Biology Lab Upgrades

STAN_1_smaller STAN_2_smallerThis summer, thanks to the generosity of our School of Sciences donors, we were able to purchase a little over $8,500 in hardware upgrades for three high quality centrifuges to be used in our biology labs. In the natural and health sciences, centrifuges are used for isolating and separating suspensions and immiscible liquids. We now have three working high quality centrifuges that will be used for laboratory classroom instruction as well as student and faculty research in the sciences.

Featured in the top photo:
Dr. Stanley Eisen, Biology Professor and Director of Pre-Professional Health Programs and CBU student Patricia Brownsberger (Biomedical Science ’18). Patricia’s lab coat is covered with illustrations of parasites that were featured in a book created by the students in a Parasitology class. The student’s named the book Don’t Get Sick, Stan!

NEW: Pascal Fellowship

PascalWe are pleased to announce the Pascal Fellowship in Computer Science and Mathematics sponsored by FedEx.  Christian Brothers University and FedEx have a strong history and a shared commitment to the Memphis community. In light of this, CBU will utilize a generous donation from FedEx to establish a program serving exceptional students from the region who have an interest in Computer Science and Mathematics. Combining significant scholarships with unique academic support and internship opportunities, the Pascal Fellows program will help identify and educate outstanding students who wish to earn a dual degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. These highly prized degrees will prepare CBU students for rewarding careers in major corporations.

Beginning in the 2016-17 academic year, two new awardees annually will receive full four-year scholarships to CBU, offsetting all tuition and fees. Additional awardees annually will receive significant scholarships as well as campus employment opportunities designed to offset their remaining tuition and fees.  Accepted students will follow CBU’s established CS/Math or CS/Math/ECE degree curricula. Both faculty and corporate mentors will support these students throughout their tenure at CBU.  Fellows will be expected to maintain a 3.20 GPA, be involved in peer tutoring, and hold leadership positions in departmental organizations.  Funds will be available for travel to discipline-related conferences.

In their senior year, Pascal Fellows will assist CBU faculty members with a real-world Computer Science/Math project at an area corporation. Projects will be identified by corporation executives in consultation with CBU faculty members.  By collaborating with faculty members on real-world projects, students will gain invaluable experience while providing research and development to improve the efficiency of Mid-South corporations.

Interviews were held in February for this competitive award.  Those invited to join the first cohort averaged 32 on their Math ACT.  They look forward to putting their imprint on this exciting program.  Dr. Anne Kenworthy, Vice-President for Enrollment, refers to the Pascal Fellowship as the most prestigious award on campus.  We hope that friends and alumni of the School of Sciences will publicize the program and help recruit future classes of Pascal Fellows.

Math Center Tutor: Garrett Dickey

Each newsletter we feature one or two of the student tutors in the Math Center.

Garrett Dickey, Math Center Tutor

Garrett Dickey, Math Center Tutor

Garrett Dickey is a Christian Brothers High School, Memphis, graduate majoring in Mechanical Engineering. He tutors calculus, basic algebra and physics to which he brings a very pleasant smile and an outgoing personality.  He is an active member of campus life and also the Kappa Sigma Fraternity at CBU.

Success Stats 9/15

CBU M1 students at White Coat ceremony at UTHSC

CBU M1 (first year medical) students at White Coat ceremony at UTHSC

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. Other times, 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 2011 to 2015):

  • We had 26 of our graduates accepted into medical school (93%*acceptance rate)
  • We had 28 of our graduates accepted into pharmacy school (93% acceptance rate)
  • We had 12 of our graduates accepted into physicians assistant programs (80acceptance rate)
  • We had 13 of our students accepted into nursing school (93% acceptance rate)
  • We had 25 of our graduates accepted into various other health professional schools such as dentistry, veterinary, optometry, physical therapy, and chiropractic.
  • We had 22 of our graduates accepted into graduate (M.S. or Ph.D.) programs in the sciences.

* 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. If a student was accepted in one area and rejected in another, we only count the acceptance and not the rejection since we concentrate on student success.

For comparison purposes with medical school acceptances at UT, East Tennessee, U of Arkansas and nationwide (data for 2014, source is data from aamc):
• UT-Memphis accepted 165 out of 1,714 applications (9.6% acceptance rate).
• East Tennessee Quillen accepted 72 out of 1,929 applications (3.5% acceptance rate)
• University of Arkansas accepted 168 out of 2,329 applications (7.2% acceptance rate).
• Nationwide, 20,343 are accepted out of 731,595 applicants with each person giving 15 applications on average for an overall acceptance rate per person of 42%.

For pharmacy schools, the average acceptance rate for 2014 was about 18% for each school (5.5 applications per acceptance), but since students often apply to more than one school, we obtained information a couple years ago that 50.2% of all PharmCAS applicants received at least one acceptance.  (data for 2014 is from AACP)

J.D. Wolfe at his white coat ceremony at UAMS.

J.D. Wolfe at his white coat ceremony at UAMS.

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.

Aisha Rallings at her blue coat ceremony at Chiropractic school.

Aisha Rallings at her blue coat ceremony at Chiropractic school.

3. Experience in the field.  At CBU we provide our students with many opportunities to gain experience in their chosen field. Our student groups, particularly the Biology group, Beta Beta Beta, and the Chemistry group, Student Members of the American Chemical Society, provide opportunities to see and interact with institutions and people in the local health community. 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 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.

Dr. Indre Augustinaite with her doctorate in nursing.

Dr. Indre Augustinaite with her doctorate in nursing.

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.

Student Research This Summer 9/15

Here are some of the places that our students did research this summer
UTHSC = University of Tennessee Health Science Center;
SURF = Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships

Chandler Martin doing his research at UTHSC

Chandler Martin doing his summer research at UTHSC

Miranda Anderson did research with Dr. Tiffany Seagroves at UTHSC.
Chelsea Casaccia did research with Dr. Scot Heldt at UTHSC
Madison Cobb did research with Dr. Mark LeDoux at UTHSC
Rachel Depperschmidt  did research with Dr. Mary Relling at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Daniel Flatten did research with Dr. Larry Reiter at UTHSC
Alma Goodoy did research with Dr. T Wong at the University of Memphis
Patrick Gurley did research with a SURF in Pharmacology at the University of Arkansas Medical School
Joe Krebs did research with Dr. Monica Jablonski at UTHSC
Benjamin Kueter is currently working on research projects with Dr. Nathan DeYonker in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Memphis
Christian Lyons performed research this summer in the laboratory of Dr. Xuan Zhao in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Memphis.
Chandler Martin did research with Dr. Kristen O’Connelly at UTHSC
Tiffany Rice performed research in the laboratory of Dr. Xuan Zhao in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Memphis.
Katie Robinson did research with a SURF in Pharmacology at UTHSC
Thomas Summers is currently working on research projects with Dr. Nathan DeYonker in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Memphis
Ryan Tomlinson did research with Dr. Richard Smith at UTHSC
Ellie Vo did research with Dr. Kristin Hamre at UTHSC.

Math Center Tutor 9/15

Every semester, Br. Joel Baumeyer, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Director of the  Math Center, hires students as tutors in the Math Center.  We feature one or two of these tutors in each newsletter.  Here is the first featured Math Center Tutor for this academic year:

Jared Gillespie, Math Center Tutor

Jared Gillespie, Math Center Tutor

Jared Gillaspie, a senior Accounting major, has been tutoring in the math center officially since the Fall 2015 semester, but has always enjoyed helping his fellow students in the math center and beyond. He first discovered his love of teaching and helping others in Boy Scouts, of which he is an Eagle Scout. In the past he has tutored Middle School students including his little sister in math in preparation for the Pre-ACT. He was originally an Electrical Engineering / Computer Science major, where the took Calculus I, II, and III, Differential Equations, Chemistry, Physics, Statics, and other engineering courses for two years before switching majors to Accounting, where he currently holds a 4.0 major GPA. Jared is also a member of CBU’s Honor Society and currently serves on their Board of Directors.

Math Center Tutor: Breeana Nikaido 4/15

Breeana Nikaido,  Math Center Tutor

Breeana Nikaido, Math Center Tutor
Image courtesy of Br. Joel Baumeyer

Breeana Nikaido has been attending CBU since she was a dual-enrollment student in high school.  She graduated as a homeschool student and came to CBU to study Computer Science and Graphic Design.   Starting in her junior year she has tutored an array of mathematics and computer science subjects. During her sophomore year she joined the honors program and started a student organization for video game tournaments called Buccaneers ESport Team. Breeana now is a member of the Honors Board of Directors and still president of Buccaneers ESport Team.  Last summer, she interned in ITS for ALSAC, the founding arm of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.  Upon graduating Breeana hopes to work in video game development or animation.

Math Center Tutor: Ethan Hunter 2/15

Ethan Hunter, Math Center Tutor

Ethan Hunter, Math Center Tutor

Senior Ethan Hunter, a graduate of Faith Heritage Christian Academy, is a tutor in the CBU Math Center for the fall 2014-spring 2015 school year. He is studying Electrical Engineering with a double minor in Mathematics and Physics and can tutor in most math and physics courses. Ethan also is an active member in Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, The Honors Program, IEEE, and many more organizations. He has been a CBU Advising and Registration Leader (CARL) for the past three summers and very much believes in working hard and being involved on campus.

Math Center Tutor: Luke Wade 11/14

Luke Wade, Math Center Tutor

Luke Wade, Math Center Tutor

Luke Wade, a graduate of Cordova High School, is a freshman and a new tutor in the Math Center.  He is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and is considering adding a major in math.  Luke is also a member of the Honors Program and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.  In addition to tutoring math he often finds himself helping others with everything from Physics to Chemistry to Programing.  He greets people with a very friendly smile and pleasant attitude.

Minority Health International Research Training Program Positions Students for Future Success

by Jayanni Webster, MHIRT Program Assistant

CBU prides itself on effective and enjoyable teaching. An integral part of such teaching is having students perform research internships. There are different ways for students to perform their research: with a CBU professor, a researcher at another local institution such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), or with a researcher participating in grant funded research in the U.S.

Participants in the 2014 MHIRT projects presented the results from their summer international research experiences on September 27, 2014.

Participants in the 2014 MHIRT projects presented the results from their summer international research experiences on September 27, 2014.

In addition to the above opportunities, CBU is pleased to provide an excellent opportunity to do this research via Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) internships at sites in Brazil and Uganda. MHIRT is an innovative science and research initiative that provides funded summer research opportunities for students in basic science, public health education, and qualitative projects. Started in 2000, MHIRT is a major collaborative project involving CBU and other regional academic institutions. Because the program serves underrepresented students in these fields it offers these unique research experiences at no cost to individuals through an all-expenses paid stipend funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald, CBU Professor of Biology, and Dr. Julia HanebrinkPsych 2001,, Adjunct Lecturer of Anthropology at CBU and Assistant Professor at Rhodes College, co-direct the MHIRT Program. These faculty assist in the recruitment of students locally at their institutions. Students and faculty travel to these countries to conduct research on biomedical and behavioral health disparities in collaboration with leading scientists and researchers from foreign universities and community organizations. Approximately 15 students participate in this MHIRT program each year in the summer after having participated in preparation workshops—including language lessons—the prior spring.

This year, the National Institutes of Health renewed CBU’s MHIRT grant for five years. The grant funding of $1.3 million extends the MHIRT program through 2019. CBU’s program has been funded by NIH for 15 continuous years, and the successful renewal is largely due to efforts by Dr. Malinda Fitzgerald and Julia Hanebrink, pictured in the image above at far left and right respectively.

CBU student Daryl Stephens (Psych ’14), poses with Susan, secretary, finance and liaisons officer at the Ishaka Health Plan where she did research on Community-Based Health Financing in Uganda

CBU student Daryl Stephens (Psych ’14), poses with Susan, secretary, finance and liaisons officer at the Ishaka Health Plan where she did research on Community-Based Health Financing in Uganda

Malinda Fitzgerald and Julia Hanebrink are the amazing co-directors of this one-of-a-kind program, unique in its focus on both biomedical and qualitative research training. MHIRT has provided life-changing experiences for many, many students who otherwise would not have access to international travel or global health research opportunities. I am so grateful to have been able to return to Uganda with MHIRT participants in 2013 and 2014. I am thrilled that future students will continue to benefit from the momentum of the MHIRT program.” – Susannah Acuff, MHIRT Alum and 2014 Uganda Site Director

But the success of the program cannot solely be summed up in the grant renewal, but in its immediate impact on students.  Hope Npimnee , who participated research in Brazil this summer, had this reflection to share:  “I realize now, that when I applied to this program I was making a bold statement: I want to give myself the opportunity of a lifetime to grow both scientifically and personally. Reflecting on my experience in Brazil, nothing could be truer about that statement. I feel immensely more prepared for the medical school application process. But in addition to this, I feel more prepared to do what is needed of every global citizen by simply being more aware and open to cross-cultural interactions.

The most wonderful things happen as a result of these summer research experiences. Students go on to graduate programs in dentistry, medicine, anthropology, epidemiology, public health, and biological sciences. Some dedicate their lives to helping others by setting up non-profit organizations, or working with the foreign sites. All continue to be globally involved. You can read about the 2014 students’ wonderful, life-changing experiences at the new MHIRT Blog. Deadline for applications for summer 2015 is December 19 (early bird) and January 2 (final deadline). For more information, visit the MHIRT website.