other info:

Indrani Biswas , Biology 2007, U of M 2011 M.S.) is in pharmacy school at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Maegan Lylte, Biology 2010, past her boards for her R.N.


Catherine Gluszek, Biochemistry 2012 in UT Med School currently, is engaged to (Timothy) Austin Gooch, Mechanical Engineering 2012 with minors in Mathematics and Physics.

Rodney Paullus, Biology 1998 and UT 2007, is engaged to Whitney Hansen.

Cameron Volpe, Biology 2013, announced her engagement to Johnathan Fili, Engineering Physics 2013.


Dr. Cristina Martinez Roman, Biology 2004 & MHIRT 2003, was married this past weekend.  Cristina is an entodontist in Puerto Rico.

Sue Nguyen, Chemistry 2002 & Pharmacy, and William Merbs were married on January 5.

New Babies

Diana Heaton, Natural Science 2008, had a baby, Mihran Mohammad, born on January 7.  Diana is a science educator in Newark N.J.

Dr. Johnathan Henderson, Natural Science 2006 & DPT 2010, currently at Health South, and his wife, Doneisha Henderson, CBU 2006 Finance & MBA 2009, welcomed their new addition, Ashlyn, in January.

Caroline Mitchell Carrico, MHIRT 2009, and her husband, Greg, welcomed their son, Noah, on January 10.  Caroline is also an adjunct instructor at CBU.

Featured Alum: Gina Horton Vasquez, Natural Science 1999

Gina with skunk

Gena with a skunk. The skunk was a native species that had been confiscated from someone who tried to keep it as a pet.

My name is Gena Horton Vazquez and I graduated in 1999 with a degree in Natural Science.  I chose CBU because of its small campus size and its excellent and caring professors.   I started off as a  Biology major and during my time at CBU they introduced a degree in Natural Science.  Under the advice of Brother Edward Salgado, I determined that this major better suited my career path.    During my junior year at CBU I was accepted into an internship at the Regional Forensic Center here in Memphis, TN, in forensic anthropology.  I became interested in forensic anthropology when I took a medical anthropology class from Professor Teri Mason.  She introduced me to Dr. Steven Symes at the Regional Forensics Center and the rest is, as they say, history.  After graduating from CBU, I went on to obtain a Masters’ degree in archaeology and Medical Anthropology.

Gina with elephant tusk.

The lion skull (below) and the elephant tusk are photos of me doing forensic analysis on a shipment from Africa.

My time at CBU prepared me for my career in forensics.  I work for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service at the Port of Memphis.  I provide law enforcement and evidence support for special agents and inspectors.  I also provide forensic support for the port by assisting with identification of species, crime scene and evidence photography, evidence processing, and live wildlife handling.  This pretty much means that on any given day, I could be handling anything from thousand dollar handbags to highly venomous snakes, spiders, and scorpions.  I have also helped inspect live wildlife that is being imported into the U.S.  We have seen pandas, lions, Canadian lynx, penguins, and polar bears.

Gena with Lion SkullWe inspect these shipments for many reasons.   We look for licenses, permits, presence of undeclared wildlife (smuggling), and the presence of invasive or injurious species.  This helps to keep our wildlife safe and protected for the enjoyment of the American people and people around the world.

My job has taken me across the states and around the world.  I have been to our National Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon, and I have been to the great polar bear migration in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada.  I am truly blessed to have a career that I love.  I truly feel that CBU prepared me well.

BIOL 396 Medical Shadowing

by Dr. Stan Eisen, Professor of Biology

Dr. Adams with BIOL 396 group.

Dr. James “Bo” Adams showing details of an X-ray to this year’s class. (Front L-R: Dr. James “Bo” Adams, Danielle Frazier, Anqi Zheng, Vu Cao. Back: Jimmy Nguyen

I suppose one might say that the moral of this story is “Be careful with what you ask for, because you just might get it.”  Six years ago, Dr. James “Bo” Adams, CBC alumnus, mentioned to me, “If there’s anything I can do to help current CBU students, please let me know.”  This offer ultimately led to some brain-storming with Andrea Bergen-Rourke, Education Coordinator at Delta Medical Center, resulting in the creation of a course entitled “Medical Shadowing”.  The class meets once per week for a 3-hour block of time, during which upperclassmen rotate through the departments at Delta Medical Center, and observe the activities of the healthcare providers who work there.

These departments include: 

BIOL 396 student

Michael Covington showing Vu Cao how a freshly-collected blood sample is processed


Introduction to the hospital, Hospital procedures, HIPAA directives
Emergency Medicine
Physical Therapy
Respiratory Therapy
Behavioral Intake
Nursing Education
Imaging (X-ray)

In order to participate in this class, students must be in their junior or senior year, and are required to provide a urine drug screen, criminal background check, TB Skin test, and a current immunization record.

Math Center Tutors 2/14

We continue our practice of showcasing our Math Center Tutors in this issue.

Tiffany Rice, Math Center Tutor

Tiffany Rice, Math Center Tutor

Tiffany Rice, a sophomore Chemistry (Pre-Pharmacy) major came to CBU from Craigmont High School where she was an outstanding student.  Besides her studies and work in the Math Center she is a member of the Honors program, Tri-Beta (Biology Club), and ACS the American Chemical Society.  She says that she likes to tutor because “I feel like everyone is here for an education, but if a person doesn’t  understand a certain topic, his or her education would be stinted and they would lose the ability to grow as they should.”  She also encourages more people to use the center because “Math makes the world go round, in any language at any time.”

Eddie Gallarno, Math Center Tutor

Eddie Gallarno, Math Center Tutor

Senior Eddie Gallarno was home schooled and graduated from Faith Heritage School.  Eddie’s great smile and personality along with his mathematical expertise has made him an excellent tutor this year in the Math Center.  He is a double major in Mathematics and History and is an officer in both the MAA (Mathematics Association of America, student section) and Φ Α θ  (Phi Alpha Theta, History Honor Society).  When not involved in school activities he plays the banjo and enjoys Bluegrass music, tabletop games and World War II history.

Thank You Notes to Faculty: Dr. Julia Hanebrink and Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald

One person from the Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) program sent thank you cards to Dr. Julia Hanebrink and to Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald.  Here are the texts of those two cards:


Words cannot fully express my appreciation for all of your help! You have truly brightened my future. Thank you for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime!

We all have time machines.

Some take us back, they’re called memories. 

Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.” – Author unknown

Thank you for the precious memories of this experience and the hopeful dreams that I now have.

And here is the text from the card Malinda received:

Dr. Fitzgerald,

Thank you so much for this opportunity! I am extremely humbled and grateful for your kindness and support.  This experience has truly changed my life, and I owe it to you!

Thank you for changing my life!!!

Erica Johnson

2013 MHIRT

Florianópolis, Brazil

Featured Department: Chemistry

The CBU Chemistry Department offers four-year programs leading to Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry.  The Chemistry Degree has four paradigm options, including ones designed for graduate school, Forensic Chemistry, and preparation for Medical and Pharmacy schools.  The Biochemistry degree is designed to provide a strong preparation for both the workplace and professional schools, including pharmacy school, medical school, or dental school.  Both the Chemistry and Biochemistry degree programs place emphasis on the development of a wide range of laboratory skills that will prove useful, whether students will be going directly into the workforce after graduation or going on to post-graduate studies.


Chemistry Lab image

Jimmy Nguyen, Biochemistry 2015, and Kim Ngo, Biochemistry 2015, Laboratory Assistants in the Chemistry Department, are shown unpacking new laboratory glassware.

The Chemistry Department has adopted a philosophy that the best way to learn chemistry is to do it in real world settings.  In addition to the research requirement in the department, we offer a number of opportunities through either work-study or direct employment in the department for students to begin working in the laboratories throughout their entire course of study with us.  Students begin as Laboratory Assistants; juniors and seniors have the opportunity to be selected as Laboratory Specialists.  One or two students who have been in our work-study program for at least two years have the opportunity  to be selected as Associate Lab Coordinators.  The Laboratory Specialist and Associate Lab Coordinator positions include supervisory responsibilities, giving students the opportunity to gain valuable leadership experience.  Yusef Akbik, Biochemistry 2014, is currently the Associate Lab Coordinator; and Duy Nguyen, Chemistry 2014, is the Laboratory Specialist.


Tiffany Corkran

Tiffany Corkran, a Chemistry Center tutor, is shown in the Chemistry Help Center.

The Chemistry Department wants to help students succeed in our courses and now offers over 19 hours per week of free tutoring in the Chemistry Help Center located in CW207; current hours and tutor schedules are posted by the door of CW207.  Tutors this semester include: Dr. Harmon Dunathan, Tiffany Corkran , Chemistry 2014, Takeva Hicks, Biochemistry 2015, and Shesha Shah, Chemistry 2014.